~Memoirs of a Serbian-American Dissident~

The fundamental point of their book is that all killings are not treated as equal…[T]heir arguments about Rwanda, Yugoslavia and Darfur threaten some of the most cherished certainties of the post-Cold War left. They argue that the wars in Yugoslavia have been completely misrepresented by the West as a simple tale of evil nationalistic Serbs seeking to exterminate innocent Muslims. And much of what has been accepted as indisputable fact has turned out to be totally fabricated. For example, the death toll has been vastly inflated and Serbs have been wrongly accused of setting up ‘rape camps’.

It is a little-known fact that the biggest single act of ‘ethnic cleansing’ during the Yugoslav civil wars was conducted by Croatian forces (trained by American private military contractors and supported by NATO jets) in 1995, when Croatia expelled the Serbian population of the Krajina region. But Serbs had been so demonised by the Western media by then that little attention was paid to the event other than perhaps to say that they got what they deserved. This was not considered an act of ‘genocide’, nor was it brought up at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Yet the expulsion of 250,000 Serbs from Croatia was, in Herman and Peterson’s terminology, a ‘benign bloodbath’.

The same process of propaganda and misrepresentation occurred in Kosovo in 1999. At least this time there were some vocal critics in the UK against Western intervention and against the way in which the conflict was being presented. Figures in the British Labour Party, such as Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell and Alice Mahon, were very vocal in their arguments against the NATO bombing and against the demonisation of the Serbs. At the time Clare Short, self-professed anti-war heroine during the Iraq invasion, compared her critical colleagues to Nazi appeasers.

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