Monday, March 13, 2006

You can check out any time you like

An autopsy of Slobodan Milosevic was ordered to disprove allegations that he had been poisoned. The autopsy results so far have been inconclusive, though further results are expected in the coming days.

The tribunal on Sunday said a heart attack killed Milosevic, according to preliminary findings from Dutch pathologists who conducted a nearly eight-hour autopsy on the former Yugoslav leader. A tribunal spokeswoman said it was too early to determine if poison could have caused the heart attack, saying a final autopsy report would be released in coming days. ... Milosevic was found lifeless on his prison bed Saturday morning, just hours after writing an accusatory letter alleging that a "heavy drug" had been found in his bloodstream. ...

Milosevic's legal adviser, Zdenko Tomanovic, said the ex-president feared he was being poisoned. He showed reporters a six-page letter Milosevic wrote Friday _ the day before his death _ claiming that traces of an antibiotic he had never knowingly taken had been found in his blood. ... In the letter, addressed to the Russian Embassy, Milosevic claimed that a powerful drug used to treat leprosy or tuberculosis had been found in his blood during an examination in January, Tomanovic said.

The Washington Post describes his abortive trial.

Milosevic was arrested in 2001 and put on trial in February 2002 on 66 counts for war crimes and genocide in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo during Yugoslavia's violent breakup in the 1990s. He was the first sitting head of state indicted for war crimes. But his health problems repeatedly delayed the proceedings, which cost an estimated $200 million and were due to wrap up this summer. Milosevic suffered from heart trouble and chronic high blood pressure, worsened by the stress of conducting his own defense.

Milosevic's death happened just days after another co-defendant committed suicide in his cell. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail:

A Croatian Serb convicted of ethnic cleansing after leading a brutal revolt during the Balkan wars committed suicide in prison, a UN tribunal said yesterday. ... His body was discovered during a routine monitoring of his cell, tribunal spokeswoman Alexandra Milenov said. "He gave no indication he was contemplating such a move," she said. "There was nothing unusual in his demeanour." The tribunal said it was launching an inquiry. Mr. Babic was the second person to commit suicide at the detention unit, after the 1998 death of Slavko Dokmanovic, another Croatian Serb leader.

The BBC says conspiracy theories are already swirling around the death of the Milosevic.

Serbia's tabloid press has meanwhile worked itself into a frenzy over claims by Mr Milosevic's Serbian lawyer that he may have been poisoned at The Hague tribunal. "Murdered!" screamed the headline on one newspaper. "The Hague killed Milosevic" said two more. They are tapping into a deep-seated resentment within Serbia against the UN war crimes tribunal. There is a belief that it is biased against Serbs, and the news that another one has died in its custody has fuelled suspicions in a country which is fertile ground for the conspiracy theory.

Comment

Philip Bobbitt's Shield of Achilles devotes several chapters to the tragic-comic Western handling of the breakup of Yugoslavia. After Tito's death, the presidency of what had been Yugoslavia was rotated among its six constituent republics. But Milosevic, seeing that it was about to break up, set about trying to carve out the largest possible Serbian successor state from the remains of Yugoslavia. He began by taking over the Yugoslavian national army or JNA and proceeding to rearrange the map. Bobbitt relates how a series of fatal Western missteps may have fueled, rather than dampened the crisis. Although the US was aware of Milosevic's mischief, it regarded Yugoslavia as a European problem and ceded the initiative to the EC (later to become the EU). The EU promptly took advantage of its position in the driver's seat to do what it wanted, which was to do nothing. They achieved this by announcing they would work through the United Nations, which they cynically and correctly calculated to mean that nothing would of substance would occur. While some European countries chose the policy of inactivity through the UN to avoid taking action while seeming to act, others apparently wanted the Serbs to finish the job, believing that Yugoslavia, divided as it was among several ethnic groups, was fundamentally unstable. The sooner the Serbs finished rearranging the boundaries, the better.

Bobbitt persuasively argues that Milosevic consciously took advantage of the clumsy UN tactics and tailored his program of ethnic cleansing around it. The ethnic cleansing process, described in Serbian doctrinal documents submitted as evidence of war crimes, called for terror attacks on non-Serbian (and in practice largely Muslim) rural communities to drive them into concentrated areas. The concentrated areas would then be besieged and finally reduced, and the conveniently concentrated non-Serbs would then be finished off. As Bobbitt puts it (page 442):

These tactics drove ... residents of small villages away from their homes seeking protection. The "safe area" concept was actually quite consistent with the Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing. It made towns like Tuzla and Zepa into concentration camps full of hungry and defenseless people ... the second stage of ethnic cleansing, the siege of cities that have been engorged by the arrival of rural refugees [would commence]. At this second stage, the Serbs, using JNA artillery, fired round after round into the surrounded city. ... 

In the third stage, the besieged city surrendered. When this occurred, the Serbs culled the men of military age. ... Then the tactical focus shifted to the remaining women ... the calculated policy of rape ... to humiliate Muslim women so they and their husbands would never want to return. ... Only when the men had been murdered and the women defiled did the buses arrive to take the remaining refugees to the humanitarian centers manned by the UN outside Serb territory.

The final nail in the coffin, the thing that made this choreography possible, was the deployment of UN peacekeepers. The lightly armed, underammuntioned UN soldiers (so as not to "anger" the Serbs) effectively became Serbian hostages. Although NATO airstrikes were theoretically available to them, UN commanders, knowing their weakness, repeatedly refused them (sometimes as the planes were orbiting overhead) in order not to provoke the Serbs, who they feared would massacre their men. Moreover, the "arms embargo" on Yugoslavia had the effect of ensuring that the victims of the genocide could not buy weapons to defend themselves. The JNA, of course, already had weapons. Bobbitt's devastating conclusion (page 443) is that:

Ethnic cleansing is thus not merely a political goal. It is a coordinated set of  tactics in service of a well-though-out military strategy. It success depended in part upon the nonenforcement of the UN Security Council resolutions that established the no-fly zone ... upon the luring of refugees into the "safe areas" declared by the UN Security Council and upon the UN arms embargo that kept the Bosnians from effectively returning the fire that rained down upon them from artillery positions around their towns. Which is to say that "ethnic cleansing" depended upon the tacit cooperation of the UN Security Council, which studiedly and repeatedly confirmed all three of those supporting elements.

This is an extremely strong conclusion from a well-respected author: it argues that the UN made a terrible hash of the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe since the Second World War. Although the effects were uniformly tragic, they were not without a lining of black humor. Describing the botched efforts of the UN, Bobbitt relates:

Phillippe Morillon, the UN commander, negotiated an accord by which the Muslim defenders of Srebrenica handed over their weapons. He proclaimed that "an attack on Srebrenica now would be an attack on the whole world" and stated, "I will never leave you." For a brief period, attacks on Srbrenica, swollen with refugees driven into the town by Serb offensives in the countryside, halted.

Those words, no doubt sincerely spoken, became yet another joke in the whole farce. Shortly after May, 1993, Morillon was withdrawn by the UN Secretary General, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

172 Comments:

Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

And yet after years of evidence of its uselessness, the UN and Kofi Annan are still in New York scamming.

Does anybody know if the UN has retrieved their Belgian Pandur armored cars from the Equatorial Guinea pirates who seized them?

3/13/2006 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Never attribute to malice what can. adequately be explained by stupidity

For all it's naivity and stupidity, I have a hard time accepting the west wanted or sought the ehtnic cleansing. As I remember it the UN was paralyzed (as usual) by disagreements between the West and Russia (and Greece). The Eu was paralyzed because it had adopted a naivistic approach to international disputes and didn't have the military means anyhow.

It was actually much the same story with Rwanda. A way too small contigent of Belgian UN troops, which were purposfully attacked and murdered in a very grusome way with the, correct, belief that it would scare off more UN troops. And when push came to shove, the international community turned tail.

What is really awful now, is that Europe hasn't learned a thing. This could happen again tomorrow and nothing would have changed. Belarussia, Ukraine, Moldovia, Macedonia, Georgia. Lots of potential places. The EU still doesn't have the means or will to intervene.

3/13/2006 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

What about Darfur?

3/13/2006 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

According to
AP report
, "A Dutch toxicologist said Monday he found traces of an unprescribed antibiotic in
Slobodan Milosevic's system earlier this year after the former Yugoslav leader did not respond to blood pressure medication given at the U.N. detention center." (hat tip to freerepublic.com

The effect of the drug would be to make his heart medication ineffective. Milosevic had complained before he died that he was being poisoned.

3/13/2006 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

Good essay.

3/13/2006 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Lek the Avenger said...

"For all it's naivity and stupidity, I have a hard time accepting the west wanted or sought the ehtnic cleansing."

But the reality is, What is.

When we asked them, they SAID no. But the actions of European leaders and European nations was undeniably de facto genocide!

After all, it was just those troublesome, loathsome outsiders, Muslims.

3/13/2006 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The Southern flank of Yurrup being exposed is a bad omen for all. Milosevic tried to address this and free of the Balkans from centuries of Muslim encroachment from Albania, and Turkey, which still has a bridgehead to Europe and is militarily supported by USA and NATO. Getting rid of Milosevic gives Gestapo Carla Del Ponte some relief, as many of the accusations raised against Milosevic are Croatian media forgeries used in the service of greater Croatia, and now will unlikely come under scrutiny.

3/13/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Obscene!
But then, Milosevic always was.

Cold-bloodedly playing the Untied Nations for the Faithless Fiddle it is, he killed Muslim Bosnian Serbs and had their women systematically raped!

Y'know, I used to think there was something good in the UN, but not any more, Folks, NOT ANY LONGER!

3/13/2006 06:23:00 AM  
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3/13/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Look not to the Words, the Rhetoric, but to the Actions.

Words are often lies or at best "spin" on persepectives and opinions.
In the Action of States and people, that is where the Truth is found.

In Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur the UN, EU & US sanctioned Genocide.
No doubt about it, by both action and the lack there of.

In Bosnia the US finally acted, but never in Rwanda.
In Darfur genocide contiues, today, as the World views the ineffectual attempts to stop the Genocide by the African Union with disinterest.

3/13/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No Conviction, no guilt.

An innocent man dies in Jail.

His trial a travesty of wasted time and money.

The fruits of International Justice, rotted on the vine.

3/13/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Nuke 'em ..ok got that out of my system. Great purgative.

Now to this untimely death. First we must protect the children. No mention of misused drugs etc. Secondly, intoned by that paragon of citizenship, Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along here?"

3/13/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Would not the $200 Million USD been better spent, in Darfur or Bosnia.

Instead the Eurocrats sucked the money up, and failed to deliver anything of value or worth.

The ICC has indited individual Sudanese for their actions in Darfur.
Why are they not in Custody?
When do those trials commence?
Where are the ICC police?

3/13/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Obscene!
But then, Milosevic always was.



No Comrade Tavarish, Karridine. What obscene is the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Ustashi Croatia and from the Serbian Heartland in Kosovo by Saudi Albanian Jihadi scum and their fascist German Croat friends.

3/13/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Surveying the UN's various mismanaged protectorates and receiverships -- and the accompanying criminality, misery and suffering -- I'll note the absence of the usual chorus of sanctimonious spectators declaring all of it to be the 'failure' of 'incompetents.'

3/13/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is this little piece, not about Mr Milosovic, but Mr Talabani, the Yale student.

It seems his enrollment caused an adverse reaction amongst some Alumni.

Mr Alexis Surovov, assistant director of giving at Yale Law School, has called those Alumni, "retarded"

The University refuses further Offical statement

WSJ online, John Fund

It's a crazy world, in which Mr Talabani is a "force to be reckoned with".

3/13/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's because the dawdling was bi-partisan, Cosmo--Bush I declared that the USA had no stake in the war, and Clinton didn't act until the ongoing ghastliness had become a long-play in the USA media. Of course he did act in the end--he 'made' the end, or at least the current cease-fire. Credit where it's due.

Mika is right to point out the KLA (a Muslim Albanian irregular army) had a strong hand in fomenting the war, as did the living memory of Croatian depredations against the Serbs, during their WWII alliance with the Nazis.

Doesn't in any way excuse the killing, but does fill out the cast of characters.

EC/EU/UN, the horror, the horror.

3/13/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

"The Southern flank of Yurrup being exposed is a bad omen for all. Milosevic tried to address this and free of the Balkans from centuries of Muslim encroachment from Albania, and Turkey, which still has a bridgehead to Europe and is militarily supported by USA and NATO. Getting rid of Milosevic gives Gestapo Carla Del Ponte some relief, as many of the accusations raised against Milosevic are Croatian media forgeries used in the service of greater Croatia, and now will unlikely come under scrutiny."

Thank you! While largely uninformed about this event I just know that there is more here than the Western media is letting on. SURPRISE!!

But I do know this. Muslims, from the first day they entered Europe have been a scourge upon humanity. I also know that their behavior in the Balkans was savage and uncivilized. They behaved as they always must, barbaric.

I am very reluctant to reflexively criticize Milosevic and certainly unwilling to accept the media's characterization of his conduct. For of this I am certain: We will also face the same sorts of choices. We can either commit what most would regard as ghastly crimes or we can capitulate.

I for one intend to survive. And if that means adopting policies, attitudes and behaviors that heretofore I would have found abhorrhent then so be it.

3/13/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The U.N. proved to be so utterly inept - or perhaps simply arrogant - that among the peacekeepers they sent were unarmed soldiers from Bangladesh, who lacked even winter clothing.

In the midst of the carnage in the Balkans, we saw the 50th anniversary of the atomic attacks that ended WWII observed, with all of the outpouring of grief and recriminations that some felt were appropriate. It could not help but occur to me that a single small tactical nuclear weapon could have solved the Balkan ethnic cleansing problem quite thoroughly. Completely aside from any destruction from the nuke, the psychological shock effect would have been incredible.

In his book "The Iraq War" John Keegan ends it by saying that the U.S. invasion of Iraq showed the future of international relations, far more so than did talk of the importance of treaties and international laws. The same could be said of the Balkans debacle.

One thing I have been curious about is that there were serious security problems in the NATO actions in the Balkans. The Serbs were informed of the planned attacks in advance. I have heard the French blamed but I have never seen any proof of this, nor even any informed opinion. Anyone know anything about that aspect?

3/13/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But on the subject of Slobodan, the Journal convicted him, in abstentia, calling him in a Editorial, a War Criminal.
If fact, there were only accusations, no convictions.
That makes him, in our System, an innocent man in death.

One thing for sure though, ol' Slobo, he's on the slabo.

How HIS God views him, well that's for Slobodan to worry about.

3/13/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger GB-Arg said...

If all of Missy's trial cost a fifth of a billion, how much was spent on protection of the star? If the star goes, there goes the whole production. And there ain't no understudy.

3/13/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

"No Comrade Tavarish, Karridine. What obscene is the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Ustashi Croatia and from the Serbian Heartland in Kosovo by Saudi Albanian Jihadi scum and their fascist German Croat friends."

Thank you Methusela!

We can no longer afford the luxury of "civilized" choices are we to survive. It is this ghastly hate cult Islam that has forced the hand of civilized people of the West. And if we are too effete to adopt distasteful draconian solutions we will be defeated. This war could not possibly be cast in more stark terms. If we've been rendered to effete to fight by post biblical Western "values" then we will succumb to a darkness so odious as to be unimaginable.

3/13/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They were nearing the end of the trial. The gravy train was about over, anyway.

For Slobo to have been aquitted, why wouldn't that have made fools of the World.

Better to have him as well as the "star" witness against him both "pass" from the scene.

Onward Christian Soldiers!

oh wait, that was Slobo's line.
Christian Soldiers?, just another name for War Criminals.

We must remember that many of those that claim Slobo a War Criminal think the same of Mr Bush and Mr Rumsfeld.
Their Standard is a bit different than ours.

3/13/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

True, Buddy. And you can add to that bi-partisan concensus the Euro-tranzis, for whom the UN must never be presented as anything other than a repository of 'legitimacy.'

My observation was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

3/13/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"With the number of corpses in Darfur steadily mounting" read about "the contrast between the U.N. Security Council's repellent realpolitik and the unapologetic candor and impatience of our committed U.N. Ambassador John Bolton's fight for human rights."

3/13/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Strip away all the ugly players in all the ugly tableaus, and I think in the end you find standing there those that have worked very hard to insert themselves into the offices that could act, but due to their career 'arrangements' and the fact that they're not forced to, won't.

3/13/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

You're welcome, Yan. I know from personal experience what their "truth" telling is worth, told by the BBC, etc.

Mark Steyn's now been dropped from the British press.

3/13/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/13/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

This time with spell check:

Whether the UN is the victim of stupidity or malice is, at this point in history, a purely academic debate. Personally, I think it is driven by malice, greed and corruption.

Be that as it may, the facts are clear, the institution is fundamentally useless and more probably dangerous than helpful.

Time for it to go.

3/13/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

we need to be careful and distinguish between what it could be, with more John Boltons running it, and what it has been in the past. Hate to throw the baby out while the bath water is draining.

3/13/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is this site
Darfur timeline of US Actions which does not make US look good in this crisis.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick has been our point man on Sudan. He stated once that it was Tribal Warfare and out of our capacity to interfere. To paraphrase.

But his assistant:
"[Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer] cautioned against dwelling too much on the current level of violence [in Darfur]" --- Washington Post, November 4, 2005

" ... “Frazer cautioned against dwelling too much on the current level of violence [in Darfur]. In an interview, she said ‘this is a long process’ that over time has begun to show progress. ‘If you look at a snapshot at one moment, you will miss that dynamic movement,’ she said. The fighting among rebel forces, for example, is ‘one snapshot’ but she said that was a ‘not uncommon effect of the end of a war’ as groups jockeyed for position in negotiations.” (Washington Post, November 4, 2005)

" ... It is clearly an understatement to say that Frazer has no gift for appropriate metaphor; for of course no one is arguing that we simply view a “snapshot” of current realities in Darfur. On the contrary, the emphasis among humanitarians and human rights groups has consistently been on how current realities---what we see in any comprehensive “picture” of Darfur---grow out of more than two and a half years of massive, ethnically-targeted human destruction. “The current level of violence” that Frazer disingenuously suggests is primarily “jockeying” among the insurgency movements remains very largely the responsibility of Khartoum and its brutal Janjaweed militia proxy forces. Significantly, Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick was equally disingenuous in seeking this week to blame violence in Darfur on the insurgents: “[Zoellick said,] ‘Darfur rebel groups are fighting among themselves. Any spark could set off a wildfire’” (Reuters, November 4, 2005). ... "

The fellow whom's blog I found these, blames US most of all, although he has plenty of distaste for everyone else, as well.
US State Department Policy on Sudan, November 7, 2005

We have done poorly on this Darfur issue. It has been YEARS since we declared it a Genocide, which one would think qualify it for "Emergency" actions, it has not garnered that type of response.

Here is an American Prospect article from July of '05. No change in course since.
American Prospect

Kofi did ask Mr Bolton for some CLose Air Support for the AU troops in Darfur. I have seen no word on if we are sending it.
Some old Cobras, obsolete A-10s, that's what they need to turn the tide of Genocide.
If the Air Support is delivered, it'll be a change of course, 'til then, even more so now that the request for Military assistance has been made, we can't blame Kofi.

It's up to the folks that have Air to Ground capacity.
US, England, France.
Which of those countries is exceptional and should be leading the way?

Never Again, ha ha ha

3/13/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Milan Oskoryp Sr. said...

UK,UN,EU created another martyr and hero of Serbian people.Remember takes of UK TV-BBC from "konzentrations kamps."Front of pictures were "created" by old men without shirts,so their skeletony bodies were visible.Those skeletony bodies are ethnic specialty of every man after some age.Behind fence created by those "skeletons" were normal men in shirts and of age not yet reached "skeletonish" age.
Second picture I remember was Srbian soldier ,stopped a said into the camera of UK production"Remember,we are those who are protecting Europe agains Islam."[or something in this sense].
Canadian general McKenzie on Lary King said."Moslims killed every journalist trying cross to Srbian side."That after Canadian general lost command of UN forces,reason-openly talking about tactics of moslems in "ethnic cleansing."Croatia,Bosnia-Hercegovina supported by Clinton "naked a$$" are forever together with politicing of UK ,ugly remainder how uglines of remnants of islam spilled over and created bridgehead for islam represented by al Quaida.Bosnia-Hercegovina,now "cleansed" becomes banker,forgery shops,training camps,geting ready for action in future by islam.
Five centuries remnants of islam after "Gates of Viena," were waiting patiently for their moment.
With Slobodan Milosevic`s exit is gone proof of role UN,EU,Clinton[USA],NATO in biggest
treason of those forces against our civilization in Europe.
Slobodan is gone ,but stays forever in memory of people of Serbia and others who see role created for islam in Bosnia.........by forces loving Marxism,socialism,islam,hating freedom, two thousand years of history of Europe-UK,UN,USA,NATO

3/13/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Milosevic was a communist monster. It's regrettable that his prison cell death allowed him to escape conviction for genocide. Unfortunately, he'll probably receive a hero's funeral in Belgrade. Like the Nazi monsters, he should have been cremated and his ashes scattered secretly.

A question for pathologists and physicians:

Decades ago, the Mafia/KGB/bad-guys would sometimes murder a person through deliberate insulin overdose so it would look like a heart attack. However the older form of insulin came from farm animals and could be detected by a skilled pathologist. Consequently that form of murder fell out of fashion. I read somewhere that modern day synthetic insulin is so similar to natural human insulin that it is indistinguishable.

Is it possible that Milosevic could have been murdered through a technique so subtle that a skilled pathologist could not detect it?

3/13/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Milan, I get the feeling that there is an entire history--the Slavic perspective--that has been virtually absent from the view of USA media consumers.

It has always seemed to me that the Fall of the Wall opened a door between the Cyrrilic and Latin worlds that was promptly slammed shut by the western media coverage of the horrific bloodshed in and around Srebrenica.

The Cold War victory celebration made the Balkans War seem unreal, like an error, an off-tone coda. People simply looked away.

3/13/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Cyrillic (sorry!)

3/13/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

If the West is indeed at war with the Mohammedans, then it may be an object lesson in Machiavellian war strategy that the Serbs managed to utilize the very weakness of the UN institutions for their deadly goals.

Where history would mock the actions of the UN commanders, the strength of their good intentions alone will ensure that they are used again and again by a feckless, self-loathing European gentry class that has evolved retarded from generations of ideological inbreeding.

General George Patton famously suggested that the US Army rearm the Nazis and send them against the Russians. In the same light we must ask ourselves who the real enemy was here, the Serbs or the tactics that they employed against what they considered an existential threat to the Serbian state. We speak of the horror of the Serbian ethnic cleansing and almost in the same breath belittle the French for creating their own ethnic ghettos.

If the UN can be viewed as human shields to be used to the advantage of the aggressor, it is difficult to imagine how they might be brought to service for the West, but nonetheless, we need to consider this as we plot out future strategies.

No doubt Milosevic certainly understood this, and as “unsound” as his policies may have been, I sometimes wonder if we, in our race to prove our humanity in the face of our enemies, cast our lot with the wrong side.

3/13/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Is it possible that Milosevic could have been murdered through a technique so subtle that a skilled pathologist could not detect it?


You mean, keeping a person with a heart condition locked up in a cell without exercise for 5 years, and added stress of this kangaroo show trial is not enough? The KGB needed to kill him using insulin shock?

3/13/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

For sure, the Serbian "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Defend Europe" war-cry sounds different to us now than it did then.

3/13/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Ortega is making a come back, currently running second for the Presidency of Nicaragua, which is the keystone of Central America.
He past Socialist Presidency of the Country caused a Human Rights nightmares for the Indians of the Mysquito Coast.

The election comes in November.

Mr Ortega, calls both Mr Chavez and Mr Castro, "brother".

3/13/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You mean that they may just have been ahead of the curve, buddy?

Maybe that's why the French were helpin' 'em out, if they were.

Or maybe, like the Francofada, Yugoslavia's breakup was only about money and power. As well as lack of Muslim opportunity in the region.

3/13/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

A.M.,

Milo used the best techniques he could muster. If he'd had nukes, he probably would have used them.

Yea, Onward Chrsitian Soldiers does ring differently now.

3/13/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

map, tho a relief map with readable text would be better. This is the 'back country' that Alexander had to subdue before he took on the Persians in their own homeland, in order to stop their regular invasions of Europe (Greece). And it worked fine until the Byzantines got too byzantine for their own good. The last Christian King in the Levant died there on the walls of Constantinople.

3/13/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Alexander's prescription worked for a thousand years, tho--not counting the Moors who worked the other end of the Mediterranean.

3/13/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

"A way too small contigent of Belgian UN troops"

Too few, definitely, but don't leave out the contribution of their restrictive ROE and silly rules of deployment--most notably the fact that they couldn't be billeted in tents, with resulted in their being spread around in multiple small living units rather then being based together where they resist attacks in force.

3/13/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

As a topical follow-up to a previous discussion on Pim Fortuyn, the Srbrenica massacre was due the failure of Dutch UN peacekeepers, a revelation which brought down their government in 2002.

Meanwhile Fortuyn, who had formed his own party on a basically anti-Muslim-immigration, and generally anti-social-welfare policy had recently (March 2002) carried about 36% of the seats in the Rotterdam district council elections making it the largest faction in the council. "For the first time since the Second World War, the social democratic Labour Party found itself out of power." (All quotes here are from Wikipedia)

Fortuyn's assassin, an animal rights worker named Volkert van der Graaf, later said that he saw Fortuyn as a steadily increasing danger for vulnerable groups in society, and hoped "'to defend Dutch Muslims from persecution' and from being used as 'scapegoats'. Van der Graaf said: 'I confess to the shooting. He was an ever growing danger who would affect many people in society. I saw it as a danger. I hoped that I could solve it myself'"

"To the argument that Fortuyn would have been chosen through democratic means, Van der Graaf said that that was also the case for Hitler."

Hmm, where have I heard that lately? (!)

From Dutch-UN peacekeepers' tacit cooperation in the Srbrenica massacre of Muslims, to the corresponding fall of the Dutch government, to Fortuyn's assassination over statements such as ""I don't hate Islam, I consider it a backward culture", to his assassination by an avowedly Muslim-loving utopian type, I've never come across a single European media treatment of any of these ironies and contradictions.

What Fortuyn really detested was "norms and values that are so high that you can't humanly maintain them," which he held was a common theme between old-style Dutch Reformers and what he saw as the pervasive intolerance in the Muslim community.

Here's a great example of the kind of style that made people want to kill him, and is as good a reason as any why we should never forget him, and never forget to link his name to the European and UN hypocrisy over outcomes such as Srbrenica's:

"In a televised debate in 2002, "Fortuyn baited the Muslim cleric by flaunting his homosexuality. Finally the imam exploded, denouncing Fortuyn in strongly anti-homosexual terms. Fortuyn calmly turned to the camera and, addressing viewers directly, told them that this is the kind of Trojan horse of intolerance the Dutch are inviting into their society in the name of multiculturalism." (Wikipedia)

3/13/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oops, and not counting Hannibal, who tried the center.

3/13/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

How can we be so behind the curve? One post by Opotho and the whole western media depiction of Fortuyn as a sort of Hitlerite ultra-conflicted deviant fascist (a la Whittaker Chambers) falls apart like a two-dollar pistol.

3/13/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Fortuyn: "norms and values that are so high that you can't humanly maintain them"

...and back we come to Tom Fox. Whether you preach such, or preach against such, either way, the totalitarians will erase you.

A fractal: the UN/EC/EU dawdling while the Serbs did their dirty work, then coming in to save the already dead, and punish their own bloody-handed saviors.

This is all crazy-making of a high order. Crazy people end up restrained, drugged, incarcerated, ignored, forgotten.

3/13/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Hey Buddy - I did my research after you asked me details I didn't have about Fortuyn's assassin.

I'm still as indignant now as I was that day in 2002 upon witnessing the reactions of the Europeans around me to Fortyun's murder,

A few months later and I finally decided it was beyond my ability, and maybe even impossible for anyone to lay out for European ears the whole contradictory timeline from Srbrenica to Fortuyn. I began to feel a lot like Diogenes, so obtuse and at the same time sanctimonious were my listeners.

It was around then that I was first immersing myself in Burke, who always derided "norms and values that are so high that you can't humanly maintain them".

My housemate was an American professor at the prestigious Trinity College, Dublin. At the main gate of Trinity stand two statues, one of Burke and one of poet Goldsmith. I began to ask his students, and later any college students that I could find, who was this man Burke? I must have asked 40 or 50 students, all of them self-identified as "politically active", and no one knew, not a one of them, who that great Dubliner and former Trinity student was. Isn't that appalling?

3/13/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

LOL the 'Diogenes'--too apt. Yes, I recall asking about the assassin, because I'd never heard a word about him other than 'animal-rights activist', and I had a feeling that there was probably a Jihad connection.

As far as the obliviousness, it goes back to the dawn of time, this war in it's pre-history, scraps of which we know via Homer (who may've been a long line of oral history-tellers). In the Ilead, a God has given the Persians ("Paris", for crying out loud) "the most beautiful woman in the world", who turned out to be Helen of Troy (who was actually Helen of Greece), and whose God-mandated kidnapping led to a war ended by (Fortuyn's term in your post, which prompted this post) the Trojan Horse--the foreign thing in the fortress-mind--which (8,000 yr-old disinformation) was actually a Greek horse.

Ahg--I shoulda passed on all that substance-abuse, back in the day--

3/13/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Optoho: Trinity College should try to put up a statue of Pappy Boyington - and then see what happens.

It is appalling - but not suprising.

The small people that dominate the landscape of today can only feel tall by claiming that the giants of the past were unsavory midgets.

3/13/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

What is worse, optho, none were curious.

3/13/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The Golden Calf moos "...don't look back, don't look forward, don't look up, don't look down...just look at me...."

3/13/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Pappy Boyington", nice one. I doubt they'd be curious about him either.

Rat - The most telling lack of curiosity at that time circled around my constant references to The Federalist, which were timely considering the Euro-wide debates on the Treaty of Nice and the nascent constitution. It was the Irish referendum that rejected Nice and their million or so "No" votes which set back the membership of 500 million Eastern Europeans into the EU. Still, no interest about The Federalist. That was too ... "American". (We'll reinvent the wheel in our own way thank you very much.)

No "Jihad" connection that I can find Buddy between van der Graaf and Islam, other than the usual and necessary component of dhimmi-appeasement.

A very nice sewing up of the Iliad and our current situation, well done. The essential point of departure that Burke recognized between traditionalists and Rationalist "abstractions" - the main theme that all Rationalisms had in common - was the refutation of original sin. I know I've been quoting this Yeats line too much lately, but it works wonders in the ears of my fellow agnostics:

"What theme had Homer but original sin?"

Ah yes, "back in the day" my friend, back in the day ...

3/13/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

OT: [Sorry, but the correct figure for the number of Eastern Europeans delayed from joining the EU by the first failure of "Nice" was 100 million.

The number of people "affected" was over 500 million, which was the total number eventually reached when the countries of Rumsfeld's "new Europe" were later permitted entry into the single market.

But at the time of the first rejection of the Treaty of Nice, Ireland made up one per cent of 'Euroland'. Only 18 per cent of the Irish electorate voted to reject Nice, and that by a 54% majority, on an election turnout of 35 per cent.]

3/13/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/13/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Remember always, the man responsible for UN peacekeeping at the time of the disasters was Kofi Annan (including Croatia, Bosnia - particularly Srebrenica - AND Rwanda).

He was subsequently brutally punished by the world community with appointment to be Secretary General of the UN, and the later Nobel Peace prize.

The US, Britain or France could have vetoed him for the secgen of UN, but chose not to.....

3/13/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Enter Mr. Bolton ...

3/13/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

He had certain information on the planned onset of the Rwanda Massacres, the fax evidence is still in hand.

Those Irish numbers, Opotho, are disconcerting due to a mental trick that we play on ourselves, that the marginal utility of the swing vote is greater than than the vast equal number on opposite sides. In reality, each vote is still just a vote--like coin-flipping, even after a miracle ten (or a million) straight 'heads' (or tails), the odds on the next flip are still 50-50.

3/13/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Datelined Three days ago.

" ... March 10 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations will prepare to deploy peacekeeping troops in the violence-plagued Darfur region of Sudan in September, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said after the African Union decided to hand the mission to the world body.

African Union leaders meeting today in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, agreed in principle to keep their current force of 7,000 troops in Darfur, and then to support a transition to UN authority. Jan Pronk, the UN's top envoy to Sudan, has said more troops would be added to create a contingent of up to 20,000 to help end rapes and murders by militias and resettle thousands of refugees.

``We are pleased with the decision,'' Annan told reporters at the UN in New York. ``We have been working on contingency planning and should now be able to send an assessment mission to work with the African Union.'' ... "

" ... Annan has appealed to the U.S. and the European Union to provide equipment and aircraft for a highly mobile UN force. U.S. President George W. Bush, while offering military planners to help prepare for the UN mission, has suggested that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization take a leading role on the ground.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, told reporters he would seek the ``swiftest possible'' transition to a UN force in Darfur. He again mentioned the idea of NATO leadership.

While Sudan's government has rejected a UN force in public statements, Annan and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said Sudan's government was easing its opposition. The government in Khartoum might agree to a UN mission after a peace accord is signed between all parties to the Darfur conflict, the Associated Press reported.

``We don't have time to waste,'' Zoellick told reporters yesterday in Paris. ``There are heartbreaking conditions in Darfur and they risk worsening. These are problems that have been exacerbated by the tensions on the Chad border. The African Union forces have done a tremendous job, but they came in to enforce a cease-fire, and that cease-fire has broken down.'' ... "


20,000 troops with air support.
After all these years.
Those troops from Napal worked out quite well in the Congo. I wonder how many more Gurhka, I mean, Napalese are readily available?

3/13/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"enter Mr. Bolton"--exactly--the USA inside the UN under the other party's management--which carried a la that other medal-winner George Tenant, and others, too far into the first Bush term--is not the USA inside the UN, anymore.

Which is of course why the insane reaction to Mr. Bolton's entry.

3/13/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The same people who just told our real friends in the UAE to "f**k off" were 'concerned' that Mr. Bolton would be 'insufficiently diplomatic'.

3/13/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Duncan Hunter?

3/13/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I should've qualified--"by and large" the same people.

3/13/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

besides, that the straddle position can be summarized as one or a few names--of six billion opinions--comes under the 'exception proves the rule' law.

3/13/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Milan Oskoryp Sr. said...

Genlemen.
Reading your comments I see that even after what is happening under your eyes,Western Media very skilfuly are throwing cover over your sight and not even one of you is able to remove what is meant to prevent you from seeing the truth about longest war in history,besides Israel contra Palestine.
"Onward chrestian warriors"had all the time same meaning only your perception is changing.Sad story will take meaning when there is not going to be heard that sentence from Europe.Maybe even from America.Northern.Southern is going deaf and inable to say something similar.70 million of moslims are going to join EU.
You still are unable to understand role of Milosevic in history.
USA,UK,EU[EC] destroyed the wall our ancestors started to build at Austrian Capital Viena."Useful idiots" are fullfiling their role obediently in UK,EU,USA.And without commands or instructions.Shortsight of people in USA is for many of us out of understanding.FDR had to use a trick to get USA to war against Japan and Germany."Useful idiots" are going to nail on cross man who despite many his wrong steps was almost alone to start or proceed in war lasting one and half of millenia.
Sad story,I hope has different end than I am afraid it has.
What I can say about 90 % of people without access to internet if you having that access are not able to understand in quite simple Globality you own role-to protect yourself against bigest evil force we stood against in all history of 2000 years.
Pray for soul of Slobodan Milosevic.
That could be first step on very long and difficult road before us.

3/13/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/13/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"The same people who just told our real friends in the UAE to "f**k off" were 'concerned' that Mr. Bolton would be 'insufficiently diplomatic'". Exactly! (... by and large). It'll be very interesting to revisit Bolton's actual demeanor when it comes time for the Senate to appoint him or not.

BBC News, March 13

"Dispute hits UN rights watchdog

"A session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission has been suspended for a week amid disagreement over plans to reform the Geneva-based body.

"The commission meets annually to examine global human rights standards.

"The US has condemned the reform plan, but it has broad support from European, Asian and African countries. ...

"But all that may be in jeopardy because of the deadlock over reform plans. The UN could be left without a human rights watchdog for the first time in its 60-year history. ...

"The changes do not go as far as everyone would like but they have widespread support.

"UN Secretary General Kofi Annan backs them, so do European Union countries and African and Asian nations.

"Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also support the plan.

"However, the US says the plan has major deficiencies."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/
2/hi/europe/4800268.stm

3/13/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Good luck with your Armegeddon sir. I see it's done wonders for Serbia.

Nothing like an ancient feud to get me to start the cocktails early.

3/13/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Milan Oskoryp Sr. said...

Every sicknes could be held in check by two ways:to control and keep in check symptoms, or

to kill the bacteria causing that ailment.

Darfur is symptom of much bigger ailment spreading on this globe.

3/13/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Darfur is certainly a "symptom of much bigger ailment spreading on this globe", but the treatment you describe MO belongs to allopathic medicine, which is understandable.

Your reference to JC is consistent with what I gather is a pan-Serbian identity characteristic as a beleaguered and misunderstood people of last hold-outs. In other words, they'd be last people I'd trust to provide a balanced perspective on anything.

I encounter several Muslims in my day-to-day with whom I'm developing a language and a trust concerning my own intensely anti-Islamofascist position. They're listening, though it's nearly impossible - but only nearly - to make an end-run around their own victimization narrative.

It's delicate work, but well worth it. It's also the American way.

I curse Slobodan Milosevic. And where do you think that I think he is now?

3/13/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Milan, I think we DO see it--why else would we return here again and again to butt our heads against the wall?

Your English is so expressive, you must be hell-on-wheels in Serbo (my compliments).

3/13/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I'd say, Opotho, that having been the invasion route for every hellish thing from Asia and Asia Minor since the beginning of time, the Balkans should be permitted their truth--it's bloody-minded for a reason. Peace works from centers to edges, anyway--we can't say it aloud (my ancestors, in peacetime and peacetime only, ostracized their battle-winning Berserkers) but thank Goodness we've had this vision on the ramparts. Vienna, Lepanto--fervor or the Channel.

3/13/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The last few years of the Balkan war were covered by many personal websites sourced from the region. Although blogs were not around a few US newspapers had free-wheeling discussion sections. The LA Times, to its credit, left the paricipants alone and every day the war was refought with grisly photographs, personal accounts, and translations from European press coverage.

Iraq, even with the carnage of the car bomb, seems almost sterile compared to what was happening in the Balkans. It was a dark war in a dark time and it scares the hell out of me that this may have been the harbinger of the Islamist border.

3/13/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Point taken Buddy, and that's from the progeny of some anonymous old Berserker even.

The trick is always to maintain the proportions of the center to the edge in general discourse, which is as scientific a matter as something like tact or common sense.

So I wouldn't legislate against the pronouncemets of either a David Irving or a Jay Bennish - they both have their stories to tell, as you might say - but I'll always seek to persuade anyone who's listening that there's a center that's different from the edge for a very good reason. I prefer to describe this specific problem in psychological terms - as in the fantasy of a knight errant out on some frontier - rather than in religious terms. (Again, northern Ireland.)

And if the edge takes the brunt then that's their lot. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but despite the perpetual danger of any center's becoming feckless I don't usually expect much wisdom from the edges other than some choice actions and the usual sacrifices.

I'm not very "fair" that way, though I thank them for their service when thanks are in order. The trouble is that the edges often can't discern the thankable from the downright deplorable.

3/13/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Ayatollah said...

I don't know. Milosevic subpoenas Bill Clinton to testify and all of a sudden the guy is found dead in his prison cell.

Shades of Jim McDougal ... and Vince forster and Ron Brown and .....

3/13/2006 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I read somewhere that the Serbs had fired a total of 600,000 shells during the course of the sieges, but only a few, notably the mortaring of the marketplaces, were extensively covered on CNN, and the images so mobilized public opinion it forced the EU and the US to act.

For much of the 90s, Kosovo was portrayed as a "civil war" of immemorial hatreds, which was a code word for telling the public "it's useless to intervene" and "we should stay out of it". Interestingly enough the same "civil war" theme is being trotted out in Iraq and Darfur, probably for the same effect.

3/13/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Still, who mortars a marketplace?

3/13/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

At a dinner party last night I did hear an admitted National Public Radio fan say that it was time to withdraw from Iraq and "leave the Iraqis to their inevitable civil war." I told him he was a cynic.

3/13/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Evanston said...

Wretchard is right about the civil war meme being used to discourage intervention. As noted, the media tried it in Iraq but they overreached. Regarding Kosovo, I've Googled periodically for mass grave discoveries (the alleged reason for Clinton's pre-emptive invasion of Kosovo) and haven't found any. Put Milosevic down all day long, but he got a peace agreement that reaffirmed Kosovo as part of (what is left of) Yugoslavia. Now, of course, we're trying to bully the Serbs into giving up their claims. Likewise, the rest of you can put down commenter Milan all day long but he is right to think it is Serbia (with minimal help from the Russians) against the world. The Serbs are threatened with sanctions and the KLA gets free rein. Why did the Serbs do what they did? They were greedy. They were bigots. They were pissed off. But that doesn't mean they weren't in the right to defend their historic territory.

3/13/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

The edge:

I've Googled periodically for mass grave discoveries ... and haven't found any. ...

Why did the Serbs do what they did? They were greedy. They were bigots. But ...


Hmm, so they did do something, eh?

I don't care about the (bad) Serb's reasons but only their actions. Likewise, the KLM were exploitative for their own bad reasons, and I don't defend them either.

But "their historic territory"? That's the same self-serving rhetoric I used to hear in northern Ireland. Sorry, but I have zero tolerance for that.

3/13/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Is this what we want? Are we all so certain that this is what strengthens today's 'gates of Vienna'?

"Milosevic Funeral Has Potential for Mayhem

"AP - Mon Mar 13, 2:38 PM ET

"BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro - Within hours of Slobodan Milosevic's death, his ultranationalist loyalists began laying the groundwork for an elaborate funeral in Belgrade. Their goal: to show Serbia and the world they're strong enough to return to power, and prove that the pro-democratic forces who toppled Milosevic in 2000 could be on their way out."


http://news.yahoo.com/
fc/world/hague_war_crimes_tribunal

3/13/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Ophoto: Sorry, but I have zero tolerance for that.

And who the hell are you?

3/13/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Mətušélaḥ, who the hell are YOU?

3/13/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

You answer first. I know irish semen when I see it, and you aint it, Laddie.

3/13/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Not sure what that means, but if it really interests you some call me by the pejorative "West Brit" in the Republic.

I've seen my fill of nationalist and counter-nationalist blood feuds and violence.

Maybe that's your bag and you resent hearing anyone denouncing it? In that case we can simply disagree.

Now, who are you?

3/13/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

In other words you're an immigrant. An immigrant from where?

Now, allow me to put Bud's Magic Propeller Hat on and ask, oh where oh where could an immigrant to Yuppup come from?

Larsen, what did you do to the hat?! I can't get it work.

3/13/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

I'm a New Yorker born and raised, you mother f**ker.

3/13/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Now, let you tell something about mother f**ker: This mofo's real last name is Kaganovitz. That's the English transcription from the Hebrew from the Lithuanian/Russian. As such, when this mofo said you know diddly squat about what it means to live under the Nazis, the Soviets, the Jihadis, this mofo has first hand experience to know what he's talking about.

Btw, I still think youz practicing taqiyya.

3/13/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Okay, so now we're getting somewhere.

I have first-hand experience of violent Irish nationalism, but it is unseemly to compare scars.

I assure you that I am not ignorant about the history and plight of Lithuanians, or of Russian Jews. I've read extensively about some of the kinds of hardships you're referring to in Cseslaw Milosz's memoirs and prose.

My ex-girlfriend's mother was a child in Pommmeranz during WWII, and she and her family - the ones who survived - got it coming both ways. Believe me that I'm very sorry that you experienced such evil first-hand.

But perhaps I can be assured (only now in he thread) that you are not something like a holocaust denier. How would I know otherwise? People are arguing on behalf of Milosevic's legacy on this very thread! Why not Hitler too? Anything's possible under the cover of anonymity.

So if you barge in suddenly with a lot of smart-ass language, how do I know you're not the worst kind of monster yourself? Really, how can I know?

And anyway, where do you think I'm coming from? I'm not even sure I know where you're coming from since it's possible that you praise Milosevic too, through some bizarre mental gyration.

I take the meaninng of 'Taqiyya' to be something akin to Peter's denial that he knew anything about Jesus. Well there's no cock crowing around here so I don't see how that applies to me.

You don't like it that I don't "tolerate" fascism? Okay then, I heard you. Thank goodness the GI's didn't tolerate it during WWII or they would have got themselves killed.

3/13/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

You don't like it that I don't "tolerate" fascism?


To call Milosevic a fascist is to be ignorant. It's the same pompous ignorance that calls Ariel Sharon Nazi, or George Bush the same. It was not Milosevic who was burning thousand year old Churches in Makkah.

3/13/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

easy, boys....

3/13/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

I know all about the fascist legacy of the Croats, but Milosevic was something new to me. If Stalin had killed so many people in the name of some kind of quasi-racial nationalism I'd have called him a fascist too.

I have made it clear enough that I condemn the evils of the KLM, et al but you're probably so hate-filled that you can't hear that.

I pray that the kind of scum who condone the mass murder of unarmed citizens don't reside in my country, but I know that's too hopeful.

Do you reside in the USA, brave one? Do you condone the killing of innocent Muslims?

Don't beat around the bush now, we don't 'tolerate' that here.

3/13/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Ophoto: I condemn the evils of the KLM, et al but you're probably so hate-filled that you can't hear that.


Damn right I'm hate filled. Roosevelt incinerated whole cities of "innocent civilians" in Japan. Let's call him a fascist mass murder too.

You condemn the evils of the KLM and the fascist Croats, and you condemn the Serbian response to it. So what does that make you? I tell you what it makes you. It makes you a taqiyya practicing hypocrite and liar.

3/13/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Damn right I'm hate filled."

Whew, not me, not HATRED.

"Roosevelt incinerated whole cities of 'innocent civilians' in Japan. Let's call him a fascist mass murder too."

Advantages often lie in balances between one evil and another. It's an important part of wisdom to know how much evil should be tolerated.

You don't strike me as a wise man. You've made a convincing case that you're hate-filled though, and I appreciate the candor. I will revisit your admission, often if possible.

"You condemn the evils of the KLM and the fascist Croats, and you condemn the Serbian response to it. So what does that make you? I tell you what it makes you. It makes you a taqiyya practicing hypocrite and liar."

No, I believe in and take up arms. Maybe I'll even raise them against you the next time your "principles" (if you can call them that) get in the way of the cause of liberty.

You offer some creepy medicine friend. It's good that you loved Milosevic so much since you'll undoubtedly enjoy an eternity with him in the place you're both bound for.

3/13/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I know where I'm bound to. It is the place of my ancestors. And given half a chance I wouldn't hesitate for a split second to send you to yours and where they're at, uhmud.

3/13/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

How about introducing those ancestors to a little civilization (before they have you doing something really stupid).

Mass murder, real nice. You should know it's a traditional American theme to leave that Old World shite behind.

And ethnic cleansing was not what FDR and Truman were up to.

You're whacked dude.

3/13/2006 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

If I was the bartender, I believe I'd cut you guys off. Either that or shoot the both of ye.

3/13/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Just smokin' 'em out Buddy.

3/13/2006 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Two guys in the same trench, facing the same enemy, one of you hollering "Wake Up!" the other hollering "Calm Down!" --stock, in every war movie--you'll be best friends by the time the credits roll.

3/13/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Touche, but it's a tough call whether the enemy of my enemy is always my friend.

I'm sure you've wondered how everything might've turned out if Yalta had never happened.

3/13/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Bud,

I know an impostor when I see one. And Ophoto is trying to forge copy of something he's not. We need to be more vigilant of his kind.

3/13/2006 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I've wondered most of all how, after Yalta, eastern Europeans can possibly ever trust any great power again.

3/13/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

it's the crack in the earth. Do we parley with Islam--on the chance that it may evolve, or run up the red flag and play the Deguello?

3/13/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Taking a step back to look at history: The story of Serbia is one of victimization in the face of 700 years of Ottoman oppression. The muslims of the Ottoman empire shamelessly committed genocide against many peoples, including Serbs and Armenians. The dhimmitude imposed on the Serbians for centuries also sharpened the Serbian hatred for the muslims.

This fact was dutifully omitted by the mainstream media during the 1990's Balkan war.

Perhaps there were no excuses for Milosevic, but there is an explanation.

Perhaps in the future all of the Western world will be put by the muslims into the same position the Serbians were in. How then will the West react?

3/13/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Bud,

I always said it's your call. Whichever way, you know you have my support.

3/13/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"how, after Yalta, eastern Europeans can possibly ever trust any great power again."

I'd say that the sting of the Ribbentrop/Molotov deal preceeded the traitorousness of the Yalta pact, a point that Lithuanians felt more poignantly than just about anyone else (real Lithuanians, I mean).

To your question Buddy, I'd answer emphatically to parley with Islam. How could anyone seriously justify the inevitable and horrific clash that would result from the alternative, just because we refuse to learn enough about Islam to wage a proper information war?

Simple prejudice is a dangerous lure when it shuts our eyes to useful - and as-yet untried - strategies.

I don't need to lose another American city to this thing just because Americans decided, prematurely, that they were going to hate Muslims. I don't care a fig what the Serbs have "learned", they're not Americans.

I've been writing at Belmont nearly from the beginning. No one that knows me could say I'm forging myself as a copy of something I'm not. Gotta try harder than that, Raspusalah.

3/13/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"This fact was dutifully omitted by the mainstream media during the 1990's Balkan war."

I disagree with that claim. I remember that the MSM dutifully reported Serbia's ancient history at the time, without which Wretchard's excellent point that the dismissive trope of an "ancient civil war" would've made no sense.

3/13/2006 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Parley with Islam. Parley with Mephistopheles.

Ignorance is bliss.

3/13/2006 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Ignorance is bliss"?

How much do you know about Islam, or are you A.) taking the Koran literally, like most idiot Muslims, or B.) merely repeating the second-hand literalisms of those loonies or their counter-rabble?

Not studying Islam but feeling free to pass judgement on it would certainly meet my defintion of ignorance.

3/13/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

All I ever needed to learn about Islam, I learned it on 9/11...

3/13/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Well, 9/11 changed my life pretty dramatically too, so I'm looking for useful strategies.

I read Wretchard and others here for the clarity of their insight. When I meet up with uneducated blanket-prejudices, which I invariably do here, that I believe gratuitously transform billions of ignorant people into definite enemies, then I'm less confident that we're putting our best strategies forward.

And why not smoke out some of the creepier differences that distinguish our posters' reasons for their various hatreds? I think that's a good and honest practice.

To my thinking, listening to Serbs on this matter would be like listening to some kind of end-of-the-world cult. Why align ourselves with that? I don't need another conflagration to prove anything to myself about the superiority of the American civilization.

3/13/2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Ophoto: Just smokin' 'em out Buddy.

Yeah, pass the Colitas why don't you. I'm done with you. Go slither up another tree. Been around Jihadi snakes long enough to know the hissing through and through. Had a taste of your apple too.

3/13/2006 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

You're "done" with me. Interesting.

And I feel like I've exposed someone who sanctions war crimes. You've said absolutely nothing to convince me otherwise.

Perhaps you yourself are even wanted by Interpol for mass murder? Someone who owns a computer is, and why not you?

Sometimes I wonder whether the Belmont community is morally sophisticated enough to want to take notice of such a possibility? It's in the nature of sanctimony no tolerate all sorts of evils (something that level-headed people don't need explained).

It's an interesting question whether blogging is a forum that's deep and sophisticated enough to be able to discern the darkest motives of someone whom we might otherwise all be in agreement with?

Does character really matter, or are we willing to defend any voice out there that even vaguely represents our own goals?

I think we must be vigilant about evil, always and everywhere. Belmont is no exception.

3/14/2006 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I can't judge anyone whose family has been under the bootheel of "legal" criminal governments, one after the other, for most of the 20th century. That said, if we try to kill Satan, he'll get the last laugh--we'll *be* him.

And I hate middle positions and 'third ways' as much as anybody.

We can't be moderate and beat the jihadis, and we can't be jihadis ourselves.

Any solution seems to require separating the good Muslim from the bad--and the act of separating itself has so much Dr. Mengele in it that if the jihadis represent Satan, then we'll be perilously near becoming what they say we are.

I don't see any clear path. I also think that not having a clear path is perhaps the only way to absorb this evil with tolerable damage to our own cultures, our own selves.

The impetus for this feeling is that the jihadis/Satan is its own worst enemy. If we can side-step temptation, that is not kill a few hundred million of 'em, then the ancient wisdoms say we'll win.

And that's really what both of you guys advise--don't get rattled, don't make some huge history-killing mistake.

3/14/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Lots of folks are where we are.

3/14/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I would not have felt that Liberty were threatened had a phalanx of bully boys rearranged a few limbs of the sotto jihadis strutting their stuff in London a few weeks back.

3/14/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I agree--a lot, a whole lot, could change in a hurry if this system that they hate so much would quit protecting their ass quite so diligently. The French, for example, would've sent a strong message had a few bully boys rearranged a few car-burner's limbs while the cops examined their fingernails.

3/14/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Well said Buddy, every word, and most Burkean on the theme of wondering how much evil to accept in ourselves on the way to vanquishing an enemy. It can't be a question of none.

Your mention, peterboston, of the London police protecting a rally that called for the murder of its citizens was sickening to recall. Where were the yabbos, off at a soccer match?

Still, I could not sense an iota of regret (or contrition?) from the other poster concerning the murders at Srbrenica. (I was planning on getting more specific to his case, too.)

As I think you know Buddy, I am sufficiently world-traveled and sensible enough to understand and even embrace your point that "the Balkans should be permitted their truth". That thinking has got to be somewhere in the the mantras of a wanderer, but even then I've opted to move on from situations that proved unsavory to my Americanness.

As there are different levels of evil, there are different levels of "judgment" appropriate to them. (And here's where I worry about the ability of blogging threads to deal with the requisite subtleties, so given are these fora to simplistic oppositions.)

My judgment was complicated on 9/11, but not at the level of condemning mass murder which remains unproblematic in all of my moral deliberations.

My judgment was complicated by the response of my Irish hosts, our ostensible allies, whose crocodile tears burned me daily from that day on. I had to judge them too.

By the time Adams seized the historical moment in October to travel to Cuba, of all places, to vilify the US on Human Rights, it was clear that the IRA had launched a serious new strategy vis-a-vis its American donor base. They started publishing anti-American, anti-Bush tracts, but in the Irish language for the first time. "Bush has gone mad", and the like.

I decided to distribute translations of these screeds for American audiences, and soon my friends in Dublin and elsewhere, some very old friends, began to feel the heat of intimidation wherever they went. I steadily lost everyone and everything I had there - my work, my housing, my community - and it broke what was left of my heart to break.

It's still a very difficult thing for me, personally, to know how much the worst of them, the real thugs, "should be permitted their truth". Their own history was - and I trust we both know - pretty horrendous under the English heel. My father raised me to remember that the Irish famine of the 1850's was orchestrated (it's documented via Trevelyan et al). I know my Irish history as well as I know my American history. So I must ask where the turning point is beyond which those thugs should no longer be permitted to transmit the racial memory? Same question for the Protestant paramilitaries. Perhaps these questions are too complicated for blog threads, which is a worry. But I will continue to ask them.

In Man's confused state it's rare for there to be any "clear path", and I even agree with you Buddy that "not having a clear path is perhaps the only way to absorb this evil". That's well said and satisfying to my ears, as are many of the subtleties you bring to Belmont. But among those different levels of judgment I mentioned, incidents like the 1998 Omah bombing in northern Ireland, or the murders at Srbrenica should stand out clearly enough to us.

Each of those incidents was beyond the beyond, and if some poster or other here can't see that, then I consider it my duty to the discourse of any thread to make sure that peace is working from the center to the edges, to use your words Buddy, and not the reverse, in every sense of reverse (his usual, disguised method).

I wish I could furnish this other poster here with a copy of 'The Screwtape Letters", but it may be beyond his ability to grasp. And if that is so then mightn't it be important that the "hate-filled" language (his self-describing phrase) which appears in Belmont threads be challenged regularly and often for fear of attracting more of its ilk? (N.B., because that's what I see happening here; and it's up to each of us to resist conflating the language of the center with the language of the edges.)

[Incidentally, for a somewhat wiser, less "hate-filled" account of Lithuania's 20th century sorrows, may I refer readers to the works of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Czeslaw Milosz, born in 1911 in the heart of Lithuania. During WWII he worked for the Resistance in Warsaw, and finally fled Soviet domination for the West in 1951. For prose I would recommend "The Land of Ulro" (1981), a phrase he borrowed from his mentor, William Blake.]

3/14/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I don't see any clear path.


The father of gods had ordained that when it came time for the people to select a king, they choose the first person to ride up to the temple of in a wagon. Gordius fulfilled the oracle and was made king. One of his first acts was to dedicate his wagon and to place it near the temple, the yoke tied to the pole by an intricate knot of cornel bark. Another oracle declared that anyone who succeeded in untying the knot would be the conqueror of all Asia. The knot stayed tied until the arrival of an impatient student of Aristotle. The rest became history.

3/15/2006 02:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

That said, if we try to kill Satan, he'll get the last laugh--we'll *be* him.


'Thou shalt understand that it is a science most profitable, and passing all other sciences, to learn to die. For a man to know that he shall die, that is common to all men; as much as there is no man that may ever live or he hath hope or trust thereof; but thou shalt find full few that have this cunning to learn to die. . . . I shall give thee the mystery of this doctrine; the which shall profit thee greatly to the beginning of ghostly health, and to a stable fundament of all virtues.' -

3/15/2006 02:52:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

You've found the center of things with those two stories, Rabbi. But what things? When the sword cut the knot, the knot was cut forever. The student had traveled many years in mind and many miles with the knot in mind. He didn't wake up and find it before him. He had prepared himself.

The second story is so full of truth it strikes awe. It must be what another student of Aristotle had in mind when he showed the Prince that something in the state of Denmark was rotten.

As John Donne asked, which is a human answer, which is an inhuman ideal?

"No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee."

A clear, cold, morning, and down the valley toward the sea, a bell tolls. What is this, yesterday or tomorrow?

3/15/2006 05:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I saw Esau sitting on a see saw. Esau I saw, saw me.

3/15/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Earth Again

They are incomprehensible, the things of this earth./
The lure of waters. The lure of fruits./
Lure of the two breasts and long hair of a maiden./
In rouge, in vermilion, in that color of ponds/
Found only in the Green Lakes near Wilno./
And ungraspable multitudes swarm, come together/
In the crinkles of tree bark, in the telescope's eye,/
For an endless wedding,/
For the kindling of the eyes, for a sweet dance/
In the elements of the air, sea, earth and subterranean caves,/
So that for a short moment there is no death/
And time does not unreel like a skein of yarn/
Thrown into an abyss.

Czeslaw Milosz

3/15/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

And cousin Sven, trying to visit cousin Jacob at the see-saw, stands around the train station, wearing a bow-tie, derby and a suit four sizes too small, pats his big belly and regards the clocktower, wondering if it's too early to eat the basketful of pickled herring.

3/15/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Larsen,

Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you don't answer,
and a girl with colitis walks by.
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over her head.
Look on that girl with the moon in her eyes,
And she’s gone.

3/15/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Milosz must've written that in English. Nothing could translate so well.

Beautiful women, love, food, the system and its schedules, so many things so captivating, so not dead.

3/15/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmellow pies,
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
--And you’re gone.

3/15/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Larsen,

The fish cod is washed away from the sea.

It is a nebulous, incandescent, twilight, up untoward the mountain. The bell tolls. What this is, to morrow, yester day; it is today.

3/15/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

I felt that Milosz was a good follow-up to your Donne, Buddy, which was an excellent choice, not least for its extended earth metaphor.

For a long time now the way I've thought of the troubles in the Balkans is in earth terms. Their understanding of history and place nearly collapse the two words into one, to create a more formidable "earth consciousness" than most of the back-to-the-landers I've ever met. (Most, but not all.)

But of the varieties of profound earth consciousness, and there are many, I think that your idea of discerning "a center" from "an edge" is a useful axis to run through each metaphor, and each interpretation of each action. One might very well end up at Donne's door.

The reason I chose Milosz's poem "Earth Again" was for the line "So that for a short moment there is no death", which is an answer from one great, cultured "center", from the center of Lithuania even, to an edge which may be in danger of losing its memory of what all of this is about - of what it is we're defending. Too much 'gristle and bone' imagination and not enough sensuous indulgence can lead to Nietszche's condition of staring too long into monsters. Of course that begs the question of what one's monsters might be, but that's itself a good question to put to the axis.

Milosz translated nearly everything with the help of the poet Robert Hass.

3/15/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The Battle of Lepanto, and GK Chesterton's poem about it.

Just ten generations before the American Revolution. History, his story.

3/15/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Fine. Then I will await a new poet and a new poem. I have all the time in the world.

3/15/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The hero of Lepanto, Don John (or 'Juan') of Austria, was of course from the 'edge'. Chesterton casts those farther away from the advancing alien army as dithering and letting Don Juan roll the dice for the whole of Europe, and being made sick and weak by their reluctance, by their reliance on geography to avoid 'marching to the sea'.

That's how it was then.

yes, me too, Milosz' last lines are just too much:

"...for a short moment there is no death/
And time does not unreel like a skein of yarn/
Thrown into an abyss."

My daughter Sarah, just graduated from Univ of Texas, majored in Russian because she fell in love with Slavic literature and poetry. So much art from the edge of Europe is a strangely knowing combination of heroic and elegiac.

3/15/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

" ... the banks of oars that swam upon/
The many-headed foam at Salamis./
Europe put off that foam when Phidias/
Gave women dreams and dreams their looking-glass."
- Yeats, "The Statues", 1939.

"The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes ..." - Chesterton, "Lepanto"

"The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful." - Chesterton

3/15/2006 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mika, that 9:06 was beyond my pay-grade, elliptical-wise. Is there something about Chesterton that Anglos can't see?

He was sure right about those virtues running wild and doing damage. Our own Don Juan has half his oarsmen paddling one way, half the other way.

3/15/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

...all, of course, certain of their direction.

3/15/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Our own Don Juan has half his oarsmen paddling one way, half the other way.


Don Juan fathered many affairs, not all his, as some would have us to believe.

3/15/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

By the "edge" Buddy, I don't mean a geographical distinction as much as a qualitative one, as a Churchill can constitute an "edge" in the sense that you mean it, as a Milosz does, though he hails from the provinces. This qualitative axis cuts through distinctions such as actual center or actual edge.

A "center", as I understand it from art history, is a person or quality whereby tradition has been assimilated.

This is from the artist Fairfield Porter, who believed that the technical art term "value" was to a degree interchangeable with what we commonly refer to as "values":

"What assimilation of tradition means is an understanding on the part of artists of the essential nature of the form of the art of the past, or of another artistic capital, or the previous one. Artistic provinciality means that the artist does not understand the essential nature of the form of art in the capital, though he may be strongly attracted to it. Or he may consider himself a traditionalist, that is, attracted to the art of the past; and if his understanding of this art is superficial, he will be provincial to it. An academy is often a center of provinciality, even when located in a capital. The academic view assumes that art can be expressed in a series of rules, which in sum miss the essentials. A provincial artist's work depends on the art of the capital, removed in time or space. His work has formality without form. His work does not stand alone, but depends on art somewhere else."

(Tradition and Revolt, 1961)

In the spirit of an Ars Poetica, I might consider Don Juan of Austria to be a great artist of the center rather than the edge, which is precisely how I contextualize Patton's beef against what he loathed as the new breed of "administrative" warrior.

Provinciality is a state of mind.

Congratulations to your daughter Sarah.

3/15/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

I will restate then:

"... an edge which may be in danger of losing its memory of what all of this is about - of what it is we're defending - [which] can lead to Nietszche's condition of staring too long into monsters. Of course that begs the question of what one's monsters might be, but that's itself a good question to put to the [center-edge] axis."

3/15/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston said...

Opotho, please excuse my tardy response to a much, much earlier question you posed (I've been busy). In response to my stating that "They were greedy. They were bigots" etc. your rejoinder was "
Hmm, so they did do something, eh?" Yes, they most certainly did make mass graves. In Krajina and Bosnia, Srebrenica, etc. BUT my comment was about KOSOVO. This is when/where we intervened. And again, no mass graves discovered since then, none that I ever detected. Hey, I got a JSAM for strategic logistics work during Kosovo, so I have no reason to bad mouth it. Except that it was too little, too late.
My overall point (if poorly communicated) was that Milosevic SUCCEEDED in getting a treaty favorable to the Serbs' historic claims. Whether you believe those claims are germain or not, he did it. So get used to guys like Mətušéla thinking that Slobo was a hero. This Slobo Cult will INCREASE. You don't have a large group of violent muslims as neighbors. SERBS DO. They may be wrong to continue the "cycle of violence" but I guaran-dam-tee you violence WILL continue because it only takes one side to have a conflict. There is absolutely zero reason to expect the KLA to play nice in the future.
Nice poetry/prose entries, by the way. Seriously, I can't compete in that department.

3/15/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Good stuff on provincial/formalism. "Assimilated tradition" is a good framework, too. It leads back to the geography base of all this, tho, to me. The academy being provincial only in a world-view. can't help but think of a Van Gogh, ignored by the Paris salon, while creating the brush-stroke as an element of nature itself.

Austin Bay is onto the idea--utterly new to me just because it'd never occurred--that there is more to the Milosevic story than the conventional wisdom.

One thing that confuses me, Evanston, is your appreciation of what Milosevic was up against, along with a simultaneous believe that we should've intervened earlier. I'd always thought that the JAL was stopped short of its war aim.

The Scythians were warlike, too, when the Balkans were Scythia. It must come with the turf. The turf was a big edge even then, with its own myriad 'little' centers, almost valley-by-valley.

Hey, thanks, Opotho, on Sarah--she's contemplating law school and/or the Navy (intel attracts her) but a blown ACL stymied her with the Navy recruiter--so far--right now the only Russian she's doing is Rushin' to meet orders at her brother's lawn-care parts biz (while I hold my breath over the edu investment).

3/15/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

A JSAM - for "outstanding performance of duty and meritorious achievement". Nice one, and thank you for your service, evanston.

I didn't understand you earlier, that is correct. I never put much stock in mass graves in Kosovo, though I've never doubted the probably innumerable lesser horrors visited by each side upon the other.

Regarding our own strained history of treaties during the westward expansion of the US, I have little doubt that you'll agree with me in allowing for the mitigating effect of the passage of time, which unfairly applies where treaties can be shown to have been broken, or where continuous residence has come to confer an established ownership. Such is the situation with northern Ireland to the common-sensical mind, and I imagine some measure of the same properly applies in Kosovo too.

In view of the fact that the Milosevic cult will almost certainly continue to grow, it's worth pointing out that the immediate assumption about someone questioning a cult member, as I did above, was that I MUST have been an apologist for the KLM. But I never was, not in the early 90's and not now. I know too much from first-hand experience about such cycles of violence. (I guess I'd hoped in vain that some of my recollections of northern Ireland might've indicated such a familiarity, but apparently not.)

That violence can continue when only one side is conflicted is certainly true.

But if I may be permitted to extrapolate from the few Muslims I know in my own American community - mostly Indonesians and Bangladeshis - their relationships to Islam strike me, on the whole, as generally lackadaisical. I know much more about their religion than any of them do, which amounts to little more than a curiosity to anyone. They appear to go through the motions of their faith in exactly the same way I did as a Catholic youth, almost automatically and by rote, probably spending most of their time during "worship" thinking about members of the opposite sex (and I mean living, breathing ones).

So no, I don't have "a large group of violent muslims as neighbors", but I can easily imagine Muslim boys and girls in Kosovo, and boys and girls of the Christian and Jewish faiths in Serbia whose minds are still elsewhere, filled with promise, and as-yet only barely tainted with their elders' cycle of insanity.

That the Muslims of Kosovo probably figure that they have "a large group of violent neighbors" too, will be lost on our fellow poster but hopefully not on you. (?)

It's just that I've seen all this before. I've lived in it. Very little that I've seen in this thread indicates any way to step beyond, other than the total annhilation of the world's largest faith. How wise is that? It is, however, characteristic rhetoric of "the edge".

You may recognize these words from Irish literature.

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/
The ceremony of innocence is lost/ ...

twenty centuries of stony sleep/
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,/
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?


(From Yeats's "The Second Coming", a poem that I know by heart, and which I recited to myself over and over and over again on 9/11/01.)

3/15/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Buddy - I didn't understand:

"Assimilated tradition" is a good framework, too. It leads back to the geography base of all this, tho, to me. The academy being provincial only in a world-view.

The way I understand it, provincial is provincial.

Did you get what I meant about Patton being aggravated by an Academy whose "work had formality without form"?

I'd say that Patton would have had different ideas three or four weeks into OIF than Frank and Rumsfeld did.

I'm following Austin Bay's current meditations with delight.

3/15/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Unless he's also "ignorant" like me, here is Austin Bay's explanation as to why Milosevic was a fascist.

http://www.strategypage.com/
onpoint/articles/2006315.asp

3/15/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That poem--Yeats'--is from the year after WWI, and Chesterton's in from the year before. Quite a diff--the first is heroic, and has an adversary, the second just has a falcon going farther and farther out, until he can no longer hear the falconer.

The first verse, concerned with physical distance, is the nut, to me.

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."


The 'mere anarchy' is genius, tho anytime a deadly enemy is advancing, the last phrase is fated to be turned around. When either the best are full of passionate intensity, or all is lost.

3/15/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Opotho, I'd guess that Patton was referring to the 'style vs substance' dichotomy. simply put as best I can.

The 'provincialism' is simple, too, in that the grand academies in capital cities are everywhere scattered across the planet.

On Milosevic, i think why you're getting argument is not what Milosevic did, but why he did it. You spoke of 911, of being there. Imagine that there had been hundreds of airplanes, landing everywhere like the Martians in War of the Worlds. How long until New Yorkers organize under fascistic control and systematic bloody-mindedness?

3/15/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Style vs substance" is also true, but I was sort of hoping you'd follow Porter's "formality without form" to plumb a different way of distinguishing a center from an edge. To me, it's more like a level of aptitude. Some people will never be able to see that tradition is a process.

[It's] not what Milosevic did, but why he did it.

Like I've said on this same issue for too many years to every complaining European I've met: I'm not interested in why someone stoops to war crimes.

Like I said somewhere above, "the edge takes the brunt and that's their lot. ... The trouble is that the edges often can't discern the thankable from the downright deplorable" actions.

I don't expect much wisdom from those quarters; I did however respect the Slovenians for getting the hell out there the first opportunity they saw!

Although Yeats was one of Byzantium's greatest defenders (as an idea) he would have celebrated Chesterton's heroism with no risk of contradiction.

The "rough beast" was Yeats's adversary, and to him its signs were anywhere that heroism was seen to be dwindling.

He marked it in the deadness of abstractions, in the deadness he saw in Woodrow Wilson's eyes, and in what he feared was our inexorable march towards collectivism. His rough beast might have resembled Star Trek's "borg", as one expression, but also showed the possibility of a tribal or clan thinking, whereby the individual slinks back into an undifferentiated murderousness, a participation mystique as anthropologists used to call it, all things that Yeats witnessed first-hand.

As a function of his heroism, Yeats was all about distance. "Passionate intensity" would have been more like the closeness of affect and emotion so familiar to the mere modern individual, a person so faded and reduced as to be only a shadow of his - the subject's - heroic ancestor. The subject itself, and subjectivism, were understood as weigh stations en route to our inevitable ruin in the downward cycle.

The best lacking all conviction recalls Blake's "horses of instruction" who would rather appease than face an enemy, so far under the spell off Rationalism they were. Yeats would have hated the UN!

A few years ago Joni Mitchell set "The Second Coming" to music, and got the Yeats family pretty upset after changing that one word, "passionate", to something else, passion being to her "a good thing".

3/15/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

To step back a minute, the International Monetary Fund reports world economic growth for 2005 as 4.3%, and running ahead so far Y2Y 06. There may be a world revolution upon us, alright. That capitalist one, that never gets in the news because it doesn't bleed. Never before has everyone had a better reason to stay on their own side of the river and produce stuff. It's already working, the Mullahs have a huge problem of their young people being more interested in the new electronics at the mall, than they are dying for Mohammed. But the old and the new are definitely both legitimate realities, trying to occupy the same space. Irresistable force amd immovable object, how very nuclear.

3/15/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"the Mullahs have a huge problem of their young people being more interested in the new electronics at the mall, than they are dying for Mohammed."

That's why I have some faith in the future of Iran, if we can only continue working the situation to our advantage.

I once knew a very old woman (actually a Russian princess) who remembered to me the horrific sight of a raft floating down the Danube in the center of Belgrade piled with all the members of a Serbian wedding party, their throats cut by Croats.

To take the worst actions of the Serbs though (and not, for the moment, the worst actions of the KLM) they deserve to have their "why" collapsed into the "what", of what they specifically did. From my story above you can guess why I see no reason at all why not to apply the same standard to Croat and Bosnian atrocities.

To those who still complain that Bush was unfairly "appointed" in his first term, I argue along the lines that America is more than a merely procedural republic. Despite what too many would want to occur, our form of government isn't practiced in the vacuum of abstractions, but is ever the expression of an ethos. Practical wisdom must to enter into our highest deliberations, if not everywhere else. The Founders set it up that way (and Marbury v. Madison clinched it.)

Tradition as a process, formality embodying form, and the threat to the Western genius from "all Asiatic vague immensities" can be all found in one poem by Yeats, already quoted above. (And here he uses the word "passion" in a way that would satisfy Ms. Mitchell.) Perhaps our rabbi can find something worthwhile in the tragic experience of Ireland? We can get to Leopold Bloom in some other life ...

The Statues

Pythagoras planned it. Why did the people stare?
His numbers, though they moved or seemed to move
In marble or in bronze, lacked character.
But boys and girls, pale from the imagined love
Of solitary beds, knew what they were,
That passion could bring character enough,
And pressed at midnight in some public place
Live lips upon a plummet-measured face.

No! Greater than Pythagoras, for the men
That with a mallet or a chisel" modelled these
Calculations that look but casual flesh, put down
All Asiatic vague immensities,
And not the banks of oars that swam upon
The many-headed foam at Salamis.
Europe put off that foam when Phidias
Gave women dreams and dreams their looking-glass.

One image crossed the many-headed, sat
Under the tropic shade, grew round and slow,
No Hamlet thin from eating flies, a fat
Dreamer of the Middle Ages. Empty eyeballs knew
That knowledge increases unreality, that
Mirror on mirror mirrored is all the show.
When gong and conch declare the hour to bless
Grimalkin crawls to Buddha's emptiness.

When Pearse summoned Cuchulain to his side.
What stalked through the post Office? What intellect,
What calculation, number, measurement, replied?
We Irish, born into that ancient sect
But thrown upon this filthy modern tide
And by its formless spawning fury wrecked,
Climb to our proper dark, that we may trace
The lineaments of a plummet-measured face.

3/15/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I didn't 'follow Porter's "formality without form" to plumb a different way of distinguishing a center from an edge' for the same reason Don Juan has to be radical--the world is the only thing that can't be metaphor. There's no base of comparison, and regardless of the things at the edge of the mind, the edge of the meadow, the ridgeline above the valley, the town at the bend in the river, to be a wise Slovenian and get the hell out, or to be oblivious to the 'why' of killing an invader and thus focus only on the killing (the error many make with Homer, and miss that Helen was the world), will cede the territory--where the food to feed your descendants is created--to the Other.

Thus entering League with the Other (a Faustian bargain merely for a bit more breath), which in the times before we tried to hold ourselves to Pym Fortuyn's "inhuman standards" was the sin.

So, to me, the various ways of regarding the distances which enclose us are moot, when something essential is in danger--when the grim reaper is bearing down on the lilies of the field--and the children at play among them.

Then, for the emergency, only the physical matters--the perfect proof being death, nothing more physical, nothing trumps it, and always the death of a people is greater than the death of a person.

Jeez--this thread has drifted off into the opium den, ain't it?

3/15/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Don't you get stoned, Larsen. There's a world counting on your snake charming skills. The poison is real.

3/15/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That Yeats is really something--he's right--it's all about recapturing a few moments of memory. That time it took your breath away. It's always there again, just around the bend, just over the next mountain of thought.

3/15/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ha! Snake-charmer, that's a leap for cousin Sven.

3/15/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

You're not in Rome now. The train has already passed that station. Better check the clocktower again. It's a different time zone altogether. And don't worry about lunch, you've got plenty of reserve to carry you through.

3/15/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Okay, that does it--time to form up the Abraham Linking Brigade.

3/15/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

You son of Thor. Whose chains do you think you're Yanking.

3/15/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

That fellow is a fancy Farsi nasty.

3/15/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Son of Abraham, Order thy House in the Holy Land, that we may continue to raid the Irish coast, and steal that great bath soap, Irish Spring, that we cut with our pocketknives prior to lathering up.

3/15/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Ye child of Odin, I misjudged thy cunning. Thou raideth the Irish for ðis odious odor, lathering Lauren Graham thou shant.

3/15/2006 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ah, but to lather Ashley Judd, there be a task worthy of trading one's place in Valhalla....

3/15/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Ashley,s mine.

I've been blocked for hours by Blogger "error" message from reading or posting.

I have some parting thoughts.

3/15/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

By g'd, yahoo be his name, tiz over. Youz stoned!

3/15/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wow, you Chosen People can call down Help and block Blogger. Can you rescue Ashley for me?

3/15/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Chosen People, my donkey!

Haram: Forbodden to eat bunny meat for dinner, by stupid dietary laws.

Haraam: Forbodden to eat snake meat for dinner, by stupid dietary laws.

3/15/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Well, I didn't say 'chosen' for what. I've always thought that's a pretty heavy double-edged designation, anyway.

3/15/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Chosen to sing this tune, for eternity. Joi, Joi, Joi

3/15/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Blogger continues to undermine my attempts to access any Belmont thread. If you've all been posting, maybe I'm no longer welcome here? I am getting through now though.

Chances are I won't be able to bring up this page again soon, so I'll be brief. I'm back to work anyway.

Buddy, I can't imagine what you see in the fellow, but I'm sure Interpol will pick him up before his next Srebrenica.

If you think I'm being facetious, I'm not. That's what I got out of all this. You didn't even come close to allaying my intense suspicion that if this guy isn't an actual war criminal, he's at least an apologist for mass murderers.

It was all very cute in a black sort of way back when he called himself "Mika". For a half a minute maybe

But now I can't see my way around associating you with this man who seems incapable of explaining himself in anything other than the language of hatred. (And please tell me he's not actually a rabbi.)

As far as I've understood, you've done nothing but defend bloodlust, and so I must associate you with the call to the murder of innocents too. You might want to give that some thought, because I know you're not evil... I'm sure of it.

Do you owe this man something?

I hope that Wretchard deserves a better readership than this, unless I misunderstand that there are atrocities he's willing to tolerate too. (Actually, I've been thinking that he's a bit cagey on this issue, so maybe you can still persuade him to embrace your position more outwardly.)

I'm leaving this discussion, disgusted.

I've just learned of death threats by self-described "patriots" against liberal Supreme Court justices.

Perhaps I have no further business at this website.

3/15/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Pay your dues to King Richard and close the door behind you.

3/15/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Opotho, no, Blogger's been locking me out too--splash screen saying "Blogger is Experiencing Problems"--

I guess that on top of lacking body-language, blog posts also lack a 'play' notation. Sometimes people stake out an extreme position just to see how it feels, or how it flies, if anyone salutes.

Mika makes a war-face at the real people that ring Israel right this minute, singing songs of genocide.

From reading history (and that's another thing, we just 'read' of being Israeli) I think this attitude is what it'll take to make a living peace supplant the jihad's 'dead' peace. It's pure paradox, I know.

You two are cross-ways on atmospherics--neither of you want to live under Sharia--Irish Catholics and Lithuanian Jews have already fought side-by-side to preserve western culture (Lepanto for one), and in any case would never dream of eliminating other cultures--only to defend their own.

You're a poet, Opotho--in the dream realm where we see ourselves good or evil, can the Western heart survive the breaking of Israel? The Bible is breaking out in repeat-patterns all over the place.

Imagine waking up an Israeli. Crowded against the sea outnumbered on all sides a thousand to one by a people who want you dead, and whose war-chests are fast-filling with the planet's gold.

It's back to that physical distance truth, and it bodes ill for us all unless we learn from the people who've been there--really since Richard the Lion-Heart ran the first European pogrom on them.

The Holocaust--still in living memory--must have taught the Jihadis something about Good and Evil. And so, their behavior since then is as plain as the handwriting on the wall.

Given that, shouldn't we psychologically "arm to parley"? What is the alternative? The Jihad has gone quiescent in the past, only following resounding defeats.

But the threat of such is the first thing to try, and it can't be communicated by the peacemakers--by definition, a priori.

If we don't want a total war, we have to be honestly willing to fight one.

Final paradox, is you and I, safe in our distance and trying to understand it all, may be more likely to bring it on than people like Mika, ready to go for it tomorrow morning.

I know you know all this already. The only mistake you might be making is that The Famine was then, and this is now. What if your people had been able to stop the wholesale shipping of food out of Ireland, when the people of the interior were dying of starvation? Had you been born six or eight generations earlier, you'd be Mika now.

Just my humble thoughts. But, everboby's got a stake, nowadays, in each other's thoughts--praise the Lord.

3/16/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Somebody once said--and it was well disseminated through the culture--that the first casualty of war is 'truth'.

The 'truth'--which place are we talking about? Heaven, or Earth?

I have no idea.

3/16/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

A cop shooting down a rampaging criminal is a cold blooded fascist no better than the criminal. The pirate fleet is the same as the royal Navy fleet trying to stop it. Don't react to anything we do or we will label you commie fascist dictator. Keep the frog temperate until he boils to death. That's the basic strategy of our Jihadi snakes.

3/16/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Evanston said...

Buddy and Opotho, I just got nailed by Blogger, too. So I'm gonna type quickly and will lack your poetic touch.
Buddy says "One thing that confuses me, Evanston, is your appreciation of what Milosevic was up against, along with a simultaneous believe [sic] that we should've intervened earlier." I'm not focused on "what ifs" about the past, just the facts. We intervened too late in the region, after Krajina, Bosnia, Srebrenica, etc. and in Kosovo we shot up a lot of Serbian soldiers who had not (yet?) made any "mass graves." This failure to justify our intervention in the eyes of the Serbs undermines OUR credibility. Same for the peace treaty. If we fail to honor it (as Opotho noted is a historic tradition) it further weakens our ability to broker peace in the future. OUR CREDIBILITY IN BOTH THE CAUSE AND CONCLUSION OF WARS IS CRITICAL TO STOP BLOODLETTING IN THE FUTURE. My remarks on Milosevic merely address the Kosovo settlement and the fact that he WILL be a cult hero to the Serbs. And as soon as the peacekeepers leave, we will be back to "square one" there. Opotho's observations on muslims in the Far East are accurate, no doubt, in context but to apply them to Kosovo is a stretch. There's a difference between people who share some common language, religious traditions and history (Irish Catholic vs. Irish Protestant vs. English) and Serbs vs. Albanian Muslims. I hope Opotho's comments about "bloodlust" are just aimed at Methusela. Nowhere have I approved of nor urged violence, I am giving my interpretation of where we are NOW. Further, Opotho's comments about death threats to a Supreme Court justice are just plain silly. How many public officials and public figures receive threats far worse than an Internet posting? We had a judge's husband killed in revenge here in Chicago last year. Stuff happens. And it doesn't help folks like Bader Ginsburg that she urges us to follow the "rule of law" and then seeks out laws to choose from overseas or makes them out of thin air (Roe vs. Wade). The judiciary in this country has undermined its own foundations. Reap the wind, sow the whirlwind. Again, I am not urging this sort of practice, just noting that this is a natural consequence of such actions. I'm an evangelical Christian and will only go to jail for preaching Christ, otherwise I will observe Romans 13. But I know from experience how people will act/react if you manipulate the rules and lack credibility. My college Arabic professor said "you cannot have peace without justice." And there's the rub. Getting back to the subject of Kosovo, we need to work as an HONEST BROKER for justice, starting by honoring the peace treaty we made. Like Opotho said, the "historic claims" argument is weak because all sorts of people (in this case, both Serbs and Albanian muslims) have such claims but the fact is if we don't honor yesterday's treaty, what makes today's so special? My prediction is it's going to be a big fat mess because we lacked the guts to finish our intervention correctly the first time and everyone there knows they can wait us out. We won't honor the treaty and the Serbs will push out the Albanian muslims over the long haul because they have the will. Overall, I wrote a lot of words to say the Balkans remain the Balkans.

3/17/2006 02:35:00 PM  

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