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U.S. bombs civilians, rejects cease-fire

By Deirdre Griswold

The U.S. government and the NATO commanders in Brussels are saying that their direct missile hit on a housing complex in the small Serbian city of Aleksinac April 6 was an "accident of war." It's a ridiculous assertion, exactly like the excuse they gave for the two cruise missiles that penetrated a large air-raid shelter in Baghdad during the Gulf War and incinerated at least a thousand people.

This "accident" turned an apartment complex into "smoking heaps of brick and tile, with body parts visible and pools of blood," said an on-the-spot report in the April 7 New York Times. The day before, the Times had managed to print a whole article about the suffering in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, that never mentioned the city has been heavily bombed by NATO.

The London Times reported the same day that British pilots have begun using cluster bombs in Kosovo. Cluster bombs became notorious in the Vietnam War because they're designed to blow apart people rather than military equipment.

The war being conducted by the U.S.-led NATO forces is aimed primarily at breaking the will of the Yugoslav people. There is no doubt about it. And how do you do this? By killing people, destroying their cities, cutting off their food, water, heat and lights--all things that NATO is now doing.

No wonder the Yugoslavs are now comparing this latest atrocity to the Nazi bombing of Belgrade on the same date exactly 58 years earlier.

Again and again the Western military commanders have threatened to devastate and demolish this small country. Why? Because it has attacked another country? No. Because it threatens the U.S. or Britain or Germany? No.

The U.S. and NATO threaten to destroy the whole country of Yugoslavia unless its government agrees to cede control over the province of Kosovo to them. That's what the document they presented at Rambouillet, France said.

They started by trying to dismantle the country's defenses. Then, after they felt they had softened up public opinion here and in Europe, they began attacking civilians in earnest.

How did they manipulate public opinion? By showing heart-rending photos of a refugee crisis. But it's a crisis of their own making.

The imperialist media have played the role of war propagandists assigned to them by the Pentagon. They have covered this war with the same disregard for truth as when they inflamed public opinion with tales of Iraqi soldiers snatching 300 babies out of incubators in Kuwait and letting them die. It was all a lie, as was proven later. The main "witness" turned out to be the daughter of a Kuwaiti diplomat, and she wasn't even there.

Now the story that is dragging millions in the U.S. and Europe to reluctantly support this war is the refugee crisis, which began only after the bombing had started--but the corporate media won't let that little detail influence them.

What about Kurds, Angolans, Timorese?

Compare the coverage of the Kosovo refugees this week with other areas of the world.

Turkey has launched a major offensive against the Kurds, 37,000 of whom have been killed over the last 10 years. The U.S. just helped Turkey kidnap Abdulah Ocalan, leader of the Kurds. Not one picture on prime time of their suffering.

Angola announced it has lost 10,000 people in the last four months, killed by the U.S.-backed organization Unita. Not one picture or front-page mention of their agony.

Hundreds of Indonesian paramilitaries fired into a crowd of 2,000 villagers in a churchyard in East Timor April 6, killing at least 25. The pro-U.S. Indonesian military regime invaded and annexed East Timor in 1975 with the blessings of the Ford administration, and has killed 200,000 people there since.

Where are the photos? The satellite-transmitted interviews? The indignant editorials?

There's no outcry over "human rights." The leaders of Turkey, Indonesia and Unita aren't being branded "tyrants" or "dictators." After all, they're allies of the U.S. Turkey is even part of NATO.

U.S. wants war to continue

The Yugoslav government agreed to autonomy for Kosovo at the Rambouillet meeting. That was good enough for many Albanians living in Kosovo, whose elected representative Ibrahim Rugova has supported the Yugoslav government against the NATO attack.

But it wasn't good enough for Clinton and his NATO generals, who want this war to continue. They have even rejected as "irrelevant" the offer of a cease-fire, made by Yugoslavia to coincide with the Eastern Orthodox celebration of Easter. Instead, the bombings have become more intense and the civilian casualties larger.

Agence France-Presse reported April 7 that NATO targeted downtown Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, with 20 projectiles that completely leveled the central post office, a social security center and many homes. At least 10 people were killed.

Is this supposed to alleviate the refugee problem?

The owners of the military-industrial complex want the war to go on, too. They get a million dollars for each new Tomahawk cruise missile, $45 million for a stealth fighter like the F-117 that was shot down, and $2.1 billion for each B-2 bomber. While working-class families here may be holding their breath hoping their kids won't be sent into a bloody war, companies like Boeing-McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed Martin are laughing all the way to the bank.

U.S. casualties are very likely being deliberately under-reported, a tactic commonly used by the military. There were articles in the Athens daily Athinaiki on April 1 and 2 that 19 bags containing body parts of U.S. troops were secretly shipped back to the United States after being sent from Macedonia to a military hospital in Thessalonika, Greece.

Meanwhile, protests against the war continue all over the world. The bombs dropped on Yugoslavia are demolishing illusions about U.S. imperialism and bringing back the days when millions saw through the self-promoting images cultivated by the big corporations and banks controlling this country.

In the latest of many struggles, a group of militant activists are occupying the offices of Germany's Green Party, which has betrayed the hopes of millions and helped the conservatives and Social Democrats bring the country back into war and aggression.

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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