by Justin Raimondo
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
What do the NATO-crats take us for? Do they really think that Americans are going to swallow their lies whole, without question or complaint? They have told big lies that the NATO bombs falling on Kosovo had nothing to do with the massive exodus of refugees and small (e.g. that Serb TV film of Kosovar president Ibrahim Rugova meeting with Milosevic was old footage). But the crudest and most transparently obvious lie to date has got to be the assertion by Maj, General David Grange that the three captured American soldiers were "very poorly treated " and regularly beaten by the Serbs in direct contradiction to the testimony of the men. The next day, the Serbs released what Reuters described as a "thank you note" that Christopher Stone, one of the three freed soldiers, handed his captors after his release. "I have a lot of sympathy for the Serb people after this," wrote Staff Sergeant Stone. "I will continue to pray to God for peace and an end of this war." This is the first and only time I have ever heard of a POW writing a thank you note to his captors some "mistreatment"! But the most politically incorrect part of the note is the following: "Thank you most of all for the cigarettes you gave me. God help you. Thank you very much, you are very kind." This last is sure to enrage the liberals consumption of tobacco being second only to nationalism in their long list of crimes against humanity.
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH, TONY
With half the testosterone of Maggie Thatcher and none of Churchill's rhetorical power, Tony Blair is nonetheless charged with the task of making a war of conquest seem like an act of selfless idealism. But his phrases, meant to be ringing, fall strangely flat; the righteousness that permeates his every public pronouncement on the war, meant to be thundering, comes out merely sounding shrill and hectoring: instead of inspiring a nation to embark on a holy crusade he sounds like a fishwife nagging her husband to take out the garbage. His 45-minute stop at a Macedonian refugee camp, where he practiced his oratorical skills on a captive and largely uncomprehending audience, was followed by a speech to the Romanian parliament, in which he promised them NATO membership as a reward for their help in gang-banging the Serbians. But most of his remarks were directed not to his hosts, but to the Serbs, who were lectured about the true meaning of "democracy" in the sort of condescending tone that only an Englishman could fail to consider insufferably pompous. Comparing Serbia to Nazi Germany in a nation that sided with the Nazis during World War II! this fatuous fool declared that a defeated Serbia, like the fallen Third Reich, would eventually be allowed to rejoin the family of nations: "But that prospect will only be a reality when corrupt dictatorship is cast out and real democracy returns to the former Republic of Yugoslavia. That is what we want for the Serb people a return to democracy in the former Yugoslavia will unlock a better future for the whole region. A democratic Serbia has a future in Europe, too." This is what they want for Serbia but what about Great Britain, which has just enacted Draconian election laws in an effort to crack down on politically incorrect parties. Supposedly in response to a series of bombings carried out by a violent underground of racist devils, the British government announced on the same day as Blair's speech that it was setting a new threshold of five percent for parties to receive representation in local government. Nick Raynsford, Blair's minister for London, opined that the new law was designed as "a bulwark intended to deny a platform to those who, amongst other things, peddle race hatred, spread fear among our citizens and seek to undermine our democratic system." In an age when the extraordinary touchiness of state-privileged ethnic minorities deems the mere existence of whites to be a "racist" act, the implications of this new election law are ominous This is the same totalitarian theory that categorizes Serb TV as not a journalistic enterprise, but "hate speech" a criminal act of aggression and not the expression of an idea. Is anyone really surprised that the same people who are reveling in the bombing of Serbian television stations are simultaneously narrowing the parameters of permissible dissent at home? In a better, more skeptical world, the next time Tony Blair starts to blither on about how NATO is going to teach the defeated Serbs all about democracy, some reporter would stand up and ask: "But who is going to teach you?"
THE EVIDENCE IS IN
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, the Green Party politician who NATO officials feared would prove less than stalwart in his support of the alliance, have found to their delight that they had nothing to fear: He has taken the lead, a kind of German Tony Blair, denouncing the Serbs as having engaged in engineering a "humanitarian disaster" well before the NATO attack. The result is that Fischer has been widely praised in Establishment circles for "growing in office" and embodying the final maturation of the Green Party as worthy of being admitted to the ruling elite. Yet internal documents smuggled out of Germany's Foreign Office (reportedly by dissident Green Party officials) make precisely the opposite contention: that there was no evidence of ethnic cleansing or mistreatment of Kosovar Albanians by the Serbian regime as late as January of this year. As thousands of Kosovars were and applying for entry into Germany, seeking political asylum, the German Foreign Office hotly denied the charges it was trumpeting a few months later: "Even in Kosovo," wrote the author of an intelligence report from the Foreign Office to the administrative court of Trier, "an explicit political persecution linked to Albanian ethnicity is not verifiable." Furthermore, says the report, dated January 12, 1999, "the actions of the security forces [were] not directed against the Albanians of Kosovo as an ethnically defined group, but against the military opponent and its actual or alleged supporters." A series of legal opinions stretching back years documents the findings of the German Foreign Office, which repeat almost word-for-word precisely what is now dismissed as Serbian "propaganda": as the judge of the Bavarian Administrative Court put it, the evidence did "not allow the conclusion that there is group persecution of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo." The violence in the province was initiated by the KLA rebels, and the violence of the Yugoslav police units was directed at the perpetrators of terrorist acts, "and are no proof of a persecution of the whole Albanian ethnic group in Kosovo or in a part of it" and "a state program or persecution aimed at the whole ethnic group of Albanians exists neither now nor earlier." The architects of this war, unlike any other, care not one whit if their propaganda is convincing: they are so impressed by their own alleged invincibility that they are already planning to rebuild the country they are now destroying, and have doubtless reworked the city maps to name a street in Belgrade after Madeleine Albright. But Tony Blair and his confreres should not take their victory for granted: the Serbs have shown the world many times that they are willing to pay the price for their sovereignty let us see if America will now be willing to pay a lesser yet still painful price for the opportunity to despoil it.
The Western powers routinely vilify anyone who dares to stand up to them as "war criminals," but perhaps they will discover that this can work both ways. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has warned NATO that it will be held accountable for any war crimes committed by its forces in the former Yugoslavia. That this warning has to be issued to self-proclaimed "humanitarians" purportedly on a mission of mercy should tell us everything we need to know about this war and its enthusiasts.
THE FIRST CASUALTIES
As I put this column to bed, the news of the first American casualties comes over the wire: yet another Apache helicopter on what is described as a training mission has been downed, with two dead. The NATO-crats, in their usual bizarre denial of reality, are saying that there was no indication of hostile fire and that the crash is "under investigation." Why is it that every incidence of a downed American plane is never the result of enemy fire? How come there has to be an elaborate "investigation" before they can admit the obvious that in wartime planes are shot down, soldiers are captured, and people (many of them civilians) are horribly maimed and killed? Up until now, this war has been as antiseptic as a Nintendo game: now, the reality of war is superimposed over the propaganda and the rhetoric, and the American people will come face to face with what it will have to mean if we allow ourselves to be dragged into the Balkan maelstrom. The body-bags are starting to come home, and now the real war and the real struggle against it is about to begin.
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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).