by Justin Raimondo
A PRESIDENTIAL PREMONITION
The very first sentence of the President's op ed piece in yesterday's New York Times ["A Just and Necessary War," 5/23/99] starts out with a huge error, and goes downhill from there. "We are in Kosovo with our allies . . ." But we are not in Kosovo, at least not yet. Is this another geographical error, like when he situated Kosovo "in the heart of Europe"? (It is well to the southeast.) Or is it a prediction, a warning, a presidential premonition that the much-vaunted ground war, long anticipated by our laptop bombardiers, is about to begin?
DOWN THE MEMORY HOLE
Everyone but the American people understands that we shall soon be in Kosovo, literally, as the recent announcement that NATO will begin deploying 50,000 troops on the border of that beleaguered province makes all too horrifically clear. As part of their continuing assault on the English language, the NATO-crats call their invasion force "peacekeepers," and their kept media dutifully echoes this linguistic perversity without the requisite quotation marks. But those quote marks are the insignia of another more skeptical age, when journalists actually saw themselves as the guardians of truth. Today they are the handmaidens and not the critics of power, and so the quote marks have gone the way of typewriter ribbons and all the old journalistic conventions "down the memory hole,' as George Orwell put it.
WE INTERRUPT THIS COLUMN
Aside to the antiwar movement: Doesn't this really suggest that as the guardians of an older, more rigorous tradition, not only linguistically but morally, the antiwar movement is essentially reactionary? The NATO-crats are the wave of the future, a scientific (or, more accurately, science fictional) vision of Wellsian grandeur that conjures up the imagery of Things to Come. Who can forget the 1936 Pop Front classic film, directed by Alexander Korda, with Raymond Massey as John Cabal, the technocrat who leads a wartorn world into the stainless steel future? As the leader of Wings Over the World, a self-appointed elite of scientists whose goal is to stamp out all nations and impose their rule on the world, he and his legions of white-garbed "peacemakers" make short work of the medieval remnants of nationalism in Europe. They come flying in on an enormous airplane whose wings span the sky and dwarf all mankind, dropping "peace gas" on the multitudes, which pass out and wake up in an antiseptic utopia. Standing over the last of the warlike tyrants, known as "The Boss," who lies prostrate at his booted feet, Cabal declares: "Poor old Boss. He and his flags and his follies. And now for the rule of the Airmen and a new life for mankind!" Jamie Shea couldn't have said it better.
THE RULE OF THE AIRMEN
"The Boss" is a caricature, of course this accounts for the uncanny resemblance to Slobodan Milosevic but the Airmen, now there is the voice of NATO, of Tony Blair as John Cabal. This is the voice of a long internationalist tradition extending back through Wells all the way to the so-called "Enlightenment," when it was suddenly 'discovered' that nations were irrelevant and old-fashioned impediments to the liberty of the individual. In opposing NATO's war on Yugoslavia we are opposing John Cabal's war against "The Boss." We stand against the rule of the Airmen, an inherently reactionary stance in that it denies the universalist claims of the "humanitarian" internationalists; it fights against the globalization of the State and defends 'anachronistic' institutions such as national sovereignty against the all-embracing blandness of the World State and its mono-culture. While we might agree with Cabal about "poor old Boss" and his follies, we cannot share his disdain for flags. When the NATO-crats sniff and smirk at the "outmoded" idea of national sovereignty, American conservatives "lock and load," as Pat Buchanan likes to put it. In Wells' novel, the Airmen go on to create an antiseptic utopia where everyone wears white tunics and whooshes around on moving sidewalks: in real life, however, where "the Gas of Peace" has yet to be invented, and the reactionary enemies of the World State show every sign of putting up a fierce resistance, the bloody interval between the Wellsian utopia and the gritty present is becoming all too real. Wells left that part out of his science fictional allegory, but it cannot be left out of our own little narrative no matter how much the news media plays it down. As the Clinton administration embarks on a sustained campaign to soften up the American people for the coming ground war, the "reactionary" antiwar movement is bound to grow by leaps and bounds. Will we hear shortly from the Christian Coalition, as the Clintonians support Islamic fundamentalists against a Christian nation? Will we hear from the anti-abortion movement, so committed to "life" for the unborn will they now come to the defense of our young men and women who are about to be ground up in the Balkan meatgrinder? Will the Reverend James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson speak out against this unholy crusade to impose the will of a secular World State on an independent and God-fearing people? Why are they silent, on Day 61 of the Balkan War. (Or is it Day 62 the days fly by in "the fog of war" and melt into one another as in a dream.) What are they afraid of? What can they be waiting for? The rank-and-file of these movements are instinctually opposed to this war, but they need leadership. Naturally, the leftist-led antiwar movement it is so small that to call it a movement, at this point, is a courtesy is not about to take on that task. They would rather mobilize themselves than mobilize millions.
A HISTORY LESSON
"We are in Kosovo," wrote Clinton, "with our allies to stand for a Europe within our reach for the first time that is peaceful, undivided, and free." But Europe was peaceful and relatively free before the tragedy of World War I a tragedy sparked by Balkan intrigues and the doctrine of collective security now embodied in NATO if not precisely undivided. Yet it was united in a much more important way and binding way, in the absence of a European Parliament and the EU, than it has been ever since: for this was before the rise of Bolshevism and the Iron Curtain, before the Great War that smashed European civilization to smithereens and set up the continent for an even bigger and more lethal explosion. But of course the last analogy he wants to make is the most obvious.
SO MANY LIES, SO LITTLE TIME
The President is a champion liar, who can utter with a straight face the most mendacious whoppers imaginable without even skipping a beat. It is a talent that comes in for some use in his justification for this war; "The problem," we are told, "is not simply ethnic hatred, or even ethnic conflict." Oh? While the Balkans may have been a little rough there for a while, says Clinton, "the people of the former Yugoslavia have lived together for centuries with greater and lesser degrees of conflict" Duh! "but not the constant 'cleansing' of peoples from their land." It depends on how you define "constant." Every decade, every five years, weekly, monthly, daily whatever "constant" may mean, this whole line of argument misses the point entirely. For the key element in all this is how recent has the ethnic cleansing been does it fall within the memory of persons now living? The answer, in the case of the Balkans, and specifically Kosovo, is an emphatic yes. Our policy wonk President, so enamored of history, shows absolutely no knowledge (let alone understanding) of Balkan history, or else he would not be now trying to convince us that all the evil in the region is caused by Slobodan Milosevic, the Devil of the Hour.
ANOTHER HISTORY LESSON
In reality, as opposed to the President's fanciful version of Balkan history, the territory of Kosovo has been the scene of brutal Albanian ethnic cleansing that operated under the guise of Titoist-Communist social engineering. The population of Kosovo was not so heavily Albanian before World War II: after the Nazi rampage and the war of extermination waged against the Serbian people, the Titoite Yugoslav League of Communists took power and installed the Albanians as an officially-recognized "oppressed" minority group. Over 100,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed from the province of Kosovo during World War II; and under the Communist regime, some 150,000 to 200,000 were pushed out of their homes. The Communist social engineering project sowed the seeds of separatism, and it was all financed by the International Monetary Fund loans to the Yugoslav government, with almost 25 percent going to Kosovo in the 70s. Land was bought up at confiscatory prices by the government, and sold at a discount by the local Albanian "autonomous" authorities to their Albanian friends and relatives. Clinton blames "a decade-long campaign by Slobodan Milosevic to build a Greater Serbia" and a racist campaign of "singling out whole people for destruction because of their ethnicity or faith." But in the history of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, a decade is but the blink of an eye. The very people who are being ethnically cleansed out of Kosovo were themselves the beneficiaries of a previous cleansing. How can there be such a thing as a just war in this land where one cannot tell the cleansers from the cleansed?
CALLING ALL STUDENTS!
More comment on the President's New York Times article in my next column: obviously its errors cannot be catalogued, let alone answered, in a single sitting. However, I just want to mention, before I go, that the Left-Right Anti-War Conference being held June 12 in San Mateo, is now offering Student Discounts. For $25 you not only get to hear such intellectually exciting speakers as Norman Solomon, Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Rep. Ron Paul, and yours truly, you also get lunch and the chance to help build an antiwar movement that is going to shake this corrupt and arrogant regime to its very foundations. Please note: You must have a valid student I.D. Click here for more information.
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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).