Politicians running the powerful imperialist countries in Europe and North America and their corporate media have unanimously hailed the arrest of Yugoslav/Serbian Gen. Ratko Mladic as a triumph of democracy. Even if you knew nothing about the civil war in Bosnia, you would have to be suspicious of these declarations. Why? Because the first thing the imperialists tried to do is use the arrest to justify the current war against Libya.
Editorials in Britain and the U.S., for example, presented the following Big Lie: Mladic’s case proves that NATO’s so-called humanitarian military interventions are needed. Then they argued that the “West” has to go after the Moammar Gadhafi government in Libya. If not, they contend, some massacre would happen like in Srebenica, a town in Bosnia.
If NATO’s “humanitarian” bombings kill a dozen Afghan children, as one did May 28, the same editorial writers pass it off as “collateral damage,” a phrase a NATO’s spokesperson invented during the 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia in 1999. That war has many similarities to the current U.S.-NATO bombing of Libya.
There is not enough space here to review the 1990-2000 imperialist campaign that succeeded in destroying and tearing apart Yugoslavia or to review all the controversial statements about Srebenica. But there is no reason to accept the judgment from London, Paris, Berlin and Washington that Mladic and the Serbs were evil incarnate. Nor is there reason to consider the court in The Hague, Netherlands, fair.
There is good reason for thousands of Serbs to protest their government’s arrest of Mladic, as they did May 29. NATO set up this court to try Serb leaders and to put pressure on them. It was never fair. It brought few charges against other political elements or peoples in the former Yugoslavia. Like the International Criminal Court bringing charges now against Gadhafi and his government or against leaders in Sudan, the Yugoslavia court is a political weapon in the hands of the imperialists.
And this court never reviewed the serious war crimes that NATO leaders committed in the Balkans. From the beginning, German imperialism provoked the civil war in Bosnia when it recognized the split-off, right-wing Alija Izetbegovic government. U.S. imperialist diplomats prolonged the civil war for three years when they encouraged Izetbegovic to refuse a truce in 1992 quite similar to the one that ended the war in 1995. (For more information see the book “NATO in the Balkans” published by the International Action Center, 1998.)
The truth of Bosnia, Mladic and the town of Srebenica will never come out of a NATO court, where NATO’s own war crimes are being covered up. Even Phillip Corwin, the highest ranking United Nations official in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, says that the international media “exaggerates” — diplomatic jargon for “lies” — when claiming there was a massacre of 8,000 civilians in Srebrenica. Srebrenica was a battle site, and, he says, there were civilians killed, as civilians are killed in all war zones. He says that about 800 died in the battle, most of them combatants. (“The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics”) It was NATO, under the same political leaders and generals who are now charging Mladic, that has committed serious war crimes in the Balkans, in Afghanistan and now in Libya.
No bomb, no “international court,” no news media in the hands of the imperialists can be trusted. Put the NATO leaders on trial. Hands off Serbia and Libya!
Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.