Croatia: Shammed Democracy – Persons With Military Background Cannot Have Opinion

Croatian Assembly of Generals meets  Photo: Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell

Croatian Assembly of Generals meets Photo: Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell

For many citizens it landed like a much needed balm of good and promising prospects of advancement to the shattered state of political confusion, lack of clarity and direction as to national interests and the seething economic hopelessness the Croatian nation has been suffering in a crescendo for at least a decade – about to reach boiling point. For the government and its supporters (including many media outlets) it landed like a bomb out of nowhere.

48 Generals from the Croatian Assembly of Generals (largely forcefully retired by former President Stjepan Mesic) met Saturday 2 March in Zagreb to do what needs to be done: look at what’s happening in Croatia and come out with some expectations, some standards expected from the government in order to protest and advance interests of Croatia and its people.

The fact that 48 Generals met signifies very strongly that, indeed, all things are not right. Croatian HRT TV writes that some had labelled this meeting as “a state of internal aggression“!

The Generals among other things came out with concerns regarding the official number of Serbs in Vukovar as propagated by the government to be adequate in order to apply the law regarding bilingualism in the area. In relation to the Generals’ meeting it’s been stated that there are some 20 – 30 people registered as residents at one house address – blatantly obvious abuse of the law and the government does not seem to be wanting to review the fake census figures upon which it says it will base its introduction of the Cyrillic language in Vukovar. The Generals also emphasised that they will not permit the government to sell off Croatian lands, water sources … to foreigners through its Strategic investments proposal, which had recently caused a great deal of distress among the general population of Croatia.

This seemingly sudden and decisive step by the Croatian Assembly of Generals alarmed the government and its supporters (including much of media outlets) and the resulting out pours could easily be summed up as scrambling, laughable panic of Bolsheviks.

Evidently shielding his government from further derogatory criticisms that point to incompetence – of which it has had more than plenty in the last year, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Predrag Matic, topped his own usually subterfuge and inconsiderate self. He actually stood up before the media and, sourpuss straight faced, blurted out his: “Where have they been these past 20 years“! (Referring to the Generals, of course)

Can you believe this garbage!?

Well, for starters, the generals had, like most citizens, more than likely spent the years after the war allowing the governments to develop, further and set in place the goal that, at the beginning of 1990’s,  94% of Croatian voters set for themselves. That goal was to secede from communist Yugoslavia and develop a society of democratic freedom and order. Thousands of Croatians lost their lives for that goal; all of the Generals and war veterans placed their lives at risk and at disposal for that goal.

It is only too right and expected of those who placed their lives at risk for the goal of independent and democratically prosperous Croatia to question what government have done or are doing in ensuring that focus is kept on the goal. But not only that, they have that same right as citizens who voted at the referendum about secession and democracy.

As things go in life, sadly, when you have a bunch of would-be-antifascists like Croatia’s former President Stjepan Mesic, Croatia’s current President Ivo Josipovic, Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Josip Leko pandering to also would-be-antifascist minister Matic’s vomit against the Generals’ meeting, then it becomes crystal clear that such meetings are absolutely necessary in order to return to Croatia at least some semblance of democratic freedom of expression the society enjoyed during dr Franjo Tudjman’s era; to return to the point where the door to furthering democracy in Croatia was shut and almost bolted when the politically repulsive character by the name of Stjepan Mesic weaseled his way to the top and – start again with a political heart that is truly and in earnest democratic (not some hybrid of communist resistance to change).

Mesic’s criticism of the Generals’ meeting was : “...in a country where there’s rule of law, it’s not normal for generals to participate in some special political options“.

President Ivo Josipovic said that “Croatian Assembly of Generals brings Organisations such as Croatian Assembly of Generals, in democratic countries, have as their main task the preservation of military traditions and the support of the system of defence… but, entering into daily politics brings two dangers: firstly, the danger to the organisation itself – generals differ in their personal political thinking and this will cause its disintegration and neglect of its main task. Secondly, an organisation, although part of civil society, whose connotations are military, brings about unpleasant associations with militarisation of politics...”

Can you believe this garbage!?

The Generals’ had risked their lives for free and democratic Croatia, they are citizens of the democratic Croatia and yet, if they have and express an opinion about what the government is doing and how things could be changed for the better – they’re causing unpleasantness! Heck, they don’t have the right to say anything about the country’s government and situation, even though that country is their home and they are its citizens like any other!

It would seem that neither Mesic nor Josipovic have the will to enlighten the nation that one can indeed separate one’s career from one’s duties as ordinary citizens.

The Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Josip Leko, said that “in a democratic society and country everyone has the right to their own opinion, to criticise, and there are no problems when we look at it that way. The problem arises when an organisation of generals arises, the connotation is entirely different in that situation. I would not want the generals to judge about the political options“.

Can you believe this garbage!?

Can the situation regarding who can and who cannot express an opinion about the government be placed on the right tracks in Croatia, I wonder? It’s still stuck in times of former Yugoslavia when only those chosen by the government could form and express opinions about the life in the country, about the state of the nation.

I wonder if this would-be-antifascist lot are aware of the fact that, from George Washington to Barrack Obama, the majority of U.S. Presidents came into office as Veterans – 32 out of 44, in fact, had active military background when they entered the Office of the President.  No need to emphasise here that a similar situation with persons of military background being actively involved in the political life of their country is found in many democracies.

Stjepan Mesic, Ivo Sanader, Josip Leko, Predrag Matic can rest assured that what the Croatian Assembly of Generals is doing – is very normal for democracy and what they themselves are saying, is not normal for democracy. Am not at all surprised at such distortion of democratic normality by the Croatian political “leaders” – after all, some of them and their “lapdogs” were the ones who undoubtedly derailed the 1990’s plan to build and develop in an organised way the democracy in independent Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Bravo Ina!
    Well Said!
    I hope that the generals save Croatia once again!

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  2. Alis Jacob says:

    Bravo Generals…. finally catching up with the run away excuses…. allowing such complacent withdrawal of hard won freedoms is not in Croatia’s best interests. I wholeheartedly support the way forward as it was intentioned in the 90’s…. lest we forget at what price Croatia exists today.

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  3. Računovodstvo says:

    It seems as if this was a “come to Jesus moment” for the government. Imagine after fighting the Revolutionary War, then the newly created United States of America went back to the British Colonial ways of taxation without representation, no freedom of speech or the press, and back to quartering troops. And then a group of Revolutionary War generals would get together and say, “Hey guys, why did we fight this war just to go back to the way things were, or even worse than what they actually were? Could have saved a lot of lives and trouble.” Well, who better than a group of generals who fought for Croatian independence and its autonomy –for the first time in a thousand years–to address the very serious problems and lack of serious solutions for these problems? Those who gave their neck have skin in the game should be able to speak their minds as it seems that nothing is going through the politicans’ skulls.

    On another note, Vecernji List article was very interesting, especially the part concerning Syria. I was shocked to read in media outlets that Saudi Arabia bought Yugoslav-era weapon from Croatia and was routing them to Syrian rebels through Jordan. I can imagine that Obama Administration officials were probably blowing gaskets all over the place on that news because President Obama does not want to make it look as if we are engaged in another war in the Middle East, for everyone would suspect that the sale would not have been facilitated without the help of the US government.

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  4. What US military members are allowed and not allowed to do when it comes to politics. US Federal Law (Titles 10, 2, and 18, United States Code), Department of Defense (DOD) Directives, and specific military regulations strictly specify a military active duty person’s participation in partisan political activities.

    DOD defines “partisan political activity” as “activity supporting or relating to candidates representing, or issues specifically identified with, national or State political parties and associated or ancillary organizations.”

    A “Nonpartisan political activity is defined as “activity supporting or relating to candidates not representing, or issues not specifically identified with, national or State political parties and associated or ancillary organizations. Issues relating to constitutional amendments, referendums, approval of municipal ordinances, and others of similar character are not considered as specifically being identified with national or State political parties.”

    Can – Register, vote, and express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces.

    Can – Promote and encourage other military members to exercise their voting franchise, if such promotion does not constitute an attempt to influence or interfere with the outcome of an election.

    Can – Join a political club and attend its meetings when not in uniform.

    Can – Serve as an election official, if such service is not as a representative of a partisan political party, does not interfere with the performance of military duties, is performed when not in uniform, and the Secretary concerned has given prior approval. The Secretary concerned may NOT delegate the authority to grant or deny such permission.

    Can – Sign a petition for specific legislative action or a petition to place a candidate’s name on an official election ballot, if the signing does not obligate the member to engage in partisan political activity and is done as a private citizen and not as a representative of the Armed Forces.

    Can – Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper expressing the member’s personal views on public issues or political candidates, if such action is not part of an organized letter-writing campaign or a solicitation of votes for or against a political party or partisan political cause or candidate. If the letter identifies the member as on active duty (or if the member is otherwise reasonably identifiable as a member of the Armed Forces), the letter should clearly state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the Department of Defense.

    Can – Make monetary contributions to a political organization, party, or committee favoring a particular candidate or slate of candidates, subject to the limitations of law.

    Can – Display a political sticker on the member’s private vehicle.

    Can – Attend partisan and nonpartisan political fundraising activities, meetings, rallies, debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator when not in uniform and when no inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement can reasonably be drawn.

    Can – Participate fully in the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

    Cannot – Participate in partisan political fundraising activities, rallies, conventions (including making speeches in the course thereof), management of campaigns, or debates, either on one’s own behalf or on that of another, without respect to uniform or inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement. Participation includes more than mere attendance as a spectator.

    Cannot – Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election, affect the course or outcome of an election, solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, or require or solicit political contributions from others.

    Cannot -Allow or cause to be published partisan political articles, letters, or endorsements signed or written by the member that solicits votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause. However, letters to the editor are allowed.

    Cannot – Serve in any official capacity with or be listed as a sponsor of a partisan political club.

    Cannot – Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.

    Cannot – Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.

    Cannot – Conduct a political opinion survey under the auspices of a partisan political club or group or distribute partisan political literature.

    Cannot – Perform clerical or other duties for a partisan political committee or candidate during a campaign, on an election day, or after an election day during the process of closing out a campaign.

    Cannot – Solicit or otherwise engage in fundraising activities in Federal offices or facilities, including military reservations, for any political cause or candidate.

    Cannot – March or ride in a partisan political parade.

    Cannot – Display a large political sign, banner, or poster (as distinguished from a bumper sticker) on a private vehicle.

    Cannot – Display a partisan political sign, poster, banner, or similar device visible to the public at one’s residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a privatized housing development.

    Cannot – Participate in any organized effort to provide voters with transportation to the polls if the effort is organized by or associated with a partisan political party, cause, or candidate.

    Cannot – Sell tickets for or otherwise actively promote partisan political dinners and similar fundraising events.

    Cannot – Attend partisan political events as an official representative of the Armed Forces, except as a member of a joint Armed Forces color guard at the opening ceremonies of the national conventions of the Republican, Democratic, or other political parties recognized by the Federal Elections Committee or as otherwise authorized by the Secretary concerned.

    Cannot – Make a campaign contribution to, or receive or solicit (on one’s own behalf) a campaign contribution from, any other member of the Armed Forces on active duty.

    Cannot – Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security (in the case of the Coast Guard) or any component of these Departments with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this Directive shall be avoided.

    Again, this prohibition does not apply to retired and reserve members who have been called to active duty for a period of 270 days or less, as long as the office does not interfere with military duties. If the retired or reserve members receives orders which state active duty recall will be for more than 270 days, the prohibition begins on day one of active duty.

    The former Croatian Generals’ have the right to say an opinion about the country’s government and situation, they have and can express the opinion about what the government is doing and how things could be changed for the better.

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    • CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES – Exactly the point followers and practitioners of true democracy point out. That you for this list of things people with military background can do when it comes to having a say as a citizen. There’s no doubt in my mind that the governing lot in Croatia as well as the former president have not yet managed to distiguish between the uniform and the man/woman. They’re still stuck in the dark ages of communism where a public servant, military personnel, teachers … simply could not have a private life or function as a private citizen when they’re not at work. Just so sad for Croatia that it has to listen to such garbage in today’s world.

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    • Let us not forget that these are not ACTIVE-DUTY generals. They are retired from the military and are free citizens to do as they please – in a democracy.

      Let us not forget this in the US

      The United States Oath of Allegiance (officially referred to as the “Oath of Allegiance,” 8 C.F.R. Part 337 (2008)) is an oath that must be taken by all immigrants who wish to become United States citizens. The first officially recorded Oaths of Allegiance were made on May 30, 1778 at Valley Forge, during the Revolutionary War.

      The current oath is as follows:

      I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

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  5. The Communist government in Croatia throughout its time in power and even in opposition has been a treasonous force for Croatia. It’s time the Croatian people realize just how much damage the Reds have inflicted upon Croats…hopefully the Generals will continue and accelerate their activities holding the government to account…educating the people, and providing a strong counter force to Red indoctrination.

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    • and, Sunman, help the people see how much they’ve been held back with the Red mentality and its overt/covert resistance to decent building of a free society.

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  6. Master James says:

    What a bunch of hypocrites lead Croatia now + that awful Stjepan Mesic! They must think that people are idiots. They all bow to the criminal Josip Broz Tito of former Yugoslavia – wasn’t Tito the Marshall, the highest rank in Yugoslav Army, so how come they don’t say that it was wrong and unpleasant for him to be in politics? today’s Croatian generals are not Tito – they are much better than him any which way you look at it.

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    • Yes, Master James, they must think people are idiots. Perhaps the “leaders” who are so much against mixing military with politics are at the turning point of going all-out against their beloved Marshall Tito…perhaps tomorrow they will say life was uneasy and unpleasant under him … perhaps tomorrow they will denounce their pro-communist mentality (the communism led by the military man, Tito) and say Yugoslavia was hell … perhaps tomorrow they’ll say that they were wrong … perhaps tomorrow they will see that having served your country as soldier, general etc. does not exclude you from having an active interest in life, and life, after all, is shaped a great deal by the political trends… Yeah, right!

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  7. Spectator says:

    God save Croatia! What a load of rubbish from mouths of leaders. It’s embarrassing to even think that some can be so stupid.

    Like

  8. Francoise says:

    French General, Charles de Gaulle as President was able to end the political chaos that preceded his return to power.

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  9. Sam Wright says:

    “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
    – Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) – a military man, a U.S. President

    Like

  10. Michael Silovic says:

    One thing the goverment does not understand is the will of the people in our country. Not only do the former generals have a right to voice their opinion they also have the right to protest more so then anyone else because of the sacrifices they have made on the front line for our democracy.I would also support the over throw of our current goverment by the former generals and their allied foot soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country only to see it being destroyed by politicians who care about nothing but themselves and the Eu.Had this goverment implement a Croatia First Policy they would not have the opposition to face that they currently are by the people. I had always said that we should never sell off our national resources and our fertile land.I have always said we need to protect our farmers and our culture and heritage, I have always said we gave to much for to little to be a part of the EU. Now we see that I was right and that I am not alone but there are many people waking up to the reality that we are on the wrong path. Our goverment is shameful,The pain they have brought upon our people will not be silenced by anyone.When will they wake up and understand that the people are Croatia and not the goverment.When will they realize that the EU is not Croatia. we have some serious problems at home and the goverment needs to understand that a democracy can have its goverment overthrown if they keep denying the will of the people.

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    • When it comes to EU, Michael, what’s done it’s done – Croatia seems set to enter into membership and that in itself may not be entirely a bad thing, But, what is bad is if our governments maintain the neglect of Croatia first within that constellation of unity. Indeed, Croatia first much now be an even stronger force, whilst respecting others and I fear Croatian government does not and will not have the courage, the will nor the know-how for it.

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  11. In the USA

    The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

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  12. Michael silovic says:

    I accept the fact that we are going into the EU. What I can not accept is how much we have given for so little in return.While those who are praising the EU entry now will be singing a different tune in a few years from now when we have more refugees in Croatia and little else.What was the point in going into the EU and for the last 20 years our goverment has not done anything to help us prosper?We spent billions over 20 years on nothing more then tourism industry which is not going to last forever. We should have focused on farming and manufacturing which would have put us in much better position to enter the EU. We have nothing but the money we will get from the IMF and Eu and put us in further debt. The money means nothing if you can not put your country to work and sell off its resources.

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    • So true, Michael. And to think that the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) has had so much power and resources to channel into development of small to medium busines, focusing on food production etc, lifting up in the eyes of the people the value of agriculture etc… but it has done no such a thing, it supported large business often those that have done very little for strengthening Croatia’s economic backbone. It’s just such a shame and a whole new orientation will need to be established, I belive, including the stale and lethargic leadership of HBOR.

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  13. Michael Silovic says:

    you are so right Ina.large businesses lined their pockets with money and the people got nothing. HBOR would have served our country better by establishing our own businesses in our country to prepare us to go into the EU to make money rather then get more in debt with nothing to show for it. I am dumb founded why the neglect of our farming community.Agriculture creates many jobs not only in goods and services but in manufacturing as well.With out manufacturing and agriculture we will have a hard road ahead of us and a bleak future.Even our education system is not advanced as it should be for a new democracy.We are not preparing our children for success because of the failures our goverment is providing by lack of opportunities for families to prosper.We should have educational training in elementary and high school for medical, scientific research legal profession , manufacturing and agriculture studies before college.It is not enough to learn to read write and do math. Croats are a highly intelligent people for the most part if we give our youth an opportunity to do better. sadly big business is going to rob us blind for their own gain and we will have a whole generation left behind.We are dammed as a country if we do not have a Croatia First Policy. I know in 10 years from now with gods will I am still alive to look back and say yes this policy is what saved us all.If we fail in this policy then we have ourselves to blame for not making the changes we the people know will make us a better and more prosperous country

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  14. I am honestly no longer surprised at any stupid thing this government says or does, to be honest. I’m beginning to think, more and more, that Croatia firstly needs to get rid of these Yugonostalgics and then have a very small, limited government, to prevent any of this sort of garbage from happening again. (That is the corruption, lack of investment in the country, attempts to take away freedom of speech, failing to listen to the needs and wants of the people, attempting to impose unfair laws based on dodgy results, etc). Unfortunately this may not be so easy since Croatia is entering the EU, but the power of the government MUST be controlled, especially since it seems the current leaders have no problems with forcing themselves into every part of the citizens’ lives.

    It seems the Croatian people know what they want and need for a more prosperous life – we’ve known since the early 90s. And what’s keeping us back? Judging from all I’ve read here – a dodgy government. Yet it is the generals, scholars and other individuals (even ordinary citizens and those from the diaspora) that know very well what the country needs and with that, they have ideas that will get it on the right track. I think it’s time for people to actually forge their own destiny without the government at its back trying to impose more and more “solutions” that only hold us back. I thank the generals for speaking out. It’s people and groups/movements like this that will hopefully, educate and inspire people to make better choices and that means choosing better leaders.

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  15. What is keeping us back?

    The lack of will to compromise and cooperate.
    Why do Croats abhor cooperation?
    Why do we prefer to knock one another down
    – rather than help one another succeed?

    Why do we have this desire to be big fish in a small pond
    – rather than small fish in a big pond?

    Too much ego
    Not enough trust

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