Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Opinion: "Anti War" and Bosnia

When I was in high school, I proudly (and very loudly) declared myself a complete and utter pacifist. I was reading tons of books and materials on the civil rights movement, and I was motivated by the selfless heroism and non violent activism of the workers; who would not strike back or retaliate if they were hit or assaulted. Although I have obviously never met him, one of my personal heroes was and is Michael Schwerner, one of the three civil rights workers (James Chaney and Andrew Goodman being the other two) killed in Mississippi in 1964.
I saw everything in black and white; war was evil at all counts.

As I have gotten older, my views have become less black and white and more gray. I still favor a smaller military budget and wholeheartedly support disarmament treaties and believe that every and all possibility must be exhausted before using our military powess.
But on the subject of intervention, I have changed. While I used to think that military intervention was absolutely wrong; I now hold the views that sometimes military intervention is necessary, especially if it is to stop a greater evil such as mass murder or genocide.

That was why I was a bit curious when I saw a website featuring a great deal of Srebrenica genocide revisionism (but this revisionism comes from the far right as oppose to the far left; you know what they say-variety is the spice of life ;-) ) the website is called "anti war.com"

First of all the title somewhat implies that all of those who favored intervention in Bosnia were somehow "pro war."
Personally, I don't know anyone who is "pro war" (although certainly those people exist).
Speaking only for myself, I favor intervention in Bosnia and believe we should have intervened in Rwanda because it was the only way to have stopped genocide.
Of course, I am aware that the reason for our eventual intervention in Bosnia was motivated far less by any humanitarian ideals and far more strategic needs such as our relationship with our European allies and the NATO alliance; but that doesn't change my view that intervention was the right cause of action.

Secondly, as Marko Attila Hoare points out in article the people of anti war.com who call themselves "anti war" are misusing the term. None of them have spoken out against Milosevic's aggression and the ethnic cleansing of the VRS. In fact their website features columns by well known Srebrenica revisionists/deniers. Apparently they have no problem supporting some forms of aggression and war; it is only when the US wants to intervene that they suddenly become "anti war."

Like the revisionists on the far left, their anti war stance with regard to Bosnia has very little to do with Bosnia or actually being "anti war." While many of the far left revisionists (Johnstone, Herman etc,) were motivated by an anti NATO stance coupled with a bizarre sense allegiance to "socialist" Slobodan Milosevic; many on the far right were motivated by a distaste (to put in mildly) to any form of foreign aid and a desire to turn back the hand of time to an era where America was far more isolationist.

Furthermore, the people behind "anti war.com" go beyond simply not supporting US military intervention in Bosnia. As I mentioned before, their website features a well know Bosnian genocide denier as a featured columnist; who is not above using phrases such as "medieval barbarians" to describe the Kosovar Albanians (according to Hoare).
The reason why they feature such a columnist is obvious enough. It is the same reason why many on the far left who did not favor intervention in Bosnia have columnists by Dianne Johnstone; the only way they figure they can support their position is mangle the facts up.
By trying to convince people that Bosnia was filled with "dangerous Islamists" who had bombed themselves time and time again to gain sympathy; they are trying to convince people that the support of NATO intervention was wrong.

The problem (IMHO of course) with anti war.com is that callously use genocide denial to support dictators like Milosevic all because of their own narrow views on the United States and US policy.
A much more appopriate website title would be wehatetheusandsupportdictatorswhoalsodonotliketheus.com (do you think it has been taken already?)

3 comments:

Yakima_Gulag said...

A lot of the people at antiwar.com are really old time Communists, and they can't seem to understand that Milošević was evil, and not even a real Communist. He was a gangster, and turned Serbia into a Kleptocracy. I have a lot of friends locally who probably were supportive of Tito, indeed even some members of my family who supported Tito and were totally out of touch therefore with how BAD Milošević regime was.
You are correct in stateing that the antiwar.com people never denounced the agression of the Milošević regime. I don't even go as far as to call it Serbian aggression per se, because I do not believe this agression would have existed without the regime that got it going.

Yakima_Gulag said...

Oh another thing,what Islamist terror that existed in BiH was a direct result of the Milošević regime aggression. Bosnian Muslims are not noted for militancy. That came with Saudi influence, and the delays in the U.S. doing an effective intervention is part of why that influence was there. If you are being murdered and another murderer comes to your aid you don't ask a lot of questions. Bush Sr. should have thought about that. Clinton was almost too little too late.

Shaina said...

I think there is a lot of mistaken alligence between communists/socialists/leftists (or at least some c/s/l) and the Milosevic regime.

The founder of anti war.com himself is an isolationist/paleoconservative/libertarian.
From the (very little) I have read about him online; I think he is motivated more by an anti US foreign policy stance than a pro socialist one.

According to Hoare, he launched his website right after the decision of NATO to intervene militarily in Bosnia.

My guess is that if Milosevic was far right or far left, he would still recieve some support from extremists on both sides of the political fence-as long as he was seen as a "victim" of US/NATO policy.