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Eric Margolis Headshot

General Mladic Faces Justice, However Late

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Justice delayed is justice denied.

Accused Serb war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic killed at least five times more civilians than Osama bin Laden was accused of doing, yet at times no one seemed in any hurry to find the "Butcher of Sarajevo."

In fact, Mladic managed to hide in plain sight in Serbia for the past 16 years, no doubt with aid from the Serb Secret Police, military intelligence and his old Yugoslav National Army buddies.

Having covered the Balkan Wars of the 1990's, it always seemed amazing to me that the man who gloried in massacring Muslim women and children or blowing up mosques never had a price put on his head by any Muslim government.

Where were all the so-called defenders of Islam when the Muslims of the Balkans were being murdered, starved, tortured and raped?

As I told a meeting of the Islamic Conferences, had the victims of Mladic and his Serb fascist allies Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic been Jews, you can be certain that the Israeli Army would have been there in hours and taken these murderers and tortures back in a cage.

The world did not want to know about the eruption of Nazi brutality in the Balkans. From 1989-1990, I wrote a series of newspaper articles warning that violent anti-Muslim hatemongering and claims to Serb racial superiority being preached by demagogue Milosevic would eventually provoke a war and genocide that would destroy Yugoslavia.

Woe to the messenger of ill tidings. I was blasted by the Serb press and subjected to a stream of death threats that forced me into hiding for a while, or under armed guard. Milosevic, backed by the Orthodox Church, Fascist paramilitary gangs and, ever so quietly, Greece, lit the fuse that blew apart Yugoslavia.

The unnatural state of Yugoslavia, created to benefit the Allied victors of World War I, duly dissolved, unleashing some of the most horrific cruelty and medieval-style barbarism seen in our era.

Gen. Mladic's mission was to head the so-called Bosnian Serb Army (an extension of the old Yugo Army), and create a Greater Serbia by murdering or expelling most Muslim Bosnians and Catholic Croats. This he did with gusto, killing over 120,000 civilians, driving nearly 100,000 from their homes. In the process, atrocities were committed by all sides, but 90% of them were done by Serb forces that staged mass killings, gang rapes of girls as young as 12, concentration camps in which prisoners were starved, torture centers, and a sophisticated program to hide or destroy the bodies of the victims.

Mladic and Karadzic laid siege to Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo, killing over 10,000 civilians in a three year siege. Then came the massacre at the supposed UN safe haven of Srebrenica. Cowardly Dutch UN troops supposedly protecting refugees threw down their guns and ran away, to the undying shame of sanctimonious Holland.

Over three days, Mladic's troops murdered at least 7,500 unarmed Bosnian Muslim men and boys, perhaps as many as 10,000. The full total will never be known as many bodies were skillfully buried or destroyed. This was the worst atrocity in Europe since Word War II.

Mladic denies any knowledge or responsibility for this crime. But as commander of the Bosnian Serb Army -- and in the middle of the killing fields -- he must bear full moral and command responsibility.

But nothing at the time was done to stop of mass murder in Bosnia. Britain's ruling Conservatives, led by John Major, Lord Hurd, and Malcom Rifkind, were deeply anti-Muslim. They cunningly blocked or sabotaged efforts by the US and Muslim nations to aid the beleaguered Bosnians. France joined in the cynical fake peace effort while telling Serbia to hurry up and finish off Bosnia's Muslims. An arms embargo was imposed on the Bosnians -- who had almost no arms in the beginning. Economic sanctions imposed on Serbia were easily and brazenly broken by Greece.

Britain and France both foolishly worried their large, impoverished Muslim minorities might somehow become inflamed by creation of a tiny Muslim-majority state in Bosnia. Serbia was a traditional French ally and arms customers. Britain's German-hating Tories fretted that Germany might dominate a new Bosnian-Croat state. So their choice was to abet murder most foul while preaching peace.

I met Britain's chief "peace" negotiator, Lord Owen, who blandly told me of his "striving for peace" and oozed hypocrisy. I wanted to spit in his face.

US forces could have captured Mladic but they were under orders not to risk the recent Dayton accords that ended the war by sanctifying ethnic cleansing. This was a major mistake and due on good part to the dim-witted American general in charge of the Bosnian operation.

The Clinton Administration finally summoned the will to press NATO into using limited military force to cripple Serbia and its rampaging forces. Secret US cooperation with Croatia played a key role. American Jewish organizations brought potent pressure on the White House to stop what they clearly recognized to be another proto-genocide.

In the end, the United States covered itself with honor by ending the horrors in Bosnia. A few years later, the United States again came to the rescue to prevent Serbia's ethnic cleansing in winter of at least half of Kosova's two million ethnic Albanians. Many American conservatives, ignorant of Balkan history, politics, and much else, opposed this truly humanitarian intervention,

America became a hero nation to the Muslim world for rescuing the Balkan Muslims. But very soon after, President George W. Bush undid all this good work by invading Iraq and putting the United States on a collision course with the Muslim world.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2011