The pro-Pentagon propaganda machine here usually celebrates war anniversaries, especially wars with few U.S. casualties. Yet take a look at Google News for March 24: Yugoslavia turned up only 38 independent hits. Thirty-four of them involved chess champion Bobby Fischer’s asylum in Iceland. The war was almost ignored.
Did someone think it would be harder now to convince people of the 10 years of organized lies and propaganda used to justify aggression against Yugoslavia? Shining a light on the Balkans exposes too much truth about imperialist aggression and its consequences.
On March 24, 1999, a U.S.-led NATO force launched its first sustained aggression against what remained of the once quite successful socialist country of Yugoslavia. At the time, the NATO leaders and U.S. President Bill Clinton claimed this was a “humanitarian war.” It featured 78 days of “humanitarian bombing.” NATO’s propagandists gave the world the obscene term “collateral damage.”
During those 78 days, U.S.-NATO forces bombed Yugoslavia’s industrial infrastructure, including television stations, apartment complexes and schools. The bombs killed over a thousand civilians, about one-third of them children. They polluted a beautiful country with chemicals, oil spills, and depleted
The humanitarian side was supposedly helping the Albanian people of the Kosovo and Metochia province of Serbia. To this province the war brought a continued NATO occupation with a United Nations cover. It brought the biggest U.S. military base in Eastern Europe. It brought the most reactionary and corrupt groupings from the Albanian population into power.
Now Kosovo’s biggest industries are drug running and prostitution of impoverished women from the East. Meanwhile these ultra-rightists have driven out over 200,000 Serbs, Roma people, Jews and all other nationalities in a very non-humanitarian pogrom under NATO’s watch.
Serbia and the other former Yugoslav republics are not free. They are appendages of Western European and U.S. imperialism. Joblessness has reached new heights, poverty new depths. German capital owns Serbia’s media lock, stock and barrel, and controls its banks. U.S. Steel owns its biggest steel mills.
Clinton kept better relations with his imperialist allies, and gave them a share of the loot, but NATO bombed Yugo slavia for the same imperialist reasons that Bush invaded Iraq: to overthrow an independent state, to place a puppet in power and to seize control of the resources. The war should be remembered, but as a great imperialist crime.
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