|[THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views]
Released June 6, 1999
The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
Website: http://www.twf.org -- Press Contact: Enver Masud
Winning and Losing in Yugoslavia
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- There was no doubt that if NATO
chose to it would prevail militarily, and it did, but it
surrendered its primary objective - preventing a
The NATO war machine, with funding of about $270 billion
annually in the U.S., and about $180 billion annually in
the other NATO countries, prevailed militarily over
Yugoslavia's armed forces which receive less than $1
Before the war began it was estimated that after 7 1/2
years of international economic sanctions, it would take
Yugoslavia 29 years to reach the level of economic
prosperity it had in 1989. Now the estimate is 45 years
- without international aid estimated at between $50
billion and $150 billion.
Fought for a good cause, the prevention of a
humanitarian catastrophe, NATO's air-only campaign
hastened the process of "ethnic cleansing" begun by
President Milosevic - even though U.S. generals
forewarned President Clinton that this would be the
Using the war as an excuse Yugoslav forces destroyed
more than 500 villages, and raped, plundered, and killed
thousands of Kosovar Muslims.
Some 790,000 Muslims left Kosovo after NATO began its
air assault. Many were displaced before the current
exodus, and only about 10 per cent of Kosovo's 1.8
million Muslims remain in their homes in Kosovo.
NATO forces, with the exception of the vaunted Apache
helicopters, performed brilliantly. They killed
thousands of Yugoslav military personnel and civilians
without the loss of a single U.S. airman to enemy fire.
NATO's cause was just, but it was not a just war. NATO
waged a war that had no reasonable chance of success in
preventing a humanitarian catastrophe - its professed
goal. NATO waged a war for reasons of self-interest - to
perpetuate NATO which has no place in a post Cold War
NATO did not wage war as a last resort having exhausted
all nonviolent means of settling the dispute with
Yugoslavia. Under the G-8 plan for peace accepted by
Yugoslavia, NATO accepted terms it refused to accept
before the NATO ultimatum that triggered the war.
NATO's peace plan is unacceptable to the KLA which
served as NATO's allies on the ground, and the Kosovars
have no homes or businesses to return to, and few crops
and livestock to feed them.
Even if the G-8 plan holds the war is far from over.
Will NATO countries, specifically their taxpayers,
provide the funding to rebuild Yugoslavia? For how long
will the Kosovars accept limited autonomy under NATO
occupation? How long will an imposed "peace" last?
And what of President Milosevic and others indicted for
violations of human rights? Will they be brought to
trial? And what of NATO leaders accused of violating
international law, will they receive the same scrutiny?
What of the precedent set by NATO in intervening in the
internal affairs of a sovereign Yugoslavia? Will this
lead to more self-serving interference in the affairs of
other states? Will it accelerate the arms race of which
the U.S. is the primary beneficiary?
Winning and losing depends upon how one measures it.
The war in Yugoslavia was won like the attack on the
Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993 was
won. The cult leader and 80 followers, including women
and children, died when their compound burned after U.S.
government agents tried to flush them out with tear gas.
The war on Yugoslavia was a demonstration to the world
of NATO, and more specifically U.S., credibility, and to
justify increases in defense spending to which the U.S.
Congress has readily acquiesced. There was also genuine
concern for Milosevic"s "ethnic cleansing," but NATO was
unwilling to risk lives to prevent it.
Now, 500 years after the fall of Muslim Spain in 1492,
the West seems on the verge of another wave of
The first wave of European expansion, launched with
professed good intentions, devastated the Americas,
Asia, Africa, Australia, and China. The new wave of NATO
expansion has its eyes on the natural resources of
Russia and Central Asia - a somber prelude to the New
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