As I write this, in the wee hours of May 8, our U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Peter Burleigh, is addressing an emergency session of the Security Council, responding to Chinese outrage that we blew up their embassy in Belgrade, killing four and injuring a dozen others. Burleigh said earlier that there was “no confirmation” that the missiles which flattened the Chinese embassy were fired by NATO; he obviously believed that they might have come from some other country firing missiles in Yugoslavia — perhaps India or Uruguay.
But he’s now admitted they were fired by NATO — that is, by the U.S., since our country is providing more than 90 percent of the operational support for this war. He places the blame for this incident, though, squarely on the shoulders of Milosevic, insisting “the real blame lies with Yugoslavia’s president for causing the Kosovo crisis.” But he graciously offers the Chinese our “sincere regrets” anyway.
Well, let’s think about that for a moment. Milosevic had already agreed to an international military presence in Kosovo — indeed, two hundred observers from the OSCE (Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe) had to be evacuated from Kosovo before the bombing began. What the Clinton Administration insisted on, though, was free access to all of Yugoslavia (not just Kosovo) by armed NATO troops, aircraft, and tanks. This was the only point that Milosevic rejected. Could any sovereign country acquiesce to such foreign occupation?
So the U.S., your country and mine, after a full year of rejecting one peace plan after another — one from the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church and another from Kosovar Albanian
politician Ibrahim Rugova, to name just two — decided to start bombing Yugoslavia to force Milosevic to accept terms that no head of state anywhere in the world could possibly agree to. The bombing violated the U.S. Constitution, the NATO Charter, the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Accords, and indeed every known precept of international law.
Then Milosevic, free of foreign observers, faced with a civil war in Kosovo fomented by the KLA — a drug-running guerilla group financed principally by the Albanian Mafia — and believing that he had nothing further to lose, unleashed his thuggish military to drive hundreds of thousands of Albanians out of Kosovo. At the same time, he could silence his growing democratic opposition by accusing them of treason. This is exactly what had been predicted for more than a year by observers ranging from the CIA to the Cato Institute — yet the
Administration (which has repeatedly utilized the “Wag the Dog” phenomenon to build its own support) appeared shocked and surprised.
The bombing has been going on for more than six weeks. Kosovo is essentially uninhabited now; its cleansing is complete. NATO — that is, the U.S. with Britain playing the part of the small but noisy faithful dog — is running out of targets. One oil refinery has been bombed into oblivion no fewer than five separate times. Yugoslavia was a poor country to start with; the bombing has destroyed more than twenty years of painful progress in improving its standard of living. The Danube — a principal highway of commerce for all of southern Europe — is blocked.
Feverishly searching for targets, we have recently bombed Montenegro, which was run by a moderate, pro-Western, anti-Milosevic government — now, like all of Yugoslavia, being pushed into the Milosevic camp by NATO insanity.
We have bombed to rubble a splendid example of industrial Art-Deco architecture in Nis on the grounds that it was a military target: it produced cigarettes for the Serbian army.
We have repeatedly set off enormous quantities of high explosive within 50 yards of monasteries not only housing Orthodox monks working as best they can to relieve the suffering of all Kosovars, but also containing irreplaceable treasures of Byzantine religious art, which have survived nearly a millennium of wars with the Bulgars, the Turks, the Austrians, and the Nazis.
These precious mosaics and frescos, and the beautiful medieval monasteries themselves, are falling apart from the continuous pounding.
We have flattened the old city of Pec, whose markets and shops dated back to the 13th century. We have damaged the 16th-century Hadum Mosque in Djakovica, and the 1600-year-old
Byzantine basilica in Nis. St. Procopius’s 9th-century church in Prokuplje has been hit. The old Belgrade Fort has been hit and part of its 15th-century rampart collapsed — a historic site of
immense patriotic importance to Hungarians as well as Serbs, since it was there that the Magyar hero, Janos Hunyadi, routed the Turks in July of 1456.
And speaking of Hungarians, on April 18 we blew up the Banovina Palace in Novy Sad, the finest work of Art-Deco architecture in the Balkans, because the Vojvodina Assembly
met there. Most of the population of the Vojvodina province of Serbia is of Magyar descent; before the bombing began they had not been particularly friendly with Milosevic. Now, of course, they are.
While we were in Novy Sad, we also damaged the old Austrian Petrovaradin Fortress, since it had a military-sounding name. The fact that it has had no military importance whatever for
more than 150 years, now houses only shops, cafes, and museums, and was built nearly a century before our Declaration of Independence was signed — all this seems somehow to have been
We have bombed a convoy of the very refugees we claim to be helping. We have bombed a bus of civilians off a bridge. We have bombed a train full of passengers. We have bombed bridges more than 500 years old, historical treasures of no conceivable military value.
We are killing a couple of dozen innocent Serbs every day. The makeup girl in the Belgrade TV studio. The residents of apartments two blocks from a civilian factory. Just “collateral damage.” We were horrified by the senseless loss of innocent life at Columbine High School; NATO has been providing a Columbine every day, a Waco every week, for a month and a half now, and
charging you upwards of two million dollars an hour to do so.
It is tempting to refer to this operation as The War To Make Everybody Forget The Scandals, or The War To Keep CNN’s Ratings Up. But NATO spokesmen have scrupulously avoided the term “war”, and the U.S. Congress has refused to declare war. They’re right: this is not a war; it’s not a “police action;” it’s not even a “conflict.” It has long since become simply an exercise in
compulsive, psychotic vandalism: not simply a crime against international law but a crime against civilization itself — a barbaric video game on real people, heedless self-absorbed nihilism worthy of Columbine’s Trench Coat Mafia, to the accompaniment of pious cant against violence from a president who has bombed more countries during his administration than all others put together since the Second World War.
NATO diplomats from Greece, Italy, and Turkey could not convince the administration to stop the bombing. Nor could Russia’s dark hints of a wider war. Nor could even the president’s friend
Jesse Jackson. But the Red Chinese bought and paid for Clinton’s reelection, and they may not be quite so willing to settle for a breezy “you better put some ice on that.”
Craig Goodrich lives in Elkmont, Alabama, with his wife, two children, and four cats. He is a former Congressional candidate of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, a smoker, and a gun owner. Comments are welcome; they may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org“email@example.com.