Thursday, October 13, 2005

Srebrenica Revisited

/ massacres / examined /
Diana Johnstone revisits and re-examines the facts and the circumstances regarding the Srebrenica massacre. She also examines the modern political uses of the massacre - and the rather skewed, perpetrator-dependant sensibilities regarding large scale murder.

I post this article, because it is argued rather convincingly and makes some important points regarding, not only Srebrenica and the Bosnian war, but also the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, that are both true and forgotten - frighteningly so, for someone who followed the events as they were reported at the time - for example that:

...Whatever happened in Srebrenica could have best been prevented, not by U.S. or NATO bombing, but by preventing civil war from breaking out in Bosnia Herzegovina to begin with. This prevention was possible if the "international community", meaning the NATO powers, Europe and the United States, had firmly insisted that the Yugoslav crisis of 1990 should be settled by negotiations. But first of all, Germany opposed this, by bullying the European Union into immediate recognition of the secession of Slovenia and Croatia from Yugoslavia, without negotiation. All informed persons knew that this threatened the existence of Bosnia Herzegovina. The European Union proposed a cantonization plan for Bosnia Herzegovina, not very different from the present arrangement, which was accepted by leaders of the Bosnian Muslim, Serb and Croat communities. But shortly thereafter, Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic reneged, after the U.S. ambassador encouraged him to hold out for more. Throughout the subsequent fighting, the U.S. put obstacles in the way of every European peace plan. These years of obstruction enabled the United States to take control of the eventual peace settlement in Dayton, in November 1995...

I'm usually loathe to post much that might be considered exculpatory of Serb crimes in Bosnia, because of the sort of people that advance pro-Serb apologetics in Greece - in defense of Serbian nationalism in any form and shape. These are the sort of arguments that are patent nationalist nonsense, invoking past crimes to justify recent atrocities, but they are argued seriously and passionately over here - indeed there were Greek ultranationalist volunteers that were involved in Serb atrocities in Bosnia. In fact there is no doubt that the attitudes of the average Greek on the issue are certainly pro-Serb in a rather instictive and ill-reasoned way. Yet it's equally obvious that reading the disaster of the Yugoslav civil war as a "morality pantomime between pure good and pure evil", in Johnstone's words, is so patently unsatisfactory a version of events, that I can't help but be amazed at the ubiquity of such a view among intelligent and erudite people in the West. It is still useful therefore, to discuss the events surrounding the whole Yugoslav war, not only as a matter of history, not only to identify the culprits of horrendous crimes, but to understand the way in which versions of historical reality are honed as tools in modern propaganda wars - and real victims become alibis for even worse atrocities.

I'm eager to hear opinions on Johnstone's piece - and the issues she tackles.

A related side note: it seems to me that any version of Balkan history, from Ottoman times onward, that tries to explain events based mainly on local events and local societal and political dynamics, without emphasizing the dominant role that all sorts of "Great Powers" have played in the region, is a naive version of history. Balkan states were marginally more than protectorates throughout their history, the only exception being - for better or for worse - Tito's Yugoslavia.


Anonymous said...

What is it about this region that drives otherwise intelligent, sensible observers nuts?

Rebecca West noted it 70 years ago; it's not a new thing.

Diane Johnstone. Oh, my. We know her of old. She came late to the Balkans -- she's in her seventies now -- but immediately discovered her persecuted martyrs, and has stuck by them since.

Serb apologist extraordinaire. Warmongering West bad, America-backed Croats bad, Bosnia conflict all the Muslims' fault, Kosovo all the Albanians, Serbs /innocent/, dammit.

She dresses this up in a progressive coating -- a critique of media manipulation and of Western military intervention generally -- but you will comb through her stuff in vain for any but the weakest and most equivocal criticisms of Milosevic, Karadzic, or the Serbs in general. Unlike, say, Chomsky or Neil Clark, I have the impression that Johnstone started with the standard set of progressive biases but then just fell violently in love with the Serbs. At the end of the day she's just another outsider who's come to the Balkans, picked a side and started swinging. Basically a more articulate version of your Greek nationalist friends, Talos.

-- I'll hold my nose, briefly. Johnstone makes a couple of good points. Yes, Srebrenica was a Bosniak military center as well as a town full of civilians. Yes, Naser Oric was a butcher who killed hundreds of Serbs. Yes, the numbers of dead were initially inflated. And yes, the Bosniaks took every chance to exaggerate their suffering and present themselves as innocent victims, often to the point of outright lying.

But then, so did everyone else. And (Johnstone never mentions this) the Bosniaks labored under a unique disadvantage: all the participants were under an arms embargo, but the others could either make or smuggle everything they needed. The Croats and (especially) the Serbs were much better armed than the Bosniaks, especially in terms of tanks, artillery, and other heavy weapons. That's why, for instance, the Serbs could shell Sarajevo at will; the Bosniaks had nothing to reply with. But Johnstone gets very upset that the Bosniaks _hired a New York PR firm_ to help them. Oh kay.

As usual, she tries to slime Izetbegovic with complicity in the massacre. Yes, he did say that NATO intervention might come after a massacre -- more than once, actually. But, no, there's not a whit of evidence that he "wanted" a massacre, let alone that he (how?) connived at it.

Extermination camps: um. There were seven camps in which several thousand Bosniaks died. No, they weren't deliberate killing camps. But the prisoners -- almost entirely civilians -- were methodically starved, beaten and raped, and died in appalling numbers. But Johnstone has nothing to say about that. All that matters is that Izetbegovic used a bad word and is a /liar/.

And then there's this: "This was, then, a 'massacre', such as occurs in war when fleeing troops are ambushed by superior forces."

God, I love that. Where to start? The scare quotes around "massacre". Fleeing troops. Those cowardly Muslims! _Superior_ forces. Go Serbs!

And, of course, the deliberate conflation of Muslim fighters with civilians. Yeah, those "fleeing troops" included ten-year-old boys, men in suits and ties, and hospital patients. The best guess is that of the ~7,400 people killed at Srebrenica, perhaps one in five were soldiers. (That estimate comes from those noted Western puppets, the International Physicians for Human Rights.) And the vast majority weren't fleeing; they were first captured, kept for up to five days, and then methodically taken out and murdered.

So, no -- it was not in any way "a 'massacre', such as occurs in war when fleeing troops are ambushed by superior forces." It was a massacre, such as occurs when a military force captures a town and decides to kill a few thousand of its inhabitants.

Oh and: "Exploitation of 'Srebrenica' then helped set the stage for the Kosovo war of 1999". Well, if by that she means the NATO intervention, Srebrenica probably made it easier, yes. If by that she means Milosevic's continuing and increasingly deadly oppression of the Albanians, the increasingly violent Albanian response, and the eventual eruption of the province in revolt, then no; by 1995-6 that was pretty much inevitable. "The Kosovo war of 1999" started before a single NATO bomb fell -- it really started in August 1998 -- and, of course, it continued after NATO stopped.

But let that bide, or we'll get into another endless round of Kosovo. Short version: Johnstone is pretty much worthless. Most of the "discoveries" she's pushing are well known to anyone who's tried to get familiar with the history. Frex, you can find all of the stuff about Naser Oric, Bosniak attempts at media manipulation, etc. on the official Dutch website. But she systematically ignores facts that don't fit her chosen interpretation of events (Serbs good, everyone else Western dupes), and in many cases ("This, then, was a 'massacre'...") she simply fucking lies.

Ultimately, she's no different from those guys claiming that the Germans were -- you know -- delousing the Jews. For sanitary purposes.

Doug M.

Eric Gordy said...

I've prepared a response, but it is a bit longer than would be appropriate for a comment, so I have posted it to East Ethnia. It's here:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to double-post, but: upon consideration, it occurs to me that while the article is dated last week, it reads like it was written five years ago.

No mention of the elaborate forensic work that has been ongoing for almost a decade now. Nor of the Dutch government that resigned in 2002 over Srebrenica. Nor of the apology by the Republika Srpska government, nor the Blagojevic and Jokic convictions and the evidence brought forth at those trials. Nor of the confessions of Momir Nikolic and Dragan Obrenovic. (Read Johnstone's article, and you'd think "Srebrenica" was based on a single witness, the much maligned "petty criminal" Drazen Erdemovic. In fact there are over a dozen eyewitness testimonies from the Serb side now, plus many more from the victims.)

No mention of the damning French Parliamentary report of 2002 (particularly interesting since the French have generally been the most pro-Serb of the large EU countries). And, of course, no mention of the horrific massacre video that surfaced earlier this year.

She even says that "less than 3,000" bodies have been exhumed" of which "less than a fraction" have been identified. That's just plain wrong. The current body count stands at over 6,000, of which about 2,500 have been identified. The 3,000 count was true in 1999. Much digging has been done since then. But it seems to have been locked into the collective mind of the massacre deniers. It's a little ironic, given that Johnstone complains at length about the "sacrality" of numbers -- because, you know, the Bosniaks tried to claim that 8,000-10,000 people had been killed, when it was really only around 7,400.

In all seriousness, the whole thing reads like it was written five years ago and kept in a drawer. Which, I suspect, it was. Johnstone made up her mind a long time ago, and no new evidence will be allowed to impinge.

Oh, and: high-powered PR agencies. All sides had them! Serbs, Croats... even the damn Montenegrins had Jack Abramoff (yes, /that/ Jack Abramoff) lobbying for their cause on Capitol Hill.

Cripes, I can't believe I've wasted nearly an hour now blegging a massacre denier.

Balkan states as protectorates: an entirely valid point, but I'm a little creeped to see it appear in a discussion of Srebrenica. The Serbs didn't massacre 7,000+ men and boys because they were puppets of a Great Power. They did it because they wanted to.

(Oh, and Ataturk's Turkey was a protectorate? Of whose?)

Doug M.

Anonymous said...

Just read Eric's reply. It's very good.

(He's still wrong about Clinton, of course.)

Oh, and she never mentions that Naser Oric is locked up in the Hague, while Mladic -- who was going to treat the prisoners according to the Geneva Conventions, you know -- is still at large. Nor does she

no no no stop

Talos, serious question: what were you thinking here? Do you think Johnstone is, in some sense, "right"? I can't really think you do. Do you think she's asking hard questions that are worth asking, even if she has a lot of her facts wrong? Or is it just that she's, you know, progressive and anti-imperialist and all, and Chomsky likes her, and stuff?

I don't get it.

Doug M.

talos said...

Doug: Actually the point of the post was
b. she's asking hard questions that are worth asking, even if she has a lot of her facts wrong
d. "to understand the way in which versions of historical reality are honed as tools in modern propaganda wars - and real victims become alibis for even worse atrocities"
and more importantly
e. to gather rebutting (or indeed confirmatory) arguments to a lot of the claims which I don't have enough evidence to judge. So thanks for both your and Eric's responses (and I wonder if I might be able to drag Johnstone herself into this)...

I have some comments myself but I'll wait awhile for possible further commentary - but Turkey is a different issue, it's a former imperial power itself.

Marko Attila Hoare said...

Johnstone and other genocide-denying contributors to neo-Stalinist rags like Counterpunch and ZMag, still argue that the break up of Yugoslavia was somehow engineered by 'Western imperialism'. Ignoring the overwhelming documentary evidence that shows that Milosevic's regime was deliberately promoting the break-up of Yugoslavia and a Serbian war of conquest from at least the spring of 1990, they choose to focus their ire on Germany's peaceful diplomatic support for Croatia in the autumn of 1991, and on Clinton's feeble, half-hearted efforts on behalf of the Bosnians. These unreconstructed left-wing dinosaurs are in denial, not just of the Srebrenica genocide, but of the fact that their entire political tradition is one of apologising for mass-murdering red dictators: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pol, Ceaucescu and now Milosevic. Some people just never learn from history, but insist on making the same mistakes, time after time.

Eric Gordy said...

Thank goodness I'm still wrong about Clinton! I'm in serious danger of getting an ego inflammation here.

talos said...

Just a brief point: calling counterpunch and Znet "neo-Stalinist' is to admit ignorance of what Stalinism is and isn't.

BTW it would be interesting to search who exactly it was that deposed Pol-Pot (and who supported him after his fall).

Marko Attila Hoare said...

To all intents and purposes, a 'neo-Stalinist' includes anybody who views 'socialist' or 'Communist' dictatorships as embodying progress, and supports their right to slaughter their own citizens. The readiness of ZMag and Counterpunch to publish endless articles apologising for Milosevic's genocide, makes them neo-Stalinist.

Oh yes, and if a Five Year Plan is underfulfilled, or several million peasants are starved to death during a collectivisation drive, or if Yugoslavia collapses, or if 7,000 Muslims are massacred at Srebrenica, neo-Stalinists always blame it on a 'Western imperialist conspiracy' - another dead giveaway...

talos said...

The readiness of ZMag and Counterpunch to publish endless articles apologising for Milosevic's genocide, makes them neo-Stalinist

Er, no, it doesn't. Publishing an article on an issue (and Znet is an aggregator mostly BTW) does not equal endorsing it. The most that can be said is that some of the authors hosted doubt that a genocide was pepetrated. More importantly though, by the time of his fall Milosevic had sold to very private interests (in Greece and Italy for example) a not insignificant part of Yugoslav state property. The bugger could have been many things but Stalinist (and most definitely Socialist) was hardly the word to describe him. Unless you consider cronyism some form of socialism, in which case the Bush administration is socialist to the bone.

On the other hand one could arguably brand Tito some sort of neo-Stalinist: yet under Tito there was not one instance of inter-ethnic violence that went unpunished. Srebrenica could not have happenned under Tito. Ethnic slaughters returned to the former Yugoslavia along with free markets. Food for thought.

BTW: Stalinism

Marko Attila Hoare said...

Talos; whether Milosevic can be described as 'Stalinist' or not is a completely different question. I was merely making the point that ZMag and Counterpunch are 'neo-Stalinist'. Milosevic was indeed a supporter of privatisation and the free market, but a lot of leftists supported him because he called himself 'Socialist'. A democratic left would support the victims of fascism and genocide; the people at ZNet prefer to defend the fascists from negative media coverage.

Also, your view of Tito is somewhat rose-tinted; he presided over the ethnic cleansing of the ethnic-German minority in Vojvodina and the crushing of the Kosovo Albanians in the 1940s. And how were 'free markets' to blame for Stalin's forced deportation of the Chechens, Crimean Tartars and others ?

Anonymous said...

There's no (a) or (c) there. Well...

b. she's asking hard questions that are worth asking, even if she has a lot of her facts wrong

I'm not really seeing that.

When someone is

(1) factually wrong
(2) about a lot of stuff, that
(3) is easily checked, and,
(4) always in the same direction

then a heavy discounting effect kicks in.

She's consistently wrong in the same ways: those that fit her agenda. She's not really thinking. She's not asking questions because she wants to know the answers. She thinks she already knows the answers.

Again: Johnstone is basically a Holocaust denier. Same arguments. Same methodology. Same sloppiness with the facts, because facts don't matter, because we /know/ who's lying.

So. There's a point beyond which you stop engaging with someone.

d. "to understand the way in which versions of historical reality are honed as tools in modern propaganda wars - and real victims become alibis for even worse atrocities"

Here I think we reach the meat of it. She's drawing a direct connection from Bosnia, to Kosovo, to Iraq; and you, I fear, are falling for it.

I've noticed this tendency in the last year or so. The progressive left was always uncomfortable with the Bosnian intervention and with Dayton, but there wasn't a clear consensus on how to view it. (Well, except that anything the West did was bad. But never mind that.) However, the powerful gravitational effect of Iraq seems to be causing a steady process of retconning... rewriting the history to say, oh yes, we may not have realized it at the time, but this was exactly the same sort of thing! There's a clear line from there to here!

Except it wasn't, and there isn't.

The logic here is that "Every military intervention is like every other military intervention, and always makes the next one easier. So they're all bad." This is not true, but it makes emotional sense, so people are starting to nod and say, oh yes, I guess Bosnia /was/ like that.

e. to gather rebutting (or indeed confirmatory) arguments to a lot of the claims which I don't have enough evidence to judge.

Hm. Which would you prefer: that I think you're not capable of doing your own research (and this is not a particularly hard or obscure topic), or that I think you're indulging in some ex post facto rationalization?

"Ethnic slaughters returned to the FY along with free markets": Jesus. No, Talos, that's just wrong. None of the FY Republics had begun the transition to a market economy in 1991-2. Croatia, Bosnia and (especially) Serbia all took sharp turns into oligarchic crony-capitalism, but that's got jack to do with "the free market". Croatia and Serbia adopted some of the names, but "privatization" in those states in the 1990s meant "selling state assets for a song to friends and political allies of the President."

Dude, you're starting to creep me here. I know you know this stuff better than this.

Hoare is wrong too, of course. "Stalinist", like "fascist", is usually used to mean "something I don't like," and that's how he's using it here. But I don't care about /him/.

Are you OK?

Doug M.

Marko Attila Hoare said...

Doug M: Don't misrepresent me; I defined "neo-Stalinist" very specifically in my post above; you might use it to mean "something I don't like", but that's your definition, not mine.

talos said...

Doug quickly: I selected a reason from your list and added two more. The third reason I quoted is indeed a valid reason. I was hoping for some response especially from Eric (the issue was mentioned in an email). Diana Johnstone I have found myself agreeing with in her recent writings regarding both the French elections and the euro-referendum (and pretty much so regarding Cuba). I remember her from the e-activism against the Kosovo bombardment. She got my attention then when one thousand "specialists" were talking utter nonsense (but let's skip Kosovo). Thus I can't see her as a holocaust denier of any sort. Given her history even if she's wrong, (and i.e the fact that Izetbekovic admitted that the Serb camps were not extermination camps were news to me) I want someone to demostrate why. I was looking for a discussion.

There are still open questions here, I'll follow them up as the discussion moves on.

Regarding free markets; yes, yes, it should have been "free markets" (in quotes), or even better "after the fall of Stalinism". See the remark that followed regarding cronyism.

As for the interventions etc. I'm still waiting for some more comments and I'll explain in detail: BTW not all interventions are bad, Vietnam's intervention in Cambodia probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm still a bit baffled. So, they weren't extermination camps; they were just forced labor, beatings, torture and rape camps. Where thousands of people died but only, you know, as a side effect.

I'm not a big fan of Izetbegovic. But it's hard to fault him for being imprecise in his terminology.

So, because she seems to make sense on so many other points, you're willing to overlook her being a massacre denier? Hum.

Eric has done a great job cataloging the sloppy reasoning in this article. I've pointed to five or six fairly large errors of fact. It's possible that in her writings on Cuba, or whatever, she's a bit more clear-headed. But I have to tell you, this is pretty typical of what I've seen of her stuff on the Balkans. Which is to say, it's crap, and in a very consistent and predictable way.

Attila: you gave a definition, but it's a stupid definition. "Stalinist" has a specific meaning. I know Trots who are still in mourning for the old USSR; they viewed it as embodying progress (albeit flawed), and they thought Lenin and Trotsky's atrocities, at least, were wholly justified. By your definition, they'd be "neo-Stalinists". Sorry, but that's just dumb.

Surely there's no shortage of names to throw at Alexander Cockburn without making stuff up.

Doug M.

Anonymous said...

Cambodia: I agree with you.

On a much smaller scale, the same is of course true of Turkey's invasion of Cyprus.

Doug M.

talos said...

Turkey - Cyprus: no. It's a different discussion, but the Vietnamese did not slaughter, rape and ethnically cleanse half of Cambodia.

A different discussion though.

Marko Attila Hoare said...

So Doug, are "stupid" and "dumb" just your way of describing anyone who disagrees with you ? Firstly, "Stalinism" and "neo-Stalinism" are not the same thing. Secondly, the original Trotskyists at least coupled their defence of the USSR with a sincere campaign denouncing Stalin's atrocities and seeking his overthrow. That's more than can be said for today's left-wing supporters of Milosevic.

Talos is right on this point: the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia was a justified act to liberate the Cambodian people from Khmer Rouge terror, while the Turkish invasion of Cyprus involved the ethnic partition of the island and the ethnic cleansing of the Greek population. I'd describe equating the two invasions as "stupid" and "dumb", but I wouldn't want to be sectarian...

Anonymous said...

It's a different discussion, but the Vietnamese did not slaughter, rape and ethnically cleanse half of Cambodia.

The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia was not very gentle either; the two peoples are traditional enemies. Very like Greeks and Turks, actually, with Vietnam in Turkey's role.

Counterfactual: no invasion. What happens to the Turks of Cyprus? Small-scale massacres had already begun as soon as Samson took power.

#people killed in invasion << #who would have died without an invasion, to a high degree of certainty.

So Doug, are "stupid" and "dumb" just your way of describing anyone who disagrees with you ?

No, they're my way of describing arguments that are stupid or dumb.

You'll notice these words rarely come up between me and Talos, even though we disagree sharply on many points. That's because his arguments, while often wrong, are not usually stupid.

Doug M.

Marko Attila Hoare said...

I don't know what your grudge against me is, Muir, but instead of cluttering up other people's blogs with your petty abuse, perhaps you could use your own for this purpose ? Surely, there's enough space there, even for one of your endless, long-winded, rambling commentaries...

On the other hand, I won't be coming back to this thread, so you can feel free to hurl abuse to your heart's content...

Anonymous said...

Further to the Vietnam thing...

The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia unquestionably saved lives; hundreds of thousands, maybe a million. It was a great net good.

But: it was brutal. The Vietnamese committed numerous atrocities. Worse yet, they indulged in wholesale confiscation of rice and other food supplies. Cambodia had a very nasty famine in 1979, largely because the Vietnamese army scooped up most of the country's rice harvest and sent it back to Vietnam. Nobody knows how many Cambodians died as a result, but 50,000 is probably a reasonable estimate.

Further, the invasion led to a brutal decade-long occupation, with over 200,000 Vietnamese troops supporting a puppet government sitting in Phnom Penh. This so outraged Cambodian nationalist feelings that significant numbers of people continued to support Pol Pot. (Along with two other rival nationalist groups, Sihanouk's and whoever came after Lon Nol.) This in turn led to thousands more casualties, mostly civilian.

As Turkey with Greece, Vietnam has been Cambodia's traditional enemy and oppressor; about a quarter of modern Vietnam used to be part of Cambodia. The Vietnamese grabbed it and ethnically cleansed most of the Cambodians. Broadly speaking, Vietnam and Thailand were always the regional bullies of SE Asia.

So, I do think the Cyprus analogy (on a much smaller scale) is valid.

Pause to imagine if Vietnam had invaded in early 1977 instead of 1979. Then we'd all be roundly condemning the Vietnamese: for killing 50,000 Cambodians, occupying the country for a decade, imposing a puppet government, etc. etc.

Doug M.

Anonymous said...

It might not be immediately relevant, but I have long been wondering why the EU is even discussing about giving membership to a country that has commited two different genocides in the past and admitted none, while still illegally occupying EU soil.

Reading this post and some replies has verified what I have suspected: it's all a matter of perspective.

Nick E.

Anonymous said...

The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia was not very gentle either; the two peoples are traditional enemies. Very like Greeks and Turks, actually, with Vietnam in Turkey's role.

This is profoundly simplistic and certainly nothing anyone who has studied South East Asia would write.

It is the same kind of binary and reductive mindset that reduced events at the disolution of Yugoslavia into black and white, good guy - bad guy "analysis lite." There were some very bad guys on all sides of the disolution of Yugoslavia, parsing arguments denying attrocities from those which acknowledge multifaced and multisourced they were has value in understanding the events of the 90s.

Anonymous said...

This is profoundly simplistic and certainly nothing anyone who has studied South East Asia would write.

Um. I'm going to be spending most of January in Phnom Penh and Vientiane.

What's "simplistic" about it? Vietnam has been the regional bully for several centuries. (Except for the century or so from ~1860 to 1954, when everyone was under the French.)

About a fifth of the modern state of Vietnam was once part of Kampuchea. The Vietnamese got rid of most of the ethnic Khmer, either through cleansing or forced assimilation (which is still continuing). But there's still a large Khmer minority in Vietnam: around a million people, last time I looked. Mostly in the Mekong Delta, which was the heartland of a Khmer kingdoms, back when, but is now firmly Vietnamese.

That's not "simplistic" or "black and white". It just is.

parsing arguments denying attrocities from those which acknowledge multifaced and multisourced they were has value in understanding the events of the 90s.

I'm unable to make sense of this.

Doug M.

Anonymous said...

(Except for the century or so from ~1860 to 1954, when everyone was under the French.)

Exactly. this is why I hope you do a bit more reading than a tourist brochure when you visit.

Really I simply xpected you to withdraw the idea of an analogy when corrected. I am suprised you attempt to defend it. It is really the most reductive and useless kind of process. Outsiders attempting to pigeonhole complex situations inot analogies (not to mention fundimentally incorrect ones) are part of the problem.

I'm unable to make sense of this.

I am not suprised. It has to do with the above, judging and insisting on analogies.

Again, to put it more simply. Attrocity denial is reprehenisble. But quite different from understanding how all sides contribute to the violence, expecially for example exteranal actors with external interests.