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avgust 20, 2008
Case Against Further BombingBy Leon Chame, 25/05/99
Cruise missile humanitarianism has multiplied the number of Kosovar Albanian homeless
and dead, without saving one life, or stopping one atrocity. By highest estimates, the
Kosovo civil war displaced 400,000 ethnic Kosovars from their homes in 1998; 30,000 of
these fled Kosovo. The first two weeks of the bombing increased this to over one million
homeless Kosovars; more than 400,000 of whom fled Kosovo. From March
24th through May 24th, NATO escalated the atrocities to triple those
in the whole year of 1998.
NATO bears the same responsibility a police officer does in a hostage situation
the responsibility not to get the hostages killed by charging at the kidnapper in a macho
frenzy. The CIA and Pentagon both warned NATO leaders that it would
provoke massacres before it dropped the first kind and cuddly bomb.
Before our fighter jets flattened large portions of Serbia, there was a strong
democratic opposition in Yugoslavia, and a strong opposition press. Milosevic was not in a
position to completely ignore public opinion. It is far from sure
that he could have escalated the level of atrocities.
The first bomb that came close to killing a Yugoslav child changed this. As would
happen in the U.S. if bombs were falling on New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Seattle,
Yugoslavians rallied round the flag. So long as NATO bombs fall on the suburbs and
railways of Yugoslavia, there is no atrocity Milosevic can commit which will cost him
popular support. War is freedom for tyrants, sexual sadists and
In Kosovo, Serbia, and throughout Yugoslavia, NATO aims tenderhearted explosives at oil
refineries, power plants, television stations, and office buildings and quite often
misses. It has
admitted to intentionally bombing (we are
sorry but we will keep on doing it) residential suburbs, civilian factories, a
passenger rail car, and part of a convoy of Albanian refugees. Pilots of British Harriers, tired of frequent misses, have turned to cluster bombs, which spray
humanitarian shrapnel over a wide area. In spite of claims to surgical precision, this
amounts to indiscriminate criminal bombing.
In the April 9, 1999 New York Times he writes: "
the destruction of the civilian infrastructure of Yugoslavia has become
part of the strategy to end the war on Kosovo
We are bringing down terror on the
the Serbian people will never accept a peace with the ethnic
Albanians as long as we are dropping bombs on their heads
This war threatens more than the population of former Yugoslavia. It threatens the
stability of the entire region. Albania, perhaps the poorest country in Europe is
overwhelmed by the refugee influx. Macedonia, which already has a strong Albanian
minority, fears becoming another Kosovo. As of this writing, the Yugoslav military had
crossed an international border to take out the KLA which are attacking from Albania. The
Balkans were historically flashpoints for major wars, because major powers got involved in
Well, we had to do something didnt we? Actually we didnt. In our own lives,
when confronted by a problem, how many of us would choose making things worse as an
alternative to doing nothing? But, in fact, there were alternatives. The New York Times of April 8, 1999, writing of the failed
Rambouillet negotiations said "In a little-noted resolution of the Serbian Parliament just before the bombing,
when that hardly independent body rejected NATO troops in Kosovo, it also supported the
idea of U.N. forces to monitor a political settlement there."
Milosevic had accepted most U.S. demands during Rambouillet negotiations except NATO
monitors. If he was willing to accept U.N.
monitors instead, should we not have explored the possibility before we began bombing?
There still are alternatives. Stop the bombing. Forget ground troops. Start real
negotiations. Involve the U.N., and what remains of the democratic Yugoslav opposition. UN party under the Security Council`s Resolution will probably be needed to
enforce whatever solution is agreed to, and protect all groups in Kosovo from ethnic
cleansing. But both sides of the conflict must agree to such enforcers. We could also
provide more aid to the refugees, actually give them refuge if needed. We should also
remember that the Yugoslav army currently enforces the death penalty for avoiding service
in their military, and offer refuge to Serb draft resistors and deserters.
Some people, admitting that bombing is useless, are supporting ground troops instead.
The idea that we were "dragged into this" by NATO is wrong to begin with. In the context of this war, the U.S. is NATO. Other NATO countries provide bases, and some of the military force. But the U.S. leads and owns NATO. The U.S
has made essentially all the decisions, both military and diplomatic.
The U.S. may be the best place it the world to live, but people outside the U.S. would
just as soon not have us involved in their civil wars. Most of the world winces when it
hears the U.S. is about to take action. Our
humanitarian sanctions against Saddam Hussein manage to kill about 5,000 Iraqi children
each month. Weve been bombing Iraq for years; no doubt the
Iraq government will fall any day now.
US Intelligence Blunders
In retaliation for terrorist bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa,
we managed to bomb a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan responsible for producing most of
Sudans prescription drugs. At the time, we claimed it was partially owned by Bin
Laden and helped produce nerve gas. It later turn
out that Bin Laden had no ownership stake in the plant (direct or indirect) and the
chemicals we thought to be a nerve gas precursor were actually used in the making of
beneficial drugs. Oops! Sorry bout that!
Recent humanitarian catastrophes in which we did not intervene
include: 80,000 dead in Algeria, 10,000 dead in the Ethiopian-Eritrean war within
the past month, 820,000 dead in Rwanda during the last five years, 1.5 million dead in
Sudan during the last 15 years.
Worse, we ignore atrocities by our client states, states we could
simply order to stop the killing, NATO member Turkey has killed more than 40,000 Kurds
(the same ethnic group we are bombing Iraq, as you read this, to protect) using weapons it
bought from the U.S.
East Timor was an independent country until Indonesia took it over in 1975, killing 200,000 people (more than 1/3rd of the population). Indonesia
launched the invasion hours after President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
met with Indonesian dictator Suharto. The U.S. then
doubled military aid to Indonesia, blocked the UN taking effective enforcement action, and
continued to sell new weapons, particularly helicopters for the next
two decades. Since 1975, the United States has sold more than $1.1 billion worth of
weaponry to Indonesia. The latest massacre in East Timor took place a few days ago, when
paramilitaries armed by the Indonesian government slaughtered a church full of refugees.
In short, given the U.S. record, there is no reason to expect a ground force invasion
will have superior results to our current policy of better living through bombing.
Negotiations are not glamorous. But in the real
world, negotiations are the only way to save the lives the Kosovar Albanians
especially if we decide that the occasional Serbian life has value as well.