Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Noam Chomsky and the Srebrenica Massacre

I used to admire Noam Chomsky, especially his astute political opinions pertaining to certain aspects of the U.S. foreign policy. Although he is not always right when it comes to the U.S. policy in the Middle East (no one is always right about anything), he is generally successful in his mission to expose the underlying motives behind the West’s involvement in the Middle East. There is no doubt in my mind that imperialism is one of the primary motives given that strategic and economic interests are, after all, crucial for most foreign policy makers worldwide. Chomsky particularly opposes the U.S. foreign policy which he believes to be extremely unjust and hypocritical. While this assertion is irrefutable, the same can be said about the foreign policy of virtually any country in the world: France, England, Russia etc. It is a fact that most countries if not all seek to safeguard their interests many times with little or no regard for human rights.
The reader will have noticed my use of the past tense in the first sentence when I said that I used to admire Chomsky. I no longer do for the following reasons. In his interview for Bosnian TV1 last night Chomsky was asked to offer his opinion on the Srebrenica massacre. More specifically, he was asked if he believed that the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica was an act of genocide. Chomsky stated that the massacre in Srebrenica did not constitute a genocidal act since “only” 8,000 people were killed. Apparently, it is the number of casualties that is significant for Chomsky and not the intent to kill innocent and unarmed civilians. All reasonable human beings know that Serb forces committed genocide in Srebrenica by killing approximately 8,000 defenseless civilians. Even the War Tribunal in the Hague has declared the massacre in Srebrenica an act of genocide. Moreover, Chomsky seems oblivious to the fact that an official Bosnian Serb investigation into the Srebrenica massacre found that approximately 7,500 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica. The most comprehensive and meticulously researched study of the Srebrenica massacre, however, comes from the Dutch Institute for War Documentation. This massive document proves without a doubt that 8,000 civilians were killed in the Srebrenica massacre. Testimonies offered by the Dutch U.N. soldiers stationed in Srebrenica at the time of the massacre provide compelling and conclusive evidence.

When asked to comment on Diana Johnstone’s pro-Serb propaganda, Chomsky was deliberately evasive in his response. Those who have read Johnstone’s Fools’ Crusade know that this book is full of ridiculous historical revisionism and vicious lies. For instance, Johnstone has stated in her book that it is highly questionable if those who were killed in the Srebrenica massacre were civilians. She then implicitly suggests that the majority of them were soldiers killed during battle. Diana Johnstone’s book is a perfect example of left revisionism at its worst. How sane is a journalist who makes a comparison between Milosevic and Clinton only to call the latter a liar and the former a multiculturalist who had benevolent intentions? How serious is Johnstone’s work when she believes in Mladic’s and Karadzic’s innocence in spite of the fact that they have been charged with genocide by the War Tribunal in the Hague? Thus, Johnstone’s principal thesis is that all parties in the Bosnian war were equally guilty. Chomsky defends Johnstone’s “freedom of speech“, as he calls it, but refuses to comment on the specific contents of her book. Chomsky believes that Johnstone is a respectable journalist whose book about the war in Bosnia is based on scientific facts. Chomsky then adds that he would consider revising his opinion about Johnstone if someone offered a rebuttal of her book. I cannot but wonder, on which planet does Mr. Chomsky live? There are innumerable extremely well written rebuttals of Johnstone’s book, see for example the Balkan Witness website for several excellent refutations.

Chomsky should be ashamed of himself for supporting Johnstone’s vicious historical revisionism, the sole purpose of which is to spread gross misinformation about the war in Bosnia. Note that no one opposes Johnstone’s freedom of speech but her pro-Serb propaganda. It is beyond my comprehension that Chomsky can be so naive and dishonest. Either you disagree with Johnstone’s thesis or you agree with it; Chomsky deliberately refuses to divulge where he stands on this issue. If you agree with Johnstone then you say that there was no massacre in Srebrenica and that the Muslims were targeting themselves in order to induce a NATO intervention against the Serbs. If these outrageous assertions are indicative of serious journalism then I rest my case.
Chomsky has completely lost his credibility.
See the following websites for honest and serious work on the war in Bosnia: