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Monday, March 13, 2006


I don't know nearly enough about Milosevic and the various wars and crimes involved in the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990's to write anything meaningful about his death. After five years of Bush, however, my kneejerk reaction to the news is that he was about to say something that somebody didn't want him to say. I'll refer you to the WSWS for much more:
It is also clear that the trial—universally promoted by Western governments and media as “the most important since Nuremberg”—had turned into a political embarrassment, producing no real proof of Milosevic’s direct responsibility for the terrible crimes carried out during the civil wars that erupted in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It had threatened to become even more of a problem for those who organized it after Milosevic, at the end of February, asked the tribunal to issue a subpoena ordering former US President Bill Clinton to testify, apparently with the aim of showing that Washington itself was responsible for crimes against humanity in waging an illegal war against Yugoslavia and conducting a sustained bombing campaign against civilian targets.

Not a hint of the central role played by US imperialism and other Western powers in the breakup of Yugoslavia and the resulting carnage is to be found in the media’s reaction to Milosevic’s death. Instead, most of what has been written and stated on broadcast news consists in vilifying the former Yugoslav president as a latter-day Hitler and lamenting the fact that he will not get the punishment he deserves.
What is entirely absent from this potted—“bad Milosevic”—version of recent Yugoslav history is the decisive role played by major imperialist powers. The US and Germany, in particular, deliberately engineered the country’s breakup, with a thorough indifference to the inevitable tragic consequences of their intervention.

It should be recalled that, like that other arch villain, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Milosevic was at one time viewed with favor by Washington, which, in the 1980s, supported him as he championed IMF-dictated “market reforms” and privatizations of nationalized industries.
There is no question that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others in the current US administration are responsible for far greater war crimes and a far greater loss of innocent human life in waging an unprovoked and illegal war against Iraq than anything perpetrated by Milosevic.

The strongest charge that can be made against Milosevic—presented in Cohen’s commentary in the Times—is that he resorted to war as a means of achieving political ends. How immensely greater the guilt, then, of the current US president?