The killing of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebenica by the paramilitary organizations under General Ratko Mladic has grown into the example most widely cited when discussing the atrocities committed by Bosnian Serb (as well as Serbian Serb!) forces during the Bosnian war. It is the single worst attrocity and a good way to illustrate what the Serbs were all about during that conflict.
The capture of Mladic last week (one of the few if not the only remaining big fish war criminal(s) still at large from that conflict) is of course a very good thing. It sends the message to those thinking of a future genocide (Are the Israelis paying attention?) that there is a mechanism in place to assure that you will be caught and tried. It may take awhile and it’s sad that it took so many years to find Mladic (and also Radovan Karadzic in 2008) but they are going to face justice.
What’s perhaps most disgusting is the strain of thought among bigots in America that because the Serbs were fighting against Muslims, it was a valid struggle and what they did was okay. This is also coupled with genocide denial (Muslims lied about the atrocities) and also everybody does it. Of course, satellite pictures provided evidence of mass graves at the time as did fieldwork afterwards and none of the other parties in this conflict (not the Bosnian Muslims, not the Croats etc.) practiced Scorched Earth genocide the way the Serbs did (not to mention their rape camps). Again, this another example of how certain parts of America are dangerously close to falling into fascism, racism, religious bigotry, rejection of anything modern and scientific, going backwards driven by the ugly Nazi-like tea party. Mladic seems like a tea party guy himself.
During the 2004 election campaign, John Kerry made statements indicating the war on terrorism would be better off handled as a law enforcement matter rather than through military campaigns against countries. He was belittled for this by a sheep-like US press trained to salivate at the word of the new-conservatives
But you know what? He was right.
The killing of Bin Laden a few weeks ago ,while a military operation, was conducted like a DEA raid on a druglord’ s compound and let’s be clear Bin Laden might not have been a criminal in the conventional financial sense (stealing etc.) but he was a bandit and despite all the religious revolutionary justifications for his acts of terrorism he was first and foremost a criminal and a murderer.
Using special teams in cases like this is exactly the way to go when dealing with hydra-like stateless terrorism and if Bush had done this rather than pursue his Neo-Con agenda, Bin Laden could have been eliminated a long time ago
His death in the long run, while good symbolism and a boost to President Obama’s re-election chances, won’t mean much.
Mladic, however, who wore the uniform of an army backed openly by another country (Serbia), was actually committing crimes under the auspices of his military office as well ordering others to do so. The worse criminals are the ones who get away with it because of official title and office. This has been especially true in cases of genocide therefore it means a lot more to the rule of law when they are caught and made to pay.