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Opinion By Ted Baldwin

Slobodan Milosevic and Low Self Esteem

written: 6/1/99 tampered with:6/2/99
Repeat after me: Fairness equals happiness.

Regarding the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic as a war criminal...

     Anyone notice the incessant use of the words "indicted war criminal" to describe Slobodan Milosevic? Over and over, since the court at the Hague met and decreed war crimes had taken place (without an official war, mind you), the administration and its NATO allies have pounded this idea home.

     And the abhorrence with which they utter the phrase is designed to… do what exactly?

     On the face of it, Milosevic is being bombed daily by an otherwise unstoppable rain of terror. Now he has to worry about what we think of him, too.

      At a deeper level, it is questionable as to exactly what damage the NATO (controlled) planes are doing, with certain targets off-limits. Rembrandts and such. Cultural property is important, no question. The question is, though, how many NATO lives (our young people's lives) are we willing to trade to keep one Rembrandt safe? Another way, how much longer will the "war" go on if we decline to offend our sensibilities? ("Lost Lives" is directly proportional to "Length Of War".)

     At a much deeper level, the bombing campaign is not terrorizing Milosevic the way it apparently did Saddam Hussein. There is no capitulation in the offing.

     But if you observe the way the administration is acting, they seem to think their words are the real weapon. Now that Milosevic has been indicted, public outrage will turn against him! With the turn of a phrase they have him on the run! Very propagandistic.

(An aside: to see really bad propaganda practiced on a daily basis, check out N. Korean News.)

     It really looks and sounds to me like Slobodan doesn't care. And why should he? If sticks and stones, cruise missiles, cluster bombs and smart bombs and God knows what else do not disturb him, what will a few smartly placed adjectives do? But to the academes in Washington, the words are just the thing.

     To a bemused observer, it is the equivalent of watching some kid yelling after a bully that he'll fix him, when he clearly does not care, and is laughing all the way home.

     However deserving this butcher is of condemnation, pointing fingers and making accusations is not going to help unless he is actually put on trial, and punished accordingly. Then the words "war criminal" will have some meaning.

     If he is not put on trial, then the international court is weakened, and the possibility of international justice deterring other human rights violators will fade quickly from the scene, but it all should be done in the context of "war", and once the war is concluded, everyone should go back to minding their own business.

     So why belabor the words?

     I see their use of words as a revelation about the mindset of the professorial types in power in the U.S. Their world is one where a few well placed words really can ruin a career, be they suspicions of plagiarism or the damnation of faint praise, crushing the spirit and a lifetime of work. It is the stain and stench of the opinion of credentialed colleagues that comprises their weaponry.

     And I don't think they can distinguish between the academic world, where opinions matter, and the real world, where soft words and a big stick seems to be the only arsenal of merit.

They are also lawyers, who by and large as a class make a living from destroying lives with words, justly or not. But the words of our justice system have the confidence that comes from being backed up by deadly force to insure their implementation.

     With that simple equation, it seems unlikely that the administration would believe their words would make a difference when the bombs don't. So what are the words for?

     The words are for us.

  • First, to make it look like they are achieving something.
  • Second, and more importantly, if we are convinced those words have meaning, and power, it is a small brick in the wall that is our recognition of a world authority.

     For all we know, someday that authority, or its big brother, may just have to come into Kansas to force acceptance of worldwide pollution standards, assist us in sharing our foodstuffs with poorer countries involuntarily, or perhaps aid a rebel group in establishing a separatist province in Silicon Valley. Hell, you could probably make a world case for Native Americans right now if you wanted to. Turning us into "citizens of the world" is part of a long, slow process of enslavement*. They learned a long time ago that we have to be worn away over generations.

I always used to think that the US was the world authority. And by and large, we attempted to help the world, despite the mistakes and abuses that have occurred. But there are people that don't want us helping from a position of strength. They want to take our resources and resourcefulness, and distribute its power as they see fit. Some people have effectively neutered us, through revisionism and other totalitarian tools, undermining our moral position**, and our capability to assert justice. These people include our "leaders".

     For example, every day a thousand new voices blindly raise the new "fairness" standard. Some have high-minded motives in "helping all the peoples of the world". Others posture those motives simply to take control. The ones who would destroy us, and freedom, need our help! But face it, what good is our selfish sovereignty compared to the nobleness of worldwide fairness?! I guess the sooner we are knocked down to everyone else's level and join in their despair, the happier everyone will be. It is only fair.

     Sadly, with the acquiescence of our fellow citizens, it seems inevitable they*** will win, in the short run. Are the words of the one-worlders as strong as our desire to be free? One bright note: All the lies and propaganda and deadly force and "fairness" in the mighty USSR could not preserve that union.

It ironically appears that this country is the last, best hope for totalitarianism, and here we will have to make a stand against it. And though ultimately we may lose the current form and structure of our United States, and millions upon millions of lives, the idea of freedom in practice is not going to be easy to kill, no matter what anyone does or says.

     *Enslavement. Sounds drastic, doesn't it? To the penny, how much of your annual earnings are currently taken from you through taxation? You don't know? You are already used to the idea. How much more will be needed to run the World Government they*** envision? And if you don't believe there is an implied threat of force, try not paying your taxes. Tea, anyone?
Amusing, isn't it?
**Moral position is not morality.
***Who are "they"? People that believe the US is the focus of evil in the world. People who proclaimed the USSR was our moral equivalent. People who just have free-floating hatred for our way of doing things. Utopian dreamers to communists. Good people and bad. You know. "Them".