Reply to George Monbiot on "Genocide Belittling"
Isn’t George Monbiot “belittling” genocide when he puts the death of 8,000 soldiers at Srebrenica in the same class as the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust death camps? ("Left and libertarian right cohabit in the weird world of the genocide belittlers," The Guardian, June 14.)
Monbiot makes his case for disallowing discussion on killings at Srebrenica and
Can you have “genocide” in one small town, where the women and children are spared, and when it is not clear how many were executed and how many were killed in combat? The Bosnian Muslim General Enver Hadzihasanovic claimed with "certainty" at the Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic’s trial that 2,628 Muslim "soldiers and commanding officers" from the 28th Division were killed in combat during their retreat from Srebrenica, and the forensic pathologist Ljubisa Simic found that of the total bodies exhumed in graves by Tribunal workers for the years 1996 through 2002, for roughly 77 percent of the bodies it was either impossible to determine the manner of death (execution or combat) or the manner of death strongly suggested that it was combat-related. Monbiot tells us that DNA has allowed the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to identify the "corpses of 6,595 of the 7,789 Bosnians reported as missing after the siege of Srebrenica," but he fails to mention that DNA does not show how an individual died, or when, which allows the ICMP, the Yugoslavia Tribunal, and Monbiot to pretend that these were all executions. Monbiot’s statement that our book asserts “that the 8,000 deaths at Srebrenica is ‘an unsupportable exaggeration’,” substitutes “deaths” for the word actually used, which is “executions.”
Monbiot cannot conceive that the ICMP is biased, though its chairman is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of State, it is directly run by Bosnian Muslim officials, and it will not allow its results to be revealed and tested by any counsel for the defendants. He is satirical at the notion that “the market massacres [in Sarajevo] were carried out by Bosnian Muslim provocateurs,” though there are numerous credible cites to this claim in The Srebrenica Massacre, and, “like Karadzic,” as Monbiot expresses it for me, UN officials and Lord David Owen were believers that the Muslims fired the shell that caused the bread queue massacre of February 5, 1994 (see Owen on the BBC1 Panorama TV broadcast of October 30, 1995; also, Owen, Balkan Odyssey, pp. 279-280).
There are very few sentences in George Monbiot’s June 14 diatribe that withstand close scrutiny. Instead, I urge readers to check out the badly misrepresented originals: The Politics of Genocide (with David Peterson, Monthly Review Press, 2010) and The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (Alphabet Soup, 2011).