Funny you should link to David Rieff in Foreign Affairs and his correction of Boyd. It was Rieff who, scarcely a year into the war, began speaking of 200,000-> a quarter of a million fatalities on the Bosnian govt side alone, taking his acritical cue from the Bosnian govt, whod rifled up the fatality estimate about tenfold within the space of weeks without publicly disclosing a scintilla of proof. How fitting then for Rieff to be counseling others about care with facts. Oh yes, Mr. Rieff, lets all be careful, shall we? Did it cross your mind that the highball CIA estimate to which you make reference accords more with those of Boyd and Kenney than it does with Rieffs and Siladzics apocryphal utterances from early in the war? And how fitting also that you dismiss the USIA study, I gather on the grounds that Serbs are genetically wired to lie and exaggerate, unlike all the studys other participants?
Funny you should cart out Tim Judah also. Cast a glance if you will at page 159 of his book, The Serbs: History, Myth, and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1997) and the ethnographic map entitled 1991: Ethnic Yugoslavia Before the War. NB the small and decidedly minoritarian portion of Bosnia shaded as having a Bosniac Muslim plurality or majority, and the much larger area shaded as having a Serb plurality or majority, but most importantly the quite large area shown in plain white where others (viz., groups other than Serbs/Croats/Muslims!) were a demographic plurality or majority. That others thus defined formed a plurality or majority in this large area is of course a mathematical impossibility over the regions so designated obviously one of Serbs/Croats/Muslims were minimally a plurality, though Judah doesnt tell us who they are. The political motivation for this fudging of the demographic reality, if it isnt already obvious in this revisionist work, becomes obvious 50 pages later, in another map representing maximum extent of Serb control, 1991-95, with which, thanks to the willfully incomplete map of 50 pages earlier, we have no meaningful demographic baseline to compare. This is reaching deep into the dregs of Natophile advocacy journalism hl, but Ill at least give Judah points for having the sophistication as a journeyman serbophobe to grasp that if youre going to practise revisionism, you must extend it back decades to include the NDH Holocaust perpetrated against Serbs, which Judah does with alacrity, embracing the late revisionist demographer Zerjavic, an admirer of the négationniste Tudjman. Otherwise, Serbs wouldve been entitled to take the same umbrage to living under and pledging loyalty to the chequerboard flag as would Polish Jews to living under and pledging loyalty to the Swastika. And we cant have that, of course.
In the NYT Magazine in the spring of 1995 George Kenney estimated total fatalities on all sides in the Bosnian conflict at 25k-60k. At that time his sources in U.S. intelligence were putting the number in the 10s of 1000s and British intelligence was putting the figure at 50-60k, thus highballing in the same vicinity as Kenney interestingly enough. Perhaps this has less to do with a rude comedy on Kenneys part than with the fact that unlike you in your last post, he was situating events on a temporal axis, and these estimates of his were published months before both the fall of Srebrenica and the large-scale co-ordinated offensives by the Croatian and Bosniac armies against Serb-inhabited areas of Croatia and Bosnia enjoying massive NATO/US air support. Its not entirely balmy to surmise that these operations may have claimed as many if not more Serb lives than lives from any other group. Which brings us to Binders post-war reckoning based on comparing fatality figures across humanitarian organizations, yielding a total of less than 70k. Its interesting how this figure meshes plausibly with both Kenneys and UK intelligence estimates from spring 95, and also with Boyds and how different researchers, in a different space of time and using different sources and methods, arrived at such similar findings. And its interesting to compare their methods to yours, which consist of announcing a priori the only correct and serious verdict on the matter permitted to freepers and then string-searching your way to the appropriate footnotes, using such unassailably above-the-fray sources as the Bosnian Congress USA and their pal Dr. Francis Boyle, and Mr. David Rieff of the American Committee to Save Bosnia. Yes, no parti pris pressure groups SVP. Were trying to have a serious discussion here.
You textbite for us from the UN Commission of Experts but spare us such trivia as their methodology, perhaps because to paraphrase a famous quote, this commission had no methodology, only interests. :
It is unsurprising that there are such vast discrepancies in the casualty figures cited by different sides in the war; however international sources on the numbers of victims in the war also vary greatly. The most commonly cited figure in the media is between 200,000 and 250,000 Bosnians killed, which the journalist Nick Gowing has traced back to Bosnian government officials. Whilst articles in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) yearbooks contain the figures of 140,000 and 200,000 as the total number of Croats, Muslims and Serbs killed, research published in the SIPRI yearbooks suggests that between 30,000 to 50,000 have been killed (see SIPRI, 1995; 1996). The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Commission on Missing Persons believe there are currently about 20,000 missing persons according to the ICRC tracing requests, although in a press conference in Washington on 7 November 1997, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Senator Robert Dole, who heads the Commission, cited the figure of about 40,000 missing persons. The divergence of the figures reflects their status as estimates. There has been a lack of investigation to back up many of the figures cited. In fact, many of the figures contained in international reports are based on local sources and have not been independently verified.
There has been uneven documentation of human rights abuses, which has been reflected in the major international reports. For example, the UN Commission of Experts, upon whose evidence the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia was set up, did little independent research and only invited submissions and considered existing reports. Areas which have come under the spotlight of the international media and human rights organisations have received attention and witnesses have been sought and interviewed, whilst other areas ignored by the media and NGOs have been neglected.
The earlier dominant position of the Serbs led to a view of the war as Serbian aggression and a tendency to overlook Serbian losses. There were heavier Croatian and Muslim losses in the earlier period of the war but as the Croatian and Bosnian armies became established they were able to inflict losses on the Serbs. However, the early view of the war has persisted.
The international media coverage, mainly from one side in the conflict, has created a certain dynamic in that subsequent investigations chose their remit based on issues already being highlighted. For example, the remit of the EU Investigative Mission into the Treatment of Muslim Women in the Former Yugoslavia led by Dame Ann Warburton included investigations of Muslim and (unofficially) Croatian rape victims, but did not include Serbian women. The EU team was itself critical of this fact, but the limited scope of investigations was repeated in other international commissions looking into atrocities. For example, the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia did not initially feel it needed to set up an investigation of crimes against the Serbs because its first field investigations were selected on the basis of the material and evidence of the UN Commission of Experts, which had not highlighted Serbian victims (see ICTY, 1994: 27-28).
Most of the early international reports, for example the EU Mission report, based their estimates of victims on a limited number of interviews and domestic documentation. The conclusions of these international reports were then cited in local reports as further substantiated proof. During the war, there tended to be a circular substantiation of evidence and repetition of estimated figures rather than a scientific gathering of additional evidence through independent research.
Why MacKenzie wouldnt be entitled to skepticism about the 92 breadline massacre is a little unclear. Leaks to the press of allegedly classified UN reports to force commander Nambiar claimed to point to Bosnian govt complicity. Even Serb-basher journalist Carol Off acknowledges theres no proof of Serb culpability- she just wants to believe it nonetheless. Markale I (94) produced an initial verdict of: dont know, with informants in the peacekeeping forces claiming it was an inside job, and Markale II (95) a verdict of Serb responsibility over the strenuous objections of expert dissenters, as Binder pointed out. Then theres the homicidal little show put on for Douglas Hurds visit in July 1992, and as witnessed at close hand and written about directly by Canadian peacekeepers, in which the Bosniac territorial defence force mortared and killed several of its own civilians. Skepticism about the official conclusions or to put it better, non-conclusions or kaiboshed conclusions is vastly better founded in these cases than is Dallaires risible lie, in print and unretracted to this day, about the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents by his pals in the RPA, operating a hit squad from territory for which Dallaire was directly responsible, being an accident. How long after the fact is this drunk entitled to that sickening charade, or does he just get a pass cuz hes on the DL while MacKenzies still high-functioning? Not to mention his disgusting negligence in the death of the Belgian peacekeepers, about which the UN mission head of the time Jacques Roger Booh Booh has gone public in the European press.
The question of who had the most guns at a given moment or who, in the final reckoning, lost the most lives in a conflict rarely tells us much about the inherent rightfulness or wrongfulness of the sides causes nor whether its a civil war or not, nor about the legitimacy of each sides fears and concerns, unless were approaching the matter from the intellectual level of a nine-year-old. If you think sides getting outside sustenance in a civil war means it isnt a civil war, then theres a big set of civil war history books youd have to rewrite, incl those about most of the civil wars recorded in Africa and Europe. Try Marxs The Civil War in France for starters. John R. Lampe in Yugoslavia as History: Twice there was a Country (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000), believes that of the war dead in Bosnia, about 50% were Muslims, and 30-35% Serbs. This would put Serb fatalities in a range proportionate or even disproportionate to their presence in the pre-war population, 31.4% by the 91 census. But these figures arent definitive or the last word, since Lampe notes the no. of dead/displaced is still disputed, but seems to think the unproven Bosnian govt number seems likely if we include the missing which is open to endless interpretation, and esp since from very early on, as Pupavac points out, those among the internationals measuring victimhood and loss oriented their efforts overwhelmingly to the non-Serb side, since they were the designated good guys.
How unfortunate for you that one can actually access the antebellum 1990's vintage CIA World Factbooks at the Project Gutenberg site.
Lemme guess - you're referring to some CIA factbook who's contents can't be verified, right?