America: A Beacon, Not a Policeman       America: a Beacon, not a Policeman

Kosovo Talking Points
For Talk Radio

Americans Against World Empire, Inc Homepage


by Jon Basil Utley

UPDATE--For an overview see Bob Reilly  and Paul Miniato (founder of Free Market Net) articles with exellent wrap up of Kosovo war background and reasons.... posted (2/10/03)

for the COMMITTEE AGAINST U.S. INTERVENTION   (for distribution)

Channel the terms of discussion to issues which raise questions which turn the conversation to consequences and risks instead of feel good "do something" emotions. Following are answers to common positions used by the pro-bombers:

ETHNIC PURITY?  Today the only multi-ethnic nation in the former Yugoslavia is (guess??)  Serbia with  7 million Serbs,   900,000 Hungarians, 200K Albanians, 150K Gypsies, and 1.2million others (Greeks, Turks, miscellaneous).   Kosovo (Albania), Croatia, & Bosnia, the nations Washington subsidizes, are the most ethnicly "pure" racist.  Remember Stromberg's Law from our mainpage, "There is virtually no situation anywhere in the world that can't be made worse by U.S. intervention," Stromberg's Law (THE COSTS OF WAR,   Transaction Publishers, l997)

Lies About Albanian Deaths   Apparently now only in the hundreds (instead of the 100,000 claimed by Defense Secretary Cohen (The big killing is done by economic embargoes and bombing of electricity/sanitation/civilian infrastructure-See FOREIGN AFFAIRS--"Sanctions, the Real Weapon of Mass Destruction") (In Bosnia death toll claimed was 500,000, now estimated at 25,000 over many years of war-- HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Updates  new10.gif (281 bytes) The War on Yugoslavia  by Paul Miniato --an excellent wrap up history of Kosovo War, its origins and finale with detailed links to sources.

A)   Was the bombing planned to cause the ethnic expulsions of Albanian Kosovars and therefor justify US attack?   "The Clinton Administration was giving Serbian authorities the opportunity to provide the NATO attack with an ex post facto legitimation. The US was hoping that the five days before the launch of the bombing and the first week of the war would give various forces in Serbia the opportunity for atrocities that could then be used to legitimate the air war."              Quoted from TWILIGHT OF THE EUROPEAN PROJECT,  at new10.gif (281 bytes)

B)    The US/NATO "victory" will be very costly.  Occupying Kosovo, rebuilding it, and then ruling it will cause a backlash in America against the War Party and continuing conflict within NATO.  Even assuming American troops will be guarded to not risk a single casualty (putting them in compounds like in Bosnia), some will probably still get hurt.   As the Washington Post (6/6) writes,  "The peace plan now being discussed will likely result in a protracted, low-scale terrorist-like conflict.  first and foremost the KLA is not happy with the deal.......(the deal being backing off the Rambouillet demands for Kosovo independence in 3 years).

C)    The war crimes indictment of Milosevic is a common accusation against all American targets.  Of course he's a war criminal, but so then is President Clinton, General Clark and so on by the same standards applied at Nuremberg and in the United Nations' charter. These include destruction of civilian infrastructure and starting a war.  For details on the legalities of these questions see Presidential Warmaking, the Constitution, UN Charter, Geneva Convention and Nuremberg Charter (  See also excellent analysis by John Doggett on NATO (Clinton & Clark) war crimes.

        Destroying Serbia's economic infrastructure, Washington has gone far beyond destroying just war relevant targets.  It hit all sorts of industry, even cigarette factories and the electrical transformers at Serbia's largest mine.   Bombing the Danube bridges brought barge transportation to a halt for much of Eastern Europe and the Black Sea nations.  The war has cost the other Balkan nations hundreds of millions in lost trade and done $30 billion of damage to Serbia's factories, communications and infrastructure.  The military is trained to win wars; it's not paid or asked to think about post-war conditions, consequences or anything about basic humanity.  No one doubts  America's ability to "degrade, disrupt and destroy," as General Clark used to crow.  In Iraq the consequences have been nearly 1.7 million deaths from starvation and disease (estimated by John McLaughlin's "One on One" with Dennis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq,NBC 11/11/99).   The BOSTON GLOBE (5/16/99) reports the kind of thinking the military does:

    "In planning the 1991 Persian Gulf War, US officers found a 12 bridges for the movement of Iraqi troops in and out of Kuwait. US planes bombed those bridges over and over, with little effect. So they bombed every bridge in Iraq, 160 in all, about two-thirds of them far from Kuwait.  After a while, all bridges were seen and treated equally. Similarly, now in Belgrade, it seems, all military agencies are seen and treated as if they were of equal importance. The Pentagon announced last week that three-quarters of the targets hit in this air war, 270 out of 380, have been 'strategic targets.' Only 110 have been directly connected to the soldiers and militias in Kosovo."

1)         The Serbs started ethnic cleansing and deserve to be bombed, to die----

No, it was the Croats who did it first, to some 300,000 ethnic Bosnian Serbs in Krajina (see Serbian refugees), also we note, with American "advisors."  These are retired military, usually American, English ex-colonials or Israeli,  rented out by various Virginia firms to almost any foreign countries' rulers.   In Kosovo Serbia was fighting against a well armed and ruthless insurrection.  The Kosovan guerrillas started the atrocities, according to New York Times (11/1/87) report.  These are the most brutal kinds of wars, (think of our own civil war) and are truly tragic, but the answer is not for America to go and kill, take sides, wreck the nations, and make everything worse.

    Also there was no ethnic cleansing in Kosovo before the American bombing,  this is clarified in a German government report used as a court document detailing the conditions in Kosovo.  What was going on was an armed insurgency by Kosovan guerrillas operating out of Albania.  Serbia was involved in a classic effort to put down a guerrilla movement.

         Remember we started the war by giving Serbia an ultimatum to sign away sovereignty over an integral part of its territory and national birthright. Washington demanded NATO occupation of the province for 3 years after which time a plebiscite would give the territory its independence. In the meantime it would have its own government.  Equally Washington undermined the moderate Kosovans’ negotiations with the Serbs. By promising to bomb Serbia, it reinforced the most intransigent Kosovan guerrilla leaders. Washington in effect told the Serbs that their only choice was to lose the province or change its  ethnic composition.  Imagine what might happen in a somewhat similar analogy if Texans and Californians were threatened with bombing unless they agreed to independence for Mexican majority parts of their states, unless they expelled all Americans of Mexican heritage.          In starting the bombing one should note a similar case with Iraq where the Clinton Administration set Saddam by demanding inspection of his Baath Party files and members, the basis for his power or be bombed. --Scott Ritter, former head of the U.N. arms inspection team in Iraq, on the NBC TODAY SHOW, December 17, 1998. "The U.S. has perverted the U.N. weapons process by using it as a tool to justify military actions, falsely so. ... The U.S. was using the inspection process as a trigger for war."

2)       But it was Serbs who made the Mess in Bosnia? 

No, it was Washington's Ambassador who torpedoed the Bosnian Agreement of 2/23/92 in Lisbon for a Swiss style cantonization.  This led to all the subsequent killing and wars.   See How It All Started

3)      "Atrocities?  Who, us?"  

    American goodwill has led to the deaths of millions because of the lies we believed.  For the First World War, it was stories that German soldiers ate Belgian babies. For the Iraq war it was lies about 15 babies being thrown out of incubators in Kuwait. (So we went and bombed the sanitation and electric grids and now half a million Iraqi children have died of starvation and disease--nearly half of Iraq's electric generation is still in ruins)  Then we were told there were aerial photographs of the Iraqi Army massed on Saudi Arabia’s border ready to attack. They were never released; they were lies too, but they triggered our attack on Iraq.  The misery of the Albanian Kosovans is surely true, but take some of Washington's atrocity stories with skepticism.  Pilots didn't fly below 15,000 feet..  No wonder they can't tell the difference between a farm tractor or a tank.           

       And there's more,  When Washington  kills, it's from far away by pushing buttons or by blockading (in Iraq 1.7 million dead).  Foreigners don't have the resources we have, they don't kill from far away like we do.  One can't compare a cluster or fuel air bomb to knifing a pregnant woman.  But one can compare rape and murder to destroying sanitation, fresh water and electricity and then blockading reconstruction supplies for 8 years.   Or maybe destroying a poverty stricken nation's main antibiotics factory (as we did to Sudan) so that thousands die of disease (and starvation because the plant produced nearly all the nation's animal antibiotics).  Let us not forget also the greatest "ethnic cleansing" in history, agreed to at Yalta and helped by Washington, 10 million Germans expelled from East Europe to walk West.  A million died in the process.

      Civil wars are the most vicious of all, but once America starts to kill, it changes all the other equations.  These are not our battles.   Our participation favoring one side over the other only leads to worse killing, witness Kosovo.  2,000 people died before our involvement.  Soon now it will be the hundreds of thousands wandering around Kosovo with their livelihoods destroyed, from starvation and disease, while Washington's generals say "Tough luck, it's Milosevic fault."

    Also on American atrocities we refer to an excellent site on the Iraq war about actions taken in violation of both the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg Charter.  In particular the study refers to the killing of civilians by destroying their means of sanitation, water, agriculture and livelihood (Article 54: Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population) and the incredible "devastation not justified by military necessity" (Nuremberg Charter) of many American weapons such as fuel air bombs and the CBU-75 which covers an area of 150 football fields with deadly shrapnel.   What about cluster bombs dropped on Kosovo from 15,000 feet; how many Albanian civilians do they kill (as we now finally learn from media that many Albanians remain.)

4)      "If Washington hadn't bombed, Milosevic anyway was going to expel the Albanians."

    We will never know because of Washington's ultimatum above.  But there were over a thousand NATO peace observers on the ground (withdrawn to allow for the bombing) and there was much internal democratic opposition to Milosevic inside Serbia.  It's very doubtful that he could have acted in such a way without the cover of war, nor did he need to until the American threats.  Once the U.S. launched war, the Serbs had the cover to expel, indeed almost the necessity to do so judging the risk of NATO/US arming the Albanian guerrillas.  Columnist Tony Snow reports (5/7) that only about 65 Kosovans died during the whole of 1999 (before the bombing), that in spite of the (very brutal) KLA Liberation movement's civil war.   Also now we have a German Government Report finding that there was no ethnic cleansing in Kosovo until the American bombing.  Another long study with similar conclusions in in the latest issue of LIBERTY magazine (1018 Water Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368)

5)   Get a discussion going about our vulnerabilities here.

Ask if killing more Serbs might result in terrorism against Americans? Could they get one of those "floating Nukes" stolen from the Russian arsenal? Russia used to be an evil empire.  Now Washington has made it a fearful and angry empire.  Surely Russian and Chinese guards and authorities will hereafter be far less careful about selling or losing nuclear know-how to 3rd world nations.  How much damage would a small, artillery shell sized tactical nuclear bomb do to a city? Are they "dirty" with a lot of radiation? Are police able to detect them if they come on a freighter or by truck? If there’s retaliation against an American city, would it be Washington or New York. Do you think it would be uptown or downtown New York City? If (unknown) terrorists kill 100,000 Americans, should we "nuke" Belgrade? What if it’s "only" 10,000? What if we don't know who did it? We now have made mortal enemies of Iraqis, Kurds, Palestinians, and Serbs.  Or what about some shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles?  Can a single missile shoot down an airliner?   We understand that if the pilot is good and the engines are under wing, that a single missile won't cause a crash. Ask for callers who know from military experience. Would a crash make the stock market go down or hurt Florida tourism?  Or maybe about traffic.  If Serbs just had breakdowns of old jalopies to tie up traffic on the Washington Beltway or New York tunnels for a week, would that stop the greatest technological war machine in history?

6)    Channel the conversation into questions about Washington’s "interests," the "Beltway Bombers" and the "War Party."

  Explain how Washington’s establishment benefits from foreign war. Politicians get more time on TV, journalists get rapt attention for their weighty opinions, think tanks get publicity for their papers, the military gets promotions and excitement, lobbyists get new contracts and the FBI/CIA/Secret Service get more power, money and perks to combat any of our newly created enemies' efforts to exact vengeance within America. War benefits big government. See, for example, the 4/28 House vote to "approve" bombing Serbia.  Virginia's two "Beltway Republican" congressmen,  Wolf and Davis, voted for bombing, while out of the area Republicans voted against it. As Pat Buchanan wrote (Washington Post 4/13) "Maybe the foreign policy establishment needed a second Cold War, as anything is preferable to irrelevance."  And then there's some big businesses (see Washington Post 4/13, Count Corporate America Among NATO's Staunchest Allies, "a handful of top-drawer US companies, including GM and FORD, will be the gathering's hosts (for NATO's big 50th Anniversary Party coming up in Washington).


7)    We had to win or America (or NATO) would have lost credibility."

"Win, what?" Are we going to "prove" that we’re capable of flattening and defeating tiny Serbia, like we did Iraq? And what do we have after we win? Occupation for "as far into the future as you can see," quoting General Scowcroft on Larry King Live (4/12), our soldiers isolated in locked in compounds like in Bosnia, with bombers always at ready to go and bomb again like in Iraq.   Haven’t we done enough damage already?  And if we send troops, what do we "win,"  the right to occupy Kosovo?   Kosovo is in ruins, it will need billions to rebuild. The only loss of "credibility" NATO/WASHINGTON has suffered is the loss of its "credibility" to invade other nations.   NATO performed a great service, but now it’s just a hundred thousand bureaucrats  in search of a mission. The whole NATO argument has been blown apart by columnists such as Don Feder, who wrote, "Iron Curtain a rust heap-if NATO loses credibility, it just limits its ability to pull America into future abysses." Washington claims Milosevic is an evil dictator.  Then it destroys Serbs' and Kosovans' factories, communications and livelihood and says "It's Milosevic' fault that we do this."  Does that mean that the Serbs could throw over their dictator during a war if they wanted to?  But Washington also demands of the dictator (as too in Iraq) to perform suicidal policies for himself.  And then it just goes on destroying civilians' livelihood, arguing that it's the fault of the dictator.  Former President Jimmy Carter made precisely this accusation about Washington's policies (NEW YORK TIMES, 5/27).

        Tied to "winning" is the argument that we have to go and "win quickly" with massive force.  Why?  As usual America fights wars with almost no thought about what to do after "winning."  The classic answer by former Secretary of Defense Cheney during the Iraq war was, "Well, we haven't thought much about what to do afterwards."   It's just the same with this war.  But Europeans are thinking about what happens afterwards as also they have thoughts about Russian reactions even as Washington doesn't.  (The only time America did have a "plan" about what to do after winning a war was with World War II, and that "plan" at Yalta was to give half of Europe and Manchuria {China's industrial base} to Soviet communist occupation.)

8)     "The threat to America is …..?"

It’s really from dedicated terrorists filled with hatred and wanting vengeance against us. They’ll commit suicide missions to deliver death by truck or by foot. It’s just a matter of time, according to intelligence reports. The more killing America does, the more likely that vengeance will be wrecked upon us? Foreigners may retaliate against us. We can’t go around killing others without some of their relatives or fellow nationals seeking vengeance upon us. Our cities are tremendously vulnerable to chemical and biological weapons. (TIME magazine, "America the Vulnerable" (11/24/97). See FOREIGN AFFAIRS Jan-Feb/’98, "Weapons of Mass Destruction."  It argues that US intervention in foreigners’ conflicts brings about a threat of germ or chemical retaliation against our cities and, subsequently, against our civil freedoms. It states that these new weapons are neutralizing America’s nuclear bomb advantage. Americans individually are not hated in the world, and every nation has blood relatives as immigrants here. Only if we start unjust killing will it come to haunt us. Talk about the movie, THE PEACEMAKER, which stories a stolen Russian atom bomb being brought to New York by a Serbian, consumed with hatred because his daughter was killed by UN troops.    And of course the ever present threat of Russian missiles.  And now Russians fear that Washington will launch attacks. See "US Policies Contribute to Acts of Terrorism"  and Bin Laden -- a Hero in Moslem World

9)      What about the FBI watching potential terrorists here. 

Before it was easy, they only kept surveillance on militant Arabs and Moslems.   But now?  They'll have to watch for Serbs, Sudanese, Afghans and whoever we bomb next.  Watch for requests to increase their budget as more and more Americans come under surveillance.

 10)   The Pentagon and the Press. 10)

Our journalists scoff at control of the Press in Serbia.  How come we don't hear embarrassing questions at Pentagon briefings?  A great analysis put on my MSNBC by Norman Soloman, "When the Free Press goes to War"

11)     "We bomb Arabs/Moslems in Middle East, we have to show that America is fair"

by bombing Christians too," (said Mel Goodman, former CIA analyst, Fox News 4/12 MSNBC) There’s truth to that; we shouldn’t be bombing either.

12)  The hypocrisy of Washington's bombing.  The Turks have done everything as bad as the Serbs, but America supports them and sells them the weapons to do it with. ------       By very conservative estimate, Turkish repression of Kurds in the '90s falls in the category of Kosovo. It peaked in the early '90s; one index is the flight of over a million Kurds from the countryside to the unofficial Kurdish capital Diyarbakir from 1990 to 1994, as the Turkish army was devastating the countryside. 1994 marked two records: it was "the year of the worst repression in the Kurdish provinces" of Turkey, Jonathan Randal reported from the scene, and the year when Turkey became "the biggest single importer of American military hardware and thus the world's largest arms purchaser." When human rights groups exposed Turkey's use of US jets to bomb villages, the Clinton Administration found ways to evade laws requiring suspension of arms deliveries, much as it was doing in Indonesia and elsewhere.    Colombia and Turkey explain their (US-supported) atrocities on grounds that they are defending  their countries from the threat of terrorist guerrillas. As does the government of Yugoslavia."

(courtesy of Noam Chomsky)   "Rhetoric Behind the Bombing

13)     "America went to war to save Kosovans"

Well, how many people have died since the US bombing started? 50,000, 100,000? During the whole civil war in Kosovo 2,000 persons died. When Congressmen asked Clinton how many Kosovans had died during 1999 before our attack, neither he nor his advisors knew, they guessed 2,000, which was the number for last year. In actuality it was fewer in proportion to the population than were killed in Atlanta last year. (see Tony Snow column) Or as Charles Krauthamer writes (Wash. Post 4/23), "What kind of humanitarianism is it to make its highest objective ensuring that not one of our soldiers is harmed while the very people we were supposed to be saving are suffering thousand of dead and perhaps a million homeless."  Meanwhile NATO's Secretary General Solana sounds like the ultimate far out flake, "We have should that we have the will to try."

14)      "We have to get rid of Milosevic"

Why does Washington always personalize war? Any new ruler isn’t going to give up Kosovo either. Also it’s obscene for Washington to kill and destroy millions of people’s livelihoods and claim "We're teaching Milosevic (or Saddam or whoever) a lesson."  Already we are seeing the American way of ethnic cleansing, that is destroying the electricity, jobs, sanitation, transportation, fuel and economic infrastructure; as we said with Iraq, "bombing them back to the pre-industrial age." 5,000 children  every month are being cleansed of their lives by starvation and disease since our "great victory." 

15)      "Should America be a beacon or a policeman of the world?"

We can’t be its policeman, because we can’t mount a consistent, coherent "fair" interventionist policy. This, because our foreign policy is made by emotion, television and domestic politics. (See US NEWS 7/21/97 "Multicultural Foreign Policy in Washington-The Ship of State is More Likely to be Tugged by US Ethnic Groups than by Foreign Money"). NATO expansion was to please central European ethnic voters, Cuban policy is determined by Cubans in Miami, policies towards oil rich Azerbaijan, by the Armenian lobby, invading Haiti by the Black Caucus in Congress, and so on.  Costly, cloudy, and unceasing interventions abroad will breed cynicism, risk a disaster, and weaken and confuse American resolve for really important foreign concerns. They make us look like total hypocrites.  For example, the Kurds have suffered far more than the Kosovans, 37,000 dead Kurds compared to 2,000 dead Kosovans in 1998 and 65 in 1999, before we triggered the mass killing.  Everything the Serbs have done to Kosovans is done worse by the Turks to the Kurds.  Yet Washington supports Turkey to bomb Kurd villages, kidnap Kurd leaders abroad, "ethnically cleanse" Kurd lands, imprison Kurdish electoral candidates, and bomb and invade Kurds in neighboring Iraq.  Washington even supplies the weapons for Turkey to do it. For more on Kurds see Noam Chomsky's "Rules of World Order."  America is not governed like 19th Century England or the Roman Empire with long term, coldly calculated empire politics.

16)    "Senator McCain,

a war prison hero, supports the bombing and sending in ground troops."------Whatever McCain's military bravery, he didn't learn from 5 years in communist prison camp to distrust big government, for example his proposed tobacco tax and airline regulations, and now he’s for war, the biggest big government program there is.  And after all, he was a pilot.  They fight "shooting gallery" wars, and nowadays few get hurt. And they never see who they kill.  Also McCain is built up by the "war party" because he's one of the few Republicans who support the war.

17)     War has uncertain consequences.  

The First World War started as just minor action to punish the Serbs. World War II ended up simply replacing Hitler with Stalin. Where will this one lead. Already polls show large numbers of Russians thinking that they will be next to be attacked by America (New York Times 4/12/99).

18)     Unilaterally attacking Serbia is totally unconstitutional, violates the UN Charter, and undermines international law, its efforts to work out conflicts short of war.

which specifies that members must get a vote in the Security Council before attacking a sovereign state.  The United Nations has refused authority to attack and only Congress can declare war. NATO is a defensive alliance with no provisions in its charter to attack any nation.  Where are all those Republican "constitutionalists" now?  Truly term limits is the only solution to rid us of these tyrants in both parties. Furthermore the American attacks now have totally undermined international law and the United Nations.  This "legality" question was focused on during the 4/19 Press Conference of State Dept. spokesman Rubin who explained at length why he couldn't use the term "war" relative to Serbia because of all the legal consequences of such terminology.  In other words it's OK for Washington to attack a sovereign nation as long as it doesn't call the action a "war,"  because that would be in violation of the UN charter. The question came up because of French objections that the Washington proposed naval blockade of Yugoslavia would be an act of war.  And what about "sneak" cruise missile attacks. Remember Pearl Harbor and how we hated the Japanese for attacking without a declaration of war.  Now Washington does it all the time, launching surprise nighttime attacks against four countries in the last year. 

    Another aspect of the attack is its assault on international law, on the rule of law,

"The bombing has already destroyed the United Nations,   mortally wounded by its pusillanimous role in smashing up Iraq.  A hundred years of well intentioned efforts to establish an international system capable of setting limits to imperial ambitions of great powers, has been brought to an abrupt end," (Richard Gott, The GUARDIAN, 4/10/99)  Also it has totally undermined Washington's prestige as arbiter of nuclear proliferation.  Together with bombing China's Embassy it has atomized efforts to restrain China and Russia from shipping nuclear knowhow to 3rd World nations.  America the attacker now inspires every nation to try to go nuclear so as to have a defense against America.

19)    Serb incursions into neighboring Albania

in hot pursuit of guerrillas  Of course, hypocritical Washington supports such actions if carried out by "good guys" like the Turks against Kurds or Israelis against Lebanese or Palestinians.

20)    Why is it easier to make war than to cut taxes? 

Republican leaders may be just as anxious as President Clinton to divert national attention from their failures. Now it's $6 Billion for the Bombing and (soon $18 Billion see Roll Call. Also see news reports-now no Republican tax cut.

Mr. Utley is a long time pro-free market activist, with service on many conservative organizations' boards of directors and advisory boards.  He was a foreign correspondent and lived for 15 years in 3rd world nations and for 14 years was a commentator for the Voice of America.  He has been published in the Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, Human Events and other leading periodicals.

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