Allied Farce:
A Wartime Diary
A New Feature of



by Justin Raimondo


DAY 5 (8:00 AM)

KRON-TV, the television station owned by the San Francisco Chronicle, covered yesterday's march and rally against the war in San Francisco in a most peculiar way. As the lead marchers are shown on camera, a voice-over informs us that this is a "Serbian protest." I am on the phone to the newsroom in minutes.

"Excuse me," I explain to the reporter who answers the phone, "but I attended the rally you just reported, and I can tell you that the march consisted of about 1,000 leftists, a good number of Serbians, and the usual proportion of homeless bums who have taken over Market Street."

She replied that all the complaining phone calls have so far been from Serbian-Americans, who (unfairly) see bias in KRON's simple reporting of the facts. Pressing her on the question of whether the rally was "Serbian," I pointed out that there were plenty of Americans there, including myself, and went on to insist that by no stretch of the imagination was this a "Serbian" rally. Her answer was that by "Serbian" she meant that it was a rally about what is going on in Serbia. I could hardly believe what I was hearing, and said so, laughing out loud. Having humiliated her sufficiently to feel avenged, at least in part, for having been subjected to such a barrage of lies, I bid her good morning and good-bye.


The role of the media as the trumpet of this war is vividly dramatized in little moments of self-consciousness, such as when MSNBC's intrepid reporter, Patti Anne Brown, went out to New York City's Times Square to feel the pulse of the nation. The three people she chose were a multiculturalists' dream: an Asian woman, a French tourist, and an African-American male. When asked her opinion on the subject of the war and the prospect of U.S. troops on the ground, the Chinese woman said that people in other countries should settle their own problems. The French tourist said that he couldn't understand why Americans were intent on solving all the world's problems according to their own formula. The African-American said the whole operation seems ill-thought out. None supported the bombing or the Clinton administration's policy. "But what about the ethnic cleansing," insisted Patti-Anne, what about the "humanitarian disaster"? The African-American said that he thought diplomacy had not been exhausted. "But we've tried negotiating and that didn't work," insisted Patti-Ann, clearly impatient that she wasn't getting the kind of response she had been looking for. "Well, that's just my opinion," the man said, looking somewhat puzzled. Oblivious to the implications of what she was doing, Patti-Ann turned mournfully to the camera: "We've been getting a lot of people in support of military action, too," she assures us.


For months, no news story on the Serbian-Albanian civil war in Kosovo has failed to inform its readers by the third sentence that the latter make up "90 percent of Kosovo's population." Now, as the atrocity stories reach a crescendo and the War Party seeks a pretext -- any pretext -- to call in the ground troops, we are told by government officials and their media handmaidens that the Serbs are engaged in a policy of "ethnic cleansing," that is, a policy of systematically driving the Albanians out of Kosovo. Aside from the dubious sources of this information -- the KLA and its Western sympathizers -- the assertion is flat-out absurd on its face. It would have to mean that Milosevic is intent on almost completely depopulating Kosovo province, a Serbian version of Pol Pot. While the demonization of Old Slobo has proceeded apace, does anybody seriously believe this?.


Bianca Jagger, looking malevolent and purplish, today made her debut as a stateswoman: "It is important that we support the military actions that are being taken by NATO," she piously avers to MSNBC's John Gibson. She composes the tired muscles of her face -- stretched taut by who knows how many plastic surgeons--into an approximation of passion: "We need to send ground troops. I have spoken to people inside Kosovo who are begging for ground troops." Although the screen identified her as representing something called the "International Coalition for Justice," I look at her exhausted-looking vice-ravaged face, sallow in the merciless glare of the camera, and wonder what sort of a "coalition" she represents: a grand alliance of rock stars, drug dealers, and fashion designers? That this air-headed symbol of jet-setting decadence is being hauled out to cheerlead the bombing of Belgrade is the kind of grotesque detail that makes "Allied Force" into "Allied Farce." Bianca, in her role as the war goddess leading her troops into battle from the comfort of her New York townhouse, may be the best thing that ever happened to the antiwar opposition. A few more such exhortations, and the troops may just mutiny.


The tiny mountainous republic of Montenegro, with its Serbian orthodox churches and ancient monasteries, green valleys and majestic mountains, would be a tourists' paradise if not for the war. It has relatively good weather, some great beaches, and autonomy within the Yugoslav Federation, of which it is the only remaining constituent republic aside from Serbia. The present government is friendly to the West, and has distanced itself considerably from Milosevic, openly declaring Montenegro to be officially neutral now that hostilities have commenced. Yet the United States has bombed several sites in Montenegro, including churches, much to the bewilderment of the Montenegrin government. Attacking a "neutral" state is apparently now a NATO prerogative, along with intervening in the internal affairs of any and all states within its reach.


No day is without its theme, in this war: yesterday's was "The Rescue," which concentrated on the "good" news that the downed pilot was safe: we were all supposed to forget about the $45 million Stealth plane left in pieces on the ground. Assuming everyone has by now forgotten about yesterday's disaster, today's theme is "Humanitarian Disaster." While bombs kill scores of Yugoslav civilians, and even rain down on poor little Montenegro, the unverified and unverifiable accounts of KLA partisans are accepted by the U.S. government as gospel and touted as fact by the media. We are now supposed to be moving into "Phase II" of this operation, having allegedly "degraded" Yugoslav air defense systems, in spite of the downing of the Stealth. Yet the exact nature of this new "phase" is ominously murky. Increased bombing of the Kosovo area shows Pristina in flames, with the fires spreading to civilian areas -- the very areas we are supposed to be "liberating." There is no telling what theme tomorrow will bring, but what about something like "Chariots of Fire?" Coming soon: "Apocalypse Now."


MSNBC's John Gibson hosts one Gary Kokalari, a balding heavy-faced man with small beady eyes, who represents the Albanian-American Council. What is your solution, Gary, asks Gibson, what would you do? "Level Belgrade to the ground," he replied. " I would tell Milosevic that he either signs the peace accord or else he won't recognize Belgrade as a city anymore." Yes, we are suffering from a humanitarian disaster today -- for it is truly disastrous when such human monsters as Kokalari are considered "humanitarians."


Patti-Ann Brown is back at the end of a long afternoon, reporting from Times Square. She has somehow managed to find an authentic Kosovar: Hyr Qosas, a thin young woman with stringy hair and a petulant manner, who insists that Kosovo is historically Albanian and delivers the requisite lecture on the need for ground troops. Host John Gibson playfully interjects: "I see you've found one, Patti-Ann." The blush that spread across Patti-Ann's face was visible even under the make-up--the only evidence I have seen that the media is not entirely shameless.

~ Justin Raimondo