Clinton has declared that the bombing of Serbia was justified
because this was a war "against racism." Why does
that send a chill down my spine? I'll tell you why: If he
will slaughter thousands of foreigners to stamp out "racism,"
either real or imagined, what will he do to his own subjects
including the author of this column? Since the commentary
above is, by current standards, "racist," I am waiting
for a guided missile to target my humble San Francisco abode.
But please, guys, be careful the German consulate is
right down the street.
THIS COLUMN A HATE CRIME?
is naturally a "hate crime" to report a simple fact:
when the bombs started falling, the overwhelming majority
of hate mail was from Kosovars and other Muslim immigrants,
with many Mohammeds among them. When I reported this is my
column, we received indignant letters from "concerned"
liberals who quailed at the prospect that we were "scapegoating"
and indulging in unnecessary Muslim-bashing that did nothing
to advance the antiwar cause. My answer then, and now, is
that the cause of the truth must be served above all,
and that the antiwar movement could have no interest in ignoring
an obvious fact: that immigrants invariably lobby for the
interests of the "mother country." As I point out
and document in my Into the Bosnian Quagmire, American
Muslim immigrants were in the vanguard of the War Party from
very early on. This makes perfect sense, of course: but for
some reason we are not allowed to say these things out loud,
never mind in print except here.
as the war dragged on, just as the missives from Mohammed
started to peter out, we began receiving letters of a different
sort: from antiwar people, our own supporters, who were snowed
under by the propaganda blizzard and thought we were "in
denial." With the NATO propaganda mill churning out atrocity
stories faster than anyone could refute them, even hardcore
opponents of this war were getting nervous. A great show of
sympathy for the Kosovars and implied contempt for
the Serbs was featured prominently in the rhetoric
of most antiwar commentators, and opponents of NATO's war
began to preface their protests with something like "of
course, the Serbs are guilty of horrific war crimes,
and of course Milosevic is Hitler's doppelganger, but
. . . ." Others were more skeptical of NATO's atrocity
stories, yet wrote us to say that we couldn't just "ignore"
the issue of Serb atrocities, and a few days ago I received
a good example of such a letter, which I quote in full:
MAIL FROM SOME FLOUNDER
am a user who liked your site well enough to send you a small
contribution a month ago. Here's my thought. I think Antiwar.com
would be improved by a more balanced approach. Over the last
few weeks, there has been a media firestorm (my impression)
regarding supposed Serb atrocities. Yet there is no sign
of this at Antiwar.com. I haven't been able to find anything
on your site that deals with the allegations. Of course it
may turn out the stories are ALL fabrications or propaganda.
Yet you seem to have a lower standard for reporting allegations
of KLA atrocities. You can't just ignore the allegations of
Serb atrocities. They need to be at least acknowledged
(as allegations), so that they can be dealt with, either questioned
or refuted, or put in perspective, apologized for, or whatever,
if you want to have any credibility as an objective information
readers of this site will know that we answered this question
long before it was asked, in a statement on "Our
Editorial Policy," and I quote: "We have no
policy against publishing such articles. While many of the
news items we post contain references to the NATO-Kosovar
allegations against the Serbs., it is true that we have not
published stories that assume the truth of these allegations.
The reason is because no evidence has so far been offered
to prove the truth of these assertions, except for the contradictory
testimony of Kosovar refugees and fuzzy NATO aerial photos
that prove nothing. . . . We know that NATO is raining death
on the people of Yugoslavia, a fact that can be easily verified.
The same cannot be said about the allegations of 'genocide'
being recklessly made against the Serbians." In the beginning
of the war, the reports of "genocide," "mass
graves" and "mass rapes" were usually qualified
by statements to the effect that these stories "could
not be independently verified." This caveat was usually
mentioned in the eighth or ninth paragraph, after verbatim
accounts of alleged massacres by Kosovar refugees. After a
while, however, even this pretense was dropped, and the Kosovar
"Holocaust" was reported as fact.
TRUTH WILL OUT
the time this editorial statement was posted, the NATO-crats'
rhetorical firepower almost equaled their military firepower:
Jamie Shea and NATO's shills in the English-speaking press
were claiming that the Serbians were conducting nothing less
than a reenactment of the Holocaust. When NATO troops entered
Serbia, the war crimes investigators rushed in to confirm
what Shea, General Wesley Clark, and Madeleine Albright had
asserted as fact. Journalists eagerly converged on scenes
of mayhem and destruction, so as to be first to report from
the scene of a Serbian Auschwitz. The warhawks spoke sternly
of retribution, and Clinton put a price on Milosevic's head
$5 million for information leading to the arrest and
conviction of the Serbian Hitler. But there was a slight problem
it wasn't true. And the truth, as always, is now beginning
to emerge too late to stop the war, but not too late
to teach us all a lesson.
turns out that the NATO-crats' inflated rhetoric of "genocide"
was backed up by some equally inflated numbers: according
report in USA Today, "instead of 100,000 ethnic
Albanian men feared murdered by rampaging Serbs, officials
now estimate that about 10,000 were killed." Even this
figure should be lowered, considering a number of other factors:
the NATO bombardment, the revenge killing of Albanian "collaborators"
(including supporters of Ibrahim Rugova and other rivals for
the leadership of the Kosovar independence movement), and
the fact that many of these casualties were KLA fighters fallen
in the battle for Kosovo. Above all, considering the source
of the new figures, this new number of 10,000 is undoubtedly
yet more exaggeration, albeit on a smaller scale.
also turns out that the tales of starving Albanians trapped
inside Kosovo, supposedly being kept on the move by the heartless
Serbs, was a complete fiction, the invention of NATO and CNN
(or do I repeat myself?). In May, when Clinton solemnly averred
to a skeptical audience of veterans that the Kosovars were
"trapped within Kosovo itself lacking shelter, short
of food, afraid to go home or buried in mass graves dug by
their executioners," he was lying. Those who didn't flee
went into hiding, but they came out of it alive and healthy.
The "rape camps," the "mass graves," the
homeless helpless Kosovars as the passive pawns of the Serbian
sadists is a myth that is now being exploded by the facts.
The fields were not burned and the livestock were not massacred
en masse by the Serbs, as was widely reported. "Yes,
there were atrocities," says House intelligence committee
chairman Porter Goss (R-Florida), "but no, they don't
measure up to the advance billing."
"CRISIS" IN CRISIS
much-touted "humanitarian crisis" that supposedly
justified the conquest of Kosovo by the West seems to have
been seriously downgraded to the status of a humanitarian
fraud. The avalanche of food and medical supplies that poured
into the region now sits in warehouses, rotting, or else is
being sold on the black market; at any rate, these programs
are "taking a back seat while the United Nations rushes
to assemble a police force," according to USA Today.
"The 'missing men' young Albanians who were believed
killed are home with no jobs. NATO forces are struggling
to keep them from seeking retribution." Having switched
places with Milosevic, the NATO-crats must now rule over the
unruly Albanians, and somehow keep them from murdering the
few remaining Serbs, and when they are gone, driven
out somehow keep the Kosovars from turning on each
NATO-crats' response to the revelations is to openly acknowledge
their deceit, and even to be more than a little proud of it:
after all, they accomplished their goal, the lies worked,
and who is going to argue with success? National Security
Council spokesman Mike Hammer denied that the Liar-in-chief
had any intent to deceive. "As you go through a campaign
like this," he explained, "there is a great deal
of uncertainty." Uncertainty? What uncertainty?
As the bombs were dropping on Belgrade, Mad Madeleine was
unequivocally comparing the civil war in Kosovo to the Holocaust,
while her eunuch, James "Pretty Boy" Rubin, dutifully
reported that the Serbs were herding the Kosovars into concentration
camps and systematically exterminating an entire population.
Lies, all lies, brazenly told and calculated to keep
the antiwar opposition off balance. As the mad dogs of war
bayed and howled about Serb "atrocities," the idea
was to silence their domestic critics and keep the focus away
from the death and devastation NATO's warplanes were wreaking
on the Serbian people.
never mind the details, says Hammer, because the new numbers
will do just as well, and, at any rate, "we needed to
move because of the campaign of ethnic cleansing that could
not be allowed to stand." In other words, the truth is
irrelevant if lying serves "humanitarian" ends.
In the international war against "racism," truth
is often an obstacle. "I don't think you can say killing
100,000 is 10 times more morally repugnant than killing 10,000,"
says Defense Department spinmeister Kenneth Bacon. Are the
planners of what is coming to be called the Cowards' War,
who dropped cluster bombs on hospitals and train stations
at 30,000 feet, now giving us lessons in moral calculus? How
does the man keep from retching on his own words?
the Nervous Nellies of the Left, who didn't like the war but
liked the Serbs even less, I warned from the beginning that
the atrocity stories would be debunked. On
March 30th, I wrote "As of this moment, the only
evidence for the allegations of genocide are contained in
KLA press releases and the testimony of KLA partisans and
sympathizers." You didn't have to be Nostradamus to see
that, after the war, a lot of reporters were going to be standing
around wondering how they were duped so easily. How did I
know this? The history of propaganda in wartime is replete
with so many examples of government lies including
forgeries, covert action, and blatant manipulation of the
mass media that it is impossible not to know
it. Besides, lying is what government officials are hired
to do: it is their job, and if the American people
need to be reminded of this every so often then wartime is
the perfect time to do it.
SENSE OF HISTORY
a healthy skepticism requires a sense of history. This is
one major reason why Antiwar.com will soon be initiating a
new column, "Our Anti-Imperialist Heritage," which
will offer reprints of classic texts, as well as original
essays on the history and the heroes of the noninterventionist
the next day's
column [March 31], I cited Arthur Posonby's classic book,
in Wartime (1928), which neatly describes the methods
of the NATO-crats and their predecessors: "Facts must
be distorted, relevant circumstances concealed, and a picture
presented which by its crude coloring will persuade the ignorant
people that their Government is blameless, their cause is
righteous, and that the indisputable wickedness of the enemy
is beyond question. A moment's reflection would tell any reasonable
person that such obvious bias cannot possibly represent the
truth. But the moment's reflection is not allowed; lies are
circulated with great rapidity. The unthinking mass accept
them and by their excitement sway the rest. The amount of
rubbish and humbug that pass under the name of patriotism
in wartime in all countries is sufficient to make decent people
blush when they are subsequently disillusioned."
are up for another great disillusionment except for
those of us who were never under any illusions to begin with.
One difference between Posonby's time and our own, however,
is that the public has grown much more skeptical. We have
been through this too many times to be taken in again.
AND THE ELITES
great difference is technological. In 1917, the elites of
the U.S. and England were bound and determined to get this
country into the Great War. With the mass media, led by such
esteemed journals of intellectual opinion as The New Republic,
beating the drums for war some things never change
the antiwar opposition was steamrollered, silenced,
and destroyed by a combined effort of government-sponsored
propaganda, outright State repression, and the violence of
"patriotic" vigilantes. World War II was another
holy crusade of mass deception and willful suspension of disbelief,
in which an American President lied repeatedly to the Congress
and the people for the good of the nation, of course.
The propaganda of the Cold War followed the classic pattern:
lies dressed up as "fact" by a self-censoring and
entirely credulous media that became a virtual adjunct of
the national security State.
TREACHERY OF TELEVISION
the Vietnam War, however, the technology caught up with them:
the power of television to project the barbarity of American
atrocities and the unworthiness of our thuggish South Vietnamese
allies. But that was before the advent of the Clintonian spinmeisters,
yesterday's Vietniks the phrase evokes a whole era
and today's NATO apparatchiks, who understand
and have learned to control, or "spin," the power
of televised imagery. They realized that if the power of televised
images could demoralize and defeat the War Party, as in Vietnam,
they could also mobilize and advance the interventionist cause.
For the duration of the Balkan conflict, television news programs
and commentary shamelessly trumpeted the government line.
INTERNET VERSUS THE WAR MACHINE
the hegemony of the idiot box was challenged, in this Information
Age, by the rise of a new technology that liberated ordinary
people from the media moguls' yoke. The Balkan War of '99
signaled the rise of the Internet as a vital arena in the
battle for hearts and minds. While television adhered to the
old "loose lips sink ships" code of journalistic
ethics, acting as the servant of government rather than the
watchdog of the truth, the role of the Internet was inherently
subversive, transmitting images and ideas unfiltered by the
media elite to millions of people all over the world. Antiwar.com
tried to break through the "fog of war" generated
by the NATO smoke machine and expose the pro-war bias of the
major media especially television, which, this time
around, turned out to be the great enemy of truth. We set
ourselves up as a kind of anti-CNN, determined to disseminate
alternative views as quickly as the "mainstream"
media could spread NATO's war propaganda. And to an amazing
degree, we succeeded. For that, I am grateful beyond words
to our supporters, contributors, and faithful readers, who
are keeping those hit report numbers high beyond our wildest
at those numbers, Alan
Bock's first column for Antiwar.com is a fantastic success
and I want to take this opportunity to welcome him
to the site and urge you to check him out. Alan is a great
guy, a veteran journalist with the Orange
County Register, and an excellent writer. His fascinating
at Ruby Ridge, is a riveting account of atrocities
committed against Americans by their own government. Welcome,
Alan: with you keeping an "Eye
on the Empire," the NATO-crats are really in for
some close scrutiny and that is the one weapon we have
that will defeat them.
Bock's column, "Eye
on the Empire," is just the first of a number of
changes we will be introducing in the weeks and months to
come. A good site evolves, and especially one like Antiwar.com
because, as our Great Leader put it last week, "We
can do it now. We can do it tomorrow, if it is necessary,
somewhere else." Someone must keep an eye on the
Empire; Someone must keep you up to date on the plans
of the War Party; Someone must track and refute the
lies that come as naturally and effortlessly to the servants
of the State as buzzing comes to a bee. If we don't do it,
then who will?
is why it is more important than ever that you continue to
support Antiwar.com, and not only by logging on but by sending
in a contribution. Columnists don't work for free (except
for this one), and we plan on signing up a few more. But we
can't do it without your help. If you run a company, or if
you have Friends in High Places, or if you just want to contribute
as an individual, you can sponsor a columnist and we'll
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help keep Antiwar.com alive. We're doing a job that has to
be done but we can't do it without you.
hope I answered the concerns raised in the above quoted letter,
especially the part about providing "a more balanced
approach." We make no pretense about being "balanced"
we are brazenly biased in favor of a peaceful noninterventionist
foreign policy for the United States. There can be no "balance"
between truth and falsehood. By refusing to become a sounding
board for NATO's fabrications, by withholding judgment until
all the facts were in, we made the right decision. Far from
threatening our "credibility as an objective information
source," our unwillingness to swallow the "humanitarian"
cant spewed by official (and unofficial) government mouthpieces
preserved our integrity. In the context of what is
happening today in Kosovo, we stand by our evaluation of the
KLA and Kosovar Albanian society in general
as violent, authoritarian, and antithetical to the establishment
of free institutions. This judgment, too, has been confirmed
by events. Against the conventional wisdom, which "everyone"
knew beyond the shadow of a doubt to be true, we stood up
and dared to say: "Well, 'everybody' is dead wrong."
And, you know what? They were.