Rockaway Park NY 11694 * July 4 2011 * * in the 40th year of the Society "For God Republic and Society
The Forgotten War
In 1993, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was set up and it was envisaged to last until 2014. The recent arrest of Ratko Mladic on 26th May, 2011 has extended that date. In 2004-2005, the Tribunal cost $271,054,600 and generally costs $306 million per year. There are fifteen permanent judges and ten ad item judges. In total, there are 1,200 staff. It has in all indicted one hundred and sixty-one people of whom one hundred have been sentenced. (That makes a cost of $45 million per person sentenced and one judge to sentence four persons over a period of fifteen years.) It has jurisdiction over grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, violation of the laws and customs of war, genocide and crimes against humanity.
One of the first people to be put on trial was the Croatian President, Franjo Tudman. Unfortunately, he was dead at the time. "Klaus-Peter Willsch compared the Ante Gotovince verdict, where the late Croatian President, Franjo Tudman, was posthumously found to have been participating in a Joint Criminal Enterprise, with the 897 Cadaver Synod tried in Rome when Pope Stephen Vl had the corpse of Pope Formosus exhumed, put on trial and posthumously found guilty…" (quoted from Wikipedia). No indictments were served for NATO officials. Noam Chomsky wryly observed that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton should have been put on trial. Generally, the Court has been criticized for giving too light sentences. E.g. Vaselin Sljivancanin received seventeen years for his part in the Vukovar massacre, which was later cut to ten years.
Tribunal proceedings are extremely lengthy. Slobadan Milosovic refused to recognize the Court and it took them a couple of years for the Tribunal to decide that they were a legally constituted court of the UN. Milosovic meanwhile died of natural causes i.e. old age.
The detention facilities are really quite luxurious and critics have referred to them as the ‘Hague Hilton`. There are private cells with toilets and showers. They have satellite TV, radio and computer (without internet). There are communal facilities with a library, a gym and a room for religious observances. Inmates may cook for themselves and mix freely. They are not segregated on the basis of nationality. They may phone family and friends and receive conjugal visits. On the whole, the cells are more akin to university residences, which not all students can obtain.
The Tribunal has no executive or brief to arrest indictees and so relies on governments to comply with its warrants. This explains why, for instance, Ratko Mladic has been on free foot for about sixteen years. Eventually, he was arrested in a dawn raid at the house of his cousin. Richard Goldstone of the Tribunal, who indicted Mladic in 1995, commented, "I`ve always found it difficult to believe that the Serbian security people didn`t know where he was." Hear, hear. However, Serbia has been negotiating membership to the European Union, which adamantly refused to consider the application until Mladic was apprehended and handed over. Now, that obstacle is out the way. Meanwhile, pro-Mladic demonstrations broke out all over Serbia in favor of the man many Serbians consider as the great war hero.
Ratko Mladic was the top Serb military commander in the small and intense civil war in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. He is accused of shelling civilians in the Siege of Sarajevo 1992-‘5 and for the Srbenica massacre around the same period, where eight thousand men were herded above mass graves and shot. There are other war crimes in Bosnia. However, crimes committed in neighboring Croatia namely the Skrbnja massacre, and the shelling of Zador, Sibencka, Pozeja and Cijeva as well as the bombing of the Parance dam will not be considered as the Tribunal has decided war crimes in Croatia fall outside its jurisdiction. A long trial awaits Ratko Mladic and since he was born on 12th March, 1943 he will not live to serve much of a life sentence (and may even be released early on humanitarian grounds). He is already asking that the start date of the trial be put off since ill-health has not enabled him to read all the charges and it does seem to be the case that he enjoys very bad health so that like Pope Formosus, we shall have to charge a cadaver.
But what have we been dong to arrest him since the conclusion of the war? He has had a bounty of €5 million on his head later increased to €10 million (€1.3 million from the USA). In November 2004, British defense officials concluded that no military action was likely to help bring Mladic to trial. One winter`s day, British troops skiing saw Mladic accompanied by four bodyguards all five on the ski-slopes but made no attempt to arrest him without authorization to do so. In December 2004, it was revealed that the army of Republika Srpska was harboring Mladic but nothing could be done there. There were reports of parties Mladic attended with video film of him and others, reports that he was slipping in and out of Belgrade at will and sightings elsewhere. Without co-operation from the Serbians, there was nothing the West or the UN could do.
The trial of Ratko Mladic will no doubt turn out to be an expensive farce revealing once again the inefficacy of UN ‘justice` and, in particular, the fact that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has no teeth. Ratko Mladic has systematically carried out ethnic cleansing, which has cost many thousands their lives. The sanctity of human life requires that there will be no capital punishment for him. The ‘principles of justice` guarantee him an interminable trial with endless discussions of technicalities. We should deal summary justice to the man, who shot eight thousand in the back and pushed their bodies into a mass grave without any pretence of trial. At least, that is my own view.
The West Wing: A Commentary
"The West Wing" was a TV series created and largely written by Aaron Sorkin and broadcast by NBC from September 22nd, 1999 to May 14th , 2006. It was set in the West Wing of the White House, where the Oval Office is and where senior officials have their office suites close to the President. It won three Global awards and twenty-seven Emmy Awards, including four Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, and received many accolades from people themselves White House staffers or former staffers.
It was also innovative in terms of sets and sequencing. In particular, the audience saw discussions in the "corridors of power" because quite literally actors walked along corridors discussing. This had never been done on quite the same scale before and made a good dramatic impact on the public. The episodes run over in one another. There are multiple themes and these themes may not be resolved until episodes later. However, the three episodes I would like to look at are "Duck and Cover", "Internal Displacement" and "Isaac and Ishmael". The series, "The West Wing" says something about how Americans see themselves or saw themselves from 1999-2006, and although names and events are largely fictitious, we can draw parallels with events today. I will attempt to do this as I go along.
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AWESOME DAVID LAWRENCE:|
THE STENCH OF BENEVOLENT COMMUNISM
Benevolence is the failure to understand that kindness is camouflage for cruelty and that generosity results in poverty. Communism is the government of benevolence, reapportioning wealth and giving the rich`s earning to the undeserving poor. Communism has resulted in over one hundred million murders. Yet the liberals and socialists still applaud their sister philosophy. They misinterpret theft and redistribution as kindness and love. And they insult capitalists for applauding fair earnings and structural reason. Communism is a lie. It is the mask in front of massacre. It is the governmental system that out-murders Nazism. Darwin believed in the survival of the fittest. Communism promotes the success of the unfit at the expense of the fittest. It is suicidal. It stinks like the bones of Caley Anthony in the trunk of her mother`s car.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG HAS NO SELF AWARENESS: WITNESS THE NEW U.N. OFFICE BUILDING
Mayor Bloomberg wants the U.N. to build a new office tower in a playground near its headquarters. Does he remember that he is Jewish? Does he recognize that the U.N. is rife with anti-Semitism? How have his politics strayed so far from his identity? Why is he rebelling against himself? Well, self-hatred comes as no surprise. Just the other week he spoke out firmly in favor of gay marriage. Does he remember that he is heterosexual? Does he have to identify with foreign philosophies and sexual urges in order to prove that he is an open-minded liberal?
Does political correctness imply self-neglect and self-betrayal?
Bloomberg, be who you are. Speak up for your identity. Don`t identify with people that you have nothing to do with and don`t relate to at all. You are not a sympathizer with Hamas. You are not homosexual.
Hard Times, Fewer Crimes
Mr. Wilson points out in the Wall Street Journal that although the times are hard, there has been a contradictory decline in crime. He doesn`t realize that the fall off of small crimes is the result of the nanny state. Potential criminals know how to game the system and get food stamps, welfare and enter state supported programs. They can even get discounted college educations. While the welfare state reduces individual crime, it accentuates the mass crime of the state stealing from the tax payers to give to the non-earners. The politicians do this to purchase votes. The Democratic Party is particularly guilty of buying the votes of the illegals and the working classes. The heads of labor unions live in the White House. Thus, while petty crime has dropped, mass crime on the part of the government has accentuated. While the nanny state has caused less grocery store stick ups, the government has committed the astounding crime of stealing from the earners and turning America into a simulacrum of a communist state. We are a hair`s breathe from revolutionary violence when uncivilized unions throughout the country demonstrate angrily and yell for their pumped up, imagined rights and inflated pensions. Hard Times, Fewer Crimes—maybe? But what about the crime of overturning American self-reliance and having the uninspired intimidate and steal from the rich. What about the crime of ignorant revolution.
NO FORGIVENESS FOR THE BRAIN DAMAGED
Boxing messes with your brain. I`m sitting in Gleason`s Gym when my old friend Luigi shows up. I haven?t seen him in a year. His nose is busted up like a ripe carnation; his eyes are creased like saddlebags. He has been in Riker`s Island on assault charges. He?s the nicest guy in the world. He just doesn?t know that society has limits and that beating up a guy he thinks screwed him out of money is not a good idea.
His values are fuzzy around the edges. An old boxer is like a liberal. A liberal can`t tell right from wrong because his cognitive set is to undermine society`s norms. He finds it intellectual stimulating to simplistically go against the grain.
"How you been, bum" I ask as we hug each other.
"OK," he says. "From Riker`s they sent me to a mental hospital for most of the year. I`m coming up for trial in March."
"I always wanted to go to a mental hospital," I say. "It must be sweeter than jail."
I spent two years in jail for tax evasion. White-collar stuff. I didn`t mind. I liked it. It gave me time to work out and write.
"The hospital was pretty good," Luigi says. "It was better than jail." He spits on himself. His coordination is messed up. It`s not uncommon for fighters at the end of their careers to trip over their own feet.
Luigi and I both have brain damage from boxing. It allows us to talk about excuses. There are none really. There shouldn`t be. Our leftist society gives forgiveness-gifts to the guilty and punishes the victims. It likes to reverse values.
Luigi and I are close friends. But I`m worried about his being out. Last time he tried to attack his victim even though there was a restraining order against him. I don`t want him to get in trouble again. He should be locked up for his own protection. I can`t say that to him. He might take a shot at me and I don`t want to revisit those sparring sessions we used to have about ten years ago. We used to pound the heck out of each other and laugh between rounds.
Liberals don`t understand that punishment is cathartic. It is also preventative. Like Bush?s concept of preventative wars. There is no negotiating with jihadists and Iranian mullahs. There is no discussion with my obsessive compulsive friend. He wants to hurt. I don`t blame him. I just want to contain him for his own sake.
Boxing messes with your brain. It is not an excuse. It is a fact. There is no forgiveness in the ring and there shouldn`t be in life.
The West Wing: A Commentary cont'd
In "Internal displacement" just about the only real live situation is described, namely the attacks on the refugee camp at Darfur. CJ, a female Presidential Aide says, "Let`s chop the financial balls off these genocidal bastards in Khartoum" and she proposes oil sanctions. Financial sanctions, of course, have been proposed for Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and Libya (along with bombing for the last). The fact that Khartoum is killing its own people is a familiar Middle East problem. The question of American intervention in the Sudan is discussed and interesting in the light of intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Again it is CJ, who says. "Overwhelming American military might? Followed by a decade of nation building in a part of the world, where many consider us infidels so that we might bring forth a new and benevolent democracy?" This is the hope, of course, for Iraq and Afghanistan and perhaps some are hopeful for Libya. However, we are now six years on from the series and perhaps less optimistic for peace and progress in the Middle East. The Arab Spring has led to new hopes of "a benign and benevolent democracy" in the Middle East but we are still far from that goal.
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AWESOME DAVID LAWRENCE:|
WHY DO PARTISANS ALWAYS INSIST ON THEIR LOVE OF BIPARTISANSHIP?
Why don`t the ideologues be what they be? Obama and his minions muzzled their ideology and pushed inter-party seating at the STOU address. Am I now supposed to believe that the Democrats are big fans of bipartisanship? Really fooled me. Am I now supposed to believe that Democrats really want to let the Republicans into the debate? Am I supposed to forget that they failed to do National Healthcare Debates in front of C-span? Am I supposed to ignore that Democrats are only talking to Republicans because they got shellacked in the November elections? A seating chart does not a dialogue make. I could hold your hand while I shoot you in the back. Republicans have been trying for bipartisanship because they have had no say for two years. It`s not noble but it is efficacious. The Democrats are begrudgingly accepting bipartisanship but they are making a big deal about it, advertizing how much they love it, to try to seem as usual the bigger people. Bipartisanship is basically a tool for Democrat self-flattery. Even if they don`t really practice it. Why not? They have a rock star as their leader.
The West Wing: A Commentary cont'd
In the same episode, "Internal Displacement", there are problems between the Chinese and the Russians over the oil revenues in Kazakhstan. In this case, the American audience wants to see their society as an honest go-between between Russia and China and at the same time, they bring democracy to yet another benighted land, Kazakhstan. There is quite an ingenious twist to the plot because the Europeans, France and Germany, are roped in to put forward a resolution in the UN on the Sudan, which the Chinese will refrain from vetoing in return for American support in Kazakhstan. CJ says, "China needs us now. They need an honest broker with the Russians to make sure this election in Kazakhstan is legitimate…" America plainly sees itself in a parental role toward the other great powers notably Russia and China. Meanwhile CJ is turning out to be a lady with balls, who can make out in the essentially man`s world of the White House. She shows more lady-like affront, when she slams Doug Westin, the President`s son-in-law, who is suspected of having had an affair with his kids` nanny. This surely puts us in mind of the Monica Levinsky affair and the many others Bubba Bill is alleged to have had along leafy lanes in his car. Moreover, it reminds us of Strauss-Khan facing up to twenty-five years for the alleged attempted rape of a chamber maid. Finally, the latest sex scandal has seen a Congress Freshman, who sent lewd pictures to females via his cell phone. In spite of being the most open and liberal sexual country in the world in some ways, it is the true descendant of those groups of religious dissidents, who founded the country, in others.
"Duck and Cover" owes its title to what American schoolchildren were told to do during a nuclear strike namely to take cover under their school desks. In the episode, elections are underway in Kazakhstan, where Russia and China are on the brink of war over oil, and President Josiah Bartlet faces a meltdown of San Andreo`s nuclear power plant. San Andreo is an imaginary place in southern California.
The problems in the plant really highlight recent problems in Fukushima and ironically the name, San Andreo, suggest the San Andreas Fault and the Japanese quake. There is no coolant in the core so that the rods are exposed above water and a meltdown threatens. Meanwhile, radioactive steam is being vented. This is very close to what happened in Fukushima only a few years after the close of the series.
Vinick, the President`s rival in an election campaign, is the one, who, twenty-five years previously, advocated the building of the San Andreo plant. It is worth remembering that the Germans, who started their program of nuclear power plant building around thirty years ago, are now winding it up. After Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, other countries, too, have had enough.
Meanwhile, however, in southern California, San Andreo might blow so one million people have to be evacuated. The only evacuation on that scale was when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and there was no preparedness for a large-scale evacuation. The President suggests help from a nearby Army base.
Meantime: "Polls just closed in Kazakhstan. The Russian installed incumbent …he`s been declared winner." In order to stop war between Russia and China, President Bartlet is envisaging an international force with America`s as the largest contingent of 90,000 men. Shades of Baghdad again. Heaven help us if we do decide to go to war with the Russians and Chinese over a little country like Kazakhstan. "Die for Danzig?" as the French said before the Second World War.
The final episode, I would like to look at is "Isaac and Ishmael". This was preceded by an appeal for donations to The New York firefighters` 9/11 disaster fund and the New York Police and Fire widows and children`s benefit fund. Otherwise there were no such-like appeals but this particular episode was very much in the shadow of terrorism. Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah and is the forefather of the Jews, who were to be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand along the sea-shore (Genesis). Ishmael is the son of Abraham and the slave Hagar and is the forefather of all the Arabs. The strife between Sarah and Hagar sows the seeds for later strife between Israel and its Arab neighbors. As Girl One asks, "Well, what do you call a society that has to just live everyday with the idea that the pizza place you`re eating in can just blow up without any warning." She is referring to bombs and bomb scares in Israeli cities, which are, in fact, commonplace. Under the circumstances of the episode where everybody has been confined to the White House due to a ‘crash` or terrorist scare, this could just as easily apply to North American cities as 9/11 starkly shows. However, Josh, who is the President`s Press Secretary, says, "It`s not Arabs. It`s not Islamics. Islamic extremist is to Islamic as blank is to Christianity." Blank turns out to be KKK or Ku Klux Klan. Josh adds, "It`s the clan gone medieval and global." It is actually questionable whether one can be so liberal in his views on Arabs and Islamics. It may, for instance, be necessary to close the doors to Moslem immigration in the interests of national security. White House Security arrests Ali, a worker there on account of he has the same name as the alias mentioned by an arrested terrorist. Ali is an MIT Math graduate and merely faces harassment due to his ethnic origins. But in real life, will such people be employable in areas of sensitive national security?
"The West Wing" attracted a consistently high viewing rating and probably also an intellectual audience that liked to be challenged in its values. It says something, too, about America`s role and how Americans saw that role 1999-2006. Today, many Americans are less optimistic about what the future will bring. Recession has brought unemployment. Inflation, government overspending and the printing of money like no tomorrow are raising doubts about the dollar standard and the credibility of the US as the World`s Banker. Moscow is now more opulent than New York. China is financing many nations including the US. Many raise doubts about whether America will continue to lead the world after 2020. However, in "The West Wing", we see a confident America leading the world and playing center-stage. The show will become a period piece for American pride in itself and is well-written and innovatively directed to boot.
Michael Levy: Quote
When truth grows too severe to recognize belief becomes the persuasion of the age.
In the left and right pathways to financial markets, greed makes everything right, because there is nothing left.
CUTTING TRUTHS - Truth is the rarest commodity on earth as very few know how to be open enough to receive it!