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    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Slobodan Milosevic found lifeless in cell at United Nations detention unit

    "Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has died in the detention centre at The Hague tribunal.

    The tribunal said he had been found dead in his cell on Saturday morning. The cause of death is not yet clear."

    My stance on this will probably be very unpopular. Regardless of the veracity of the allegations against Mr. Milosevic, I disapprove in the absolute strongest terms of the proceedings against him because it sets a dangerous precedent. He should be tried by the People of former Yugoslavia or not at all.

    This is an extremely complicated issue, and I am extremely busy with work this weekend. Expect a longer, in depth article within four days time. I need to do some research before I can clarify my position.

    In the meantime, here is the BBC article:

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    Well, I was going to do a sort of an in depth legal analysis, but working two jobs and running a (very) small business has left me with little time even to sleep. And there is so much more of import that you need to know about, I really can't devote any more than a philosophical analysis of the obvious features of the whole Serbia/Milosevic situation.

    First of all, the NATO action against Milosevic (are US troops still stationed in former Yugoslavia due to our "humanitarian" intervention?). Was it justified? Is humanitarian intervention okay? Well, yes. If you witness an action that you know to be wrong, it is always okay to intervene if your aim is to improve the situation. An act by you in this way is a form of charity. Charity is always moral. The trouble is that the government is not you. I'm sorry, but the armed forces of these United States exist to protect Americans. Absent a real security threat to Americans (who pay for the armed forces), any use of the United States military amounts to a misappropriation (theft) of money from the People of the United States. Charitable actions cannot, by definition, be taken by a government. Governments compel people by, ultimately, the threat of death to give up money to the agents of said governments. The definition of charity is to give freely of one's own money or time; you cannot be charitable if you are giving freely of someone else's money. Since a government's money comes from the People, charity by government is impossible. What the government is doing is taking money form one group of people and using it to benefit an entirely unrelated group of people. This is not charity, it is theft. Humanitarian intervention amounts to theft if it is done by a government.

    [Note: The Iraq war, under this view, is immoral if it is fought under humanitarian reasons. However, since the American People looked the other way while their government aided Saddam Hussein, it can be argued that the People are morally obligated to fix the problem.]

    Second, the whole Milosevic trial. Is it a good idea? Ignore the fact that he was a socialist with tyrannical tendencies. Were his actions different from that of other world leaders in similar situations? UN troops are accused of sexually abusing locals in areas in which they are stationed. Are the UN leaders accused of ordering such behavior? While it would be nice to have a world body in which to try evil people (Castro, for example), is such an institution really a good idea? The very notion violates the sovereignty of nations. Remember, if we can arrest and try bad people, we can do it to good people too. Bad and good are, for some incomprehensible reason, subjective. Are we, as Americans, prepared to have our citizens tried by foreign powers for actions which, taken in context, would be justified and perfectly in line with their responsibilities? This is a very bad idea. In my opinion, Milosevic's trial is a violation of Serbia's sovereignty. There is no evidence that Serbia could be considered a pirate state. Milosevic's actions could be seen as a normal response by a leader to a perceived security threat. My point is that I am just plain uncomfortable with the precedent that the whole Kosovo/Serbia/Milosevic situation sets in the areas of humanitarian intervention and national sovereignty.

    That's all I have to say on this subject for now, but I will be happy to answer any specific questions that people have.


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    "If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

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