For fair use only
Published under the provision of
U.S. Code, Title 17, section 107.
* * *
It is a year since Nato presented Serbia with an ultimatum at Rambouillet
whose terms were totally unacceptable to any sovereign nation, and which
Nato must therefore have known would be rejected. It was spoiling, if not
for a fight exactly, at least for somewhere to bomb. A military alliance,
after all, cannot survive for ever without an enemy, and foreign adventures
are useful to presidents of the United States in domestic difficulties, as
Mr Clinton was at the time. Serbia's weakness made it the perfect enemy for
bullies, cowards and poltroons.
The ex post facto official justifications for the bombardment of Serbia
were revolting in their dishonesty. We were told both that the bombing was
a response to ethnic cleansing and that it was necessary to prevent the
ethnic cleansing which would happen without it. We were told both that it
was necessary to bomb Serbia because Mr Milosevic was an inveterate ethnic
cleanser, and that we could not possibly have foreseen that he would react
to the bombing of his country by ethnic cleansing. The leaders of Nato
relied on the cynical, but no doubt justified, belief that their respective
publics would not remember what they were told yesterday or the day before.
Nato continued to lie throughout the war. Its propaganda machine was no
more truthful than Serbia's, though Mr Clinton and Mr Blair far outdid Mr
Milosevic in unctuous sanctimony. Whenever civilians were killed, Nato
denied it until the public's kaleidoscopic mind had moved on to something
else. These were the equivocations of deeply guilty men.
And well they might have been guilty; for, once it became clear that Serbia
would not collapse in the purely military sense, Nato's only policy was to
destroy Serbia's civilian infrastructure. But deliberately to destroy
civilian targets with the intention of rendering the daily life of a
population impossible is a clear breach of the very international law which
Mr Clinton and Mr Blair claimed to uphold, and by which they allegedly set
such store. According to their own lights, therefore, Messrs Clinton and
Blair are war criminals; and, if Mr Cook truly believed in his ethical
foreign policy, he would at once extradite himself to Belgrade.
Nor was the moral disaster compensated for by its practical political
benefits. Nato's policies all too predictably produced not one, but two
episodes of ethnic cleansing: first, of the Albanians from certain parts of
Kosovo; and, second, of the Serbs from most of Kosovo. To this latter
example of the phenomenon, Nato-ever sparing of the lives of its own
troops-has turned a blind eye. Thus Mr Clinton and Mr Blair are against
ethnic cleansing, except for that which occurs under their own patronage
Moreover, peace has not returned to the region as a result of Nato's
intervention. Can any sensible person doubt that if Nato's troops were
withdrawn, a bloodbath far more terrible than anything yet seen would soon
occur? Nato is thus faced with a dilemma: either it remains as an army of
occupation for good, or it becomes a party to real genocide.
But perhaps the worst effect of all was the military humiliation which Nato
suffered in Serbia (without, of course, Serbia having achieved a victory).
This crushing humiliation has been disguised from the public by a chorus of
journalistic flatterers and by the clever manipulation of facts. But for
those who believe that there is a reality independent of the webs woven by
spin doctors, the military weakness both of the United States and of Nato
could not have been more clearly exposed than it was in Serbia.
Contrary to what the public was mendaciously led to believe, the combined
forces of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the
Netherlands were not aufficient to impose upon Serbia all the conditions
laid down in the Rambouillet ultimatum. Nato was thus as compelled to
negotiate as was Serbia; and, considering the immense disparity in the
resources of the two sides, this represented a deep humiliation for Nato.
Anything other than complete victory over a country as small and poor as
Serbia was for Nato an utter defeat.
Nato was quite unable to destroy the Serbian armed forces -
which is why it
had to embark upon its criminal terror-bombing campaign. Its technological
sophistication was rendered completely useless by the simple Serbian
expedient of hiding tanks in hillocks and placing mock tanks elsewhere.
Nothing short of an invasion could have destroyed the Serbian army, but for
political reasons this was impossible. A military power that is afraid to
lose men in pursuit of its objectives is not a power: it is the military
equivalent of a whited sepulchre. And virtual war is not war.
None of this will have gone unnoticed in Moscow or Beijing. It is hardly
surprising that Beijing is now making belligerent noises towards Taiwan,
for it knows that, in the event of a decision to invade, it would have as
little to fear from America as from Liechtenstein. Likewise if Moscow
decided upon genocide of the Chechens. Messrs Clinton and Blair have made
the world safe for ethnic cleansing.
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