Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater

Is the HUMANITARIAN Argument for the US-NATO War on Yugoslavia a Valid One? (this is the printer friendly version)

NO — because:

If the “ethnic cleansing” of Kosovar Albanians before NATO began bombing on March 24th was sufficient cause for a military intervention into a sovereign nation, where were the US and other NATO nations in these situations?

East Timor:

In December, 1975 President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger gave the green light to Suharto’s Indonesian government for an invasion of East Timor, a portion of the crumbling Portuguese Empire. Since then 200,000 people or one-third of the population have been killed or have died as a result of the repressive occupation. About half were Christians. The occupation and resistance to the occupation continues

In 1994 the Hutu majority perpetrated a low-tech genocide (machetes and knives), killing over 800,000 Tutsis plus tens of thousands of Hutus who protested the massacre. The UN received a warning three months in advance, yet no NATO nation intervened to stop the slaughter.

NATO member Turkey (and the third largest recipient of US military aid) has killed over 40,000 of its Kurdish citizens in the last 15 years and razed more than 4000 villages.

Since the 1954 CIA-orchestrated overthrow of democratically-elected President Arbenz, state terrorism and torture have taken the lives of 200,000 - 300,000 Mayan Indians and eliminated scores of Mayan villages.

Genocide by starvation is the M.O. of the Muslim majority who have blockaded the distribution of food aid to the animists of southern Sudan where more than a million people have perished.

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Congo, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Vietnam and so on.

This War is Being Waged for HUMANITARIAN Reasons?


There is a history to the Kosovo atrocities that the US media does not cover. After Tito gave the Serbian province of Kosovo autonomy in 1974, elements of the Albanian majority set the goal of an “ethnically pure” Kosovo and used their new powers (control of the university, education in Albanian, etc.) to this end. Harassment of the Serb minority began, with many leaving the province voluntarily.

In the 1980s violence against the Serbs escalated--- crops and homes burned, wells poisoned, women raped, young men killed--- and more Serbs left, many at gunpoint. [New York Times. November 1, 1987, Section 1, Page 14.]

The first mention of “ethnic cleansing” in Lexus/Nexis refers to these actions by the Kosovar Albanians. By the mid-‘90s they had achieved a 90% pure Kosovo.

The Yugoslav Army and riot police came to Kosovo in an attempt to control the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, a para-military group armed by Albania and the Albanian diaspora that was menacing the Serb population and those ethnic Albanians who did not agree with their goal of an independent Kosovo. A large part of their funding came from running heroin from Turkey to weatern Europe and from Islamic fundamentalists, including Osalam bin Laden (one of Clinton's targeted Terrorists).

Before March 24th, the major ethnic cleansing in the Balkans was that of the Serbs by the Croats from the krajina— a portion of what is now southern Croatia where Serbs had lived for centuries. In less than a week the Croatian army (newly trained by retired US generals and equipped with US and German armaments) invaded the krajina, and expelled more than 200,000 Serbs from their homes and the country. Croatian aircraft strafed the columns of fleeing refugees, an estimated 14,000 Serbs were killed. Prior to the invasion US-NATO aircraft had destroyed the Serbian radar and anti-aircraft defenses. This forced transfer of population was approved in advance by the US government.

[Elich, Gregory, “The Invasion of Serbian Krajina” in NATO in the Balkans, New York: International Action Center, 1998.]

The ethnic cleansing of the Albanians by the Serbs before March 24th was minor compared to what Milosevic’s paramilitaries have achieved under cover of the NATO bombing:

There were 2000 deaths (about a quarter Serb, the rest Albanian) and about 200,000 internal refugees— before the bombing
There have been ???? deaths and about 600,000 people forced into Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro since March 24th (as of May 15, 1999) in response to the bombing.

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.This site was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2006

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