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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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