jtravis on Wed, 2 Jun 1999 11:28:55 GMT

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Syndicate: re: benson re johnston

Michael Benson continues to put forward an argument which is fallacious.  It seems
that either you are against NATO's bombardment of Kosovo and Serbia and for Milosevic
or you are against Milosevic and the Serbian army's and paramilitaries' ethnic cleansing
and for NATO.

This absurd opposition is not real.  It is based on the fallacy of my enemy's enemy
is automatically my friend.  It is perfectly possible to support the right of Kosovar
Albanians to defend themselves against Serb aggression and to democratically determine
their own future without supporting NATO bombing thousands of civilian targets inside
Kosovo and Serbia.

Has the NATO action saved a single Kosovar life?  Has the NATO action prevented a
single Kosovan family being forced out of their home at gun point?  No; both of these
criminal Serbian actions have increased since NATO's actions.  That is not to say
that they were not happening before, or that they may not have happened anyway but
it is to say that so far at least NATO's war has not helped the Kosovar Albanians'
fight against Serb fascist aggression.  

If you support NATO, then that 'so far' is of course important.  So the question
then becomes: does NATO have a credible campaign to end Kosovar misery?  I would
suggest,  'No.'

NATO bombarding the economy of Serbia to deprive ordinary people of energy, jobs
and water does not mobilise them against Milosevic.  rather it risks massively increasing
ethnic tensions and racism in Serbia and Kosovo.  I would also suggest that bombing
men, women and children in their thousands who (for the vast part) have nothing to
do with Serbian fascist ethnic cleansing is immoral and a war crime in itself (if
you don't agree at least consult the Geneva Convention).

If you oppose the war, then I think it is a very legitimate question to ask: what
alternative do you pose?  however, the legitimacy of the anti-war movement is not
the same as having a credible alternative (even though I think there are some credible
alternatives).  Let us choose as another example Tibet.  Let's assume, for the sake
of the argument, that we both agree on Chinese troops out of Tibet and democratic
self determination for Tibet (like I assume we do on Kosovo).  Does that mean we
advocate NATO air strikes on Lhasa, Beijing, Nanning, Cheng'du, Shanghai and Guangdong?
 Such strikes would kill thousands if not millions of innocent people and would set
back the cause of Tibetan independence and human rights by decades.  Do  we have
a credible alternative for Tibet?  not necessarily, but that does not mean we put
forward a 'solution' that amounts to murder and gives a green light to further murder
and ethnic cleansing.

I put the above as a preface to what I am about to suggest as a credible alternative
to the Serb colonisation and murder of Kosovo, as  it is fair to point out that the
case against NATO murder in Serbia is in no way necessarily dependent on this argument.
  Diplomacy must be the first tactic.  Milosevic if given the right bribes would,
I believe, agree to leave Kosovo.  It is not right to continue bombing without trying
negotiation.  NATO have refused to do this insisting on the Rambouillet Peace Accords
and a NATO led force to run Kosovo.  This is the opposite of democracy (see my e-mail
Rambouillet: NATO's true war aims): any troops in Kosovo must be under democratic
leadership of the Kosovars and all communities must be allowed self determination
at the local level of estates and villages.  If  Serbia agrees to a withdrawal we
must offer massive aid and war reparations to Serbia and Kosovo (this would only
mean diverting money from arms to aid).  In the mean time massive aid must be given
to the Kosovar refugee camps, instead of the pitiful trickle that currently leaves
them in abject poverty (in contrast to the millions being spent on bombing).  If
negotiations fail then military aid to and under the democratic control of the Kosovars
could be debated but it is a mistake to see the current NATO action as having anything
to do with the liberation of Kosovo.  The current NATO campaign is about NATO colonialism
to open up the economies of the ex-Stalinist bloc to Western capital. If you doubt
this then how do you explain the terms of the Rambouillet Peace Accord?  I may have
boldened some lines but I have written none. 

The only credible opposition to the barbarities of Milosevic are the ordinary people
of Kosovo and Serbia who demonstrated in their hundreds of thousands against him
in the eighties and nineties with no Western aid: the very people we are now so expensively
bombing.  Stop the bombing!  NATO troops out of the Balkans! Serb troops out of Kosovo!
 Massive aid to Kosovo and the Serb opposition!
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