Vol. 4, Issue 1, March 14, 2006
Americans Surprised that Milosevic Was Still Alive
The death of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic is continuing to have repercussions around the world, particularly in the United States where, according to a recent Gallup poll, 78% of the population had no idea Milosevic was still alive.
"I think we were all a little surprised to find out that his trial was still going and he hadn't died a few years ago," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "But to be honest it's hard to keep up with the European papers. The only time the President picked them up lately is when he heard they were running some good cartoons a little while ago."
Milosevic has been imprisoned since 2001 and has been on trial at the Hague for war crimes more or less continuously since then. However, despite his long legacy of "ethnic cleansing" and the high profile of his trial in Europe, he essentially vanished from the American attention span years ago.
"He was eclipsed by Saddam Hussein as America's most wanted supervillain" said University of Pennsylvania professor Glen Stack. "Also, most of the Bosnian wars were fought under Clinton's watch. I think there was a feeling in the White House that Milosevic was kind of a leftover mess from Clinton, like those stains in the Oval Office rug they haven't quite been able to get out."
Many Americans, in fact, seem to associate Milosevic with the Cold War, assuming that he was a foe from the Soviet Union.
"He was that Slavic guy, right?" asked Joe Greene on a radio call-in show in the New York City area yesterday. "Yugoslavia was behind the Iron Curtain and all. I thought Reagan took care of all those guys." When informed that Milosevic was actually trying to expand Serbian power in the post-Cold War power vacuum, he asked, "Serbia? Was Milosevic the guy that killed Archduke Ferdinand?"
A quick check of other defeated foes of the United States has reassured the public that most do in fact seem to be dead.
"After hearing about Milosevic, I got a little worried that maybe that guy Hitler was still kicking around," admitted Greene. "But I guess he'd be a little old by now."
Saddam Hussein, however, is still alive, surprising at least 35% of Gallup survey respondents who believed Hussein already convicted and executed.
"You know, once we catch them and turn them over to the justice system, they just aren't a priority anymore," said McClellan. "The Administration really isn't all that concerned with the minutiae of trials and the legal process, you know?"