Academic journal article Social Justice

The Real Reasons for War in Yugoslavia: Backing Up Globalization with Military Might

Academic journal article Social Justice

The Real Reasons for War in Yugoslavia: Backing Up Globalization with Military Might

Article excerpt

THE UNITED STATES AND ITS NATO UNDERLINGS CLEARLY WERE EMBOLDENED BY their "success" in bombing Yugoslavia, by their earlier bombing of the Serb areas of Bosnia, and by their victories in the other remnants of Yugoslavia -- Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia. Burgeoning military alliances, with the U.S. at the helm, are now more likely than ever to try to intervene in a similar way against any country that refuses to be a new-world-order colony by allowing its wealth and labor power to be plundered by transnational corporations (TNCs). The assault against Yugoslavia threw open the floodgates for new wars, including wars of competition among the industrial powers. President Bill Clinton praised NATO for its campaign in Kosovo, saying the alliance could intervene elsewhere in Europe or Africa to fight repression. "We can do it now. We can do it tomorrow, if it is necessary, somewhere else," he told U.S. troops gathered at the Skopje, Macedonia, airport (Agence France Presse, 1999).

It is hardly surprising that Clinton and the leaders of the other NATO countries glorified the aggression against Yugoslavia as "preventing a humanitarian catastrophe," "promoting democracy," and "keeping the peace" against a "Hitler-like" dictator who would not adhere to peace agreements. The public was repeatedly assured that the means -- the bombing of the people of Yugoslavia -- were justified by the ends. The media hype, including unprecedented demonization of the Serbs, was designed to mold public opinion to accept the "justice" of the war.

The unmistakable message was that the "Serbs got what they deserved." This rationale also concealed, and allowed unimpeded momentum toward, the true goals behind the stepped-up saber-rattling of the world's superpower and its allies. The skillful disinformation campaign was spectacularly successful even in confusing and derailing sections of the traditional peace and progressive movement in the U.S. and Europe. So let us examine more closely the pretexts for the war and then look at the real motives.

Who Were the Real Terrorists?

In the United States, we were told that the relentless U.S.-led NATO blitzkrieg (23,000 "dumb" bombs and "smart" missiles rained upon Yugoslavia for 79 days) was necessary to protect the human rights of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The U.S. Senate labeled Serbia a "terrorist state" (Weiner, 1999: A6). Yet what could be more "terrorist" than dropping upon civilians -- from the sanctuary of high altitude, and from computer-guided missiles -- radioactive depleted-uranium weapons and outlawed cluster bombs designed to rip human flesh to shreds? Was it not terrorism to deliberately target the entire infrastructure of this small nation, including the electrical and water filtration systems critical to the survival of civilians? Was it not terrorism to obliterate 200 factories and destroy the jobs of millions of workers? What of the constant air assault -- "fire from the sky" -- against cities, villages, schools, hospitals, senior residences, TV towers and studios, oil refineries, chemical plants, electrical power p lants, transmission towers, gas stations, homes, farms, marketplaces, buses, trains, railroad lines, bridges, roads, medieval monasteries, churches, historic monuments -- destruction amounting to more than $100 billion? What of the incalculable destruction of the environment, including the deliberate bombardment of chemical plants. Above all, was it not terrorism to kill, maim, traumatize, impoverish, or render homeless tens of thousands of men, women, and children? Not only was NATO's war a reprehensible act of inhumanity, it was also in contravention of all norms of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. It was an unprecedented war by the most powerful military force in history. It involved the 19 wealthiest nations, which possess 95% of the world's armaments, against a small sovereign nation that had little chance of countering such an attack. …

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