- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Now that former Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic has been arrested and turned over to the International War Crimes Tribunal for trial on charges of "crimes against humanity," we should recall exactly who the man was and still is a lifelong communist though the left-leaning American and West European media seldom call him that.

A hyperactive Marxist-Leninist from the age of 18, Mr. Milosevic rose by the mid-1980s to become chairman of the Central Committee of the Serbian Communist Party now euphemistically renamed the Socialist Party of the Serb Republic. He was so hard-driving and ideologically committed that his comrades named him "Little Lenin."

But in today's allegedly post-communist world, the man is typically branded a "Serbian leader," a "Balkan Butcher" and an "ultra-nationalist" and is occasionally equated to a "right wing" and "fascist" Adolf Hitler.

But rarely does the soft-on-socialism mainline media or the foreign policy elite, whether U.S. or West European, ever identify this brutal communist with any of a long list of genocidal butchers from his own "left end" of the political spectrum.

After all, now that "communism is dead," why brand anyone an actual communist or even a socialist, if that results in placing him and his evil deeds on the holier-than-thou left?

Such a convenient juxtaposition of this left-wing extremist to the right end of the spectrum reminds one of the thoughtful observation once made by the late, distinguished op-ed editor of The Washington Post, Meg Greenfield. In a June 12, 1989 Newsweek essay entitled "Anti-Communism Redefined," she said in part:

"I have been wondering when more than just a few American conservatives would notice that every time there is a confrontation somewhere in the world, we manage to dub the good guys liberals and the bad guys conservatives , and pretty soon that is the common currency."

The motivation is clear. To place such evil on the "left" would be to violate the perverse standard expounded by the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who at the height of the Cold War proclaimed, "There are no enemies, no evil, on the left" or, in other words, all "true evil" resides on the right. By this self-serving standard, the Balkan Butcher can never be positioned on that noble end of the geopolitical spectrum which carries such good-guy labels as "social justice," and "progressive" and "popular."

We should, of course, reject such semantic nonsense. We should simply recognize that Comrade Slobodan is a full-fledged member of the "Socialist Superstars" category of despots who have so deeply poisoned the history of the 20th century.

Of course, the 20th century featured many thugs and tyrants other than Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Pol Pot among them Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Idi Amin of Uganda, Gamal Nasser of Egypt, Juan Peron and "The Generals" of Argentina, "The Colonels" of Greece, the Duvaliers of Haiti and, as some argue, Augusto Pinochet of Chile.

But these autocrats and authoritarians are really second-stringers, even bench-warmers, when compared to the real superstars of both national and international socialism. (Recall, please, that the dreaded label "Nazi" is the acronym for the National Socialist German Workers Party.)

As history is our tearful witness, it is the socialists of one stripe or another who have presided over the annihilation of as many as 200 million of our fellow human beings to say nothing of the torture, the political imprisonment, the enslavement, the forcing into exile, and the daily repression they have inflicted upon hundreds of millions.

Today, Mr. Milosevic is charged with adding hundreds of thousands to the list of exiled, tortured and dead victims of his own Serbian variety of police state socialism. To the extent that the man is branded a "fascist" for these crimes against humanity, he must clearly be understood to be a creature of the fascist left as his history of communist brutality confirms.

Those in Moscow, Beijing and Havana who may yet decide to "stand by their man" when he comes to trial will be doing so not because he is a right-wing Hitlerite but because he remains, like them, a left-wing Leninist perhaps a precursor to the arrest and trial of Comrade Castro.


Jim Guirard is a Washington attorney and government affairs consultant. He served for many years as chief of staff to Democratic U.S. Senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long of Louisiana.

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