Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Two [21]


Up to this point, a casual reader might be willing to believe that while Johnstone obviously sees the root causes of the Yugoslav wars differently, she might still concede some degree of guilt to the Bosnian Serb and Serbian Republic leadership. She might raise concerns about what she perceives as a witch-hunt against Serbs as an ethnic group, and she might voice doubts about the legitimacy and objectivity of the ICTY, but surely, you think, she looks at the civilian body counts, the role played by the JNA, and a host of other factors, and conclude that Radovan Karadzic, for example, brought dishonor, if nothing else, to his people.

Well, you would be wrong. She doesn't merely think he has been blamed more than is fair; she does not think the man bears any guilt whatsoever.

Johnstone starts off with a list of the 16 counts of genocide and other crimes against humanity that Karadzic was charged with. She concludes her list with the observation:

"This is a compendium of all the crimes that may or may not have been committed in the course of the war."

Notice how far she is from any realistic or reasonable reference point. We are not even debating guilt or responsibility for various war crimes; she won't even acknowledge that they happened. She lives in a world made up of abstraction, where raw experience and lived reality simply do not register until these events and experiences have been vetted by being subjected to a fantastic and context-ignorant process to an impossibly pristine state of validation.

"But guilt depends on personal repsonsibility. The grave accusations against the Bosnian Serb leader were based on the following factors:"

She lists these four factors, which get elaborated on next; we shall look at each of them in order. Before she deals with them in detail, she first describes the events of June 27, 1996, when judge Claude Jorda refused to allow Karadzic's defense attorney represent him during a hearing. She is, of course, outraged by this. The fact that Karadzic was, of course, not present, and refuses to turn himself in, matters not at all.

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