The Top 10 Reasons This War SUCKS!

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair


Has anyone thought about the peculiar logicbehind NATO’s “peace
mission” in Kosovo? They dragged the warring parties to sometwo-bit pastry shop called Rambouillet, held a gun to their heads,and said, “If you don’t sign our peace deal and allow usto protect ethnic group #1, then we’re going to bomb and killethnic group #2!” After arm-twisting the Albanians into signinga deal that they didn’t believe in, we carried out our threat.We bombed the Serbs on behalf of the Albanians, assuming, likeDr. Evil, that everything would go to plan. No contingency planningat all. For example, no plan on how to counter the obvious andnatural reaction of the Serbs to take all of their Tomahawk-inspiredfury out on a totally defenseless Kosovar population. NATO’s reply?”They were going to do it anyway.” In fact, CIA leaksshow that Clinton was warned that bombing could spark mass ethniccleansing.


It wouldn’t have seemed possible a few monthsago, but this war has given Russia the opportunity to seize themoral high ground on the world stage. When the Serbs refused togive in, the West increased the ferocity of the air attacks, killingover 1,000 civilians thus far. In other words, we’re doing whatthe Russians did in Chechnya, but whereas the West kept conspicuouslyquiet about the Russian mass slaughter, the Russian governmentand people have been shocked and vocally outraged by NATO’s “barbaricaggression”.


Trying to bring the Serbs to heel by makingthem suffer won’t work; these people have too much practice atsuffering. After their army was slaughtered by the Turks at theBattle of Kosovo Field in 1389, things started getting a littlebit rough for the Serbs. Though many Serb uprisings were brutallysuppressed, the Serbs slowly drove the Turks out, eventually “liberating”Kosovo in a series of blood-drenched battles. In 1914, the Serbswere overrun by the Central Powers.The Serbs lost one-fourth oftheir population during the war; two-thirds of its male populationbetween the ages of 15 and 55 perished. World War Two was evenworse. After being overrun by a Nazi blitzkrieg, the Serbs foundthemselves at the mercy of the Nazis’ Croat puppet regime, theUstashe, who killed over a million people in death camps so horriblethey repelled even the SS. Meanwhile, the Serbs somehow managedto pin down eight divisions of Nazi infantry, the Italians, aBosnian Muslim SS Division-and wage a bitter civil war againstfellow Serbs. In all, one-fourth of the Serb population died duringWW II. Toss in a respectable number of dead Serbs since the warsin Croatia and Bosnia started earlier this decade, and you getthe idea: bombing will not scare these people.


Why do American troops have to go in at all?Why should kids from Ohio and New Mexico have to die in Kosovo?Kosovo is part of Europe, and every one of the big Western Europeancountries has a huge, expensive army.


Even the Secretary of State isn’t sure whatwe’re doing in Yugoslavia. Madeleine Albright said that NATO justwanted to “Send Milosevic a message”. When a pool reporterpointed out that she had earlier said that the NATO goal was toSTOP Milosevic, she hesitated and said, “That, too.”


The Serbs were behaving with relative restraintin Kosovo (by Balkan standards) until we started bombing Serbia.Then they decided they had nothing to lose, and started drivingAlbanians out in earnest. Wasn’t this what we were trying to prevent?


After the Gulf War, the US had everybody believingin air power again. The bombing of Serbia is going to destroythat belief. The USAF trains in Nevada, and the less a landscaperesembles Nevada, the less effective American air power. Iraqlooks just like Nevada; Kosovo looks more like Vietnam.


These endless comparisons of thugs like Milosevicto Adolf Hitler insult the public’s intelligence and cheapen thespecial, awful legacy of WWII. Before America started callingMilosevic a new Hitler, it used the same tactic to demonize everyonefrom Saddam Hussein to Manuel Noriega to Osama bin Laden to theAyatollah Khomeini to Fidel Castro. Gore Vidal put it this way:”The CIA’s demonizing process is fascinating, swift, unvarying.Each demon admires Hitler. Keeps a copy of Mein Kampf beside hisbed.” Hitler killed six million Jews; he made lampshadesout of little children; he tried to take over the entire world.Milosevic is a monster, but he’s not close to a record like that.Comparing Milosevic to Hitler proves that the U.S. governmentno longer trusts its citizens to make real moral distinctions.


In 1941, the Nazi puppet state of Croatia wantedto solve the Serb Question once and for all… not by mass expulsions,but by extermination. Out of 6.3 million people in the new Croatstate, there were 1.9 million Serbs. Official documents show thatthe Ustashe government planned to exterminate or convert everyone of them. Within weeks after the Nazi takeover, Croats setto massacring Serbs in a variety of ways, including a documentedfavorite trick: throwing Serb mothers with their children offcliffs, by the hundreds. By mid-1941, even the Germans startedcomplaining. Here is a quote from an SS report: “The Ustasheunits have carried out their atrocities not only against maleOrthodox of military age, but in particular in the most bestialfashion against unarmed old men, women and children…” TheCroats set up several concentration camps, including the infamousJasenovac death camp, which is to Serbs what Auschwitz is to Jews.This camp is notorious not just because hundreds of thousandsof Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were killed there (Serbs claim a millionSerbs were killed at Jasenovac), but because of the way they werekilled: butchered with knives, like pigs. In all, the Serbs aresaid to have lost some one million people just to Croat deathcamps and massacres. If it is unthinkable that the Bundeswehrcould be called in to bomb Tel Aviv in order to force the Jewsto sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians, then why canwe order German bombers to attack Belgrade with a clear conscience?


Serbs are now comparing NATO to the Nazis.Here’s why. The Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia in April, 1941, beganwith the relentless bombardment of Belgrade, flattening most ofthe city before a ground invasion by troops from Germany, Italy,Hungary and Bulgaria. Three of those four are now NATO members.Modern German bombers, ominously sporting iron cross Luftwaffemarkings, are targeting Serb cities. And now, once again, Germans,Italians and Hungarians are preparing to invade.

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch. Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

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