james stauffer on Wed, 02 Jun 1999 16:25:48 +0000

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Syndicate: re: benson etc. -Reply

> Peter Constanza wrote

> There is an assumption in some of these posts that I reject,
> which is that NATO is deliberately targeting Serb civilians.
> There is no real evidence that this is the case, except in the
> sense that the civilian population is targeted by attacks on the
> electric power grid.
> Milosivic, who was ELECTED (he is not s military dictator like
> Saddam Hussein), has deliberately pursued power by ethinic
> warfare for nine years, and has been robustly suypported by most
> of the Serb population.  He and his supporters have killed over
> 200,000 people since he embarked on this strategy.

There are a number of dubious assumptions here:

Milosevic has won elections.  He also controls the media so he controls the
reality as it is seen outside of Belgrade itself.  The demonstrations of 1996-97
were provoked by electoral fraud and SM was clever enough to step aside into a
formerly ceremonial office and than after the demonstrations died down simply
continued to rule from that position in defiance of the constitution with the
support of his party.   Oppostion in Serbia has not been insignificant.  And no
moral support for the "pro democracy movement" was forthcoming from the Western
leaders who seemed to prefer SM who was a known quantity, a crook who would do
deals like Dayton, rather than an unknown like the democratic forces.  There
were demonstrations in Belgrade and elsewhere last summer in oppostion to the
crack down in Kosovo and in support of Albanian students.  This is not a
monotholic population--although the bombing has had the entirely predictable
effect of increasing the sense of Serb patriotism.

In the 60's we had racial war in the United States.  I doubt that a large
majority of our population would have appreciated a Warsaw Pact bombing campaign
in support of the Black Panthers.

Aerial bombing from 15,000 feet is simply a terror strategy.  It is also a
cowards strategy--the goal being no NATO casualities rather than any sort of
accuracy. NATO ran out of any remotely legitimate military targets in days,
since then it has been the civilian infrastructure--bridges (occupied or not),
electricty, water, TV stations etc.  It is a clear attempt (wrong headed I
beleive) to try to turn Yugoslavs  (of whom roughly 60% are Serbs--the only
multithnic country in the Former Yugoslavia) against the government.    And
ultimately I don't care whether the civilian casualties are "intentional" or
not.  The victims are just as dead whether the missles were "intentionally"
aimed at them or not.

> Many of the innocent civilians killed by NATO have been
> Albanians.  The Albanians have not called for a halt to the
> bombing.

There are Albanians fighting with the Serbs against the KLA.  The KLA is not
composed simply of knights in shining armour.  It is an insurrectionary force,
largely funded by heroin money, that has killed Serb and Albanian civilians
itself.  The huge Albanian majority in Kosovo is partly the result of a years of
pressure to force Serbs out of Kosovo. NATO still is extremly leery of publicly
admitting it is not backing the KLA since they were calling them terrorists a
year ago.

>   Every American is responsible for what Bill Clinton
> does.  Every American was responsible for what Lyndon Johnson and
> Richard Nixon did to Vietnam.  That is why a fair number of
> Americans fought in the streets against those scumbags, and that
> is what everyone has a right to expect of Serbs who oppose
> Milosivic.

I was there during Vietnam.  I have a feeling you weren't.  I opposed the war,
and I do not feel responsible for it.  I did what I could to stop it.  Far fewer
Americans would have "fought in the streets" if there had not been a military
draft.  Now that there is no draft the middle class doesn't care anymore. I feel
far more responsible (as a US citizen) for this current outrage.  We have
invaded a sovereign state with no legal authority to do so.  I am appalled by
the degree of aquiesance especially in the US and Britain.

There recurring suggestions in the discussion on this list that there is some
sort of Serbian collective guilt.  Slavenka Drakulic's article mentions in
passing that the Croats and Bosnians also are guilty of ethnic cleansing, but
she doesn't give any examples of mass remorse in Croatia or Bosnia.  Apparently
it is only Serbs who are to feel guilty for the disaster of post Communist
Yugoslavia.   Tudjman is clearly an unindicted war criminal who has NATO
support--since it is apparently just fine to run Serbs out of Krajinia where
they had been for centuries, but evil if it is Muslims or Croats who are

For me it ultimately comes down to the fact that killing for peace is
oxymoronic--it simply doesn't work.

james stauffer


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