Monday, March 01, 2010

The Revisionism Starts Now

The defense arguments made by Radovan Karadžić in his war crimes tribunal for genocide and ethnic cleansing, in which he argues that he was only responding defensively to Muslim aggression, leads Matt Yglesias to
wonder sometimes if Karadzic isn’t a man who was ahead of his time. If the Bosnian civil war had come around 10 years later, couldn’t you imagine him getting a sympathetic hearing from guys like Daniel Pipes and Andy McCarthy and Geert Wilders and Bibi Netanyahu and Frank Gaffney who’d be open to the argument that Karadzic & Milosevic were basically just somewhat unsavory allies in the Balkan front of the war on Islamofascism?

Nothing ahead about it. At least with regard to Slobodan Milosevic, this reassessment has already occurred amongst some right-wing figures, who wondered back in 2006 if "Milosevic ends up being remembered by history as a hero and a kind of prophet".


Rebecca said...

I actually think that what Yglesias has written here is really quite offensive. I was living in Israel from 1992-93 and again from 1998-99 and both times it was clear that Israel's sympathy was for the Muslim victims of the wars. In 1998-99 Netanyahu was the Israeli prime minister. I can't remember which year it was, but Israel took in Bosnian Muslim refugees and placed them in kibbutzim and connected them to the Muslim community.

N. Friedman said...

Another smug, stupid comment from Yglesias. Cf. Rebecca's post.

I have some Turkish friends. They think that the Ottoman Empire gets a bad rap over committing genocide. Now, I do not remotely agree with them - having read a great deal about the matter - but I, nonetheless, do listen carefully to what they say. It is instructive towards understanding what people like Karadzic say.

These Turkish friends point out that the Empire really had enemies - all around them, to be truthful - and that huge numbers of Muslims were being killed by Europeans, all with good conscience. They note that the country was in decline. They say that the Armenians were a fifth column and worse for the Russians.

Now, it is true that some Armenians sided with the Russians. Some, no doubt, were disloyal. Some, no doubt, took up arms. And, the Ottoman Empire was really collapsing due, in part, to pressure from Europeans and that pressure resulted in large numbers of Ottoman Muslims being killed. But, the logic ends there. It does not explain marching people into the desert, clubbing large hundreds of thousands of people to death, throwing women up into the air to land on spiked spears, throwing tens of thousands of people into the sea, etc., etc.

[Note: Of course, it is not true that such was the case when the Ottoman leadership decided to rid the country of Christians including, most especially, Armenians.]

The point of this regurgitation of horror outside of Bosnia is to note that there will always be some who find justification for horrors, in this case horrors committed against the Bosnian Muslims. There is nearly always a context when people do ghastly things that really did not imaginably need to be done to survive. That, however, is no justification for a comment like the one made by Yglesias.

I rather doubt, to reiterate Rebecca's point, that the likes of Netanyahu would defend Karadzic. I think it offensive that smug Yglesias spouts nastiness against people with little knowledge.

JP said...

... couldn’t you imagine him getting a sympathetic hearing...
--Wilders, maybe, from what little I've read of him - but even then that's an exercise in mind reading with not much in the way of substantiation.

Given Yugoslav support to Saddam during the late 90s, it's hard to imagine Israeli leaders like Netanyahu or a pro-Israel voice like Pipes being too thrilled with Karadzic (much less Milosevic) on practical grounds, much less moral ones like what Bosnian Serb paramilitaries and the JNA did to Bosniak civilians - and Croatian and Serb civilians, by the way.