General Rose, for example, effortlessly moved from coddling Mladic to demanding the impeachment of Tony Blair in the wake of the Iraq war. This paragon of the British military establishment found an unexpected ally in Noam Chomsky, whose defense of the Saddam regime was entirely consistent with his defense of the Serbs, right down to his poisonous accusation that the bloodshed in Srebrenica was mere “retaliation” for Bosnian Army attacks on nearby Serb villages.
Then there’s Tam Dalyell, a frankly sinister British parliamentarian who, like Rose, loathes Blair — in his case, for “being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers.” At the height of the Bosnian war, the same Dalyell opined that the Bosnians couldn’t be the victims of ethnic cleansing, since they were Christian apostates who therefore did not qualify as an ethnic group.
And there are others: too many, sadly. For the sake of brevity, I will mention only one more member of this group: John Mearsheimer, an old-school realist who became a moralizer late in life, and only then in the context of his endless sermons on the shadowy power of the “Israel Lobby.” Consult the book Mearsheimer co-authored with Stephen Walt on that very subject, and you will find, buried in their interminably dull prose, agonized passages about how pro-Israel media moguls in the U.S. blind their audiences to the Palestinian victims of Zionist ethnic cleansing.
By contrast, in the New York Times, this is what Mearsheimer had to say during the Bosnian war:
[W]hether we like it or not, borders in the Balkans are going to change. Serbian military power has seen to that. Wouldn’t it make good practical and moral sense to organize and plan the border changes rather than to allow the chaos of war to decide them? Wouldn’t it make better sense to move populations peacefully rather than at the end of a rifle barrel?
The Bosnian war was, I contend, a dress rehearsal for the “anti-war” politics that have disfigured public debate since 9/11. The motley crew of realists, isolationists, and ultraleftists coalesced not in the rubble of the twin towers, but among the corpses of Srebrenica. That alone disqualifies their claim on the moral high ground. And when Ratko Mladic goes on trial, they will be judged alongside him.