The two "sentry shifts" are related to a project by which the Army must prove its practical worth or it will be disbanded and replaced by paramilitary, special forces units of police and professionals under contract. Since Milosevic is no longer seriously considering waging war against the neighbors, nor does he dare to return to Kosovo by force, for the first time in history this country has a so-called inside army, an army which has exclusively housekeeping duties; to keep in power the person who gives them a bit of food, whips them or strokes their parted hair depending on his mood and their work results. In political theory there are only two forms of the state: the form in which it is possible to topple the government by voting and the other, in which this is impossible. Pavkovic, therefore, received an assignment which in every respect surpasses his predecessors in this position: including Milos Obilic, including Hajduk Veljko, including Vojvoda Stepa, including Vojvoda Misic and Peka Dapcevic [military heroes from Serbian history].
All of these men, in difficult times, had their chiefs of staff, their king or their Tito, all of their people and all of their army behind them. This general, on the other hand, thanks to the favor of his commander in chief, will be the first Serbian army commander to have the honor of subjecting a convincing majority of Serbs to the technical college of pathological training erroneously called - the course in patriotism and love of freedom! More succinctly, he must direct the majority of his officers and soldiers, who do not think like the commander in chief, against the majority of Serbs who also do not think like the commander in chief. The superficial conclusion is that either Pavkovic is a bigger coward than his soldiers and the majority of Serbs or that Pavkovic does not know how to think for himself. I'm not sure that both these things are correct.
The first "sentry shift" to which I referred is the order that the separatist Djukanovic be brought to Belgrade, bound and gagged, at any price, and turned over to the judiciary?! This task, formally, cannot be carried out by the Serbian police but only by the army, a federal institution. By launching an attack on Djukanovic, without a massive invasion of Montenegro, the generals would prove to the author of this plan that, after the professional debacle in Slovenia in Croatia, they have made headway in their studies and that they deserve some oak leaves around their necks and some tinsel on their chests. This orientation test in the Mountains and the Seaside should be expected by the end of September, unless the revelation of this plan defers its realization until winter.
The other, more Serbly, task is to prevent the transfer of power to "the traitors" - regardless of election results and regardless of the will of the majority of Serbs. The master's police has the power, with the help of gangs who have already had experience in sadistic revelry against the citizens, to break up the demonstrations by itself. If they have to shoot into the crowd, so be it. However, the use of the army - instead of the police - transforms the conflict with the citizens into an alleged defense of the country, system and state, not of its regime.
It is for this day that Pavkovic was transformed into a mythical figure; it is for this day that he now was rapped on the knuckles. The Tiger cannot permit the General to make any decisions by himself. He knows the extent of Pavkovic's egoism and the extent of his fear that he will go into history as the first Serbian general who occupied Serbia simply because he was more afraid of the anger of one man than of eternal shame.
Sloba thought, after Jovica Stanisic, that he would never again allow the creation of a man inside the system hierarchy who might act independently in some borderline situation. Even against his will. However, in creating Pavkovic with the aid of the military putsch by which Perisic was dismissed long before his official dismissal (the present opposition leader at that time remained publicly silent and did not submit his resignation), the Tiger did himself a disservice. First, by ordering the army to withdraw from Kosovo, he risked having Pavkovic refuse the order. This was the greatest test of obedience for the general and he passed it with flying colors. He withdrew from Kosovo.
However, that was at the same time the last chance that Pavkovic had, far from Belgrade, with a powerful army behind him, to make an independent decision. Sloba could have ended up like De Gaulle: the order of the long-nose that the French army vacate Algeria was refused by a dozen-odd generals. They practically held the Arab country under their control for a time, against the will of Paris. There was even talk of the possible invasion of France by their forces. The Tiger was more cunning and before he signed the capitulation, he asked the friendly, soldierly advise of Pavkovic: should he risk his hold on power (he called it "the security of Serbia") or should he turn over Kosovo to the foreigners and the Albanians? The general then said what Sloba wanted to hear.
Since then, their collaborative relationship, with some overtones of friendship, sealed by the conspiracy against Perisic and the joint Kosovo escapade, has moved toward a more traditional relationship between a commander and his subordinate. And then even a little worse than that, really. All of Sloba's people, without exception, are kept in a state of permanent insecurity. No one is sure anymore in his property, his rank or his function. Nor, lest I forget, in his own health. They know best what kind of cures the Tiger uses for the disobedient. For his elite, Sloba used a skillfully woven cloth of corruption, fear of his fury and, more than anything, the reminder that, after him, everyone would be turned over to The Hague. Therefore, he has derived a simple equation: my life equals my power but also your life equals my power as well. If you flee, you will perish by my hand or you will meet with the revenge of those who come after me.
Now, however, Kostunica makes a wise move; in spite of political fashion, in spite of the wishes of the foreigners and despite domestic analytical busybodies, he clearly states that he will not turn Milosevic over to The Hague. Suddenly, every one of Sloba's people is freed, everyone can think for himself and take a position toward the events which await us. Will they blindly carry out every order or will the Tiger's final order result in a unique plebiscite in the police, the army, the state apparatus and the media under his control instead of gunshots?
There is no more collective fate of the ruling caste; there is no more hiding behind the fear of Sloba, there is no fear of The Hague (although, in all honesty, that does not include freedom from responsibility before our own courts), there is nothing except the division into the two Serbian nations introduced by Kostunica. A majority nation, which wants Serbia to live for us all and the other, which wants Serbia to die for the one who believes he is greater than Serbia.
I only refer to those who do not want Serbia to die as Serbs! That is the difference between us today. Not our positions in the already former system, not our function in the court retinue, not our positioning in the media, our party membership nor the length of our front-line anti-Slobist history. If Kostunica is already supported by people of unimaginably different convictions, his statement has also opened the door to former believers of the cult of Sloba. Even to his apostles, of whom there are approximately twelve. Including Pavkovic, of course. However, he, too, must clearly answer the question, first and foremost, for himself: "Do I want Serbia to die?"
If the answer is "No!", the significance of the issue of possible responsibility and the issue of possible punishment, for those who deserve it, comes far after the issue of a peaceful, convincing, powerful and unequivocal demonstration of the will of the majority for life.
The moment has come for Serbia to unlock its gates which are locked from the inside and to let in the future. That is why no one has the right any longer to create Serbia out of missed opportunities, no one has the right to call his intentional mistakes fate, never again will grotesque self-conceit succeed in hiding the despair of a nation and a people forced to debate with history and to live in hate of the entire world.
The nation, exhausted by planned catastrophes, has decided not to come to its own funeral and to get off the road leading to nowhere. Whoever is for such a Serbia, is here! The rest are nowhere!