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VasFURY

Moscow Victory Day (70 Years) Parade

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This is what I meant about someone from the US camp/side taking a jibe at the russians. Ultimately it then leads to everything above, and someone in return villifying the yanks, and then back and forth like a seesaw.

Well when we have a single political party running our gov't with a thug at the top of the ladder who then starts establishing a force outside of legitimate law enforcement bodies to "enforce" rules, then they can throw stones back. In the meantime they might want to start complaining to their leadership about why they are calling the Ukrainian leadership fascist when the term more appropriately fits the Russian gov't. Especially when that same gov't is doing all this chest thumping about it's victory over fascism.

And before you start saying well why don't we .... You might want to reconsider. I already did time for my political opposition to activities of my gov't that I felt were wrong. There is an old saying over here - Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Putin is promising "security" and showing that off in his little parade. Russians might want to spend some time figuring out what they are paying for it. The cost is likely a lot higher than they think. Putting one's head into the sand is not a healthy political attitude. If folks are upset that I use the word fascism about the Russian gov't, is it because they think it doesn't fit or they are just uncomfortable with someone stating what is so patently obvious?

 

An example of our differences - when a person becomes a serious opposition figure

 

In Russia they can expect prison or possible assassination

In America they can become a commentator on Fox news or Comedy Central.

 

Where would you rather live?

Edited by sburke

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And before you start saying well why don't we .... You might want to reconsider. I already did time for my political opposition to activities of my gov't that I felt were wrong.

me too, though for reasons significantly less noble than yours. which is why i find so many of these foreigners claiming im apparently in the murca rulez camp and a friend of the gov.t... that has imprisoned me numerous times. you know i.ve lived here, and in europe. panzers been to three continents i know of and you at least that many. so if we.re in the murica rules group at least we.ve seen much of the world. how much of the world have you seen lacroix?

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Now we are stuck with a bad international law precedent which other countries, like Russia are exploiting.

I'd ask if you were kidding, but I know you aren't :D Russia is simply using the Kosovo issue as a VERY FLAWED cover for its own actions. Russia's actions last February would have been no different than if Kosovo was still a part of Russia.

Russia's foreign policy is not influenced by international standards of laws. For example, Russia just sent in another "humanitarian aid convoy" into Ukraine that was not inspected or done in accordance with International law. Or earlier Russian agreements, for that matter.

Steve

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**** Steve; way to pick sides. I figured even you'd be smart enough to read through this post and just realize its one great flame war. Speaking of which, work on getting fire into the game.

 

Everyone else... have fun. But someone get Aurelius out of this conversation..... WE HAVE A PBEM GAME TO PLAY!!!!

 

FLAME ON!

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I suppose these argument over those nasty brutal little wars in Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, etc are meant to work on folks under 30. But I'm over sixty, I'm plenty old enough to vividly recall the events being discussed, I still even have the news footage on old VCR tape somewhere. And absurdist historical revisionism doesn't really work on me.

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As both a historian and a moderator here's my primary beef with threads like this...

Inevitably someone feels they need to justify/excuse/deflect their country's poor behavior by attacking the track record of a Western country or the West in general. This is usually done through a morality argument, which boils down to "your country did this at some point, so your point of view has no value". These counter arguments are often factually flawed, not viewed correctly in context, and/or not directly comparable in a meaningful way (apples and oranges). Sometimes not, but IMHO it's the exception to the rule in my 16 years of moderating these Forums.

Where things tend to go downhill is that Westerners generally do not denny or excuse whatever analogy is being presented to show that the West is flawed. In fact, more times than I can count the Westerner basically says "oh, it's even worse than what you just described" and then goes into details the original person didn't even know about. Of course if the point is poorly presented a Westerner has no problem pointing that out.

Either way, the discussion is bound to go in a bad direction at this point. The person trying to deflect criticism against his own country was trying to paint the Westerner into a morality corner and wind up being able to say "hypocrite!". When that doesn't happen the person is left with three choices:

1. Ignore the response because it doesn't help his cause ("if I don't acknowledge it then it never happened")

2. Create a new, and probably even more flawed, example ("throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks")

3. Concede some ground, but not the original point ("yes, my argument was highly flawed but I'm still right")

Usually the person can't decide which way to go so they do all three :D

Now, having said this I am very, very, VERY well aware that there are good reasons for this. In the case of Russia, the Russian government was not forced to "de-Nazify" after the Soviet Union collapsed. As the old saying goes, you can not fix a problem you do not admit you have. Worse, if it is socially or politically difficult to have even a discussion to explore the possibility of a problem, then things have very little hope of getting better.

I know the argument that "better the Devil we know than the Devil we do not" is influencing a lot of Russians in terms of allowing Putin and his backers to rob Russians blind and condemn the entire country to the backwaters of modern society because they fear things could be worse. In American terms, this is called "sacrificing Liberty for Security". But as Ben Franklin famously stated in 1755:

 

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

This is, sadly, the condition that Russia finds itself in today. For many years Putin's social contract with the Russian people was comparatively very good from a historical perspective. I would go so far as to say that Russia was "better" under Putin from the late 1990s until the mid 2000s than any time in Russian history. In fact, I was one of the people who also thought "Putin is a dictator, but he's an enlightened type that is probably what Russia needs". I no longer believe this because Putin has shown himself to be no different than the garden variety tyrants which rule for their own benefit and they don't care one bit who gets hurt in the process.

Putin could have put Russia on a transition course to a better political system, or at least a better economic one. By Western standards it would still leave much to be desired, but over time it could have become equal to that of most of the West. However, he chose the other path and is now rushing the rest of Russia down it with him.

As a historian I can tell you that transitions from autocratic regimes tend to be very messy. I know that many Russians are aware of this and that is why they are allowing Putin to do the things that he does. But there's something else I can tell you...

Putin is not immortal

This is important because at some point Putin will lose his grip on power, even if nobody challenges him while he is alive. Unless Russians are organized and prepared to take power for themselves, the next government will most likely be as bad, if not worse, than Putin's. To avoid this fate Russians have to understand that their problems are being caused by their own people, not the West. Fatalism is not a plan, rather it is something they are taught in order to make them compliant with authority. Then they have to act on this by trying to change things from within. Russians would have a much better chance of a happier future if they realized they don't have to accept the status quo.

I like Russians. I want Russians to succeed in this world. I want there to be world peace and no threat of nuclear war. This will not happen as long as Putin is in power. It is as simple as that.

Steve

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Dang Steve; way to pick sides.

I pick the side that is favored by logic and facts, so I'm happy you noticed :D

 

I figured even you'd be smart enough to read through this post and just realize its one great flame war.

Partly. But if I shut this one down (and I probably will soon), another will come up in its place. I knew that would be the case the second after I thought it was a good idea to do a "fictional" war between Russia and Ukraine. So I for one am not surprised to see these conversations taking place.

Steve

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 And absurdist historical revisionism doesn't really work on me.

 

Alderaan simply exploded in a massive industrial accident at the moment the Death Star arrived. Rebel claims to the contrary have no basis in reality.    The Rebel attack on the Death Star though killed anywhere between two and four hundred thousand innocent civilian contractors. 

 

Now who's the real monsters? 

 

:huh:

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The reality in which i live has a lot more people hurt in some way by the supposed good guys. Stories like- I was born in a car because my family had to flee in terror from the Croatian Army or the Bosnaks; we had to leave Kosovo because they attack us each day (not to mention the events from 2004. when they forced people out from their homes and destroyed churches and monasteries from 13th century); they desecrated graves of my family members again and so on. Makes you wonder who is really a good guy and if there's any. Our army did horrible things and I am ashamed for that, but they weren't the only ones rounding up civies and executing them.

I am sorry you had to go through the things you did. Nobody should have to suffer these sorts of things. Unfortunately for your family, you are just a tiny piece in a much larger historical picture of state sponsored discrimination and repression of Kosovo by the Serbian government over a period of decades. You and your family had to live with the results of that behavior because that's the way the world works. Especially because those most responsible were always safely within Serbia.

The actions of the Kosovaars who "did onto others as was done onto them" are not be excusable, but they are not unexpected or even unusual. Which is why I despise despotic behavior because it ALWAYS winds up this way. Pent up anger at repression and exploitation results in terrible counter behavior in the sense of "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Remember, the Serbian government justified its actions against the Kosovaars in your family's name, therefore the Serbian government in a way painted a target on your family and Serbian culture.

But as you said earlier, the families of the dead have good reason to focus on the act of death instead of the circumstances surrounding it. The family of a worker that is killed in an industrial accident in a usually safe work environment wants "justice" as much as the family of someone murdered by Arkan wants justice. However, that doesn't mean the CEO of the company is just as bad as Milosevic. The two are not equatable even if the grief of the families is.

Steve

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SBurke: "Putin is promising "security" and showing that off in his little parade. Russians might want to spend some time figuring out what they are paying for it."

 

Russians have never looked to the state for "security" from external sources - Russians fully understand that the threat of the West invading Motherland soil, is minimal to the point of minuscule. It was a parade, it has been happening every year on the same day for the last 70 years. Sure the state may use it for arms propaganda in order to obtain export orders. So what? They do that all over the world too. Britains Farnborough is a large Airplane parade/show, with the sole purpose of obtaining lucrative export contracts. The public display is just an afterthought/byproduct of the finances-oriented display by some of the major producers of combat aircraft. 

 

As for the figuring out what they are paying for, Im sorry buddy, but dont be under the illusion that Russian people are stifled with excessive payments, that they feel the need to ask where their money is going. In Russia, tax is set at 13%, for individuals, and for companies, no matter how much you earn. Healthcare is good. Pensions are rising. Wages for teachers are rising. People actually do live pretty decently there, which many of you on this forum continuously fail to accept!

 

For comparison, here in the UK, tax band depends on your income. I'm somewhere in the middle class, so my tax is at 50% of my salary. Then, my company also gets taxed on the salary that I pay to myself and other employees, at 22% (or something like that). Then there is Council tax which I pay annually to my borough, for living in it. Oh, if my parents die, I have to pay the Government 30% of the value of the home that they spent all their life paying off, before it can pass over to me - as Inheritance tax. 

 

So, back to the point raised by you guys above: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." 

 

Lets rephrase that (remember, Russians dont really care about "safety", the way you guys do, or think of it in the way you guys think of it). Lets rephrase that sentence to a common russian man's mindset (from how I perceive it). It would be along the lines of: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little economic freedom, do not deserve the liberty, and whatever else blah blah". 

 

Alright, so, would I give up my liberties/freedom of expression/blah blah (crap that I dont really have living in a democratic country, because really, I CANT express my views openly/freely - I have to worry about offending religions groups, or race groups, or sexual orientation groups etc.) - in exchange to live better ECONOMICALLY? You know what - hell yeah I would! Isn't that what countries and their leaders are supposed to be doing for their people? Increasing and improving the quality of life - which more often than not means economic welfare? In any case, my Liberty does not really count for much here in the UK. Whichever party I vote for (illusion of choice) - they all lie and in the end do not deliver what was promised. Taxes are going up, student fees are up, the National Health System is a JOKE with a capital J. Protests/political rallies? Please. 2 million people in Britains largest ever protest took to the streets of London against war in Iraq. We still went to war there. Oh Oh Oh, lets talk about repression! When I first came to this country, there always used to be pickets and campaigns going on right opposite Parliament/Big Ben, about various things. Now? Nada. No protests. Instead there are constantly 20 or so officers stationed around the Parliament Square, quietly moving on anyone who has anything worth saying in opposition to what they do in that building.

Have a read: https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/free-speech-and-protest/protest/protest-around-parliament

 

Lets add to the fact that most of us are under a mountain of mortgages, or repaying back increased student fees (which went up from 3k per annum, to 9k per annum in most Universities), which make it physically impossible to leave work for even a day, to go and demonstrate one's opinion. 

 

So, to my eye (which may be wrong - please comment!), in Russia, Putin takes away some Liberties, but provides greater economic freedoms/opportunities. In the UK, I have many Liberties (again, questionable), but not so much Economic Freedom/opportunity. 

 

Thats probably why the Russians tolerate him/current State, because for the most part, they live better off than they used to 10, 15, 20 years ago. 

 

================

 

Now, regarding the "touchy" subject of likening the current Russian State to Fascism. Personally, I don't like it when you guys do that. To me that is offensive. Lets just call it Dictatorship and leave it as it is. Would you call Syrian or the previous Lybian or Iraqi States as Fascist? Not really. So why apply that term to Russian leadership? I think its crude and inappropriate.

 

----------------------------

 

Other side of the coin (just so that you understand that I am not oblivious to what you guys try to point out) - back in college, I studied Hitler, Mein Kampf, post WW1 Germany, Hitler's rise to power, and WW2 Germany. The way Adolf gained so much public support, was by improving the general quality of life for the majority of the population. So, by economic methods first and foremost. Is this what is happening in Russia now? Hmmm. Kind of, yes. Is the State mindful of not repeating Adolf's footprints? Hmmm. I dont know if I can answer that with complete honesty - I am wary of certain things that have happened, but of course I always hope for the best, that peace/reason/morality will prevail above everything else (which, granted, may or may not happen).

 

Why was Hitler 'bad'? Lets just briefly compare some of his major monstrous actions (that inevitably attached such a stigma to Fascism), to the current Russian State:

 

(a) Severe repression and persecution (and extermination) of race/religion. - Doesn't happen in Russia. Probably wont happen - way of life is too deeply rooted in the Orthodox church, as well as in Islam for a large part of our southern countrymen.

 

(b )  Repression of invalids and other non-able bodied individuals (mental illnesses and the like). - Doesn't happen in Russia. Yes, those groups could probably better off than they are now, but they are not actively repressed or persecuted. Homosexuals are a whole different ball game because the dislike that they feel from the public, stems from the Church/religions beliefs, rather than the State's impositions.  

 

(c ) Invasion of neighboring countries, "enslavement" of able bodied citizens to work in various industrial outlets. - Well, not yet! Hopefully not ever! Of course there is the touchy subject of Eastern Ukraine in regards to "invasion", but whether yes or no, I havent seen any signs of local population being in forced labour there, for the benefit of the Russian State. 

 

(d) Holocaust / Genocide with the purpose of wiping out whole populations, to repopulate regions with the Arian race. - Not even close!

 

 

The above points are what comes to mind, when one talks of Fascism. So, to liken Russian State to Fascism, its a bit much guys, and I would prefer it if we stayed away from that term.  

 

Sburke did point out that the Russian State is accusing the Ukrainian Leadership of being Fascist. I think this is also inappropriate - that's a really distasteful and wrong way of doing propaganda. Politicians do really stoop to big lows some times - happens here as well! We just had our Elections, and in the run up to the voting period, some of the prominent Conservatives or Tories (I dont remember which now), were openly painting their opponents, the UKIP, as being a right-wing Fascist party. Really really crude. 

Edited by VasFURY

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I suppose these argument over those nasty brutal little wars in Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, etc are meant to work on folks under 30. But I'm over sixty, I'm plenty old enough to vividly recall the events being discussed, I still even have the news footage on old VCR tape somewhere. And absurdist historical revisionism doesn't really work on me.

in my book news are not history.just news

specially some news like CNN

 

they can get out of context,be half truth or pure lie. or truth 

 

all you have is weak claims and general talk

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I am sorry you had to go through the things you did. Nobody should have to suffer these sorts of things. Unfortunately for your family, you are just a tiny piece in a much larger historical picture of state sponsored discrimination and repression of Kosovo by the Serbian government over a period of decades. You and your family had to live with the results of that behavior because that's the way the world works. Especially because those most responsible were always safely within Serbia.

The actions of the Kosovaars who "did onto others as was done onto them" are not be excusable, but they are not unexpected or even unusual. Which is why I despise despotic behavior because it ALWAYS winds up this way. Pent up anger at repression and exploitation results in terrible counter behavior in the sense of "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Remember, the Serbian government justified its actions against the Kosovaars in your family's name, therefore the Serbian government in a way painted a target on your family and Serbian culture.

But as you said earlier, the families of the dead have good reason to focus on the act of death instead of the circumstances surrounding it. The family of a worker that is killed in an industrial accident in a usually safe work environment wants "justice" as much as the family of someone murdered by Arkan wants justice. However, that doesn't mean the CEO of the company is just as bad as Milosevic. The two are not equatable even if the grief of the families is.

Steve

disclaimer: aurelius wasnt born in a  car or anything similar,he wasnt refugee. he said ' Stories Like' meaning, other people stories. (source: me, we live in same street almost)

now i am not sure if someone from his family was killed during 90s (far family)

 

 

i understand your point but its only one way of thinking.i dont see it more valid than for example ,putting blame more on albanians.its just choosing which side of the event sounds more 'right' 

 

repression was present, but % of repression is VERY important.also repression can be provoked. sure,not saying they are guilty and serbs are not guilty, but scale is more around 50% 50% guilty

 

 

as i said before to someone else, what would you do in america if something happens like this. or something similar (edit)

its easy to judge governments across the sea and point out their flaws 

and i say again, i dont like  serbia at all . i 'd rather live in west africa for that matter,at least its exotic.

i am not defending serbia/serbian government, but i also cannot agree with what some people here are saying,cos simply its not true

 

long story short: poor claim strenght from all of the people who are more on the albanian side, or view USA as least evil. basically or view albanians as less guilty. i ll call you ' westerners' for the sake of simplification , but i know it might  not be fair term for most of the people here

Edited by Lacroix

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I suppose these argument over those nasty brutal little wars in Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, etc are meant to work on folks under 30. But I'm over sixty, I'm plenty old enough to vividly recall the events being discussed, I still even have the news footage on old VCR tape somewhere. And absurdist historical revisionism doesn't really work on me.

And I am old enough to remember that kids my age were killed while they were playing/fishing/bathing in the stream. I am old enough to remember what it meant when someone from your family was sent to Kosovo (not from my family, but I will never forget the look on women's faces when their husbands/sons/brothers were sent to that hellhole). You sir chose to look at one side of the story and then you shut yourself of from it. To call this a historical revisionism a-la Holocaust never happened is an insult to reason. Shame on you. The only reason I posted here is because you people still think we are modern day nazis, parading with dead children stuck on spears, raping and pillaging. People who did that are either dead or are in prison. AND EVERY SIDE OF THAT CONFLICT HAD THOSE PEOPLE, you just chose to ignore that so you can feel good about yourselves. You know, making positive difference in world, doing the moral thing.... I am sick and tired of moral people.

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And I am old enough to remember that kids my age were killed while they were playing/fishing/bathing in the stream. I am old enough to remember what it meant when someone from your family was sent to Kosovo (not from my family, but I will never forget the look on women's faces when their husbands/sons/brothers were sent to that hellhole). You sir chose to look at one side of the story and then you shut yourself of from it. To call this a historical revisionism a-la Holocaust never happened is an insult to reason. Shame on you. The only reason I posted here is because you people still think we are modern day nazis, parading with dead children stuck on spears, raping and pillaging. People who did that are either dead or are in prison. AND EVERY SIDE OF THAT CONFLICT HAD THOSE PEOPLE, you just chose to ignore that so you can feel good about yourselves. You know, making positive difference in world, doing the moral thing.... I am sick and tired of moral people.

one example of making difference: bombing trains full of people. yes its needed from strategic point of view perhaps, but so are actions of serbs and albanians justified then. its needed for their* strategic gains. everyone equal right?

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In terms of refugees, about 850,000 were documented entering neighboring countries, while something like 600,000 remained within Kosovo but fled their homes becoming what's known as Internally Displaced Persons.  From this, an estimated 90% of Kosovars became some manner of refugee.  

 

These are estimated numbers and all occurred after NATO started its bombing campaign in support of the KLA. If you want to make a case that NATO intervention was required, you have to look at conditions beforehand. According to one UN report, there were 30-50,000 refugees in late 98, most displaced Serbs.

 

 

Also the "less that 1,000" number cited is...interesting considering the ICT accounted for around 2100 in the first five months after the fighting had stopped.  The HLC which is hardly a jackbooted NATO patsy (and has done accountability actions concerning Serbian and other nationalities) gives 3,229 bodies to holes, plus another 1,889 missing and presumed dead (which is a pretty legitimate statement this long after the event).  This in contrast to the 1000 or so KIA Serbian soldiers from the entire campaign (including when NATO was bombing them).

 

again apples and oranges, you have to look at casualty figures before the intervention started. The KLA claimed thousands were killed, but no investigation on the ground has been able has been able to say with any degree of certainty how many were killed, when they were killed or even which side killed them.

 

From the NATO air campaign there was around 524 total dead Serbs again, counted bodies to holes.

 

 

"bodies to holes"? no western org ever did a on the ground investigation, these are all estimates. Serb and other neutral sources reporting from inside Serbia put the number at 2-5,000 Serbian civilians killed by NATO air stikes.

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I am sorry you had to go through the things you did. Nobody should have to suffer these sorts of things. Unfortunately for your family, you are just a tiny piece in a much larger historical picture of state sponsored discrimination and repression of Kosovo by the Serbian government over a period of decades. You and your family had to live with the results of that behavior because that's the way the world works. Especially because those most responsible were always safely within Serbia.

The actions of the Kosovaars who "did onto others as was done onto them" are not be excusable, but they are not unexpected or even unusual. Which is why I despise despotic behavior because it ALWAYS winds up this way. Pent up anger at repression and exploitation results in terrible counter behavior in the sense of "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Remember, the Serbian government justified its actions against the Kosovaars in your family's name, therefore the Serbian government in a way painted a target on your family and Serbian culture.

But as you said earlier, the families of the dead have good reason to focus on the act of death instead of the circumstances surrounding it. The family of a worker that is killed in an industrial accident in a usually safe work environment wants "justice" as much as the family of someone murdered by Arkan wants justice. However, that doesn't mean the CEO of the company is just as bad as Milosevic. The two are not equatable even if the grief of the families is.

Steve

It's insulting to everyone when you base your intervention on a "moral basis". Say you did it for the lolz or whatever, but please don't say you did it on the moral basis. Those stories are not mine, but of the people I call friends. I too, like Lacroix, am tired of my country and its "political elite" and I don't post here to threat some psychological trauma.

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 I already did time for my political opposition to activities of my gov't that I felt were wrong.

 

vs

 

In Russia they can expect prison or possible assassination

In America they can become a commentator on Fox news or Comedy Central.

 

Huh?

 

Regarding taking sides.

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32720965

vs

https://youtu.be/QT65WUM_MKQ

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For comparison, here in the UK, tax band depends on your income. I'm somewhere in the middle class, so my tax is at 50% of my salary. Then, my company also gets taxed on the salary that I pay to myself and other employees, at 22% (or something like that). Then there is Council tax which I pay annually to my borough, for living in it. Oh, if my parents die, I have to pay the Government 30% of the value of the home that they spent all their life paying off, before it can pass over to me - as Inheritance tax. 

 

 

Hmmm I think you live in a different country 50%!!

 

40% Tax rate if you earn over £42k which is not the vast majority of the country. For the vast majority it is 20% and could be a lot less if you are a low earner.

 

The company does get taxed for NICS and that is to contribute to the health service which is all free for UK citizens. At least the employees do not pay for that...

 

Yes there is a council tax but I guess you want police, bins emptied and local servicers like buses and swimming pools etc...

 

As for Death duty that only hits if yoiur house is worth £325k and again not many people fall into that. There are ways to reduce it legally...

 

I would guess our taxes will be going up soon to pay for extra jets to escort lost Russian war planes.... Funny how they keep getting lost...

 

;)

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Holien, i earn just over 42k, im taxed 46%. Thats a very realistic salary figure for the majority of Londoners.

And yes, its great that employees dont pay the company tax, but im a small business owner, so its effectively my dividends that pay the tax on behalf of my employees.

And regarding the house value, youre right, its homes (or more appropriately ASSETS) over 325k that get taxed. But you do know that a single bedroom flat/apartment on the outskirts of London in a council estate, starts at around 250k, right? So for us Londoners, that 325k is reached very quickly, also considering the huge rise in house prices.

My main point was that in Russia, they just pay flat 13% as individuals on their salaries, and companies pay 13% tax on revenue. Thats a very lucrative environment for personal wealth increase and business growth.

----

As for the planes, you are too right! Just read about the bears in todays paper.

Edited by VasFURY

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Alright, so, would I give up my liberties/freedom of expression/blah blah (crap that I dont really have living in a democratic country, because really, I CANT express my views openly/freely - I have to worry about offending religions groups, or race groups, or sexual orientation groups etc.) - in exchange to live better ECONOMICALLY? You know what - hell yeah I would! Isn't that what countries and their leaders are supposed to be doing for their people? Increasing and improving the quality of life - which more often than not means economic welfare? In any case, my Liberty does not really count for much here in the UK. Whichever party I vote for (illusion of choice) - they all lie and in the end do not deliver what was promised. Taxes are going up, student fees are up, the National Health System is a JOKE with a capital J. Protests/political rallies? Please. 2 million people in Britains largest ever protest took to the streets of London against war in Iraq. We still went to war there. Oh Oh Oh, lets talk about repression! When I first came to this country, there always used to be pickets and campaigns going on right opposite Parliament/Big Ben, about various things. Now? Nada. No protests. Instead there are constantly 20 or so officers stationed around the Parliament Square, quietly moving on anyone who has anything worth saying in opposition to what they do in that building.

Have a read: https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/free-speech-and-protest/protest/protest-around-parliament

 

Lets add to the fact that most of us are under a mountain of mortgages, or repaying back increased student fees (which went up from 3k per annum, to 9k per annum in most Universities), which make it physically impossible to leave work for even a day, to go and demonstrate one's opinion.

Hmm this is wrong on so many levels... (Oranges and concrete comes to mind as you are not even in the realms of comparing fruit...)

1. You have far more freedom in this country to express your beliefs as long as they do not include violence to other groups and are against the principals of law. Currently we even tolerate preachers who epose radical Islam?

2. You then say that you want better economical advantage and in the other breath say that is better in Russia?

3. In Regards to the political parties again so far from the mark I am wondering what realm you live in. The last parliament was hung and no one party won. I guess some peoples votes counted? Then two parties formed a govt and compromises were made so clearly each party had to give ground? I would like to see Russia run like that?

4. Taxes going up? Nope not happened yet (but hey we spend more than we get so I guess we need to start getting more money in as a country - so I would guess that might be true statement soon)

5. National Health service a joke? Hmm free health care not a joke to those trying to get into the UK. BTW did I mention we are spending more than we take in as taxes so what is going to give?

6. Yep 2 million people freely protested against the war, but the country had debates and the polls clearly showed their was a majority in favour. Of course hindsight has proved that majority wrong myself included.

7. I guess increased security measures around our Parliament is something to be expected when you consider the threat levels. Speakers corner is open for all to protest at and Pussy Riot in the UK would not end up in jail for singing in a church...

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And I am old enough to remember that kids my age were killed while they were playing/fishing/bathing in the stream

 

And I'm old enough to remember the Kosovar refugees we had at our high school.  

 

War is terrible.  No side of a conflict is really "pure" evil (unless you want to argue infants burned up in Dresden or Tokyo have some sort of original sin that makes them worthy of such a fate).  Good people will die, bad people will make it off to write a book justifying why they're not bad people etc, etc.  When approaching conflict the best you can hope for is some sort of Faustian take on utilitarianism in which you do the least evil for the most people.

 

So the tragedy of the Serbian civilians is worth noting and morning for, the ability of the Serbian government to go door to door raping and murdering using both regular military and paramilitaries was something worth inflicting suffering to stop.  And when assessing and weighing who was most culpable, and most at fault, it's hard to make the argument it's anyone but the Serbs.

 

So to that end the suffering of the civilian Serbs is worth recognizing and acknowledging, but is only of marginal relevance in the wider picture of stopping the various conflicts the Serbs started in the name of greater Serbia.

 

Re: SGT Joch

 

I'm just going to disregard you until you come with sources, agencies, and reports.  The UNHCR alone counted over 12,000 Kosovar refugees returning....from Turkey.  Over 21,000 from regions outside the conflict area, and estimated around 700,000 returning from in-region.  

 

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/kosovo-war-victims-list-published

 

Address this.  It's a joint-Serbian/Kosovar accounting of the dead and missing by name.  Have sources that show how wrong the American lap-dog Human Rights Watch is in counting 527 total Serbs killed by NATO bombing (separate from the 1000 or so Serbian military personnel killed by the raids).  But until you do I'm just going to answer you with numbers I'm making up showing that Serbs actually are the reason we cannot have nice things, and that all Serbs are 25% Hitler according to this weird new trick the authorities don't want you to hear about.

 

 

 

It's insulting to everyone when you base your intervention on a "moral basis". 

 

If you can accomplish most good for the most people, then you can claim some manner of moral ground.  I'm sorry your government was so terrible.  It really was.  It was so bad as to still cause much hand wringing in international affairs circles in why we did not act sooner the first time they took the field in Bosnia  This does not make up for the human suffering of the individual Serbs just showing up to work every day and trying to have families.

 

But when push came to shove, the Serbian government was in the wrong, and action had to be taken.  The Bosnians and Croats were also in the wrong, but certainly not to the degree the Serbs were.  

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Holien, i earn just over 42k, im taxed 46%. Thats a very realistic salary figure for the majority of Londoners.

And yes, its great that employees dont pay the company tax, but im a small business owner, so its effectively my dividends that pay the tax on behalf of my employees.

Still don't see how you pay 46% the rate is 40% and only on the amount above the threshold....

That puts you close to the top 10% of earners in the UK.

Also by paying yourself Dividends you are avoiding (depending on how much you take) the 40% tax rate and only being taxed 20% and Russia taxes companies profits at 13%?

All companies (unless you are Amazon and Apple et al) pay taxes to the country they gain their profit from.... (refer back to my comments about the UK spending more than it is taking in as taxes)...

I get what point you are trying to make comparted to Russian but you are being very liberal with your examples and it is not supporting your point IMO...

BTW good to know you are paying taxes as our defence budget will be going up....

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repression was present, but % of repression is VERY important.also repression can be provoked. sure,not saying they are guilty and serbs are not guilty, but scale is more around 50% 50% guilty

That's the crux of the problem here. Which side was more guilty is not really an issue for an individual. But the fact is that Serbia practiced decades of systematic repression and exploitation of the Kosovaars. The Serbian government could have chosen to treat them as equals, but it chose not to. In the end a Kosovaar that murdered a Serb or a Serb who murdered a Kosovaar is equally guilty and responsible for his own actions. But to say that the reason for Kosovo being a mess was 50% the fault of the collective Kossavar population is extremely naive.

 

i am not defending serbia/serbian government, but i also cannot agree with what some people here are saying,cos simply its not true

 

It is true that after Tito died much of the checks and balances put into place to keep Yugoslavia a functioning state were undermined by Serbia for Serbia's own gain. That directly caused the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. Serbia chose to oppose the breakup with military and paramilitary force which directly led to the slaughter that followed.

I do not not view Serbs as inherently evil any more than I view Kosovaars as inherently good. However, Serbia had the military force and it made the decision to conduct a brutal civil war with it. Therefore, Serbia is absolutely and unequivocally more responsible for the deaths and destruction than any other group. They also have a much, much, MUCH larger pool of blood around their feet than any of the others. That is a statistical fact, not a moral judgement.

And I am old enough to remember that kids my age were killed while they were playing/fishing/bathing in the stream. I am old enough to remember what it meant when someone from your family was sent to Kosovo (not from my family, but I will never forget the look on women's faces when their husbands/sons/brothers were sent to that hellhole). You sir chose to look at one side of the story and then you shut yourself of from it.

You say this, but you do not appear to be looking at the decades of actions and reactions that led to that one specific point in history. There is an old saying... "you reap what you sow". Or another one, "the chickens have come home to roost". Put another way, if you treat someone badly do not be surprised if they turn around and treat you badly.

The mess in the Balkans goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. I do not hold the Serbs solely responsible for the mess. But the further back one goes, the less excuse there is for today's behavior. Milosevic had a decision to make in 1990/1991 and he decided to deliberately use the Serb people as a weapon. For far too long the Serbian people allowed themselves to be used in this way. Fortunately, the Serbian people finally did the right thing and deposed Milosevic. The government today is on a much better path than it was. The credit for that goes to the Serbian people. Unfortunately, it is a long path and not an easy one. Personally? I have very strong confidence in the good of the Serbian people so I believe the future will be increasingly better for them.

 

 

It's insulting to everyone when you base your intervention on a "moral basis". Say you did it for the lolz or whatever, but please don't say you did it on the moral basis.

Morality is always a component of a military action. It is always a component of military inaction. There is no way to avoid it.

Those stories are not mine, but of the people I call friends.

This is the problem. If we had Kosovaars posting here I am sure they could post similar stories of their own friends. It does not establish "right" or "wrong" in the conflict, but only that innocent people on both sides suffered. Which is the case in all conflicts of this type. Always.

Steve

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