Media hides bombing truths from public

The bombing of Yugoslavia by the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies is not what it seems. The two “official” positions seem to be these: First, the conflict is a tragic but necessary campaign to halt the genocidal policies of a Slavic “dictator.” Second, the conflict is a well-intentioned blunder, conducted either too timidly or with poor planning, or with a violence unjustified to end violence. The reality is rather different. This war is an announcement. It declares the death of “sovereignty” — the honorable principle underlying the United Nations for over five decades.
What is really happening in Yugoslavia is open to view, but requires digging; the controlled media of the United States will not allow us to see it. The facts are straightforward.
This war is unnecessary. According even to The New York Times, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic agreed many months ago to grant Kosovo limited autonomy in exchange for their leaders’ promise to renounce secession. They rejected only the U.S. ultimatum that NATO be allowed to station a 30,000-troop foreign occupying army in Kosovo. Milosevic agreed to a force, but a U.N. one.
“Ethnic cleansing” means mass extermination, as I understand it. Such acts have not been substantiated in Kosovo, which has instead witnessed a mass expulsion that importantly took place after the commencement of U.S. bombing, and as a response to it. If “ethnic cleansing,” on the other hand, means mass expulsion, then the largest ethnic cleansing of the Balkans war took place in the Krajina region of the former Yugoslav republic when 600,000 Serbs were removed by the U.S.-trained Croatian military in 1995.
Conducted in the name of peacekeeping, this war is flagrantly illegal in several ways. It violates the U.N. Charter, the 1973 War Powers Acts of the United States, and the NATO charter.
Obviously, by this point, the Pentagon’s justifications are ridiculous. A war on behalf of the Kosovars has involved the dropping of cluster bombs on hospitals (in Nis, recently), the obliteration of Kosovar refugee convoys with cruise missiles, and the “salting of the land” with poisonous radioactive depleted uranium weapons, and other weapons that explicitly violate Article II of the Genocide Convention: “deliberately inflicting on (a national, ethnic, or racial or religious) group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
A recent fact-finding mission to Yugoslavia by the International Strategic Studies Association, accompanied by ISSA member Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., in conjunction with the Institute for Geopolitical Studies in Belgrade established some of the crucial facts repressed or denied by the White House and Pentagon. Backed up by other independent observers outside the reach of the U.S. media, they substantiated much of what has been outlined above, although they added other facts.
ù The flow of refugees caused “perhaps overwhelmingly — by the NATO bombings” is also going into Yugoslavia to escape the Kosovo Liberation Army — the contras of the present conflict, the so-called “freedom fighters” of Kosovo — a force that U.S. officials themselves were calling “terrorist” just before the bombing began.
ù Most of the human casualties of the bombing have been citizens of what remains a multicultural country, not an “ethnically pure” one. Serbians, Montenegrins, Albanians, Romanis, Hungarians and others make up the Yugoslavia that is being bombed by NATO into long-term unemployment and impoverishment.
ù There is no evidence that the Yugoslav war-fighting capability has been broken.
ù It is likely more NATO forces have been killed in the fighting than is being officially admitted.
ù “Virtually all the substantive demands for Kosovo’s future autonomy within Yugoslavia (can) be met, and met quickly, provided negotiations could resume.”
Why is this war happening? The official rationale cannot tell us. Let’s look at the probabilities. Certainly there is the matter of making the new unified European market safe for investment. Second, the United States wishes to show China and Russia that the Cold War is not over. Third, and more subtly, the Balkans are a strategic crossroads between Western Europe and the oil-rich Middle East and Caspian basin. In the last five years, the United States has set up military bases in three of the former Yugoslav republics, with Yugoslavia itself being the only holdout.
Finally, there is the matter of money, immediate money, all on the line in Yugoslavia in the form of weapons sales abroad, replacing the depleted materials of the conflict, future military increases at the expense of the Social Security surplus, even in the form of cleaning up the demolished country and providing for its many exiles once the war is over. All motives point to the Balkans war as “proof” of military need and of military expertise for sale.
We must act for an immediate end to the bombing, and a negotiated settlement under U.N. arbitration. We must say no to ground troops. Come air your views at “How to Deal with the Kosovo Crisis,” a campus forum on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. in Anderson Hall 370.

Timothy Brennan is a professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.