Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Apr. 1, 1999
issue of Workers World newspaper
U.S. ATTACKS LITTLE YUGOSLAVIA: A DAY OF INFAMY
By Deirdre Griswold
In a day that will live in infamy, the United States began a brutal military assault on Yugoslavia under cover of darkness on the night of March 24.
All the excuses given by President Bill Clinton cannot conceal the naked truth: the world's biggest nuclear power, a country of some 272 million people, has launched a war against a small, mostly agricultural country of 10 million people on the other side of the globe.
This act of blatant big-power aggression can't be prettified by calling the attacks «NATO air strikes.» The U.S. calls the shots in NATO. This attack was cooked up in Washington, in the secret war rooms of the Pentagon.
And Clinton's attempt to label Yugoslavia the aggressor is a total lie. Yugoslavia hasn't sent one soldier outside its national territory. The U.S., on the other hand, has thousands of soldiers stationed in territory it has broken away from Yugoslavia in recent years - like the former Yugoslav republics of Macedonia and Bosnia.
Moreover, it has surrounded Yugoslavia with aircraft carriers and other warships bristling with high-tech weaponry. The Pentagon has recently tested these weapons on other small countries - like Sudan and Afghanistan - in order to set a terrifying example for the world.
It is amazing that under these circumstances the Yugoslav government, parliament and people have the tremendous strength to stand up and say, in the words of Spain's anti- fascists: «No pasaran!» They will not let foreign troops be stationed on their soil, even if it means having to endure a bloody assault. That was the «choice» presented to them by Clinton envoy Richard Holbrooke, one that they bravely refused.
Why doesn't Clinton even use the right name for the country, Yugoslavia? Why does he insist on calling it Serbia? Because the U.S. strategy is to tear apart what was once a peaceful, multinational socialist country so Wall Street banks and corporations can add its fragments to their collection of neocolonies around the world.
Serbia is just one of the republics still left in Yugoslavia. Kosovo is a province of Serbia. But four other republics - Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Macedonia - have already been ripped away in recent years as Yugoslavia was weakened by U.S.-imposed sanctions.
This is the real «ethnic cleansing» going on in the Balkans: the dividing up of what was a multi-ethnic territory into warring mini-states. And it is being stage-managed by President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, special envoy Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of Defense William Cohen.
Just four years ago, they hurled the same kind of charge against the Serbs as today: that they were oppressing the Muslims in Bosnia and therefore U.S. forces had to stop them. But a report just released by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague shows that it was the Croatian Army that carried out the real «ethnic cleansing»: the indiscriminate shelling in the Krajina region that forced an exodus of 100,000 Serbs from their homes in just four days in the summer of 1995.
And it was carried out with the blessing of the United States. A report in the March 21 New York Times even strongly indicates that U.S. generals planned the whole offensive, called Operation Storm.
Yet now the U.S. has the utter gall to claim they are attacking Yugoslavia to ensure «peace in Europe.» War is peace, aggression is defense, and everything is being done to help a small, oppressed people. This kind of bald-faced lie worked for Hitler - why not for Bill Clinton?
Washington is working hand-in-hand with German imperialism in NATO. But at the same time, the governments of these two capitalist industrial giants are also in a fierce underground struggle over who is to get the spoils.
Clinton's rush to plant both feet securely in Yugoslavia before other imperialists get there may explain why Clinton has moved so aggressively, even before being able to secure political support at home.
Even before the first missile was fired, support for this war was lukewarm, at best. Everyone knows how expensive these military adventures are, even when few U.S. lives are lost. Billions of dollars go down the drain. One B-2 bomber alone costs a billion dollars.
Meanwhile, health care, education, social security and all other social services deteriorate in the richest nation on earth. Fully half the budget gets sucked up paying for past and present wars - even without a major conflict.
In this war, as Clinton himself has admitted, there may very well be significant U.S. casualties. That hasn't happened since the disastrous war against Vietnam - in which the Vietnamese defeated the U.S. invaders even when the Pentagon, in the words of Gen. Curtis Lemay, tried to bomb them «back to the Stone Age.»
The few times since then when U.S. troops have been caught by surprise - by car bombs in Leba non and Saudi Arabia, and in a ferocious fire fight in Somalia - the Pentagon has pulled the rest out immediately, fearing a crumbling of the chain of command.
The Republican Party has tried to position itself as the lightning rod for opposition to this war, while fully intending to betray it once the fighting starts. As the other party of U.S. big business and imperialism, its criticism is only over tactics and who gets the spoils, not over the basic objective.
However, a real anti-war movement already exists, based on the interests of the masses of people here and solidarity with oppressed peoples all over the world. It will quickly gather support now that the ugly face of imperialist war has been revealed. Its base will be all the progressive movements that struggle against racism and oppression.
The youths in particular will bring to it the fighting spirit of the 1960s. It is already getting a sympathetic ear from many inside the armed forces of this country who don't want to be cannon fodder for billionaire investors.
Yugoslavia is a small country, but it has been truly independent for much of this century, and therefore able to build a strong defense. It has many veterans of the anti- Nazi Partisan struggle during World War II. They are refusing to capitulate with the full knowledge of what resistance to aggression means.
Washington, for propaganda purposes, may try to confuse the nave here about who was on what side in that war, but all the Yugoslavs know that the anti-fascist struggle was led by the communists and that the present capitulators to the West are descended from the pro-Nazi quislings.
The U.S. attack on Yugoslavia is motivated by the same lust for imperialist super-profits that drove Washington and Wall Street to launch wars against Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. The drive for economic domination by U.S.-based corporations and banks has in this century led to invasions of the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Lebanon, and some 200 other military interventions, almost all of small, oppressed countries.
The attack on Yugoslavia follows in this same sordid tradition.
Those attempting to justify this heinous act to the U.S. population and to world public opinion have created a new vocabulary. The invading occupation troops that the U.S. plans to install in Yugoslavia are called «peacekeeping forces.» Terrorizing the world with a ferocious display of U.S. military might is called «saving NATO's credibility.»
In fact, this kind of outrageous war propaganda is nothing new. Adolph Hitler - and U.S. politicians are fond of pinning the Hitler label on anyone who defies the Pentagon - used the same language when he overran Eastern Europe before World War II.
Hitler, on behalf of German imperialism, wanted to gobble up the eastern states to prepare for a war against the Soviet Union. His plan to attack the USSR, Operation Barbarossa, depended on him first establishing a strategic base in Czechoslovakia.
How did he accomplish this? First the Nazis stirred up a separatist movement among the Germans living in Czechoslovakia. According to Nazi propaganda, these fascist agents just wanted to «liberate» the territory they called the Sudetenland. When the Czech government, knowing Germany was trying to swallow them up, suppressed the uprising of the Sudeten Germans, Hitler then accused Prague of crushing «national self-determination» and invaded.
Sound familiar? The government in Washington today is as determined to move into the vacuum left by the collapse of the USSR in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics as Hitler was determined to overrun the East in 1938. And it is just as contemptuous of the rights of smaller nations.
The idea that this war is about the rights of minorities is ludicrous. Turkey right now is slaughtering the Kurds, and has killed 35,000 in recent years. But Washington doesn't care. It recently helped capture the Kurdish leader and turn him over to the Turkish authorities.
When a right-wing military regime in Guatemala slaughtered 200,000 Indigenous people - now documented in an official report - it was done with the blessing and training of the U.S. CIA. No indignant speeches from the White House over that. No mobilization to crush Gen. Rios Montt and his bloody army.
But suddenly Clinton has discovered «brutal repression of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.» Why? Because the «Kosovo Liberation Army,» which came into existence less than two years ago with mercenary troops and outside money, is today playing the same role as the fascist movements in eastern Europe that gave Nazi Germany the excuse in the 1930s to invade in the name of «self-determination.»
This is not to say that the U.S. today is politically the same as fascist Germany in the 1930s. The Nazi political establishment went to unbelievable extremes because of the tremendous economic crisis that hit the capitalist world in the 1930s. Hitler won the support of the Krupps and other rich industrialists for a ruthless dictatorship over the workers in order to militarize and revive German capital by grabbing a larger share of the world markets.
The U.S. ruling class isn't in such a position today. In fact, it is still riding an economic wave, although no one knows when it may crash down on the rocks. But even in times of relative prosperity this ruling class is capable of viciousness bordering on genocide - as in the carpet-bombing and napalming of Vietnam - unless the masses of people refuse to be cannon fodder and tie up the war machine.
The U.S. corporate ruling class, since the collapse of the socialist bloc, is driving to become unchallenged master over every inch of the earth's surface. Isn't that the implication when any country refusing to toe the line is immediately branded a «rogue state» and a fitting target for military suppression?
In so doing, it pits the people of this country against the rest of the world in an endless round of interventions and wars.
But the frightening implications of this new war don't have to happen.
There's another «scenario,» as the military experts like to say. Those who benefit from imperialist expansion are a tiny fraction of U.S. society. The bulk of the population, the working class, has nothing to gain from it and much to lose - jobs, wages and even their lives, not to speak of priceless intangibles like solidarity with the rest of the human race.
The people can struggle and win against even this seemingly invincible war machine linked to the military-industrial-banking complex. It happened before. It can happen again.
New Communist Party of Britain Homepage
A news service for the Working Class!
Workers of all countries Unite!
volver al portal de ESPAÑA ROJA