by Justin Raimondo
NATO-CRATS IN COLLISION?
The British media is all abuzz over a 90-minute phone call between Tony Blair and the Rapist-in-Chief, with the latter telling the former to "get control" of some of the Blairites who are going to the media with the details of an alleged Anglo-American dispute over ground troops in Kosovo. The London Guardian characterized the call as "unusually difficult," but don't be fooled. This is one of those rare occasions when the NATO-crats aren't lying: they are no doubt quite right to say that 10 Downing Street and the White House are in perfect accord. The only difference is stylistic: Blair is open about what he wants troops (mostly Americans) on the ground while Clinton is not yet revealing his hand.
CZECH IT OUT
There is real disarray in the NATO alliance, however, not between the top tier members U.S., Britain, and France but in the second and third tiers. Italy is calling for a bombing pause. Germany has completely ruled out ground troops as "unthinkable." And no sooner had the Czechs been formally inducted into NATO than Prague announced it would under no circumstances send troops to fight in Kosovo. Hungary, too, chimed in with a similar statement. The interventionists claim that if we don't take Kosovo then NATO is doomed but from the looks of things, it looks quite dead already. And may it rest in peace eternally.
THE McCAIN FACTOR
The complete phoniness of this alleged Blair-Clinton dust-up is obvious when we look at the substance of the rumor. According to the Guardian, which cites anonymous sources, the reason for Clinton's extreme displeasure was that Blair's relentless warmongering had come to resemble the warmongering of Senator John McCain, a GOP presidential candidate whose bellicosity exceeds even the British Prime Minister's. This story cleverly manages to give Clinton cover and boost the War Party's favorite Republican presidential candidate. But McCain's position is far more popular with Brits than it is with American voters, especially Republican primary voters: the more he speaks out on this issue, the more GOP support he loses. At this rate, if he keeps it up, he is almost certain not to make it past the Iowa caucuses.
The antiwar movement has not been much in evidence, these days, but that hasn't stopped growing numbers of the American people from turning against this war. The headline on the Pew Research Center's report on the latest poll numbers read "Americans Disengaging From Kosovo" is typical of their condescending style: if ordinary people oppose the elite's pet projects, then they must be "disengaged" (i.e. not fully focused) on the problem. But the numbers tell a different story: the American people are "engaged" enough to be turning against this war in record numbers and in record time. While 53 percent support U.S. participation in Operation Allied Force, this is down from 62 percent in mid-April. But perhaps the following numbers are more indicative of the public mood and their real view on the war: the Pew poll shows that 46 percent disapprove of the Clntonian foreign policy, while 43 percent approve: this is the first time since June of 1995 that a majority have turned thumbs down on the President's foreign policy stance. Since this policy consists of a hebephrenic interventionism Clinton has sent in the Marines more often than any President in history these numbers translate into a repudiation of globalism and a longing for peace.
JOHN McCAIN, PLEASE NOTE
These numbers reflect the stubborn independence of the American people, their unwillingness to be talked down to, and their distrust of the elites: after two months of uninterrupted propaganda, and a veritable avalanche of atrocity stories, 49 percent oppose sending troops to Kosovo, with 44 percent supporting a ground war. In previous surveys, adding the words "to end the conflict in Kosovo" to the question about sending in ground troops yielded higher percentages in favor, but not this time. No matter how the pollsters phrased it, the answer to ground troops was a resounding no (John McCain and George W. Bush, Jr. please note.) Increasingly concerned about civilian casualties, a whole sector of people who once supported the "just war" theory on humanitarian grounds are now turning away in revulsion from the sight of NATO warplanes bombing hospitals, restaurants, passenger trains, and homes. The remaining "support" for this war amounts to nothing more than passive acceptance. We don't see any public outpouring of active support for this war thank God, we are at least to be spared something and the passion is all in the opposition. Unlike last time around, when Vietnam war era protests ran the risk of being ambushed by "hard hat" construction workers, this time the hard hats are likely to be in the front of the parade. If we can't stop this war, then the antiwar movement had better pack up its bags and call the whole thing off.
The amount of aid that is pouring into the refugee camps is unprecedented, as yesterday's Spotlight piece points out: "There are now reports about Kosovars preferring German tents to American and British tents, because the German ones have floor boards and electricity. American food especially bread isn't popular. Tasteless. These refugees are kind of choosy." Once they get to America the preferred destination, besides Germany they will fit into the welfare state culture of dependence quite well, another captive Democratic party constituency signed up right off the boat. Leftists who are wondering how we make the connection between the Warfare State and the Welfare State, we commend this to your attention.
Most Absurd Newspaper Headline of All Time: A story in the San Francisco Chronicle about the bombing of a Belgrade hospital bore the headline: "Babies Unharmed By Errant NATO Bomb." We don't find out until the third paragraph that "not so lucky were the four people who died in this latest fatal strike at a civilian target," three intensive care patients and the night watchman." Oh, I see, this is this California feel-good gone berserk: it isn't how many people are killed when the bombs rain down on Yugoslavia why, just think of all those people (including babies!) who aren't killed. Like, far out, man!
THE DISAPPEARING WAR
The Chronicle is a long-running joke that may not be long for this world: rumors that it is slated to merge with the rival San Francisco Examiner, are once again making the rounds. This is a newspaper that has managed to keep the war off the front page for four days running but it isn't just the Chronicle. Television coverage is being scaled way back, and we don't hear much from Brent Sadler reporting from Belgrade these days. To get any realistic idea of what is going on, it is necessary to read the British press the Independent is consistently good, not ideologically (necessarily) but in terms of providing information and to scour the Internet for alternative sources of information, mostly overseas. Thank God for the Internet, which gives us the tools to keep abreast of the truth or at least make the attempt: without it, we would still be largely dependent on the U.S. government and its media adjuncts such as CNN for news of the Balkan war.
OR I'LL KNOW THE REASON WHY
I realize that I missed this morning's deadline, but the real question is: do you? Well, I did get one letter, from Alex S., one of my Serbian readers, who wanted to know what "what happened to the one for May 21 (Friday)? Please post it or tell me why you can't post it." What my fan club lacks in numbers, it more than makes up for in militancy.
JUNE 5 DEMO: I'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH WORKERS WORLD
The International Action Center (IAC) has called for a march on the Pentagon on June 5th, and most of the antiwar movement is at least passively supporting the action, but I'll tell you I've had it up to here with Workers World Party, the bizarre leftist cult that runs the IAC. How can these people ignore the fact that a Republican-controlled congressional committee recently denied funding to the war? In San Francisco, and across the nation, they have split the antiwar movement with their sectarian insistence on all-leftist demonstrations, and their fierce attacks on other organizations mobilizing against the war even when they are given a podium as a courtesy. They are rapidly isolating and marginalizing the mainly Serbian-American organizations that are attracted to their rallies, with their refusal to unite in a broad-based coalition with mainstream forces. The Serbian-American community is beleaguered and naturally desperate for allies, any allies, but in turning to a group that denounced the downing of the Berlin Wall and celebrated the massacre at Tiannamen Square, the IAC/Workers World group is an albatross hung round the neck of the antiwar movement. I say: all out for June 5, but bring your own signs the WWP slogan, threadbare from constant use, is "Money for jobs, not for war," as if the issue of the war is a question of money and march in your own independent contingent. And after June 5th, I appeal to all the Serbians who have been following the IAC uncritically: please reconsider your organizational loyalties. You will never stop this war or win the propaganda battle on the home front saddled with such an eccentric band of losers, misfits, and fringies. They are using you to further their own nutty political agenda, and what are you getting in return: ignored by the media, or dismissed as "Serbian protests," the small actions organized by the IAC do nothing to help your cause I would argue that they actively hurt it. By all means, attend the June 5th action but after that, all thinking antiwar activists, not just Serbians but rational leftists, pacifists, and others, should boycott the IAC/Worker World outfit. Ramsey Clark is all they have to offer and he is getting just a bit frayed around the edges by now, don't you think?
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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 is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and 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).