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MORAL EQUIVALISM IS FLAWED

July 24, 2006 10 comments
MORAL EQUVALISM IS FLAWED, SO IS MORAL ABSOLUTISM; LETS KEEP THINGS INTO (FACTUAL) PERSPECTIVE

Photo: Bosniak civilians in Serb-run Trnopolje Concentration CampFair and balanced observation of events does not mean one should exercise moral equivalism (relativism) or moral absolutism. I dismiss both methods of reasoning as flawed and subscribe myself to – what I call – moral perspectivism.

My definition of moral perspectivism is: “Method of reasoning in which things are put into perspecive while both sides of the story are analyzed and given proper attention.”

Photo: Bosniak civilians in Serb-run Concentration Camp TrnopoljeBosnia-Herzegovina has been suffering for a long time as a result of both moral equivalism and moral absolutism. Well before and well into the Bosnian war, Serbian media exercised moral absolutism by portraying Serbs as “endangered” people of Yugoslavia whose interests could only be protected by the creation of “Greater Serbia”. During and after the war, Serbian media switched to moral equivalism equating Serbian crimes of genocidal proportions with individual war crimes committed by the troops of Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The United Nations condemned “moral equivalency” with respect to the international conflict that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina during 1992-95:

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. [source]

Photo: Bosniak civilians in Serb-run Manjaca Concentration CampVenezuela’s former ambassador to the United Nations Diego Enrique Arria, recently said: “The Srebrenica massacre “is the greatest cover up in the history of the United Nations.” [read here].

Ambassador Arria testified at the International Tribunal that the international community “did not move its little finger” to protect the Muslims in the enclave and “did not make it possible for them to defend themselves”. There was a tendency in the Security Council, he said, to “morally equate the victims and the aggressor”, thus avoiding the need to take action to prevent the humanitarian disaster.

Even some people who acknowledge Srebrenica genocide tend to fall into trap of moral equivalism. One example is Shaina whom I consider a friend of this blog.

In the following arguments I will demonstrate how moral relativism selectively distorts fairness in which supposed two sides of the story become – what I call – only “bits and pieces” of factual elements. In Shaina’s article There was a Genocide in Srebrenica: Part III, she wrote:

It must be understood that all sides in the war committed war crimes, and that people of all ethnicities suffered greatly (and still continue to suffer) as a result of the war.

Actually, this is only half of the story and typical example of moral equivalism. Here you could see typical error in judgement that people make (and I am not blaming her). Serb civilians did suffer, however, their suffering cannot be equated with the suffering of Bosniaks who were subjected to genocide. Basicly, the story goes that everybody committed war crimes, and everybody suffered, so be it – end of story. Well, not quite. What Shaina fails to mention is that not even one Bosnian Serb controlled city was under the siege by forces loyal to the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In other words, Serbian civilians did not starve in enclaves without exits, they were not hunted down and slaughtered by thousands in one day, they were not subjected to planned and organized ethnic cleansing campaigns of genocidal proportions (however, Serbian media did pressure Serb civilians to leave cities under the control of Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Even after the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed, Serb civilians moved out of suburbs of Sarajevo voluntarily.) Not even one Serbian Church was destroyed in the cities who stayed under Bosnian-government control from beginning to the end of the Bosnian war (however, some Serb Churches were damaged. For example, Serb Churches of Sarajevo were damaged as a result of Serbian bombardment of the city). On contrast, not even one Muslim Mosque survived in places under Serbian control. Shaina continues her exercise of moral relativism by saying:

Bosnian Serb civilians were without a doubt, victims of war crimes & murder in the Srebrenica area.

The correct argument would be that “some” Serb civilians were victims of war crimes and murder in the Srebrenica area, not all (as implied by the use of plural). We could easily change the wording of Shaina’s argument and apply it to the Holocaust, e.g.: “German civilians were without a doubt, victims of war crimes & murder in the area of occupied Germany.” Well, what does that mean? Does it mean that crimes against German civilians could be equated with the crimes against the victims of the Holocaust, including my grandfather. Over 100,000 Bosniak civilians perished in the Holocaust or about 8.1% of total Bosniak population residing in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Percentage-wise, Bosniak people were hit the hardest in the area. My grandmother still remember how Nazis summarily executed civilians in Muslim villages by hitting their heads with hammers (and other objects) and then throwing lifeless bodies into Sava river. Nazi collaborators, Serbian Chetniks, did the same by burning Bosniak villages and then killing civilians. Had she not survived Holocaust, I would not be alive today.

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 and an attempt to moraly equate victims of genocide with victims of individual war crimes:

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]

Human Rights Watch agrees:

In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died. [source]

In fact, less than 2,000 Serb civilians died in all of Bosnia as concluded by RDC (data, as of Dec 15, 2005). Shaina’s next statement is offensively surprising and perfect example of moral equivalism:

To deny that the Srebrenica Commander, individual soldiers or at times individual civilians committed war crimes & atrocities and to deny the very real suffering of Bosnian Serbs in the Srebrenica area is a denial of an historic truth.

Let’s put things into perspective. First of all, the Srebrenica defence commander – Naser Oric – was acquitted of any direct involvement in alleged war crimes around Srebrenica. Although Naser Oric is not my type of hero, as I don’t have respect for military commanders who flee their cities under attack and leave their forces and civilians to fend for themselves, I still have admiration for his involvement in defending Srebrenica from well-armed Serbian military.

Secondly, some individual Bosniak soldiers did in fact commit crimes. Even though every life is precious – there is no perfect war. Even in Iraq, some individual American soldiers commited war crimes, but that does not mean that the American Army should be equated with extremist terrorists (suicide bombers and others) who are killing Muslim civilians in Iraq on a daily basis. Individual crimes are hard to prevent, however, what counts – among other things – is prevention of genocide, prevention of constant and intentional targetting of civilians, not blockading humanitarian convoys, not taking part in planned and organized killings of civilians, including state sponsored ethnic cleansing.

None of these evils can be attributed to the Bosnian-government soldiers on a larger scale, but they can be attributed to the genocidal forces of war crimes fugitives – Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. It is my belief that Shaina was not trying to equate Srebrenica defence forces with genocidal Serbian thugs who kept Srebrenica under the siege and even refused to let humanitarian convoys with food enter the city. But, Shaina’s arguments seem to “imply” that since Serb forces were bad, so were Bosnian. Of course, this is completely ridicolous argument, which I already explained why.

Thirdly, Oric’s attacks on Serbian military bases around Srebrenica were more justified than Serbian attacks on Srebrenica, because Oric’s raids were conducted to collect food and medical supplies (as already stated in the United Nations’ conclusions), while Serbian attacks had to do with wilful bombardments of civilians and completion of planned and well-organized genocide. Individual cases where civilians died as a result of Oric’s raids are also not acceptable. Whether these civilian casualties were collateral damage or victims of wilful killings is debatable, however the fact that some Serb civilians died around Srebrenica cannot be denied (but must be put into perspective).

By further reading her article, one can notice that Shaina quickly switches from moral relativism to moral perspectivism and automatically her arguments automatically become more fair and more balanced than before, as witnessed in the following quote:

Unlike the Srebrenica justifiers, I will never excuse or justify war crimes committed against civilians. For the sake of Bosnia and for the sake of justice, all war crimes must be fully acknowledged and condemned; and all war criminals need to be brought to justice. The Srebrenica genocide deniers do not do this. While they have ignored the evidence of a calculated ethnic cleansing campaign against the Bosniaks; they have over exaggerated Bosniak war crimes in order to justify what happened in 1995. Furthermore, they continue to ignore Bosnian Serb war crimes occurring at the same time. This exposes their extreme hypocrisy.

Photo: Bosniak civilians in Serb-run Omarska Concentration CampBill Weinberg of World War 4 Report has been a long time supporter of human rights. In his article, Why Does Z Magazine Support Genocide (which I republished here), he argued against Srebrenica genocide revisionism.

Shortly after, his opinion was attacked by Ed Herman (also known as Edward Herman) who reduced himself to denying genocide that took place in Srebrenica.

(here you can read rebuttal to Ed Herman’s claims).

In his response to Herman’s make-believe stories, Bill Weinberg said:

Now isn’t this interesting. Herman protests that just because he rejects the “standard narrative” on Srebrenica doesn’t mean he supports genocide (denial is a form of support, as we all understand vis-a-vis Holocaust revisionism), yet he assumes that because I do accept the overwhelming evidence in support of the Srebrenica massacre, this means that I am engaging in “apologetics for war.” It means nothing of the sort. I opposed US military intervention in the Balkans. But that opposition cannot be predicated on genocide denial or bogus moral equivalism or (worse) simply flipping reality on its head and portraying the Serbs as the victims and Bosnian Muslims as the aggressors.

I never claimed the Bosnian Muslim leadership were paragons of virtue who never told a lie. But I find it amusing that Herman is convinced by the names and addresses of Serb victims supplied by the Belgrade ambassador, but not those of the 7,800 men documented as missing from Srebrenica by the ICMP [International Commission on Missing Persons] (which Herman sarcastically calls “Bosnian Muslim truth-tellers” despite the fact that they aren’t Bosnian Muslims)…. The post-Yugoslav wars have been full of ghastly atrocities. Srebrenica was one which clearly crossed the line to genocide. I have never heard leftists contest that the 1981 El Mozote massacre in El Salvador (1,000 dead, by high estimates) or even the 1997 Acteal massacre in Chiapas (45 dead) were acts of genocide. But 8,000 dead at Srebrenica is dismissed as imperialist propaganda. We excoriated the Reagan administration for denying the massacre at El Mozote, but now engage in precisely the same behavior vis-a-vis Srebrenica. So much for moral consistency. (Bill Weinberg Suports Truth, Thank you – July 24, 2005)

Shortly, I would also like to quote Dr. Marko Attila’s opinion. In his article, The Left Revisionists, Dr Attila correctly observed:

There is a term for this attitude: moral relativism. In its far-left variety there are two sides to its coin. Combined with this all-trumping moralism in the left-revisionist mind-set, like the opposite pole of a magnet, is a cold-blooded immoralism, according to which the left-winger is absolutely unmoved by the crimes of the Revolution performed for the greater good. More striking even than the defence or denial of crimes against humanity carried out by the left revisionists is their sheer lack of any positive vision for the future or political raison d’etre whatsoever.

Conclusion:
We are all liable to make errors of judgment if we rely on the flawed principles of moral relativism or moral absolutism , because neither of these methods of reasoning is capable of allowing us to see the full picture. They are simply tools that have been used by various apologists who have tried to describe events or opinions in an apparently more ‘even-handed’ way, shifting the balance of credit from from one side of the account to the other by allowing benefit of doubt, making both sides seem equally culpable for what was done.

Disclaimer: My critique of few Shaina’s arguments should in no way be construed as an attack on her opinion. In fact, the only reason I used her arguments was to compare moral relativism with moral perspectivism. Her activism and condemnation of Srebrenica genocide denial is both appreciated and valuable.

THOUGHTS ON NIOD REPORT, CHOMSKY, UN, DUTCH GOVERNMENT and DEAF HORSES

July 8, 2006 1 comment

RELATIVISM OF JUSTICE: THOUGHTS ON NOAM CHOMSKY, NIOD REPORT, DUTCH GOVERNMENT, U.N. & more…


Blog’s Editorial
Date Published: July 8th, 2006.
Updated again on: July 29th, 2006.
================================================================
Contents:
1. Introduction
2.
Fugitives on the Run
3. On Noam Chomsky & The Leftist Apologists
4.
On (Flawed) NIOD Report & the Dutch Government
5.
More on Dutch & the UN
6. Deaf Horses Gone Blind – ‘Balancing Act’
================================================================
1. Introduction

A child wipes the tears of its grandmother's face as trucks carrying 505 victims of the Srebrenica massacre roll down the main street of Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. The trucks loaded with the coffins of newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)(AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)There are a few days left until the 11th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre – the first legally established case of genocide in Europe after the Holocaust – in which men, elderly and children (boys) were slaughtered, while many women were raped and tens of thousands of them trucked and forcibly deported from Srebrenica.

In the coming days I will be publishing a revised Srebrenica Massacre Report and will report about the 11th Anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

A Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) women from Srebrenica reacts as trucks carrying 505 victims of the Srebrenica massacre pass down the main street in Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. The trucks loaded with the coffins of the newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)(AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)This week I’ve been active in reviewing some of the published findings with respect to Srebrenica massacre. I focused on reviewing ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal), U.N. and the Government of Netherland’s findings about Srebrenica. I was also in contact with Noam Chomsky, trying to understand his association with left wing revisionists and Srebrenica genocide deniers.

2. FUGITIVES ON THE RUN

Rejha Ademovic, 60, a Bosnian Muslim woman from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, prays Saturday, July 8, 2006, in Sarajevo, in front of the truck carrying the remains of victims, among them her 15-year old son, killed in 1995 in a massacre. The trucks loaded with the coffins of 505 newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)As you might already know, both the United Nations and the Netherlands have complicity in Srebrenica massacre and their findings are not as objective as one might have expected.

Although primary responsibility for the massacre lies with the Bosnian Serb leadership, they are not the only party to blame for the massacre, as both the U.N and Dutchbat clearly failed to prevent and/or at least try to prevent the Srebrenica massacre.

A Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) woman from Srebrenica cries as trucks carrying 505 victims of the Srebrenica massacre pass down the main street in Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. Trucks loaded with the coffins of the newly identified victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II stopped for a few moments in Sarajevo on Saturday to allow hundreds of people to pay tribute to their beloved ones. The bodies will be buried at Srebrenica on the 11th anniversary of the massacre on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)(AP Photo/Hidajet Delic)With respect to Naser Oric, most of his initial charges were dropped or he was acquitted of them – and with respect to those, he is innocent. However, he failed to prevent the murders of about 5 Serb captives, and he is guilty of that, as concluded by the ICTY. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are both on the run. Both Karadzic and Mladic are indicted on genocide charges with respect to the killings of over 8,000 Bosniaks in the Srebrenica massacre, as well as other human rights violations.

Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) man cries near coffins of 505 newly identified Srebrenica victims at an abandoned battery factory in Potocari 120 kms north of Bosnian capital Sarajevo, Saturday, July 8, 2006. The bodies will be buried in Srebrenica on Tuesday during the 11th anniversary commemorations of the massacre. Serb troops killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, and most of the bodies are still missing. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)Most likely, they will never be brought to justice (and I would like to be proved wrong here).

To bring Karadzic and Mladic to justice, the United States Government is offering a reward for information.

A man searches through more than 600 coffins with remains of victims of Srebrenica massacre waiting for the funeral in a factory hall in Potocari on July 11, 2005. REUTERS/Danilo KrstanovicIndividuals who furnish information leading to the arrest or conviction, in any country, of these two fugitives are eligible for a reward of up to $5 million.

In addition to the reward of up to $5 million, informants may be eligible for protection of their identities and relocation for their families. For more information about the reward, see Ratko Mladic & Radovan Karadzic.

3. ON NOAM CHOMSKY & THE LEFTIST APOLOGISTS

Prof. Noam ChomskyI dedicated some time to speak to Noam Chomsky, who answered all my emails. Although I am not going to reveal the contents of emails exchanged with Chomsky, I will take the liberty of posting my general opinion about Chomsky.

As you might already know, Chomsky is considered to be a key intellectual figure within the left wing of the United States politics. And the “leftist apologist wing” is what usually fits the definition of Srebrenica genocide denial and/or revisionism (e.g. Ed Herman and Diana Johnstone). The “leftist apologists” pride themselves on being always on the opposite side of the mainstream media. So, while the media is taking a pro-Israel stance, the leftist apologists will speak on behalf of Palestinian side and bash the Israeli side. Accordingly, while the media is taking a pro-Srebrenica genocide stance, the leftist apologists will speak on behalf of the Serbian side and deny the Srebrenica genocide. More extreme cases of “left wing Srebrenica genocide deniers and revisionists,” as well as Milosevic’s apologists and conspiracy theorists, would include cases like Jared Israel (link) & Francisco Gil-White (who was fired from the University of Pennsylvania for his Srebrenica genocide denial).

While this leftist apologist arrangement of the political spectrum may seem to serve as a counter-balance to the mainstream media, it is actually very selective and most often fraudulent with respect to established facts (e.g. the fact that at least 8,106 Bosniaks perished in the Srebrenica massacre).

The “left wing anti-imperialists” also pride themselves in their – what could be described as – anti-American sentiment and/or never-ending disagreements with American foreign policies, such as the policy of liberating Iraq and Afghanistan from merciless dictatorships, or bombing Serbia to stop Milosevic forces from committing another genocide in Kosovo. For them, Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein were defenders of their people from ‘bad’ NATO attackers.

To get back to the issue of Chomsky, he was voted ‘the leading living public intellectual’ in ‘The 2005 Global Intellectuals Poll’ conducted by the British magazine Prospect. There were 100 nominees in this poll and around 20,000 votes were cast. Whether Chomsky got 1,000 votes, or 2,000 votes, or more or less votes to win the title, is insignificant. What is significant is that nobody used common sense to ask the following question: Can he truly be a leading “global” intellectual with so few votes cast, which were confined only to Britain and the – at that time obscure – British Prospect magazine? If someone is going to be the leading “global” intellectual, then more votes need to be cast and they cannot be confined to obscure British magazines. However you look at it, the term “global” means international, not British; certainly, the term “global” does not mean few thousand votes.

Chomsky is also popular for downplaying the violence and suffering involved in the wars in the former Yugoslavia and shifting the blame to the Western alliance. [read here]

Chomsky’s natural “left apologist wing leanings” dictate his political opinions, but he is careful enough to disassociate himself from Milosevic’s sympathizers. For him, Milosevic is a “terrible” person. However, Chomsky believes that the charges against Milosevic were a “farce”. Here is what he said in an interview for Serbian television: “This trial was never going to hold up, if it was even semi-honest. It was a farce; in fact they were lucky that he died”. (On the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, April 25, 2006)

Here we could see Chomsky – with no legal training in international law – making statements that make absolutely no sense. Milosevic was charged with 66 charges of genocide and other crimes against humanity, one might wonder what were the chances that he would be acquitted of all of them? None.

To my knowledge, Chomsky never directly stated that he denies Srebrenica genocide, but he did support publications which do deny Srebrenica genocide. Examples include his support for Diana Johnstone’s “Fools’ Crusade” book in which she denies Srebrenica genocide and his association with leftist apologist publication ZMag and Edward Herman – both of whom deny Srebrenica genocide. A rebuttal of Edward Herman’s claims was published by Balkan Witness, Edward Herman on the List of Missing at Srebrenica.

Chomsky has been a target of controversy with respect to Srebrenica genocide denial. There is a wonderful article by Marko Attila Hoare titled Chomsky’s Genocide Denial. While, according to my knowledge, Chomsky never directly stated that he denies Srebrenica genocide, he did seem to justify the Srebrenica massacre by suggesting that the massacre was provoked – here is what he said:

Srebrenica was an enclave, lightly protected by UN forces, which was being used as a base for attacking nearby Serb villages. It was known that there’s going to be retaliation. When there was a retaliation, it was vicious. (Civilization versus Barbarism? December 17, 2004).

Furthermore, in his article titled Imperial Presidency, Chomsky provocatively uses quotes when refering to Srebrenica genocide:

…Or Srebrenica, almost universally described as “genocide” in the West. In that case, as we know in detail from the Dutch government report [editor’s note: NIOD Report bias, read bellow] and other sources, the Muslim enclave in Serb territory, inadequately protected, was used as a base for attacks against Serb villages, and when the anticipated reaction took place, it was horrendous. The Serbs drove out all but military age men, and then moved in to kill them. There are differences with Falluja. Women and children were not bombed out of Srebrenica, but trucked out, and there will be no extensive efforts to exhume the last corpse of the packrats in their warrens in Falluja. There are other differences, arguably unfair to the Serbs. [Canadian Dimension, January/February 2005 (Volume 39, Number 1)]

What Chomsky does not know is that before Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) put any armed resistance against this Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing, several thousand Bosniaks, mainly men and children (boys), were summarily executed. Only then did Bosniaks start attacking the Serb front lines (aka: surrounding Serb villages) to defend the enclave, gather food and possibly break the siege.

However, the judgment in Naser Oric case clearly shows that surrounding Serb villages were used as bases to attack Srebrenica on a daily basis from day one:

Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties. (Naser Oric Judgement, pdf format, see pages 43-53)

Human Rights Watch agrees:

Take the events in the village of Kravica, on the Serb Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 1993, for example. The alleged killing of scores of Serbs and destruction of their houses in the village is frequently cited in Serbia as the key example of the heinous crimes committed by the Muslim forces around Srebrenica. In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died. [source]

Serb forces continued to attack Srebrenica even after Srebrenica became a “Safe Heaven”:

Later, a Dutch battalion replaced the Canadian troops. The weapons of Bosnian
Muslims were, at least to some extent, turned in or confiscated. Larger military operations by both Bosnian Muslims and Serbs were effectively brought to a halt. However, incidents of Serb military action continued to occur, causing casualties among the Srebrenica population. (Naser Oric Judgement, pdf format, see pages 43-53)

The genocide justifiers have consistently ignored the strong VRS military presence in some Bosnian Serb villages. For example, the village of Fakovici was used as a military outpost through which Bosnian Serb forces launched massive attacks on Bosniak civilians. [source].

Secondly, the Oric judgment found the presence of Serb military in several villages that the Bosniak forces launched an offensive on. Including the presence of sophisticated weapons such as tanks, anti aircraft, rocket launchers etc. Therefore, putting the offensive actions against those specific villages where there was a VRS presence in much different light than the one purported by the genocide deniers. [source].

Now if Chomsky’s justification for genocide equals genocide denial, then one might make the following argument: Although Chomsky defiantly denies being a Srebrenica genocide denier, he does not merely deny the Genoicide he denies his own denial.

For those interested in Chomsky’s make-believe stories, you may read Top 100 Chomsky Lies (in .pdf format).

Highly recommended articles by Dr. Marko Attila Hoare are The Left Revisionists and The Fallacy of Anti-Imperialism.

4. ON (FLAWED) NIOD REPORT & DUTCH GOVERNMENT

Another report that I studied, and that Chomsky used to ‘prove’ his pro-Serb arguments, is the NIOD Report published by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. This is the document, commissioned by the Dutch government following criticism of the way its peacekeeping force in the Srebrenica behaved at the time of the massacre. [See: Srebrenica Massacre Lawsuit Against U.N. and Dutch Government]

Although the Dutch government refused to apologize for the failure of Dutchbat to prevent the Srebrenica massacre, the NIOD Report was the Netherlands’s attempt to wash their hands of direct involvement in the Srebrenica massacre. The report is extremely biased in some parts, depending on the sources or references used.

For example, Part II – Chapter 2 talks about “The history preceding the conflict in Eastern Bosnia up until the establishment of the Safe Area“. By reading this part of the report, one can easily get the impression that Bosniaks constantly attacked Serb villages while Serbs were constantly defending themselves from Bosniaks. But since this report was Netherland’s attempt to shift blame by virtues of ‘moral equivalency’, no wonder they came up with such grotesque claims. Earlier U.N. Report 53/35 concluded:

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 NIOD report cites too many biased Serb sources and even suggests that over 1,000 Serbs died around Srebrenica, which was proven to be false by the internationally sponsored Research and Documentation Center (RDC), which concluded that less than 400 Serbs died there, three quarters of them soldiers (source). Manipulating the number of victims is a form of propaganda that in practice is very difficult to deal with. The Bosnian Government did the same in the 1990s, stating that over 200,000 people died. RDC has concluded that not more than 150,000 people died in Bosnia (and RDC’s incomplete data as of today lists around 100,000 people).

Critics of the NIOD Report allege that the massive tome is full of inaccuracies and amounts to a whitewash designed to clear the Dutch of any wrongdoing. IWPR’s piece, titled Controversial Srebrenica Report Back on Table (source), exposes flaws of NIOD Report:

They [the critics] claim that the government-financed report now provides a “one-stop shop” of information for all sides if the conflict, because it was watered down too much for it to take a real position on anything. According to Jan Willem Honig, senior lecturer in war studies at London’s Kings College and co-author of the highly-praised “Srebrenica, Record of a War Crime”, the truth lies somewhere in between. Although he says the report “has an aura of independent academic research,” Honig is critical of its length, saying the sheer abundance of information makes it possible for anyone to pluck from it whatever they need to make their point. This, he says, is a liability because the report is not always consistent. “It’s possible to draw different conclusions from the different parts in the book. Therefore one can imagine it is useful to both defence and prosecution,” he said. Honig said he found numerous errors in the report as well. For example, he said an explanatory map inserted as a graphic aid to explaining the Bosnian Serb battle plan does not correspond with the plan as described in the text. And neither the written description nor the map accurately describe the actual plan. Worse than the inaccuracies, according to Honig, is the fact that the report has no clear objective. “They [the researchers] should have considered better what they wanted to establish with the report. That might have saved thousands of pages. With its leisurely narrative approach they shot themselves in the foot. The project escaped their control; it became too big,” he said. Honig is not alone in criticising the report. Many readers have complained that the index is poorly organised and full of errors, particularly regarding peoples’ names. Even those who worked on the NIOD report have been critical of it. One of the nine NIOD-researchers, anthropologist Ger Duijzings recently told the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, “Information from sources that I found unreliable, I found back in Part 1 [of the report] – used by [fellow-researcher] Bob de Graaf, if he thought it fitted in his argumentation.”

According to Hasan Nuhanovic, who survived Srebrenica massacre, the NIOD Report has not determined the level of responsibility and guilt of the Dutch troops and officials for genocide in Srebrenica [full text].

For more on U.N.’s moral equivalency, read: Bosnia prepares to mark the 11th anniversary of Genocide and Srebrenica Massacre answers (revised edition).

5. MORE ON DUTCH & THE UN

The direct Dutch involvement in the Srebrenica massacre and subsequent shameful collaboration with Ratko Mladic’s genocidal forces is one of the issues in the upcoming lawsuit against the Dutch government and the United Nations. Dutch forces have direct responsibility for the fall of Srebrenica and the subsequent massacre of over 8,000 Bosniaks.

Venezuela’s former ambassador to the United Nations Diego Enrique Arria, recently said: “The Srebrenica massacre “is the greatest cover up in the history of the United Nations.” [source]

Ambassador Arria testified at the International Tribunal that the international community “did not move its little finger” to protect the Muslims in the enclave and “did not make it possible for them to defend themselves”. There was a tendency in the Security Council, he said, to “morally equate the victims and the aggressor”, thus avoiding the need to take action to prevent the humanitarian disaster.

It’s time for the Netherlands and the U.N. to stand up, take responsibility, apologize, and pay reparation for their direct involvement in the massacre, bearing in mind also that class-action lawsuits are rarely unsuccessful.

If the Report was intended to be objective, then it should have included unbiased sources – not just what Serbian apologists for atrocities wrote and published during the war.

I have also skimmed through the Krstic judgment, the verdict that established the legal reality of the Srebrenica genocide. With respect to the background of the conflict, the facts of the case rely heavily on General’s Assembly Report 53/35. Some facts were omitted such as the fact – based on numerous eyewitness testimonies – that surrounding Serb villages around Srebrenica served as fortified Serbian military bases from which Srebrenica was attacked on a daily basis. However, the judgment in Mr Oric case has clearly shown that surrounding Serb villages were used as bases to attack Srebrenica , as I elaborated in part 3 and 4 of this report.


6. DEAF HORSES GONE BLIND – ‘BALANCING ACT’

My impression is that both documents, United Nation’s General Assembly Report 53/35 and the NIOD Report were prepared to provide a “balanced” account of what happened at Srebrenica. In fact, the report is far from being balanced, because in critical parts of the report NIOD researches solely relied on local Serb sources (as I elaborated earlier); thus far, they attempted to “balance” the report at the expense of over 8,000 Srebrenica massacre victims.

One might even get the impression that this Report was made to justify the massacre and point fingers away from Dutch failure in Srebrenica. In some parts of the report, for example, for every critique of Serbs there was one critique of Bosniaks, etc.

This may seem fair, but it’s not.

Imagine if someone raped you and brought you to the court and the judge ruled that both you and your rapists were equally guilty; him because he raped you – and you – because you did not lock your door at night. You may do similar comparison with 9/11 and never-ending justifications of the attack and grotesque conspiracy theories.

Do you think this is fair? In my opinion, there is no room for critique of victims, but again – you may disagree with me. And you are perfectly welcome to do so.

Related:
Moral Equivalism is Flawed

SICK REASONING (JUSTIFICATION OF SREBRENICA MASSACRE)

June 22, 2006 4 comments

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.

MYTH ABOUT SERB CASUALTIES AROUND SREBRENICA

May 15, 2006 2 comments

THE MYTH OF BRATUNAC: A BLATANT NUMBERS GAME

By:
Research & Documentation Center

Research and Documentation Center, Bosnia-Herzegovina

The allegations that Serb casualties in Bratunac, between April 1992 and December 1995 amount to over three thousand is an evident falsification of facts. The RDC’s [Research and Documentation Center] research of the actual number of Serb victims in Bratunac has been the most extensive carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina and proves that the overall number of victims is three to nine times smaller than indicated by Serbia and Montenegro .
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.
In addition to information received from relatives and family members of the victims and inspection of cemeteries, RDC has collected all existing primary sources, official documents and documentation of RS Ministry of Defense and Bratunac brigade of VRS, as well as research by the Serb authors. The victims have been categorized on the basis of two time-related criteria: the first was the municipality of residence at the time of the beginning of war; the second was the municipality of premature and violent death.
After all the sources have been processed, cross-referenced and reviewed, the results showed that 119 civilians and 424 soldiers classified in the first group died in Batunac during the war. Under the second category the number of civilians is somewhat higher (119) whereas the number of soldiers is 448. The result demonstrates that 26 members of other VRS units other than Bratunac brigade of VRS fought and died in combat in the municipality of Bratunac .
RDC inspection of the military cemetery in Bratunac showed that of 383 victims buried it is impossible to ascertain the exact cause of death for 63 victims, even though they may have died during the war. In addition, 139 victims who have lived elsewhere at the time of the outbreak of war and died in fighting either in their places of residence or elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are now buried in Bratunac military cemetery. 48 victims buried in Bratunac fought and died in Hadžići; 36 fought and died in Srebrenica; 34 and died in Vogošća; 3 in Konjic and 3 more in Ilijaš; 2 fought and died in Sarajevo, two more in Ilidža; one in Trnovo, Pale and Tuzla each.
Of the remaining victims from outside Bratunac one lived in Kiseljak, but died in Hadžići; one lived in Srebrenica and died in Jajce; three lived in Travnik and died in Hadžići, three lived in Ilidža and died in Hadžići, nine lived in Sarajevo and died in Hadžići, one lived in Hadžići and died in Vogošća, one lived in Zenica and died in Vogošća, one lived in Zenica and died in Srebrenica. Furthermore, one victim lived and died in Tuzla , one lived in Bosanski Brod and died in Olovo, one lived in Srebrenica and died in Bihać. Lastly, two individuals who lived in Kakanj and died in Hadžići are buried in the military cemetery in Bratunac, one who lived in Hadžići and died in Ilidža, two who lived in Vitez and died in Hadžići; four residents of Konjic who died in Hadžići, two residents of Pale who died in Hadžići, seven residents of Zenica who died in Hadžići, one resident of Vareš and one resident of Kakanj, who both died in Ilijaš.
The number of victims from Central Bosnia buried in Bratunac is consistent with the population movements after the war, especially the Serb population from the suburbs of Sarajevo . Under the Dayton Peace Accords, the suburbs of Sarajevo held by the VRS were to be re-integrated into the city of Sarajevo . The then leadership of the RS called on the local Serb population to leave Sarajevo and even take the graves of their loved ones with them. In fact, such a large majority followed the instructions that parts of the city of Sarajevo remained deserted for months. The remnants of their loved ones have been buried in Bratunac after the war, but their deaths are presented as the result of actions taken by the Bosnian Army units from Srebrenica.
As importantly, a number of foreign nationals (mainly from Serbia and Montenegro and Croatia) are included in the overall figure of Serb victims in Bratunac. At least 15 such individuals lost their lives in Bratunac as a result of fighting; it may be of some significance that all of them were members of a paramilitary group that arrived to Bratunac in April 1992, upon invitation of Bratunac Serb Democratic Party and in coordination with the State Security Service of Republic of Serbia (see testimony of Miroslav Deronjić, President of Municipal Board of SDS Bratunac, at International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia). Some of those individuals are Vesna Krdžalić, Dragica Mastikosa, Aleksandar Grahovac and Sreto Suzić who all died in combat on May 29, 1992 . Subsequently, they were all classified as “victims of Muslim terror” by the RS authorities. However, individuals from Serbia continued arriving to Bratunac throughout the year 1992, if the death records of the Bratunac brigade are to be trusted: one such individual died in fighting in August (Žarko Komnenski) and one more in November (Đuro Vujaklija). Furthermore, death records show that “volunteers” arrived from Serbia to Bratunac even in 1993, such as Dragan Milićev, who died in combat in January 1993 and Dragoslav Stanković who died in February 1993.


http://www.idc.org.ba/project/the_myth_of_bratunac.html