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One of the great murderers of human history has met what I think is a very fitting end- alone and powerless, he died in his prison cell. It is, of course, unfortunate he didn't live to see his conviction however.

Let his death signal the beginning of an end to tyranny and genocide... although I don't have high hopes of this.

THE HAGUE, March 11 -- Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Yugoslavia and architect of a decade of war that took more than 250,000 lives and tore the Balkans apart, was found dead in his prison cell here on Saturday morning, the United Nations war crimes tribunal said.

Mr. Milosevic, here in The Hague in 2003, was standing trial on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in connection with his actions while he was the Yugoslav leader.

The tribunal said in a statement that guards had found Mr. Milosevic, 64, dead in his bed, apparently of natural causes, while they were on their regular rounds. But the time of his death was unclear, and the Dutch police and a coroner began a full investigation and autopsy. [Obituary, Page 30.]

"The guard immediately alerted the detention unit officer in command and the medical officer," the statement said. "The latter confirmed that Slobodan Milosevic was dead."

Originally posted to Arken on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 09:58 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It would be nice if his death would end tyranny (none)
    and genocide. We can bet it will slow down or influence nothing favorably. I for one am only sorry he died before he could be tried for his war crimes. oh well!

    James M Joiner or

    by jmsjoin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:05:12 AM PST

  •  CNN International is now reporting... (none)
    Milosevic's widow is asking for an investigation, that another war criminal died within a week of Milosevic and that Milosevic was claiming he was being poisoned.

    I will say it is odd that he died of 'natural causes' at 64. Could it be that someone felt that the trial was going badly and took the law into their own hands?

    •  They Can't Have It Both Ways (3.80)
      They repeatedly delayed the trial because of his health, and asked for him to be sent to Russia to recieve health care (like the EU is behind Russia in health care).  Now they want to paint him as a portrait of good health brought down by a nefarious plot?  

      Milosevic' wife is arguably more inherently evil that the Butcher of the Balkans.  Plus she's a congenital liar, and shouldn't be believed on anything.

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:23:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The real fear, according to commentators on CNN (none)
        (sorry, all I have is CNN pipeline so I can't watch other networks to see what they're saying) is that Milosevic's death, if it is found to be a murder, could lead to a rise in nationalism in Serbia where he is still viewed by many as a hero, so you could be right. This death could cause a new flair-up in the Balkans whether it was natural or not.
        •  Okay, this is just wrong. (none)
          Christiane Amanpour (not sure why they're interviewing her, but she's smart) says that Milosevic's party still holds 12 seats in the Serbian parliament!

          Could you imagine if we had let the Nazi party survive after WWII? Amazing. I had no idea.

          •  Serbia parties (none)
            Although Milosevic headed what is now the Socialist Pary in the Serbian Parliament, the real nazis and inheritors of his politics are the ultra-nationalists who hold even more seats.
            •  And I Should Hesitate to Bring it Up... (none)
              ...but the nom de guerre of the leader of the ultra, ultra nationalists (before he was murdered a few years ago) is one vowell off from the moniker of this diarist.  Unfortunately, the first time I saw his moniker I thought it was Arkan, and I just about popped a valve.  With time, I recognized it was just an unfortunate similarity that thankfully conoted no ideological affinity.

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:52:31 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I believe I first used the handle 'Arken' in 1985 (none)
                When I got The Bard's Tale on my Apple II+.

                At the time, I just thought it sounded cool and medeival.

                For the record, I'm also neither Alan Arkin nor his son Adam, although I am a fan of both of them and I'm not a particularly big Tolkein fan. Didn't find out about the Arkenstone until a lot later.

                Also, I believe Arken means Ark as in Noah's Ark in Danish.

                •  Like I Said... (none)
                  ...Arken isn't the same as Arkan, but the first time I saw your moniker I thought it was Arkan, and I was flabbergasted that someone would adopt that moniker.  I looked closer, and realized that fortunately I had misread it.

                  As for the other similarities, chalk those up to learning something news almost every time I log on to DKos.

                  The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                  by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 11:55:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly; this bastard's trial isits 4th yr! (none)
        after all, w/numerous delays due to his ill health: high blood pressure & heart disease, so 'conspiracy/murder' certainly rings hollow, but then the Palestinians still claim Arafat was poisoned - Whackos Unite.

        And MrsM is on par w/Ceacescu's wife --- rumor has it she's in Moscow, which is the real reason for his latest stupidest request.

        RIH - Rot In Hell.

        Free Donuts + Beer Tax Repeal = Landslide Victory '08!

        by PhillyGal on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:41:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Black Widow in Moscow (none)
          As you rightly suspect, the reason for the allegations that Milosevic was poisoned are mainly that his widow is in Moscow along with her almost as unpleasant son. She is thought to be the real evil influence behind the Milosevic throne and is facing charges in Serbia. The request to treat his ear ache in Moscow was to be nearer to her. Conducting a second autopsy in Moscow will enable him to be "temporarily" buried there so she does not have to go back and face arrest in Belgrade. She will declare her aim is to bury him near the Serbian spiritual home - the site of the Battle of Kosovo, say in Pec or Pizren. That of course will berefused by the UN administration in Kosovo, another cause for Milosevic's followers to work on towards his "martydom".
  •  Burn in Hell Slobodan (none)
    At least he'll have good company with Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.


    by michael1104 on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:32:25 AM PST

    •  Milosevic was no Hitler (none)
      and Hitler was no Stalin. Millosevic was not even Pol Pot. Nor is he the only one accused of crimes in that confliict. Croatian leaders and Kosovo leaders are standing trial as well for crimes in that war. In fact, the biggest case of ethnic cleansing in that war was not by the Serbs, but by the Croats as they stormed through Bosnia in the summer of 1995. I'm not defending Milosevic... I just don't understand why he gets all the attention. As if Franjo Tu?man is some kind of hero.

      ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

      by Tirge Caps on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:56:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or when the Serbian Military (none)
        Was invading Croatia and they decided it O.K. to kill any Croatian civillians and occupy and beseige all eastern Croatian cities. And what did western powers like us do? Eat potatoe chips and say "Please Croatia! Go back to Yugoslavia!". I'm not 100% sure about what Croatia did in Bosnia, but my god, Serbia has been nothing but a huge bully - but a really weak one evidently.
        •  My point isn't that Milosevic (none)
          is a hero. He's not. My point is that when comparing people to Hitler, maybe Tudjman comes closer. In fact, Tudjman said in his 1989 book, Wastelands of Historical Truths: "Genocide is a natural phenomenon, in harmony with the sociological and mythological divine nature. Genocide is not only permitted, it is recommended, even commanded by the word of the Almighty, whenever it is useful for the survival or the restoration of the kingdom of the chosen nation, or for the preservation and spreading of its one and only correct faith." (Roman Catholic, that is.)

          Ironically, he denies the holocaust.

          Anyway, my only point is that the conflict there, imo, is often misrepresented and one sided. The truth is the break away movements in Kosovo and Croatia were no better than who they were breaking away from. And leaders from both are on trial now because of just that.

          And none of them, quite frankly, meet the levels of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Suharto, the Shah, Idi Amin ect ect and nothing that happened in the Balkans reached the levels of what was happening south of them, in another continent, in a country no one had really heard of in the news until 800,000+ were butchered in just months.

          What makes one dictator an ally and another worth dropping bombs on? That's my point really.

          ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

          by Tirge Caps on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 12:18:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Croatia (none)
          was every bit as bad as Serbia.Google Srebenica or Medak Pocket. I think there was something justice like about Slobo dying in a cell. May the same fate await others.A lot of what happened there had its roots in WW2 when the Croats(catholic) lined up with the Germans and the Serbs(orthodox christian) went against. Given that the serbs still celebrate a 'glorious defeat' 1,000 years ago,fifty or sixty years is nothing to them.Its yesterday to them and all the sides were just waiting for a chance for vengeance-hence the ethnic cleansing that all sides took part in.

          it tastes like burning...

          by eastvan on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 01:15:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Milosevic Started It (none)
        That's why.  Sure, the shooting war in Yugoslavia began when Slovenia succeeded, but the murderous nationalism was initially created and exploited by Milosevic and his circle.

        As for the Croat advance through the Krajina, yes, some of it was forcable removal of ethnic serbs by the Croat forces, but a lot of the Serbs who left did so of their own accord to be in Serb-controlled areas.  Had they stayed surely many of them would have be removed anyway, but it's ethically and legally very different than besieging cities with artillery or slaughtering civillians in large numbers like had been done in Bosnia.  

        And for the most part, the Croats didn't "storm through Bosnia," they mostly swept through parts of what had been within the boundaries of Croatia, and into Hercegovina.  They never came close to southern or eastern Bosnia.

        And Tujdman is far from a hero; he was a thug.  But much of what the Croats did was in response to what was started by the Serbs under the guidance and with the support of Milosevic.  American autrocities against Japanese soldiers in the Pacific theater were sometimes horrific.  But they can't be looked at outside the context of Pearl Harbor, the Baatan death march, etc.  And to equate the two offenders and their offenses--and I'm not sure you're doing that, but if not it's close--is to blur the lines of causality.  

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 12:03:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I used "storm" because (none)
          the operation was called Operation Storm.

          But point is more the selectivety of who we demonize and who we fight and who we tolerate and who we ignore.

          I'm not going to get caught here standing up for Milosevic, but what if California wanted to succeed because of Bush's nationalism?

          I know it's not the same, but my point is when do states have the right to succeed, when do President's have the right to use force to keep the country together, when do we decide who is right and who isn't?

          It's the selection process I am calling into question.

          ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

          by Tirge Caps on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 12:37:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, But It's a Bogus Argument (none)
            First, I know the name of the operation was Operation Storm.  I even know that Peter Galbreath, US Ambassador to Croatia at the time (and son of the economist) turned a blind eye to the arms shipments coming in to Croatia, some of which were coming from Iran and Saudi Arabia.  And I know that the ostensible spark that started the conflagration in Yugoslavia was the succession of Slovenia, followed by the decision of Croatia to bolt the federation.  But none of that really has much to do with the reason why Milosevic is on trial (or why a bunch of Croatians have also been indicted, a few for their actions in Bosnia-Hercegovina, but most for their actions in Storm).  It was his support of genocide that landed him in the dock.  

            As for the Bush/California analogy, I don't follow it at all.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 12:45:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  OT from your question, but (none)
              what is the estimated death count from Serbian genocidal practices, as distinguished from war deaths, in Kosovo? In Croatia?

              My point in the analogy is that Croatia tried to succeed. From the country the were a part of. When is that kosher? When is it not? Does that depend on who wins? Who do we support? At the time we supported Tudjman, a Nazi supporter btw, and the Croatian independence movement. I'm just saying, when we get involved in another country's civil war, what basis do we choose our allies? In this case we choose a state that wanted to succeed from their country? Can we do that?

              Later, in Kosovo, I think we had a better argument for intervention because Kosovo had traditionally more autonomy than Croatia. But still, the charges Milosevic was facing all occurred after UN monitors were made to leave - March 19, 1999.

              My whole point began as a response to comparing Milosevic to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. I don't agree with that. According to the indictment, Milosevic was facing charges that occurred over the course of a couple months.

              I am really calling attention to the demonization saved explicitly for Milosevic and kept from equally deserving participants.

              Honestly, there is a lot about the nine years there in the Balkans that I am confused about and have been trying to figure out some semblance of sense. I have some friends from Serbia, who, though not supportive of either Milosevic or communism, are very upset at how the US involved itself.

              So I don't know. I am trying to understand that situation as best I can. I have no dog in the race.

              ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

              by Tirge Caps on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 01:46:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, No (none)
                We didn't support Croatia's seccession from Yugoslavia.  Baker, under the influence of then Milosevic allies Eagleburger and Scowcroft, pressured Croatia to not leave the Yugoslav federation.  But setting that aside, you're not looking at it in the broader context.  After the death of Tito, the country started to come apart because Milosevic and the intellectuals with the Serbian Academy began pushing deeply xenophobic and exclusionary policies and propoganda.  Yes, Tudjman was horrible, but it wasn't Croatia that precipitated the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was Slovenia.  And you're not accounting for the fact that the UN arms embargo instituted when the war began froze in place a huge weapons gap between the Serbs (who dominated the officer corps and pretty much ran the military in a way similar to how Sunni Arabs ran Saddam's army) and everyone else, because the Serbs possessed almost all the artillery, armor and air assets.  

                And we didn't get involved in the civil war for four years after it started.  Powell had scared Clinton off by giving him that awful book Balkan Ghosts by Robert Kaplan.  For four years we did nothing in Yugoslavia.  It wasn't until after Srebrenica and other slaughters, which revealed the UN Peacekeepers and their mandate to be useless (and probably worse), that we finally dropped a few bombs.  Coming as it did around the time of Storm, it forced the Serbs to the bargaining table, and the Dayton accords were agreed to.  

                By only focusing on the civil war part, you're ignoring the fact that almost all the atrocities for the first four years of the civil war were committed by Serb forces (either the army or, in Bosnia, irregulars).  "We" didn't so much take a side in the first four years as let the side with a preponderance of power extend their advantage, which they used to commit a small scale genocide and major movements of ethnic groups unseen since the immediate aftermath of WWII.  That all sides--even the Bosnians--had some blood on their hands doesn't take away from the fact that the vast majority of blood spilled was spilled by Serbs in Bosnia and in the Krajina.  Eventually, they reaped what they had sown, and many innocent Serbs were killed or expelled from their homes.  But it's like saying that because the Tutsi were brutal in suppressing the Hutu nationalists who perpetrated the genocide in Rwanda that they share equal guilt.  They don't.  In the case of the responses, the brutality was the forseeable consequence of the atrocities initially perpetrated by, in Rwanda the Hutu, and in Yugoslavia, the forces of Milosevic and Kradizjic.

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 02:14:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks DH (none)
                  You raise some points I have not been aware of or clear on, one being:

                  After the death of Tito, the country started to come apart because Milosevic and the intellectuals with the Serbian Academy began pushing deeply xenophobic and exclusionary policies and propoganda.

                  My introduciton to the Balkan conflict and our role in it was from books, specifically Chomsky's The New Military Humanism and Parenti's Death of A Nation as well as Ramsey Clark's indictments. Adding to that the views of some Serbs I have known, I have formed a rather cycnical view of how we approached those conflicts.

                  I was not up on it at the time, and have been playing catch up in understanding it. And peripheraly(?) at that.

                  I have noticed that many of Parenti's arguments have not held up when I have presented them to other people.

                  So I appreciate your insights.  I certainly do not claim any expertise on the subject and it's something I want to understand better.

                  ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

                  by Tirge Caps on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 03:21:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, I'd Be HIGHLY Skeptical... (none)
                    ...of Chomsky and Parenti on this.  I'm much more familiar with Chomsky than Parenti, so this may be a bit unfair to the latter, but Chomsky starts with his thesis that all American involvement in other countries is wrong, and then starts looking for ways to support his thesis.  

                    There's lots written on the Balkans, and not all of it is good.  Whatever you do, until you've read sound works, avoid Balkan Ghosts by Robert Kaplan.  It's a really bad book, although if you're really in to this it's worth reading as a historical document.  But I would start with Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation by Laura Silber and Alan Little.  Some of my Croatian friends think he's too pro-Serb, but I think Misha Glenny's stuff is also fairly sound.  Those are two excellent places to get started.  

                    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                    by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 03:56:01 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

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