By Neil Kressel
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Extra resources for Mass Hate: The Global Rise of Genocide and Terror
History tells part of the story, but its limitations are clear. Several misleading theories about the origins of the conflict turn up frequently. The first sees a war born of Serbian blood lust, of a desire to visit atrocities upon mortal enemies-the Muslims and theCroats. While some Serbs, indeed, may have given vent to long-standing but submerged brutal passions, this position confuses the cause of the conflict with its consequence. Anyhow, it leaves us with the question of where that blood lust originated, unless we assume thatpeople in theBalkans are somehow blood-thirsty by nature.
Simultaneously, the assertionof toughness provides comfort, suggesting as it does that one mighthave what it takes to survive. Thus, at Omarska, guards reportedly made special efforts to select prisoners with muscular builds for nightly murders. 45 No single factor contributed more to the Serb war criminals’ willingness to ignore moral prohibitions than their reactivated anger at how their people hadsuffered at the handsof the Croats duringWorld War 11. At the Jasenovac concentration camp in Southern Croatia, nearly 100,000 Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies had been murdered.
Independent observers generally agree, however, that Bosnian Serbs bear responsibility for the overwhelming preponderance of rapes and other war crimes. Their victims were mostly Muslims but also Croats. ”13 Serbs were also the first to commit atrocities. Some officials, like Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie, the former top UN peacekeeper in Bosnia, threw up their hands in light of the complexity of the situation. “Dealing with Bosnia,” MacKenzie testified, “is a little bit like 16 CHAPTER Two dealing with three serial killers-one has killed 15, one has killed 10, one has killed five.