Lies of War
the US government attacked Yugoslavia, the first act of the Republicans
was to take tax cuts off the table (if they were ever really on
it). This symbolic gesture underscores a point: when a war is on,
the work of liberty is off. For this reason, everyone concerned
about freedom must oppose war.
the outset, Clinton gave reasons for his military intervention.
A quick look showed them to be models of the state disinformation
we've come to expect in wartime.
said he was dropping bombs to prevent the spread of war. But this
is straight out of Orwell. Escalating war does not prevent its spread.
It encourages it. It brings about more property destruction, suffering,
said he wanted to underscore the credibility of Nato. The truth
is that Nato has had no credibility since the collapse of the Cold
War. The entire world now sees this organization for what it is:
a fig leaf for the retention of US military domination of Europe.
Nato has become a threat to peace because the US believes Nato must
fight wars to preserve US hegemony.
the war dragged on, Clinton became more expansive. He said the war
is about stopping intolerance. The problem, he said, is that the
Serbs (read: the embodiment of all evil) were oppressing Albanians
(read: morally unimpeachable minorities) because they happen to
be born different. Thus, the civics-book version of American civil-rights
history is invoked to justify aggression against a civilian population
halfway around the world that has never threatened any American
actual conflict in Kosovo comes down to this: Serbia believes that
the territory belongs to it, and bases this claim on history dating
back 600 years. On the other hand, Kosovo is today (as versus a
few years ago) inhabited by a majority Moslem population that demands
the right to secede.
principle should prevail: the claims of history or the political
rights of the majority in a polyglot territory? Look at American
history. Both the claims of history and the rights of the majority
were solidly in favor of Southern secession. But the US decided
on union by force. Ever since then, the US has generally opposed
secession, not only at home but around the world.
during the first world war did the US back self-determination, when
the fanatical Woodrow Wilson used this principle as a weapon against
the multinational monarchies he was dead-set on destroying. It was
political propaganda, then and now.
hypocrisy is nowhere as clear as in US opposition to Kurdish demands
for separation from the Turkish government. The US sees Turkey as
a reliable satellite, so the US turns a blind eye to ethnic oppression
of the most brutal sort. It turns out, then, that the principle
is not that downtrodden ethnic groups ought to have autonomy, but
that the US ought to centrally manage the entire map of the world.
how well does the US do this? In the same region the US is now bombing,
Clinton enforced a unified, multicultural Bosnia, where US troops
are permanently stationed, against the pleas of every ethnic group
that resides there for independence. This is the peace of a prison
camp, which also deprived Serbia of the Bosnian Serb area that wanted
to be part of the Serbian nation state, an act which inflamed the
who is right? The Kosovo independence movement that claims to speak
on behalf of the Moslem majority, or the Milosevic government that
claims to represent the Christian majority's desire for a Serbian-controlled
short answer is: this is not for the US government to decide. When
we consider the original American vision of a peaceful, commercial
republic staying out of the endless quarrels of the Old World
we can only be utterly alienated from the ruling regime, which dominates
a country conceived in liberty. It is clearer than ever that the
welfare- warfare state must be demolished, so that it can no longer
threaten the world, or trample on true American ideals.
FURTHER READING: The
Costs of War, John V Denson, ed., 2nd ed. (New Brunswick,
NJ.: Transaction Publishers, 1999) and Secession,
State, and Liberty, David Gordon, ed. (New Brunswick, N.J.:
Transaction Publishers, 1998).