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Foreign Correspondent
by international syndicated columnist & broadcaster Eric Margolis


Copyright: Eric S. Margolis, 2005

November 27, 2005

NEW YORK - Never in my lifetime have I seen the United States so hated and despised around the globe. Only five years ago, the world’s image of the US was generally positive. No longer. Thank the neocon cabal that has been running US foreign policy.

But many Americans still don’t know, or care, that much of the outside world sees their nation as a dangerous rogue state, and President George Bush and mentor VP Dick Cheney as the real axis of evil. They are as brainwashed as were Russians who depended on Soviet party-line media for their view of the world.

Every week bring new outrages: legal chicanery by the Dept of Injustice; secret gulags; FBI snooping; exposure of more outrageous lies over Iraq; and sickening revelations about Dick Cheney and his merry band of torturers.

One of the finest and most honorable Americans I have ever known, former CIA Director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, just called Cheney, `the Vice President for torture.’

But the world also needs to remember Bosnia and Kosova.

The tenth anniversary last week of the Dayton Accords that ended the genocidal war in Bosnia, and the 1999 rescue of Kosova’s Albanians from genocide, must remind everyone ­ especially the Muslim World ­ that the US used to be a champion of human rights rather than what it has today become, one of the world’s major offenders.

In late 1995, Serb demagogue Slobodan Milosevic’s attempt to create a Greater Serbia by Nazi-style ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Muslims and Catholics was finally stopped by the US and NATO. The US imposed a settlement that forced Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims into a cold but lasting peace.

But not before over 200,000 Bosnian Muslims had been slaughtered in Europe’s worst crimes against humanity since World War II. Eighty percent of the Bosnian War’s victims were Muslims. At Srebrenica alone, some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered. Videotapes show laughing, joking Serb soldiers casually shooting bound prisoners in scenes recalling Nazi SS field extermination squads at work.

When Milosevic unleashed the old evil of racism and religious hatred, Europe dithered as Bosnians and Croats were massacred, mosques blown up, millions driven from their homes by terrorism, and Muslims treated as subhuman untermensch. The US also procrastinated far too long as ethnic cleansing continued.

Shamefully, the Muslim World did even less. As fellow Muslims were being savagely murdered, and Muslim women gang raped, by Serbs, Muslim nations, with millions of soldiers available, closed their eyes. The only aid to Bosnia came from small numbers of mujahedin veterans of Afghanistan and some arms from Iran.

Interestingly, the US aided both the mujahedin and Iranian arms in reaching isolated Bosnia. Today, Washington brands both Islamic fighters and Iran as terrorists. Muslim Americans who raised funds to aid Bosnian victims of genocide and rape have been jailed by the US government as backers of terrorism.

The US offered $25 million reward for Osama bin Laden. Yet the uber-rich Saudi so-called defenders of Islam never offered a dime for Muslim-murderers, Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. By contrast, prominent American Jewish groups, led by the American Jewish Congress, who knew the stench of reborn Nazism when they smelled it, furiously demanded Washington take action to save Balkan Muslims.

As Bosnia’s massacres intensified, President Bill Clinton finally bombed Serbia into peace talks with Croats and Bosnians. In 1999, the US again intervened militarily to compel Serbia to halt its killing and mass ethnic cleansing of Kosova’s two million Muslim and Catholic Albanians.

The United States became the savior of the Balkan’s oppressed Muslims — a fact the Muslim World, which today seethes with anti-US hatred — has sadly forgotten. In the Balkans, the US acted to defend principles for which it had always stood, however imperfectly: justice, human rights and self-determination.

Concern the Bosnian War and Kosova might ignite a wider Balkan conflict of course partly motivated Washington’s interventions in the region. But this writer, who was closely involved in the conflict and the political battle over it in Washington, remains convinced that the White House’s primary motivation was humanitarian.

Unfortunately, such an expression of humanity did not extend to Iraq, whose wretched people were subjected to the US-led embargo that resulted in the deaths of some 500,000 Iraqis from disease and malnutrition. But that’s another grim story.

The Dayton Accords were deeply flawed. They preserved the fruits of ethnic terrorism by keeping large areas of Bosnia `Muslimfrei.’ Serbs, Muslims and Croats barely cooperated and kept apart.

Worst of all, Serb war criminals Mladic, Karadzic and a score of others escaped justice. Serbia must be bared from the EU and kept under sanctions until it sends these neo-Nazis to the Hague Court to join their master, Milosevic in facing justice. Serbia’s government knows perfectly well where these criminals are. A week’s oil embargo of Serbia would produce quick results.

Negotiated peace treaties are rarely totally satisfactory. All sides end up losers. Still, Dayton ended the killing and has kept peace in Bosnia and the Balkans ever since. For that the much-rebuked Clinton Administration deserves high praise.

In Bosnia, and again, Kosova, America was a savior and liberator of the oppressed ­ as in World War II. Fighting injustice and suffering is what the US should be doing again today. That is my America, the nation I was raised in and in whose armed forces I proudly served. The little would-be Mussolinis in Washington are not part of my America.

The rescue of Bosnia and Kosova were among America’s finest hours.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2005


  • Good riddance to former Public Broadcasting Corp chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. The White House put him in charge of PBS, one of the few un-self-censored media left in the US, with orders to root out `liberalism,’ and any criticism of Israel. Investigators found he repeatedly broke US law, ethnics, and kept trying to pack programming with pro-war neoconservatives. He was finally fired.

    Interestingly, I stopped broadcasting for Canada’s TV Ontario in 2003 for precisely the same reason. The neocon producing the foreign affairs shows I did there kept packing the guest list with the most rabid pro-war, Washington neocons and promoting the war against Iraq. After attempts to censor my commentary, I left. It is unacceptable for a public broadcaster to be promoting any party line, far right or left.

  • Canada, that often neglected land, is heading into an interesting election pitting the near eternal party of government, the Liberals, against the Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois, and leftwing NDP. Under normal circumstances, anyone should be able to beat the Liberals, a deeply corrupt, crooked, cynical party that has been in power far too long. But the Conservatives leadership is so weak that the Liberals are likely to form another minority government. Canadians don’t like change and are scared that the western-based Conservatives may harbor secret Bushite tendencies. As a 19th century British writer opined of Canada, `Rich by nature; poor by government.’

  • Keep an eye on Thailand. Local discontent by Muslims in the nation’s southern provinces has been transformed by brutal police and military crackdowns, into a real insurrection. None of this was necessary. Now Thailand joins the Philippines in having an indigenous Muslim insurrection that has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden but everything to do with oppression of indigenous Muslims and theft of their ancestral lands.

  • I stayed recently in New York’s fabled Pierre Hotel, which my father almost bought in the 1950’s. How truly sad to see this grande dame of Gotham’s hotels run down, shabby and decaying. Helpful staff did not compensate for awful, claustrophobic rooms with Stalinist décor, rumbling ventilation systems, and a feel of neglect. I fear the Pierre will go the way of the similarly neglected Plaza.

Published at since 1995 with permission, as a courtesy and in appreciation.

To read previous columns by Mr. Margolis: Click here

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