Srebrenica

It is interesting how video makes news. This news is literally a decade old. Srebrenica was the scene of the worst massacre in the Bosnian war - 7000 murdered. The town filled with refugees after the UN had declared Srebrenica a safe haven, but UN Peacekeepers stood down when Serbian fighters threatened.

In all fairness, their options were limited after their request for close air support was turned down because it was submitted on the wrong form. This was a war where all the paperwork was done properly and all the proper people consulted. In the interests of peace, however, the peacekeepers had already managed to disarm the Muslims and refused to give them back their weapons . . . in the interests of peace. The peacekeepers handed 5000 Muslims over to the Serbs. But UN negotiators won the release of the peacekeepers themselves on the condition that they leave their weapons and some supplies behind.

In the end, about 7000 Muslim men and boys were murdered by the Serbs and buried in mass graves. Think about that number and compare it to others. It might have been better for the peacekeepers to be a little more bloodthirsty and fight back, or at least give the Muslims the means to defend themselves. As it turns out the Serbs successfully bullied them into submission without having to fight anybody, proving the old adage that if only one side gives peace a chance, the nastier team wins.

Nobody knows what would have happened had the peacekeepers dug in and fought back. They probably would have lost, IF the Serbs chose to fight. It is a big if, since the Serbs proved less aggressive against U.S. troops with more robust rules of engagement. Anyway, it is hard to see how it could have gone any worse. The Serbs killed all the men and boys they got their hands on and stopped killing only when they ran out of men and boys to kill.

But until a tape surfaced, it hardly seemed real to many people. Now that there is video, it is confirmed for the world. Now, ten years later, the world is again outraged. I guess the question is: if a tree falls in the woods and there is no video, does it fall?

Posted by Jack at June 14, 2005 9:52 PM