in flames. MSNBC's Ron Allen files a vivid and heartfelt report from the
stricken city that sends shivers down the spine, and brings tears to my
eyes. He reports five or six huge explosions that rock the city, and in
his voice is a sense that the war has reached a new level. A major European
city is being bombed for the first time since the end of World War II
-- this is the real moral catastrophe of this war.
Maceda, MSNBC reporter in Belgrade, reports that the target, the administrative
headquarters of the Serbian police, is three hundred yards from a major
hospital. The fire is spreading from building to building, and endangering
the several hundred patients in the hospital on life support. Maceda tells
us of a doctor at that hospital who has told him "If and when the
bombs fall on the police headquarters across the street, I cannot leave
my patients." The doctor's patients, some of them victims of previous
bombing raids -- including a seventeen-year-old boy fighting for his life
-- are all on life-support, and cannot be left alone. Maceda tells us
that the doctor has vowed to stay with his patients, and the admiration
in his voice is palpable.
THE DARK ANGEL
Belgraders were caught off-guard. None of them really believed that Clinton
would do it. This is Belgrade, after all, not the Sudan. They had listened
to the Serbian government propaganda equating Clinton with Hitler, referring
to the "NATO Nazis," but this is rhetoric: now it is reality.
They were out on the streets, tonight, inured by this time to the wailing
of air-raid sirens, sitting in cafes, visiting the nearby hospital, walking
in the boulevards adjacent to the Ministry of the Interior. They were
shocked when seven Cruise missiles lashed out from the deck of an American
warship today, and pieced the heart of old Belgrade: the first shots,
perhaps, of a much wider and more prolonged war than any "experts"
of the moment are now predicting. The roar of the rockets as they thunder
overhead herald the arrival of a new and darker era. Welcome to the new
world, trumpets the dark angel, ushering in a new millennium of wars and
"humanitarian" conquest. Welcome, and prepare to suffer, --
JUST A PHASE?
we are told, is "phase three" of Operation Allied Force, the
latest stop on the "timeline" we have been hearing so much about.
The talk shows are filled with "experts" and a very small group
of selected "analysts" and politicians who all agree on one
thing: the absolute moral necessity of conquering Yugoslavia, an "option"
seriously proposed by General Odom: he wants to "take Belgrade."
while in the same breath admitting that American troops would be stationed
in Yugoslavia "for the next fifty years"! As to whether this
will entitle the people of Yugoslavia to two Senators, and at least a
couple of seats in the House, is an issue the General did not pursue.
I can see the new Serbian license plates now: "Serbia -- the Cantankerous
MISSING IN ACTION
army of occupation would be "phase 5" in the interventionist
"timeline" -- phase 4 being the bloody and interminable war
that would have to precede it. Odom's is a textbook case of the frightening
megalomania that has infected the foreign policy elites in this country
since the end of the Cold War era. While a world-saving fervor comes naturally
to liberals, especially now that Communism is no longer the villain, on
the Right there is a small but extremely influential clique of Republican
internationalists who have dominated the national debate so far, like
Senator John McCain (who in abandoning his presidential bid has practically
taken over the airwaves, appearing on literally every television talk
show to preach his gospel of escalation). On PBS and Crossfire
we find that suddenly David Tell, editorial writer for the Weekly Standard,
conservative flagship of the War Party, is "sitting in." Bob
Novak puts in a few appearances, and Ollie North is very good, a real
soldier in the army of peace, but these are the only cracks in an otherwise
solid wall of warmongering journalists who have become little more than
mouthpieces for NATO and the KLA. While plenty of Republicans in Congress
voted against intervention, they are mostly missing in action when it
comes to speaking out at a crucial moment. For once, we have a case of
politicians who are actually avoiding the cameras -- surely a strange
portent, an ominous sign that things will never be the same again.
ON EASTER SUNDAY?
Pope's appeal, seconded by that of the U.S. Roman Catholic and Orthodox
clergy, that Clinton stop the bombing during Easter Week, was rejected
out of hand by the President and his national security advisors, supposedly
out of military necessity, but also, no doubt, because of their firm belief
in the separation of Church and State.
COMMIES MAKE A COMEBACK
you though Communism was dead, and that Communist parties all over the
world had folded up their tents and slipped quietly into the night? Not
so fast. There is one group, once described by Robert Gelbart, the U.S.
envoy to the Balkans, as "a terrorist group," that is going
on the offensive, and successfully carrying out a war of "liberation"
according to its Maoist precepts. The Kosovo Liberation Army (in Albanian,
Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves, or UCK) was founded in 1997 by "militants
who were fascinated by the unadulterated Marxism of [late Albanian dictator]
Enver Hoxha," reported the French newspaper Liberation (21
January 1999); the paper went on to describe the group as "opaque
in its structures [and] totalitarian in its methods." KLA leaders
such as Adem Demaci, we learn, "have remained largely true to the
Maoist origins of its founders." The UCK is the successor to a movement
that began in the sixties, the People's Movement for a Kosovo Republic.
This was a merger of four separate underground groups, including the Marxist-Leninist
Organization of Kosovo (OMLK), the Communist Marxist-Leninist Party of
the Albanians (PKMLSHJ), and the Red Popular Front (FKB). This alphabet
soup of Marxoid grouplets was unified, in Germany, on February 17, 1982,
into what is today the KLA -- "freedom fighters," Clinton-style.
with Islamic terrorists from Osama bin Laden to Iran's intelligence agency,
and radical Muslim groups in the United States, the KLA is employing its
totalitarian methods in the current crisis. While Christiane Amanpour
is lionizing the KLA as heroes and "reporting" that the absence
of men from the ranks of fleeing Kosovar refugees means that the Serbs
are killing them, it is the KLA that is rounding up all the able-bodied
Albanian men and boys and forcing them to join the rebel army of conscripts.
Far from being killed by the Serbs, they will soon be killing Serbs themselves
-- armed and trained courtesy of your tax dollars.
will be no Wartime Diary tomorrow, Easter Sunday. It will return Monday.
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 also the author of An Enemy of the State:
The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).