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SICK REASONING (JUSTIFICATION OF SREBRENICA MASSACRE)

June 22, 2006

SICK REASONING: ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY SREBRENICA MASSACRE

Today I received a comment from someone who identified himself (or herself) as “Canuck10”. Here is my response to the comment:

Canuck10 said:
The simple and most effective solution which the Serbs wanted before the war even began, was a division of land. If the Bosnian Muslims had agreed to the reality that Croats and Serbs have no interest in living in a Muslim-dominated Bosnia, the war would never have started.

My Response:

Srebrenica Massacre (7/11 1995) - Srebrenica child being led away to slaughter

The simple and most effective solution for Serbs was not to boycott the referendum for Bosnian independence. Had they participated, Bosnia would never have been able to gain 60>+% of votes in support for independence. With regard to the division of Bosnia, I need to remind you that this could only happen if three ethnic groups agreed to divide Bosnia politically between Serbia and Croatia. Bosnia-Herzegovina has never belonged (and will never belong) exclusively to Serbs to decide what to do with it. Bosnia-Herzegovina has never been “Muslim-dominated” as you state. Before the war, the Bosnian government was comprised of all ethnicities. Even during the war, the Bosnian government fought for a democratic, united, secular, and internationally recognized Bosnia-Herzegovina. Of course, Serbs had problems with western style democracy and secularism, because they felt comfortable with Milosevic’s type of socialism.

Canuck10 said:
With respect to Srebrenica, it was unfortunately a legitimate military target. The so-called “safe haven” was used to protect Naser Oric, an indicted Muslim war criminal, who ran raids from Srebrenica for years, killing and butchering Serb civilians in the surrounding towns. He even videotaped his murder sprees. As a result, the town became a legitimate military objective and was destroyed. The American military doctrine of applying overwhelming force against a target is well understood and was applicable here.

My Response:

Srebrenica Massacre (7/11 1995) - Srebrenica children being slaughtered by Serbian forces (Scorpions)

You are doing a bad job of trying to justify the slaughter of over 8,000 Bosniaks, many of them children. In other words, your reasoning is sick. Let’s put it this way, if largely demilitarized Srebrenica was a ‘legitimate’ military target as you state, then surrounding Serb villages were also legitimate military targets for Oric’s raids because all these Serb villages around Srebrenica were nothing more but fortified Serbian military strongholds from which Serb forces bombed Srebrenica civilians on a daily basis (read Srebrenica Massacre Answers for more detailed account of Serbian military strongholds in Serb villages around Srebrenica). Another thing: While Bosniaks demilitarized enough for UNPROFOR to issue a press release, on 21 April 1993, saying that the process had been a success, Serbs never demilitarized around Srebrenica. Serbs clearly violated the demilitarization agreement!

Let’s quote some facts. Here is a short excerpt from United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution
53/35 that addresses the issue of demilitarization.

Criticisms have also been leveled at the Bosniaks in Srebrenica, among them that they did not fully demilitarize and that they did not do enough to defend the enclave. To a degree, these criticisms appear to be contradictory. Concerning the first criticism, it is right to note that the Bosnian Government had entered into demilitarization agreements with the Bosnian Serbs. They did this with the encouragement of the United Nations. While it is also true that the Bosnian fighters in Srebrenica did not fully demilitarize, they did demilitarize enough for UNPROFOR to issue a press release, on 21 April 1993, saying that the process had been a success. Specific instructions from United Nations Headquarters in New York stated that UNPROFOF should not be too zealous in searching for Bosniak weapons and, later, that the Serbs should withdraw their heavy weapons before the Bosniaks gave up their weapons. The Serbs never did withdraw their heavy weapons. [Read full report]

Srebrenica Massacre (7/11 1995) - Srebrenica mother cries on her sons' graveyardWith respect to Naser Oric – It should also be noted that Naser Oric is not on trial for genocide, nor is he on trial for mass murder of Serb civilians. During the Bosnian war (1992-1995), Srebrenica was under constant siege by Bosnian Serb millitary; no food or medical supplies were allowed into the enclave. Apart from never ending starvation, the civilian population of Srebrenica was subjected to constant Bosnian Serb & Serbian artillery attacks. The only way to survive was to counter-attack surrounding Bosnian Serb villages (which served as Bosnian Serb military bases) and search for food and other supplies. In fact, long before Naser Oric counter-attacked these villages, close to 90% of Bosniak population of Eastern Bosnia was ethnically cleansed by Bosnian Serb and Serbian military forces.

With regards to Naser Oric’s raids, here is a short excerpt from United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution 53/35 that addresses this issue:

A third accusation leveled at the Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica is that they provoked the Serb offensive by attacking out of that safe area. Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it. Dutchbat personnel on the ground at the time assessed that the few “raids” the Bosniaks mounted out of Srebrenica were of little or no military significance. These raids were often organized in order to gather food, as the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. Even Serb sources approached in the context of this report acknowledged that the Bosniak forces in Srebrenica posed no significant military threat to them. The biggest attack the Bosniaks launched out of Srebrenica during the more than two years which is was designated a safe area appears to have been the raid on the village of Visnjica, on 26 June 1995, in which several houses were burned, up to four Serbs were killed and approximately 100 sheep were stolen. In contrast, the Serbs overran the enclave two weeks later, driving tens of thousands from their homes, and summarily executing thousands of men and boys. The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of “moral equivalency” through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long. [Read full report]

Srebrenica Massacre (7/11 1995) - Srebrenica boys, before being led away and murdered.When it comes to Naser Oric – he had every right to videotape Serbian military casualties around Srebrenica. Military targets are always justified. Bosnian government forces also had their share of military casualties (read here) that were videotaped by Serbian forces. One of many things that Canuck10 forgot to mention is Serbian propaganda of lies and deceit, as I already exposed it in a case of alleged beheading of Rade Rogic video. [PS: Since you are here: you might also be interested in a case of videotaped slaughter of Bosnian teens and children by Serbian Scorpions around Srebrenica. It seems Canuck10 forgot to mention that story – to read background click here].

With respect to the alleged Serb civilian casualties around Srebrenica, let me quote conclusions made by internationaly funded Research & Documentation Center (RDC) in Sarajevo, which is comprised of Bosniak, Croat, Serb, and international investigators. In fact, the allegations that Serb casualties around Srebrenica, between April 1992 and December 1995 amount to over three thousand is an evident falsification of facts:

Perhaps the clearest illustration of gross exaggeration is that of Kravica, a Serb village near Bratunac attacked by the Bosnian Army on the morning of Orthodox Christmas, January 7, 1993. The allegations that the attack resulted in hundreds of civilian victims have been shown to be false. Insight into the original documentation of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) clearly shows that in fact military victims highly outnumber the civilian ones. The document entitled “Warpath of the Bratunac brigade”, puts the military victims at 35 killed and 36 wounded; the number of civilian victims of the attack is eleven. [Read full report]

In fact, less than 2,000 Serb civilians died in all of Bosnia as concluded by RDC (data, as of Dec 15, 2005).

Srebrenica Massacre (7/11 1995) - Srebrenica girl remembers her murdered family years later and cries; wounds are still fresh.With regard to the American military doctrine of applying overwhelming force against a target, I have yet to see American military forces slaughter over 8,000 innocent men, teens, elderly and children in one day. Take Iraq for example, have you ever seen American forces slaughter over 8,000 unarmed civilians in one day there?

So, stop using America for all your socialist excuses. American military has done more good than bad and one simply cannot compare professionally trained American soldiers with Serbian thugs who wandered Bosnia seeking to rape, mutilate, ethnically cleanse, and destroy democratic, secular and internationally recognized Bosnia-Herzegovina.

  1. Kirk Johnson
    June 22, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    Good response.

    I also wish more people paid attention to the difference between genocide and war crimes. The distinction is important when discussing Srebrenica. There is no doubt that units of the Bosnian Army committed war crimes–Oric certainly did kill civilians in the area around Srebrenica.

    However, only the Bosnian Serb forces–in collusion with the Belgrade regime–committed genocide. There is a difference, both qualitative and quantitative, between the two terms. Those like Canuck10 who choose to blur this very important disctinction perform a disservice to the victims of Srebrenica and to the historical record.

  2. Shaina
    June 30, 2006 at 5:32 am

    Kirk, I completely agree with everything you said.

    Naser Oric did commit war crimes. There is absolutely no justification for targeting civillians-even if “your side” was attacked first.

    However, I’m sick of hearing people use Oric’s forays into Serb villages to (at best) explain and (at worse) excuse the genocide in Srebrenica.

    Anyone who has read the ICTY transcripts or major documents on the case-knows that Ratko Mladic’s attack on the enclave was consistant with the goal of creating at ethnically pure Serb state along the Drina River. (Not that I need to explain that to the two of you). The fact that Srebrenica was a genocide has been documented by the: UN, ICTY, US gov’t, Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, NIOD.

    But, even if you ignore the evidence that the attack on Srebrenica was a genocide whose goal was to create a “Greater Serbia”; I just cannot understand the sick logic which states that the Bosniaks “got what they deserved” because Oric’s troops committed war crimes.
    Under that faulty logic, then Oric’s raids on Serb villages in 1993 should also have been “excused” because the Bosniaks were victims of a wholescale ethnic cleansing campaign in 1992. Obviously, I don’t believe that ANY attacks on civillians is justified. But, I just wanted to show how faulty, illogical and immoral the arguements of the Srebrenica deniers/revisionists are.

    Like Kirk said, for the sake of the historical record and for the sake of all of the victims-it is important fully acknowledge that all sides committed war crimes, but only the VRS and Belgrade committed genocide.

    Sorry for the long post.

  3. Claude Gill
    July 4, 2006 at 5:58 am

    Shaina said: “Naser Oric did commit war crimes.”

    What crimes did he commit?

    They had nothing to convict him with, so they nailed him for failing to prevent mistreatment of several Serb captives between 1992 and 1993 (before Srebrenica became so called “Safe Heaven”). Come on. What a load of $hit.

    His sentence will be overturned on appeal.

  4. Anonymous
    May 28, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    I love Bosnia & I love Naser. He’s great commander. Nobody can argue his bravery. One day, we will take the revenge of Srebrenica. We will never forget the cleansing, the athrocities and the rapes all over the Bosnia during the war. When the day comes, we will tell the great story of Naser to our children. And they will also never forget the genocide…

    Turkish gestapo

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