By Rick RozoffGlobal Research
March 24, 2002
Four years ago the Clinton-Albright regime in Washington launched a devastating 79-day terror bombing campaign against the nation and people of Yugoslavia.
The first war waged against a European nation since Hitler's Third Reich embarked on its crusade for Lebensraum and world conquest, of militarization and subjugation of Europe, of the attempted forcible seizure of petroleum supplies and strategic posts in the Middle East, the Crimea and the Caucasus. The capital city of Belgrade was subjected to aerial assaults from heights beyond the reach of Yugoslav air defenses, bombings which continued unrelenting through both Western and Eastern, Gregorian and Julian, Easter Sundays.
Bombing and strafing and cruise missile attacks and graphite explosives which knocked out electricity grids and cluster bombs dispersed throughout the land, maiming and killing civilians to this day; depleted uranium poisoning which will become made manifest in widespread cancer cases, neurological diseases and birth defects for generations to come.
Cowardly attacks which, carried out from 15,000 or more feet in the air or with the push of a button from a warship in the Mediterranean, plunged bridges into the Danube River, blocking Europe's main shipping artery; destroyed the already fragile Yugoslav economy's factories and rail lines and petroleum and chemical depots.
Massacred passengers in civilian trains and buses; slaughtered a refugee column; intentionally targeted a television broadcasting facility and killed sixteen technical staff; strafed a religious procession in a provincial village, killing and decapitating the priest who was leading it, then rounding back to finish off the rescue workers who had arrived to tend to the victims; bombed schoolyards and apartment complexes and maternity wards. Repeatedly tried to murder government officials by targeting their private residences.
And devastated the Chinese Embassy. When Clinton, Blair and their NATO allies commenced this groundbreaking violation of international law - bypassing, scorning and fatally wounding the United Nations, of which Yugoslavia was a founding member - they also effected the unmaking of the entire post-World War II order, one which had been instituted exactly to guard against wars of aggression by the powerful against the powerless, against a repetition of that unparalleled human horror that had claimed some fifty million lives in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
One order ended. Another had begun. One of naked, brutal and unapologetic power politics in which wars and subversion, economic strangulation and political isolation, diktat and brinksmanship would reign supreme, unchallenged, without even the figleaf of pretense or more than half-hearted justification. What had often been observed even in the breach was now cynically discarded even in its seeming adherence.
Wars would now be conducted on the basis of any reason or no reason at all as determined by whichever ad hoc 'coalition of the willing' British Prime Minister Tony Blair and whoever happens to occupy the Oval Office in the White House achieved through some combination of bribery and bullying. Four years later Yugoslavia is no more. Macedonia, immediately afterward, was invaded by armed insurgents from US and NATO occupied Kosovo, as was South Serbia. Low-grade secessionist violence persists in both locales.
Tony Blair's colonial legions effectively recolonized the West African nation of Sierra Leone. A major interstate war ensued in the Horn of Africa with a prodigal and fruitless waste of tens of thousands of Ethiopian and Eritrean lives. An armed showdown on the Indian subcontinent came within a hair's breadth of issuing in the world's first nuclear exchange between two belligerents. Currently the US plunges yet deeper into civil wars in Colombia and the Philippines, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan has been bombed and occupied, and the real war there is only commencing.
Now, as though to commemorate the grim anniversary, Washington and London are replicating the Yugoslav prototype in Iraq, preparatory to any number of future and progressively more dangerous expeditionary and imperial wars spanning the globe. Replete with the full panoply of the post-United Nations era ordnance: Depleted uranium, cluster bombs, Tomahawk and other cruise missiles, thermobaric oxygen-sucking weapons, mushroom cloud 'bunker buster' and MOAB bombs. The US, Britain and Brussels threw down the gauntlet to the true world community four years ago today. They defied international law. They, in the most blunt manner possible, breached the first prohibition of the Nuremberg Charter, the violation of which sent Hitler's lieutenants to prison cells: Crimes against peace; launching a war of aggression.
And to continue the above analogy, of ripping to shreds a nation in the Balkans which had been among the earliest and most severely traumatized of all in World war II; once again tearing republics from a federation and even a province from a republic. And driving in - permanent - exile and dispossession some 400,000 civilians, the largest (presumably irreversible) ethnic cleansing seen in Europe since the Hitler Reich and the immediate aftermath of its collapse.
NATO, an aggressive and voraciously expanding military alliance, has supplanted the United Nations Organization as arbiter of territorial and political disputes; has absorbed and sunk roots into not only the Balkans but the Baltic and Black and Caspian Seas regions, now extending its tentacles from Latvia to Uzbekistan and soon from Mauritania to the Red Sea. The military and intelligence services, even the judiciary and political parties, of new NATO members, invitees and prospective next round candidates have been purged of indigenous and popular influences, subordinated to Brussels and its Washington and London rulers, and some twenty nations from Eastern Europe to Central Asia have been converted into nothing better than military colonies supplying legionaries for global wars and military bases for bombing and transport missions far abroad.
Those noble few, not so much prophetic as alarmed, as farseeing as able to reason from historical analogy, who warned of all that lay lurking in the Pandora's Box that was pried open on March 24, 1999, have had their most dire predictions borne out. Alas. Any, all, efforts to reverse and repair the travesty of legal and political norms that now engulfs our planet in apparent endless and intensifying sanguinary warfare and moral confusion and anarchy must begin with the inception of the crime, which began precisely four years ago.
The offense must be identified, the victims compensated, the perpetrators brought to justice. As with the world that in so many quarters lay in smouldering ruins in 1945, a new world of democracy, within and between nations and people, must be constructed if any civilization is to survive. Any civilization worthy of survival. Today is the best, is the obligatory, day to pledge to that effort.
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