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At the end of 1995, when the editors registered the domain name Antiwar.com, we did it with the certainty that we would soon put it to good use. Fortunately, we were not disappointed.
Our first project was to document the extensive U.S. intervention in Bosnia's civil war, because we were convinced that this would be the launching pad for a wider and more extensive military campaign. There was a flurry of interest in the site at first, but the project soon slipped into near-inactivity. As the situation on the ground in Bosnia stabilized, at least temporarily, Republican opposition to the most significant political and military intervention since the Vietnam War quieted down or was neutralized by the GOP leadership.
The focus of the site then shifted to Iraq when President Clinton continued
the aggression begun by his predecessor, and interest in the site skyrocketed. But the daily bombing of Iraq was soon relegated to the back pages of the nation's newspapers; absent U.S. casualties, or the introduction of ground forces, the plight of the Iraqi people – who were not only bombed by "Allied" planes but were still being cruelly starved by draconian sanctions – was soon forgotten. As public interest in the issue dropped, so did the number of hits on this site. This state of affairs did not last very long, however, nor did we expect it to: President Clinton launched more military expeditions to far-flung corners of the globe than any single chief executive in modern history: Bosnia, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, and the Sudan – and these are just the overt interventions. Since the foreign policy decisions that affect us all are largely conducted in secret – by unelected officials, corporate executives, foreign lobbyists, and our unelected elites – the real extent of our interventions around the world is unknown. What we do know, however, is more than enough to justify our fear that the promise of peace held out at the end of the Cold War has been betrayed and tragically reversed. "Operation Allied Force" in the Balkans took most of the nation, including the chattering classes, completely by surprise.
The last time anybody heard about the American presence in the Balkans, everything was supposedly going along swimmingly, and the military occupation of Bosnia was held up as a model for future interventions in the textbook of American globalism. "It's the economy, stupid" became the battle cry of a whole generation of political consultants. Foreign policy was consigned to the back burners of American politics, a side issue that was only trotted out to make a candidate look properly "presidential," or congressional, and in any case was inevitably turned over to the alleged "experts."
As American bombers and Cruise missiles descended on Serbian schools, hospitals, monasteries, homes, and other civilian sites, and the War Party agitated ceaselessly for the introduction of ground troops, it became the moral duty of every citizen of the United States to become an "expert" on the Balkan crisis. Since the United States has taken on the burdens of Empire while still retaining (for the moment) the forms of our old Republic, what Americans think about the actions of their government abroad has become literally a matter of life and death for the peoples of the world.
The battle in the sky over Yugoslavia had its equivalent here in the battle for American public opinion. We played a key role in that fight. As the quick victory envisioned by the NATO-crats continued to elude them, the tide of public opinion began to turn. Our goal was not only to inform but also to mobilize informed citizens in concerted action to stop the war. The war at home was an information war: an attempt by the government to both limit and shape the information that Americans had. It was, above all, a propaganda war, one in which the American government and its allies in the media were bombing and strafing their own people with hi-tech lies.
Major Media and Antiwar.com