On the Death of Slobodan Milosevic
The Jazzman Chronicles
March 15, 2006
THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES – DISSEMINATE FREELY.
“The US/NATO court trying Slobodan Milosevic was always totally illegitimate. It could never be taken seriously as a court of justice. Milosevic’s defense is powerful, convincing, persuasive and impossible to dismiss.”
- Harold Pinter, Playwright & Nobel Laureate
When the leading nations of continental Europe rose in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, we thought we had found our champions. We thought we had found the leaders who would stand up for the overwhelming will of the people, whose voice was expressed in the largest demonstration of public outrage the world has ever known on February 15, 2003. We thought we had found the leadership that would steer the world toward a new age of diplomacy and peace.
Now, after three years of brutal occupation, an alternative interpretation of history has emerged. France and the United Nations disgraced themselves with their complicity and active participation in the illegal overthrow of a lawfully elected government in Haiti and the brutal and inhuman actions of peacekeeping forces in Cite Soleil. All of Europe and the United Nations turned a blind eye to the illegal and reprehensible attempt of American covert forces to overthrow Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Faced with car burning riots and civil unrest, France displayed an unconscionable level of intolerance and ineptitude in confronting the problem of second-class citizenship, while Germany was exposed as a beacon of hypocrisy by providing critical strategic intelligence to American forces as they prepared the invasion of Iraq.
Whom can we turn to? Whom can we trust when everything we have been told is ultimately exposed as a lie?
We have been told that the leading monsters of our times are Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. We are instructed that it is beyond question, beyond doubt, and anyone who even asks for the evidence is a wild-eyed radical without hope of redemption in civil society.
Frankly, I no longer believe any of it.
Slobodan Milosevic is dead and the circumstances of his death are (at the very least) questionable. There are a great many Serbs who question not only his death but also his trial and the validity of the tribunal that tried him for four years. There are many who believe he was wrongfully accused and many more who believe his accusations that America and its NATO allies were the bigger perpetrators of war crimes in the Balkans. There are many who accuse former President Bill Clinton of wagging the dog and designating Milosevic as the fall guy in a bitter and horrific civil war.
It is difficult to reach a definitive conclusion on the matter of Slobodan Milosevic and the war in the Balkans because, frankly, we have not heard the evidence. We have heard conflicting accounts of racial cleansing and counter-cleansing, genocide and counter-genocide, the bombing of civilians and suppression in the western media.
We are wary of the defenders of Bill Clinton, who conveniently excuse his inaction in Rwanda, his subversion of weapons inspectors in Iraq, his politically timed bombing campaigns, and his prosecution of the killer sanctions that, by all objective accounts, cost the lives of a million Iraqis – half of them children.
We cannot know the truth until the facts are laid before us.
I find it curious that what was billed as the show trial of the century went dark outside the Balkans when Milosevic began his defense with a scathing indictment of America and its NATO allies.
Slobodan Milosevic was anything but virtue’s champion but in his nationalist fervor was he really any worse than Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, William Cohen, Richard Holbrooke, Wesley Clark, Bill Clinton, Paul Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or George W. Bush?
No one but George Bush and the Neocons (by their absolute decimation of American credibility) could turn both the Butcher of the Balkans and the Beast of Baghdad into sympathetic characters but they have managed to do just that.
Imagine a world in which reigning heads of state could be prosecuted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Imagine an international criminal court with both the moral and legal authority to hold tyrants and hypocrites alike to the bar of accountability. Little wonder America opposes such a body.
Saddam Hussein is wrong: The Iraqi tribunal may be a farce but it is not a comedy for it is preordained to obscure the truth, silence the voice of the accused and summarily execute the one man who can shed revealing light on American involvement in the land of the Tigris and Euphrates. Saddam may have been the Beast of Baghdad but, for many years, he was our beast. He did our bidding and he paid his dues. Like a captain in a crime family, he was cut out of the deal and took the fall.
In this sense, Milosevic and Hussein are very much alike. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, it is history that loses when the voices of the vilified are silenced. When history is tainted, all of human kind is impoverished.
In this world of parallax views, it is entirely possible for villains to oppose villains, for criminals to accuse criminals, for monsters to execute monsters and for two wrongs to contribute to a chain reaction of wrong upon wrong, injustice upon injustice, and hypocrisy upon hypocrisy.
When the world is turned upside down, when war is waged in the name of peace, when democratic leaders are condemned as despots, when military dictators and monarchs are defended as champions of liberty, we should not be shocked if the anointed monsters of the propaganda machine turn out to be something less.
JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS). THE CHRONICLES HAVE APPEARED ON DISSIDENT VOICE, THE ALBION MONITOR, BUZZLE, PEACE-EARTH-JUSTICE AND COUNTERPUNCH. SEE RANDOM JACK: www.jazzmanchronicles.blogspot.com.
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