Mar 21, 2006

Anyone Remember Kosovo?

We live in an age that is increasingly coming to resemble George Orwell's 1984 of perpetual war. One thing peace-loving people must guard against most is the assault of the war-mongers on our minds. War propaganda is a fine art. The enemy must be portrayed as evil incarnate, even if, especially if, they are innocent victims of our aggression.

The British in WW I printed drawings of German troops marching with bayoneted Belgian babies. Before Hitler's invasion of Poland, the German press was full of atrocity stories of hapless German farm families being killed and burnt by Polish mobs. And who can forget the infamous "Kuwaiti Incubator Babies?" (If you don't remember, you owe it to yourself to click the link.) The Weapons of Mass Deception are almost too obvious to mention in this context, although it worked well enough at the time.

One episode in recent history where the propaganda seems to have fooled most people at the time, and in fact they mostly remain fooled, is the Kosovo War of 1999. Clinton's War. The official line, dutifully pushed by most media, was that this war was a purely humanitarian effort to save the Kosovar Albanians from genocide. Milosevic was portrayed as a Hitler-like demon. (Funny how all our enemies are painted with the same comic moustache sooner or later.)
No VIrginia, if you read it in the Times, it ain't necessarily so. Anyone with critical faculties intact ought to have been suspicious at the time. Wars are expensive operations, fought for real politik reasons of strategic and economic advantage, and NATO is not a charitable organization. It's now pretty apparent that the atrocity stories were exaggerated, if not wholly cooked up. The trial at the Hague was a quasi-legal circus, but even so Milosevic was running circles around the prosecution until they muzzled him.

Now his more than slightly suspicious death. Conveniently just before his defence team was going to subpeona Bill Clinton. Milosevic's death is a good opportunity to re-examine the myths and propaganda surrounding this whole sorry episode. A good place to start might be Nebojsa Malic's sharp piece on Antiwar.com.

1 comment:

James Stewart said...

I copied your post onto the Buddhist Peace Fellowship - Tampa Bay Chapter's mailing list, along with the atricle concerning the incubator babies. I hope you don't mind, I thought the point was cogent enough to share.