The US-NATO War on Yugoslavia
Its Illegal, Inhumane
and Must Be Stopped (this is the
print friendly version)
by Janette Rainwater
I was around for the Vietnam War and
this feels like deja vu all over again.
The Clinton administration and its media
lackeys tell us that we must continue bombing Serbia and Kosovo
1. There is ethnic cleansing going on
in Kosovo and the only way to stop it is to bomb the Serbs into
submission. This is a humanitarian enterprise to save the Kosovar
2. Milosevic refused to sign the Rambouillet
3. Milosevic is the newest Hitler and
we must get rid of him.
Lets take these one by one.
1. The United States has not suddenly
become a nation horrified by outrages to ethnic minorities
otherwise we would have intervened in:
a. Rwanda, where 800,000 Tutsis
were massacred by the Hutu majority (plus tens of thousands of Hutus
who protested) --- and the UN authorities received a fax warning
of this three months in advance
b. Turkey, where our ally (and third
largest recipient of US military aid) has killed over 40,000
of its Kurdish citizens over the last 15 years and razed 4000
c. Indonesia, Tibet, and so on.
Compared to these countries, the ethnic
cleansing of Kosovo was mild before March 24th when the bombing
started---- since 1997, 2000 deaths (about half of which
were Serbs) and about 250,000 internal refugees, and those
were mostly created by the confrontations between the Kosovo Liberation
Army and the Serb forces. (There has been little media coverage
of the harassment by the KLA that caused Serbs to leave Kosovo in
the 70s and 80s although a 1982 article in the New
York Times mentions that 57,000 Serbs had recently left Kosovo
for political and economic reasons.)
The massive exodus of Albanians from
Kosovo began three days after the bombing started when Milosevic
unloosed the paramilitaries the Seseljites, the Arkanites,
the criminal element who put on a mask and work for whatever they
can loot. The US media, however, now implies that this war is being
promulgated to punish and prevent the ethnic cleansing that happened
because of the bombing!
NATO generals now say that they predicted
this ethnic cleansing; however, they made no prior provisions for
housing, feeding, or clothing these poor people who are now being
so cynically exploited for the purpose of prolonging the war.
Our media were also remiss in not telling
us in detail about the rapid and professional ethnic cleansing of
the Serbs from the krajina --- a part of southern Croatia
where Serbs had lived for several centuries-- that was carried out
by the Croats in August, 1995. In just a few days more than two
hundred thousand Serbs were expelled from their homes at gunpoint
and 14,000 Serbs were killed.
Instead the media showed us satellite
photographs of the mass graves of Muslims killed by the Serbs at
Srebrenica taken weeks before and cynically released at this
time by then-US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright to divert
the worlds attention.
Not publicly revealed at the time:
a. The Croatian military had been trained
by retired American generals (hired by the Pentagon-affiliated MPRI
(Military Professional Resources, Inc. of Arlington VA) and equipped
with German and American armaments.
b. The CIA and DIA had made a prior assessment
of the area.
c. Before the invasion of the krajina
began, US NATO aircraft destroyed the Serbian radar and anti-aircraft
d. Croatian aircraft strafed columns
of fleeing refugees.
e. There was a definite green light
for this operation from the US government, in particular Secretary
of State Warren Christopher and US Ambassador to Croatia, Peter
(This was the reward to President Franjo
Tudjman for agreeing to the Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia.)
Galbraith would later deny that Croatia had engaged in any ethnic
cleansing as that is something that the Serbs do!
f. Croatia, since Tudjmans ascent
to the presidency in 1990, has become more and more a clone of the
Ustaa, the fascist puppet state of the Nazis. The country
has adopted a similar flag and currency to the old regime, destroyed
over three thousand anti-fascist monuments, and renamed streets
and buildings for Mile Budak, the man who signed the anti-Semitic
laws. Tudjman, who declared that the Serbs grossly exaggerated the
number of Serbs, Jews and gypsies murdered at the World War II concentration
camp in Croatia (and that the accounts of the Holocaust were similarly
exaggerated--- only nine hundred thousand
Jews died, not six million), refused to allow nonwhite
UN troops to serve in the 1990's Croatia. [Elich, Gregory, The
Invasion of Serbian Krajina in NATO in the Balkans, New York:
International Action Center, 1998.]
*** *** *** *** ***
2. The war has been justified by Miloevics
refusal to sign the Rambouillet peace agreement, a most
cynical document whose exact terms were not known to the public
until several weeks after the bombing began.
Its Appendix B would have allowed NATO
freedom of movement throughout Yugoslavia not
just Kosovo. NATO personnel would enjoy complete immunity from any
civil or criminal charges. And they would be allowed to use all
Yugoslav airports, ports and streets cost-free. This is the kind
of extra-territoriality that colonial powers enjoyed in the old
days. No sovereign state would voluntarily agree to these conditions
which are more like those that might be imposed on a country defeated
The Serbs had come to Rambouillet to
discuss the question of autonomy for Kosovo. Instead they were presented
with the ultimatum--- sign on to this document or be bombed.
The secrecy about Appendix B plus its
unreasonableness lead to a presumption that NATO, meaning the US,
was looking for an excuse to start a war against Serbia rather than
find a peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem. (Several of the
politicians in the Contact Group which convened the conference were
ignorant of the conditions imposed in Appendix B.).
Conveniently forgotten now by the media
is the fact that the KLA was initially unwilling to sign the Rambouillet
ultimatum either, since the document only discussed autonomy for
Kosovo, not independence, for which the KLA had been fighting. They
signed only after the threat that the Albanian border would be closed
to the future delivery of weapons. (And with the implicit promise
sign and well bomb Serbia for you.)
*** *** *** *** ***
3. So now Milosevic has become the new
Hitler, succeeding Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, and Muammar Gadaffi,
all of whom this country has demonized in order to justify bombing
I am not here to defend this opportunist
whose career I have been following since I first heard of him in
1987 in which time he has progressed from a two-bit apparachnik
in the Serbian League of Communists to exploit the latent nationalism
around Kosovo and become the repressive president of rump Yugoslavia.
I remember warning Serbian friends back then that this guy sounded
like a fascist to me
However, I suspect that until March
24 there was more real freedom and democracy in Serbia than
in Croatia. Have we forgotten the Zajedno movement and the
90 days of demonstrations in the very cold winter of 1996-1997 which
forced Milosevic to reinstate the victors of the municipal elections
he had declared void? Those demonstrators are now almost solidly
in Milosevics camp as the result of our bombing.
What in heavens name gives us the
right to subject the Serbian people to the loss of
their lives and property and the destruction of their livelihood
and the countrys infrastructure in an attempt to unseat this
As of today (May 6, 1999) the
military only targets have expanded to include auto,
cigarette and textile plants, electricity power generating stations,
and water treatment plants. All of the bridges across the Danube,
one of Europes main waterways, are down. When Serbian television
disclosed the large number of smart bombs that had hit
residential areas, civilian buses, and refugee convoys, NATO bombed
the television station, killing a large number of civilian employees.
Germanys General Klaus Naumann
has estimated that the bombing so far has set Yugoslavia back economically
about 10 years and predicted that continued bombing could
end up reversing the countrys development level by the equivalent
of 50 years. An April 14th raid on Krusevac destroyed the
countrys major tractor factory, thus crippling Yugoslavias
ability to rebuild its roads, railroads, and bridges should the
war ever end. The property damage is already over $100 billion;
schools and universities have closed; the majority of the population
is unemployed thanks to the destruction of half the countrys
industrial capacity. Most public and private transportation has
ceased due to a shortage of petrol.
Major health hazards are on the horizon
with the damage to the water supply, sewage system and electricity
system such as we have seen in Iraq. But, as Madeleine Albright
said when Leslie Stahl confronted her about the horrendous malnutrition
and infant mortality in Iraq, Its a hard choice, but
we believe it's worth the price. Is it really?
And, as a conservative member of the
House of Lords, Lord Robert Skidelsky, recently warned, NATOs
war on Serbia presents a new doctrine of ethical imperialism
which has some disturbing implications:
The new principle seems to be that
states can be sanctioned or punished whenever they mistreat some
of their subjects. How acceptable is this likely to be in a world
where many states do, in fact, mistreat their subjects?
Where does this lead in international
relations? Any attempt by the US and its allies to impose their
values on the rest of the world will probably lead to the break-up
of the world polity and with it the break-up of the world economy.
There are actual or potential conflicts
going on all over the world. How many wars will NATO need to fight
to secure minority rights? What does not walking away after the
bombing has done its worst really mean? Do you create a desert by
bombing and then occupy the ruins?
To continue without rules is to risk
the destruction of the free market over much of the world and a
21st century which will resemble the worst of our own rather than
the best of the 19th.
This indictment of the NATO war from
a Conservative Party spokesman and the author of a major study on
John Maynard Keynes! [Nick Brown, A Conservative Lord Warns
of Global Turmoil, 7 May 1999, http://www.wsws.org ]
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Why are US and NATO pursuing this
vendetta against Serbia?
One reason could be that the country
was one of the holdouts against the economic reforms
mandated by the IMF for the other countries of Eastern Europe.
Another is that the Balkans, always a
strategic area as the meeting-place between Europe and the Middle
East, has become increasingly important with the discovery of huge
oil reserves in the Caspian Sea basin.
Sincethe death of Tito in 1980, both
Germany and the US have been working to destabilize Yugoslavia economically
(with IMF and other economic reforms) and then dissolve
the country into smaller fragments which would then be more vulnerable
and easier to control.
It is clear that the US bypassed the
United Nations to go with NATO on this war against Serbia. First
of all, either Russia or China would have vetoed the bombing in
the Security Council. More importantly, NATO is the instrument by
which the US can maintain its domination in European and world affairs.
NATO began fifty years ago as an alliance
of eleven democratic nations of the west for the military containment
of the Soviet Union. So one would have thought it would gracefully
sunset itself upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
NATO instead has been expanded to include
three of the former Warsaw Pact nations with the others clamoring
for admission (which they see as their ticket to eventual inclusion
in the European Union.)
In 1992 the New York Times printed
excerpts from a forty-six page Pentagon document entitled The
Defense Planning Guide which baldly stated that the US should
pursue complete world domination, militarily and politically.
Our first objective is to prevent
the re-emergence of a new rival. . . . First, the U.S. must show
the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that
holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they
need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture
to protect their legitimate interests.
"We must account sufficiently for
the interests of advanced industrial nations to discourage them
from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established
political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanism
for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger
regional or global role.
"It is of fundamental importance
to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense and
security as well as a channel for U.S. influence and participation
in European security affairs. . . . We must seek to prevent the
emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine
"The U.S. should be postured to
act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated.
[New York Times, March 8, 1992, A1.]
This happened on George H. W. Bushs
watch, but by his actions it seems that Bill Clinton has signed
onto the program with complete conviction.