Balkans redux

The debate between Andrew Pakula and David Parnas (Mar/Apr) shows the confusion rendered by the Balkan dilemma.

Sending in U.S. troops, Pakula maintains, "is the first principled act of his [Clinton's] presidency." The U.S. has never sent troops anywhere unless an ulterior motive was involved. In the Bosnian case there are multiple reasons, not the least of which is the realignment of socialist Yugoslavia into the capitalist sphere. There is also the geopolitical positioning of U.S. soldiers closer to Russia, which will soon move from Yeltsin's control. And there is money to be made: from the oil under the blood-soaked turf, and from the reconstruction of the country financed by IMF loans, economically enslaving the region until eternity.

Pakula states that Serbs "bear the greatest responsibility for the war in Bosnia and for most of the bloodshed." This is a repetition of American media disinformation. The responsibility for the war belongs to the West, where the interest in destabilizing the region is laid out in U.S. National Security Decision Directives (NSDD) 54 and 133. The recognition of the unilaterally declared independent states of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia was the prime reason for the war. Imagine what might happen in Canada if Quebec unilaterally declared independence, leaving tens of thousands of Anglophones in jeopardy. There is little doubt in my mind that a scenario similar to that in the Balkans would unfold.

"By late 1991," Pakula writes, "... an impending all-out war in Bosnia was inevitable, regardless of any action by Bosnia's government." Again he is mistaken. President Alija Izetbegovic was a master intriguer, though whether he was following orders or planning on his own remains concealed. What is known is that before the outbreak of war in Bosnia, the government armed illegal Bosnian militias while the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) largely remained confined to its barracks.

Then, on April 12, 1992, the Izetbegovic government issued an order for the mobilization of its militias, the seizure of JNA arms depots, the arrest of JNA soldiers, and the blockade of JNA troops in their barracks. These troops were pounded by Muslim and Croat mortars and sniper fire, killing dozens. On May 2, Muslim paramilitary units attacked a JNA convoy in Sarajevo, killing 150. Under an agreement reached by negotiation with the Bosnian government, the JNA troops were to be permitted to withdraw from the Second District HQ in Sarajevo. This proved to be a lesson in treachery, as Muslim troops ambushed the convoy. Virtually none of this was reported by the Western media.

"As much as I dislike the idea of NATO," Pakula declares, "the notion that 'it wanted an excuse to control the breakup of Yugoslavia' seems implausible." Here Pakula reveals naiveté in assuming that this group is a savior of humanity. Nothing could be further from the truth. From its inception, NATO was a pro-fascist organization staffed with ex-Nazis who had been saved from war crimes trials by U.S. and British benefactors - the old-money aristocrats and big business elites that run both governments.

As Parnas correctly writes, "...the worst criminals in this mess are outside of the countries involved."

Robert S. Rodvik, Gibsons, B.C.

What's gross?

I am writing in response to Hanna Newcombe's article, "Gross Violations of Human Rights" (Mar/Apr). I find myself in amazement that her logical and useful classifications have yet to be implemented by governments and organizations. I suppose it is because international relations are rarely as simple as we would like them to be. When does the defence of cultural values become cultural imperialism? Where is the line between cultural values and crime? More importantly, who is to draw that line? One need look no further than China or India to illustrate this point. Under varying degrees of government tolerance, female children are neglected, abused, and aborted for no other reason than being female. Now, does this treatment fall under the categories of Dr. Newcombe's gross human rights violations or is it protected as a cultural difference? Furthermore, arguments could legitimately be made that economic sanctions could only worsen an already tragic situation, by worsening the standard of living. What is to be done about subtler human rights violations, such as violent ghettos and high suicide rates among natives and other visible minorities?

Kevin O'Brien, Oshawa, Ont.

Peace Magazine Jul-Aug 1996

Peace Magazine Jul-Aug 1996, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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