Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Fool's Crusade" Chapter Four [3]



After a few sentences detailing a "vehement press campaign" that supposedly turned the German public against the Serbs (considering that she only quotes a handful of print journalists and their--admittedly widely circulated--magazines, she must consider Germans either particularly easy to dupe or primed and ready to hate at a moments notice), Johnstone embarks on a critique of German involvement in the Yugoslav wars (yes, the entire chapter--one out of five in the whole book--is just on Germany) that is, if nothing else, novel--she ignores chronology altogether.

Others have already noted that Johnstone and others have blamed German recognition of Slovenia and Croatia for igniting a war which was already, at that point, in the works. What I mean is something more brazen--she skips around from decade to decade, pulling quotes from the Nazi period and from the time of Bismark, all to illustrate the true nature of German foreign policy in the 1990s. And what's more, she apparently means for the reader to take this seriously.

She moves back and forth from era to era shamelessly, such as in this quote:

"Nineteen months after German reunification, and for the first time since Hitler's defeat in 1945, the German media resounded with condemnation of an entire ethnic group reminiscent of the pre-war propaganda against the Jews."

In her version of reality, Germans had striven to mend fences with the victims of Nazi aggression, but this "stopped short when it came to the Serbs."

The quote "Serbia must die" was, as she openly admits, from 1914. To her, this is relevant because Germany in 1991 was following down a well-worn historic path, once again going on an aggressive campaign to punish and/or eliminate the troublesome nation of Serbia.

This section is only a little over two pages long; a full page of which is taken up with a detailed description of Nazi reprisal killing policy in occupied Serbia during WW II. This section contains more hard figures and data than entire previous chapters had, when applied to the Muslim and Croat communities. Other than wallowing in war porn, the only possible point of this section might be to illustrate Serb fears of German interference. Which is not what she discusses in the next section.

And that, honestly, is all there is to this section--the German press vilified Serbia in 1991; Nazis did bad things in Serbia in 1941. This is the foundation on which Johnstone will build her thesis.


Owen said...

I wonder how she's going to cope with the role of the UK and France? Presumbaly they don't come in for quite the same level of criticism. Is she by any chance an enthusiastic supporter of the UK-facilitated privatisation of Serbian state utilities by Milosevic?

Anonymous said...

Kirk, this is Off Topic, but I wanted you to read it anyways:
David Harland, prosecution witness at the trial of General Dragomir Milosevic, says in his cross-examination that on 28 August 1995 he advised General Rupert Smith to state that “it is unclear who fired the shells” on the Town Market in Sarajevo in order “not to alarm the Bosnian Serbs”, possibly alerting them to the impending NATO air strikes

David Harland, former head of UN Civil Affairs in BH, admitted today he was responsible for the creation of the myth that UNPROFOR was unable to determine who had fired the mortar shells that caused the Markale 2 massacre on 28 August 1995. Forty-three people were killed and seventy-five injured at the entrance to the Town Market in Sarajevo. Markale 2 is one of the 15 “illustrative examples” of the shelling campaign against Sarajevo listed in the indictment against the then commander of the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, General Dragomir Milosevic.

The myth that has survived for more than ten years, Harland said in response to Milosevic’s defense counsel Branislav Tapuskovic, was created because of a “neutral statement” made by General Rupert Smith, the UNPROFOR commander. On the day when the second attack on Markale happened, General Smith stated “it is unclear who fired the shells, although at that time he already had the technical report of UNPROFOR intelligence section, determining beyond reasonable doubt that they were fired from VRS positions at Lukavica”.

Harland’s responsibility lies in the fact that he himself advised General Smith to make “a neutral statement in order not to alarm the Bosnian Serbs who would be alerted to the impending NATO air strikes against their positions had he pointed a finger at them”. That would have jeopardized the safety of UN troops in the territory under VRS control or on positions where they might have been vulnerable to retaliatory attacks by Serb forces.

In his cross-examination Harland denied claims made by Tapuskovic, Belgrade attorney, that between two and three thousand Serbs had “been killed, had their throats slit and been thrown into Kazani” during the war in Sarajevo. Not denying the crimes committed against Serbs, and Muslims too, by Caco and his men, Harland categorically stated that “the huge majority of the Serbs killed in the town, inside the conflict lines, were killed by artillery and sniper fire originating from the positions of the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps”.

This line of cross-examination prompted Presiding Judge Robinson to ask the defense counsel “what is the point of this defense, even if the figures you’re presenting are correct”. In other words: “what impact will it have on the responsibility of General Milosevic for the crimes he is charged with”. Tapuskovic’s reply was that Caco’s crimes had engendered great fear among the Serbs that the same thing could happen to them if they were to be under Muslim power. They therefore “held the positions around Sarajevo firmly”.

While Tapuskovic claims that the Sarajevo Serbs “feared Caco more than bombs”, Harland believes that “the great majority of Serbs wanted to leave Sarajevo but couldn’t do so”. The reason why they wanted to leave town was “the siege and a great risk they ran of getting killed by shells or sniper fire from Serb positions”.

Louis Fortain took the stand after David Harland. Fortain, a lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Army, was UNPROFOR’s liaison officer with the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. He was stationed in the Lukavica barracks.

Kirk Johnson said...

Thanks for the post, Daniel. I'm certainly going to read that link. Interesting stuff.

Kirk Johnson said...

Daniel, that url seems to be missing the end. I'll try and find the page on the sense website.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,

Actually I posted good link but blogspot formating hides part of it.

I will break it into two parts, because it's too long:

Just join two parts above to access the story.

Kirk Johnson said...

Yeah, I figured it was the formatting at fault, not you. It was cut off at the end of the column. Thanks for responding.

Owen said...

I think with Blogger the link is still there even though you can't see it below the column margin. Use End to go to the end you can't sse, then highlight back to the beginning.

Anonymous said...

No problem Kirk.

It's interesting that we learned about original creator of myth that spread like disease.

Finally, it's more than clear that Serbs were responsible for massacre.

Omnipotent1 said...

Incredibly well written rebuttal of Johnstone's preposterous revisionism. Best Regards Alan.

Blackbird said...

The Nazis did "bad things" in 1941?! Well that says it all, right!? Your point of view comes across clean and clear there.

Wouldn't it have been so much easier if the Nazis and the Ustashe had instead offered cookies to the Serbs, Jews and Roma? Unfortunately...that wasn't what they did.

Talk about revisionism. Bad things, indeed!

Kirk Johnson said...

Blackbird, you're an idiot. I'm not even going to dignify your deliberate ignorance with a proper response. Just go away.