NATO's War of Words

A Reflection by Randall Major
Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
April, 1999
 
   

The current NATO attacks on Yugoslavia have broken international law, and NATO is thus forced to defend its actions, to offer hard facts to justify itself. Each day, NATO spokesmen hold a press conference where they show slides and cockpit footage from the previous day's attacks. The pictures are accompanied by a running commentary which explains the "facts" about Operation Allied Force. For just a moment, let us reflect on some of the "facts" coming from NATO headquarters.

"Fact" Number One:
"NATO IS NOT AT WAR WITH THE PEOPLE OF YUGOSLAVIA" (or in President Clinton's words "I have no quarrel with the people of Yugoslavia.")

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Schools are not working. So many factories have been bombed, it is estimated there are 500,000 now unemployed. Hospitals have been hit accidentally. Main lines of communication, roads and bridges have been intentionally targeted. Post offices, people's homes, trains, even civilian cars and convoys of the "displaced" have been blasted into eternity. Some 500 civilian deaths have been caused by the bombing. Men, women and children. Not soldiers. If that is not a war against the people of Yugoslavia, then what is it?

"Fact" Number Two:
"THE NATO STRIKES ARE NOT CAUSING THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN KOSOVO."

On March 23, there were no refugees. Since the NATO bombs started falling on March 24, NATO itself estimates that as many as 1 million people have been "displaced". It is as simple as that.

"Fact" Number Three:
"WE HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY 'DEGRADED' MILOSEVIC'S WAR MACHINE."

Jamie Shea and David Wilby, the NATO spokesmen, repeat this every day. Then they show the sorties carried out by some of the pilots. While there is the occasional fuel or munitions dump, most of the targets they have shown so far have been stationary, civilian targets. Not tanks, not troops, but buildings, bridges and refineries.

As proof of having "crippled the war machine", Wilby notes that many of the bombers cannot find their primary objectives (the Yugoslav Army) and have to hit secondary, stationary targets. Thus, he concludes, the Yugoslav Army has gone into hiding. At the same time, NATO claims each day that a new wave of refugees are being forced, by the Yugoslav Army, to flee their homes and head for neighboring countries. The question is simple, how can an army in hiding force people to do anything?

"Fact" Number Four:
"WE BELIEVE ATROCITIES ARE BEING CARRIED OUT IN KOSOVO."

Each day, NATO spokesmen make a variety of claims about the atrocities being carried out. They cite concentration camps, mass graves, mass rapes, just to name a few. At the same time, Wilby claims that they have inserted SAS troops into Kosovo in order to help in the air war. How is it then that NATO has failed to produce a single piece of hard evidence to prove any of these claims? Not a single SAS trooper has returned with a photograph of a concentration camp, for example. NATO has failed to produce a corpus delicti, and are operating purely on the basis of hearsay.

"Fact" Number Five:
"THESE AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS SHOW WHAT WE BELIEVE TO BE MASS GRAVES."

There is a war going on in Kosovo. People are dying. Dead people must be buried. The difference between a mass grave and a regular grave is that mass graves are big pits where many bodies are buried all together. Wilby and Shea have been showing aerial photographs of individual graves. They may well contain Albanians. Or they may hold Serbs, or any of the other minorities living in Kosovo. Those very same graves may well be the resting place of civilians killed by the NATO bombings. In any case, they are individual graves and not mass graves.

"Fact" Number Six:
"NATO DOES NOT ENCOURAGE AN INDEPENDENT KOSOVO."

In the recent capture of a Yugoslav Army officer by the Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA or UCK), Jamie Shea showed that NATO is working hand in hand with them. The political representatives of the KLA make no bones about it: they want an independent Kosovo so that all Albanians may live in one state. And they mean the Albanians living in Macedonia, Greece and Montenegro as well, by the way. There is even some doubt as to whether NATO is, in fact, training and arming the KLA. It is clear that Allied Force is in bed with the KLA, and thus is supporting an independent Kosovo.

"Fact" Number Seven:
"WE WANT PEACE AND STABILITY IN KOSOVO, SO THAT THE REFUGEES MAY RETURN."

Indeed. That is what almost everyone wants. But in the meantime, NATO is destroying the entire infrastructure of Kosovo. In places there is no water, no electricity. The towns, fields and meadows of Kosovo have been sewn with depleted uranium munitions, thus making the land uninhabitable. If the NATO bombing continues, no one will ever want to live in Kosovo again. Not the Albanians. Not the Serbs. No one.

NATO has never had to fight a media war before to defend its actions. Perhaps that is why they keep stumbling over their own words. The truth is, no one really knows what is happening in Kosovo. And either NATO does not know either, or they are simply not telling the truth. In order to launch and continue their vicious attack on Yugoslavia, NATO has resorted to a tactic first formulated clearly in WWII: tell a lie 100 times and it becomes the truth. That truism was invented by Goebbels himself.

Randall Major
Novi Sad, Yugoslavia