Saturday, August 22, 2009

Did Serbia Commmit Genocide?

Not in Kosovo, from the available evidence. That was an ugly civil war, not a one-way slaughter. The genocide occurred several years earlier in Bosnia, especially the killing of about 8,000 unarmed Muslim civilians at Srebrenica. Noam Chomsky's doubts notwithstanding -- see the comments to the last post -- no sane jury would acquit the perpetrators of that atrocity, and the capture and trial of Radovan Karadzic will go a long way to establishing justice in that regard.

The presence of the Omarska and Keraterm concentration camps, where Serbs routinely raped non-Serb women and beat people to death whenever they felt like it, should be more than enough evidence of Serbia's intent at the time. From the Omarska link:
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, located in The Hague, has found several individuals guilty of crimes against humanity perpetrated at Omarska. Murder, torture, rape, and abuse of prisoners was common. About 6,000 Bosniaks and Croats were held in appalling conditions at the camp for about five months in the spring and summer of 1992. Hundreds died of starvation, punishment beatings and ill-treatment. The prosecutors compared the camps to those run by Nazis.
I know it's hard to say anything is or was "similar" to Nazism, which has become the untouchable extreme extent of human evil, but the only difference in Serbia, from what we can tell, was the scale of the horror. The intent and behavior were the same.


Blogger Mike Swanson said...

I think that most of Noam Chomsky's comments in this interview deal with the intellectual atmosphere in the US and Europe at the time immediately before Kosovo and the motivation for bombing the country by NATO in 1999. It seems that perhaps the motivation for NATO was wrong, it was not to stop genocide, he says if you call it genocide than there's genocide going on all over the world in far worse ways. The events going on in 1999 that supposedly exemplified genocide were not so, he says. I think Srebenica was four years before NATO intervened? The part about what was going on in Turkey I found well, now that I think about it, not that surprising, but something that should be considered about this question "did Serbia commit genocide?"

“The bombing of Kosovo was a critically important event for American intellectuals. The reason had to do with what was going on in the 90s—probably the low point in intellectual history in the west. It was like a comic strip mimicing a satire of Stalinism literally. You take a look at the New York Times, French Press, British press, there was all this talk about a “normative revolution” that has swept through the west, for the first time of history the United States the leader of the free world is acting from pure altruism. Clinton's policy has entered to a noble phase with a saintly glow. I'm quoting from liberals. This was pre-Kosovo.”

“Yeah. Now, they needed some event to justify this massive self-adulation, OK? Along came Kosovo fortunately and so now they had to stop genocide. What was the genocide in Kosovo? We know from the Western documentation what it was. In the year prior to the bombing, according to Western sources about two thousand people were killed, the killings were distributed, a lot of them were coming in fact according to British government, which was the most hawkish element of the Alliance, up until January 1999 a majority of killings came from the KLA guerillas who were coming in as they said, you know, to try to incite a harsh Serbian response, which they got, in order to appeal to Western humanitarians to bomb. We know from the Western records that nothing changed between January and March, in fact up until March 20 they indicate nothing. March 20th they indicate an increase in KLA attacks. But, it was ugly but by international standards it was almost invisible unfortunately and it was very distributed. If the British are correct, the majority was coming from the KLA guerillas (who)were being supported by CIA in those months. And to call that genocide, is really to insult the victims of the holocaust, you know, if that's genocide than the whole world is covered with genocide.”

“It's kind of striking that right at the same time that western intellectuals were praising themselves for their magnificent humanitarianism, much worse atrocities were going on (than Kosovo in 1999) right across the border in Turkey, within the borders of NATO. Turkey had driven probably several million Kurds out of their homes, destroyed about 3500 villages, laid waste to the whole place, every conceivable form of torture and massacre you can imagine killed tens of thousands of people, how are they able to do it? The reason was they were getting 80% of their arms from Clinton. And as the atrocities increased, the arms flow increased. In fact in one single year 1997 Clinton sent more arms to Turkey than the entire cold war combined up until the counter insurgency. In the midst of all this “how can we tolerate a couple thousand people being killed in Kosovo?”

Text of interview here:


8:17 PM  
Blogger Mike Swanson said...

Gotta post this too, so if it wasn't because of outrage on genocide, what was it, professor?

“(NATO's involvement)wasn't because of the Kosovar Albanians, that we know. There is just overwhelming impeccable documentation, the compilations of the State Department trying to justify the war, or the OSCE records, NATO records...long British Parliamentary inquiry that went into it, all show the same thing, sort of what we know.”

“We have a very authoritative comment on (the motivation for the war in Kosovo) from the highest level of the Clinton administration from Strobe Talbott, he ran the Pentagon's department of intelligence joint committee on the diplomacy during the whole affair including the bombing, the very top of the Clinton administration. He just wrote the forward to a book by his director of communications, John Norris and in the forward he says that if you really want to understand the thinking of the Clinton administration, this is the book to read. So you take a look at John Norris's book and he says that the real crux of the war had nothing to do with concern for Kosovar Albanians, it was because Serbia was not carrying out the required social and economic reforms. Meaning it was the last corner of Europe which has not subordinated itself to the US-run neoliberal programs, so it had to be eliminated. That's from the highest level. You could've guessed it, but I've never seen it stated before.”

8:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home