Sarah Palin's Misguided Demagoguery

By Srdja Trifkovic
Thursday, 19 Aug 2010

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Arguing against the building of an Islamic shrine near New York’s Ground Zero, former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin linked the mosque project to “building a Serbian Orthodox church at Srebrenica killing fields where Muslims were slaughtered.” Mrs. Palin is right to oppose the Ground Zero mosque. It is unacceptable, and detrimental to her cause, to invoke false parallels in the process, based on events of which she knows but very little.

Mrs. Palin’s metaphor was misguided and insulting to Orthodox Christians. It creates a false analogy between an act of brutal Islamist terror which killed three thousand innocent American civilians, and a war crime -- resulting from the complex events of a three-sided civil war in Bosnia -- in which the victims were, overwhelmingly, men who had previously taken an active part in that same civil war.

It implies, falsely, that the Muslims were the only victims of the tragic events at Srebrenica. In reality, throughout the war period 1992—1995, Serbian villages around Srebrenica were subjected to widespread, systematic attacks and destruction by the Muslim military forces concentrated within the Srebrenica enclave. The attacks were indiscriminate and they targeted Serbs as such. The victims were peaceful peasants, whose only fault was that they were Serbian Orthodox Christians.

The original "killing fields" in the region of Srebrenica do not date from 1995, but from 1941-45. The Serbs in that same area had been subjected to genocide during World War II not only by the Nazis but also by the Croatian Ustaša “Black Legion” (in the spring of 1942) and by the Muslim 13th SS “Hanjar” Division in 1944.

Sarah Palin is blissfully unaware of all that, of course. What she thinks she knows is what has been served to her advisors over the past 15 years by The Hague tribunal, in official reports by governments and  NGO's and the media. Their contention that as many as 8,000 Muslims were killed has no basis in available evidence and is essentially a political construct.

Sarah Palin’s latest gaffe proves, yet again, that questioning the received elite class narrative on “Srebrenica” is a good and necessary endeavor. The accepted Srebrenica story, influenced by war propaganda and uncritical media reports, is neither historically nor morally correct. The relentless Western campaign against the Serbs and in favor of their Muslim foes -- which is what “Srebrenica” is really all about -- is detrimental to the survival of our culture and civilization, and an insult to the memory of the victims of 9-11. It seeks to give further credence to the myth of Muslim blameless victimhood, Christian viciousness, and Western indifference, and therefore weakens our resolve in the global struggle euphemistically known as “war on terrorism.” The former is a crime; the latter, a mistake.

A Republican hopeful with a very long foreign policy learning curve ahead of her is gravely misguided to follow the Democrats’ lead in what amounts to appeasing Islamic aspirations -- in the Balkans, or anywhere else. She should grasp that pandering to Muslim obsessions will never improve her standing in the Muslim world in general, or with those Muslims entitled to vote in the U.S. in particular.

Instead of subscribing to the myth of "Srebrenica," Mrs. Palin would render a far better service to the memory of the victims of 9-11 by learning some recent history. She needs to grasp a key paradox: if Western and especially U.S. policy in the Balkans was not meant to facilitate Jihad, the issue is not why, but how its effects paradoxically coincided with the regional objectives of those same Islamists who produced Ground Zero and who confront America in other parts of the world.

“Srebrenica” provides some of the answers. The immediate bill is being paid by the people of the Balkans, but “Srebrenica’s” long-term costs will come to haunt the West for decades to come. It is not to Sarah Palin credit that she has contributed to the final bill.