Suffers Empire's Frustrations
the insistence of high Imperial officials, it is obvious that
after two weeks of fighting, the un-American
war is going rather badly. Instead of gleefully surrendering,
Iraqis are (gasp!) defending not so much their leader as their
country. The same happened four years ago, during the attack
on Serbia, when all but a few hardcore quislings shoved aside
their animosity for president Milosevic and condemned the
NATO aggression. Of course, the Empire learned all the
wrong lessons from its Kosovo campaign, but that was to
be expected. Those who are convinced of their power to force
reality to fit their preconceptions naturally assume this
liberates them from the laws of logic.
With the growth
of that power, perceived or real, the pretense of reason slowly
vanished. In 1999, NATO pretended to be negotiating an armistice
with Serbia, but behaved as if Belgrade had capitulated. Now
Reichsmarschall Rumsfeld openly demands unconditional
surrender of Iraq. If power means never having to say
you're sorry, being the Empire means never having to explain.
comes back to shatter this conviction, the Empire's fiction-weavers
then try all the harder to will it out of existence. Its pompous
arrogance mired in the sands of Iraq, it is lashing out at
the supine, conquered Balkans – both as an example to others,
and as an outlet for frustrated aggression.
the blame for failure of US war plans cannot possibly rest
on the people who actually drew them up, or so the reasoning
goes, someone else must take the fall. If finding a suitable
scapegoat also helps further a policy agenda, so much the
better. This week's shakeup in the Bosnian Serb republic,
then, should not have come as a surprise.
are the ideal scapegoat. They've been demonized for so many
years as "genocidal
aggressors" and bloodthirsty murderers of innocent Muslims,
few would dare defend them. In October last year, there was
of noise about the alleged arms trade between a Bosnian
Serb aircraft repair combine and Iraq. The International Crisis
Group even attempted to accuse the Serbs of "arming
Saddam," but the report was dismissed as exaggeration.
Now that Iraq dared fight back, ICG's drivel and these old
accusations have been given new
officials have already been charged
with criminal acts, but that wasn't enough. Despite the Foreign
the Viceroy's office hinted
the Serb president of Bosnia, Mirko Sarovic, was about to
be dismissed for his alleged involvement in the 'affair'.
Rather than face Imperial dismissal, Sarovic resigned
Did the Bosnian
Serbs, and Serbia, really "arm Saddam"? The Empire
doesn't know, hasn't released any solid proof, and doesn't
really care, either. The allegation is useful for clobbering
the Bosnian Serb government and blackmailing Belgrade, so
who cares if it's true or not? Not when everyone knows
that accusations are the proof of guilt – just look at
the Bosnian Serb Republic writhes under a barrage of Imperial
hostility, Serbia is facing a new set of extortionist demands
from Washington. Colin Powell's quickie visit, heralded as
support to Djindjic's successors, was easily
recognized as new pressure to deliver "war criminals"
to the Inquisitors. Wary of a potential backlash against its
chosen quislings in Belgrade, as they purge the country of
opponents with dictatorial glee, Washington demands assurances
its orders will be obeyed. True to form, the Belgrade Bunch
could just as easily refuse to pass or butcher local laws
for Empire's benefit – but they won't. Lacking local support,
they need to stay in Imperial favor. Right now, too, sending
more heads to the Inquisition is a convenient way to get rid
of potentially troublesome rivals at home, just as it was
in 2001. And if any of the current Belgrade nabobs decide
to rebel in the future, the Empire can always invoke ICG's
specious argument about "arming Saddam." In the
rush to prostrate themselves before the Emperor's envoy, they
haven't even realized they were being snookered.
as they are being set up as potential scapegoats by the Empire,
the Belgrade Jacobins are scapegoating their political opponents
in a relentless and ongoing purge.
The two alleged kingpins of the criminal syndicate that supposedly
assassinated the Prime
Minister three weeks ago were "shot
while resisting arrest" last Thursday. It saved the
government the expense of a trial, and the effort of actually
proving its claims. Suddenly, the scope of the investigation
was widened to include all the supposedly political
murders of the past five years, and lay the blame at the "Vast
body of Milosevic's former party boss, Ivan
Stambolic, was found last week in a quicklime pit, 30
months after his disappearance in 2000. Stambolic, a cause
celebre among Belgrade's pro-Imperial intelligentsia,
had denounced his former protégé during the
Balkans wars, and was living in quiet retirement when he vanished.
He was obviously executed, and the authorities have already
a finger at Milosevic's wife.
But why would
Milosevic, or anyone close to him, execute someone as politically
harmless as Stambolic, but leave Djindjic, Kostunica and the
rest to successfully overthrow the government? That's a question
no one in Serbia is asking, partially because that would be
forbidden under the ongoing state of emergency. Besides, the
that Milosevic's supporters actually did kill Djindjic.
This is no mere war on organized crime, but a glorious revolution,
aimed at purging "mobsters, war criminals and followers
of the old regime," all
rolled into one.
victim of this insanity was retired general Nebojsa Pavkovic,
arrested Tuesday under a flimsy pretext of Army participation
in an unspecified murder attempt. Pavkovic commanded the Third
Army in Kosovo in 1999, successfully preserving most of its
assets and manpower in spite of 78 days of NATO bombing.
addition to persecuting members of the Milosevic government,
the Belgrade authorities are purging their own allies who
dare show independence. This weekend, they expelled Cacak
Ilic and his small but feisty party, New Serbia, from
the ruling coalition, on grounds of "false statements."
The only thing
missing from this portrait of modern Jacobins is the guillotine.
But given that Justice Minister Batic advocates
the reinstatement of the death penalty, this French revolutionary
instrument might not be far behind.
blame and taking frustrations out on the powerless is entirely
typical for an empire. They can have political undertones
and hidden agendas, but don't have to. Serbs are the scapegoats
of choice in the Balkans, but that does not mean others are
spared. Two Bosnian Croats were convicted
by the Inquisition on Monday, for their alleged war crimes
against Muslims in and around the city of Mostar. They may
be guilty, for all we know, but the Inquisition's procedures
make that impossible to judge. What's more important for the
Empire is that now the Inquisition can claim it's not anti-Serb
("Look, we just convicted Croats, OK?"),
and that this can be used as yet another vapid argument that
the Empire favors
in Kosovo, NATO occupation troops arrested
a former KLA commander, alleging he was a "threat to
security." Fatmir Mahmeti was the vice-president of the
KLA veterans' association. These are the same people Senator
Lieberman said were "fighting for American values"
in 1999, and on whose behalf Kosovo was "liberated"
The coat of
rhetoric blanketing Empire's Balkans adventures has frayed
long ago. All that remains is naked force, power
for power's sake. This is the glorious "victory"
in the Balkans: a nightmare
of hypocrisy, injustice and deceit. It is hard to imagine
the 'victory' in Iraq will be any different.
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