16 December 2010

Holbrooke's Mirror

Here's a transcript from a short piece that aired the other day on NPR regarding the death of Richard Holbrooke, diplomat extraordinaire. The coverage was nothing remarkable...but you'll pardon me if I find it all rather stunning.

He mentions in this piece that in all his years of diplomacy the one time he felt like he was truly in the presence of evil was when he sat across from Mladic and Karadzic trying to negotiate an end to the Bosnian conflict.

Our supposed liberal media presents Holbrooke as one of the great and respected heroes of America's foreign policy arm. Holbrooke the peace negotiator, Holbrooke the wise-man.

It's all rot, because the story is all told from an American standpoint, an American bias. Our 'liberal media,' tells the story through an American lens. For the folks at FOX if the media even attempts to be fair....it's liberal and whatever else they might want to call it. But even NPR which is often perceived as liberal is completely in the American camp. If liberal by the Right's definition is anti-American then NPR is anything but liberal.

While Mladic, Karadzic, and the late Milosevic no doubt represent some of the evil that men are capable of, I find it strange that Holbrooke in all his years of 'service' apparently learned nothing. This man got started by working for the United States government in Vietnam, followed by work in Indonesia, the East Asian theatre, the Middle East, and apparently never questioned America's policies in these places? If you talked to people in those countries they might point to people like Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ford, Carter, McNamara, Rumsfeld, 1970's CIA director George Bush, Westmoreland, Clinton, Albright, and Brzezinski as very evil people. During the Reagan and George H.W. Bush years, Holbrooke was deeply involved in Wall Street. Didn't see any evil there?

He returned to Imperial service (although he may have still been very much 'in service' while on Wall Street) during the Clinton administration, and apparently saw no problem with denouncing Milosevic....while supporting the KLA.....drug runners and terrorists?

I'm not supporting Milosevic in any way. I'm saying US involvement was pure power politics and to try and untangle the Balkan knot is to say the least a little presumptuous...but then to moralize and pontificate about it...my goodness.

He apparently couldn't see that when the Soviet Union fell, the United States (ahem, NATO) was going all out to expand and gobble up everything they possibly could while Russia was down? Surely he had no idea of what was happening in Russia and the part the United States played in that? No one for a moment could describe American policy as expansionist, right?

He had no problem while Clinton his master wreaked havoc in Somalia, bombed Sudan, bombed the tar out of Serbia in '99, and launched missiles into Afghanistan? Not to mention the furtherance of the Iraq policy which many described as nothing less than genocidal? 1.5 million Iraqis dead from 1991-2003....and his comrade Secretary of State Albright said, "It was worth it."

Apparently not enough, for Holbrooke supported taking action in Iraq in 2001. Since Bush's invasion no one really knows how many have died. The official figure is absurd. The real figure is in the hundreds of thousands. Did they all die at American hands? Of course not, but American bears a significant amount if not the majority of the responsibility for what has happened since 2003.

Are Christians upset about the destruction of the Assyrian Christian community in Northern Iraq? They co-existed with Muslim population for centuries. Muslim radicalism has reared its head in response to a century of Western domination and exploitation. The West smashed the Middle Eastern social and cultural equilibrium. The radicals are destroying the scale, the weights, balances, and all. The Assyrians are suffering as a result. They should have read their history as well and not made the same mistake the Montagnards did in Vietnam.

Holbrooke had no problem working for AIG? Lehman Brothers?

Holbrooke was a classic....and I mean classic Insider....member of the Trilateral Commission (I'm not a conspiracy person,) a total power-broker....a large figure in both the halls of political and economic power. It's people like Holbrooke, the system they build and support, that leads demoralized and desperate people who have been trampled for decades to turn to fanaticism and attack the very symbols of military-political and economic power by which the Empire tries to rule the world. That doesn't vindicate the attackers, but nor do such attacks eradicate the bloodshed of Imperialism and the agents of Empire. Who's wrong....they all are.

Our media presents him as someone to be respected, almost a hero. He wins medals for brokering deals like the Dayton Accord and then sits on a quaint news programme and talks about evil.

Holbrooke was an apparatchik, a Mandarin of the Imperium, fighting evil, he was blind to the evil he was supporting. He worked for Foreign Policy magazine....again one of the tools of the system. All respected, all hallowed by our media. They give us all those helpful little indices and ratings charts that are completely worthless and explain the world as the Imperial Mandarins would have us see it.

People like Holbrooke need to look into the mirror.

While this will undoubtedly seem like I'm trampling on this man's grave, I'm using him as example of someone that's just as much part of the system and yet clearly outside the Right. They won't be singing praises for Holbrooke on FOX news. He worked for the Democrats.

Democrats...Imperialism? Absolutely.

Same overall doctrine...remember 12 September? Remember the Afghan Invasion? Same coin, just different sides.

Our media isn't critical enough. It operates within the accepted circle. That's why they're tearing their hair out over Assange....he doesn't accept their paradigm. You have buffoons like Glenn Beck- he makes premise #1 of his platform: America is good.

That's where FOX and the Christian Right come from. That sentiment, that ideal will cloud and colour the entire discussion and the way in which they view the world. Our media, even NPR, though they may despise Beck and the FOXes....basically operate under that same flawed premise. Why are members of the Reformed community (Beisner and Lillback) appearing on the Glenn Beck programme?

Why do 99.9% of American Christians accept the paradigm? If we're to be renewed in our minds, born again, if we have theology that helps us understand the world....why are we blind to anything outside the circle presented to us?

No nation is good. If you think so....then you need to read your Bible again. Until 'christians' quit thinking like Americans and start thinking like 'Christians,' I have ZERO hope for the Church in the United States.

We have more resources, more theological texts, more history available to us than any people in the history of the world and yet the Church is perishing for lack of knowledge.

What's the most pressing issue at the moment? Which stores say "Merry Christmas," vs. which ones say "Happy Holidays."


We of all people should be impervious to these types of propaganda models. We should understand enough of history and of the nature of our fallen world, that when we hear someone like Holbrooke sit and call other people 'evil,'...we should be the first to laugh.

Holbrooke thought sitting with Mladic was like sitting with Pol Pot?

Good night man! After 1978, your masters supported Pol Pot! I've written about that elsewhere on this blog. American policy has directly and indirectly killed hundreds of thousands....even millions of people.

He should have looked in the mirror! It's too late now. He served his kingdom and now he has inherited it.

And to those on the Christian Right who are actually worse than Holbrooke...repent, or ye shall all likewise perish.

Here's the transcript and the link to the NPR story.

Holbrooke On Meeting 'Evil Incarnate' In Serbia

Copyright ©2010 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

December 14, 2010 - TERRY GROSS, host:

Richard Holbrooke had some extraordinary experiences during his career as a U.S. diplomat. We're going to hear about one that he described in our 1998 interview.

Holbrooke died yesterday after surgery for a torn aorta. He had been serving as President Obama's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He worked for every Democratic president since the late 1960s. His greatest accomplishment was as the chief architect of the Dayton Peace Accords, negotiating an end to the war in Bosnia in 1995.

The Balkan war had shocked the world with the siege of Sarajevo and the forced relocation and slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia in what was described as ethnic cleansing.

I spoke with Richard Holbrooke in 1998 after the publication of his memoir "To End A War."

When the times that you've dealt with Milosevic, the head of Serbia, have you felt that you were dealing with evil incarnate, which is often the way he's been portrayed?

Mr. RICHARD HOLBROOKE (Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.): I, you know, I've dealt with so many leaders over the last 25 years who represented things alien to the American tradition. And with Milosevic, I felt I was dealing and continued to deal with a person whose behavior and style and activities are just totally incompatible with those that we believe in. But the word evil is a very powerful word and I want to depersonalize it. There is evil in the world. It's something that we have to confront.

But the time that I felt that I was in the presence of evil, I incarnate evil, was the extraordinary 13-hour negotiation we had to have in September of '95 outside Belgrade with Mladic and Karadzic, the two indicted war criminals who led the Bosnian Serbs. These were hands-on murderers. It was like spending a day with Pol Pot. And having spent my career in Asia, I was acutely aware of the sense that this was the Pol Pot of Europe.

GROSS: Well, before you even met with them, you had to decide whether it was morally justifiable to actually meet with them as part of the peace talks, because after all, they were indicted war criminals. So what made you decide that it was the appropriate thing to do to meet with them?

Mr. HOLBROOKE: We debated this on the plane flying into Belgrade. I said to my team, look, sooner or later we're probably going to end up meeting with these two terrible men, Radovan Karadzic, the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs, and Ratko Mladic, the murderous general who runs the military. And each of you has a choice here: do you want to meet with them or not? Do you want to shake hands with them or not? We unanimously concluded, as had previous negotiators, that's it's better to deal with these men to save the lives of people who are still alive as the best way of honoring those who had already died, rather than get up on one's high moral horse and refuse to meet with them.

However, because they were indicted war criminals, we made clear to them and to Milosevic that they couldn't enter the United States or any European country -Western European country - without facing immediate arrest under U.N. resolutions.

Now, in making the decision to meet with them, I happened to be very influenced personally buy two books that my wife, Kati Marton had written, one on Bernadotte and one on Wallenberg. Both those men, both Swedes, had met in 1944-45 with Eichmann and Himmler to save hundreds of thousands of Jews throughout Central Europe by meeting with these horrendous people. And they had saved the lives and I thought that was a valid model. So in the end we met with these people. I chose not to shake hands with them. Some of my colleagues did. But I think that the historical record shows that the decision to meet with them was correct.

I might also add that everyone else had met with them routinely and not even felt it was a moral dilemma, but I thought it was.

GROSS: Richard Holbrooke, recorded in 1998. He died yesterday. He was 69.

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