THEORY OF AMERICAN STUPIDITY: 4 - 4
5. The Launch of the War and the Need for Stupidity With the 'failure' of Rambouillet
The Clinton Administration took open charge of the preparations for war.And it is at this point that the analysis of those who support the NATO Air War faces absolutely irreconcilable contradictions. For the way in which the war was launched is, on the face of it, absolutely inexplicable.
The bombing campaign was launched in 24th March. But President Clinton announced on the 19th of March that the bombing campaign would be launched and nothing now could block it. The US administration thus gave the Serbian government 5 days in which they could do as their pleased in Kosovo.And when the bombing started, it was organised so that the Serbian authorities could continue to have a free hand in Kosovo for more than a week. The air war's first phase was directed largely at targets outside the Kosovo theatre itself for a full week.
And this military side of the attack was combined with an absolutely contradictory set of explanations for NATO's aggression.On one side, the attack was justified as an attempt to prevent the genocidal threat to the Kosovar Albanians from the Milosevic regime. But on the other side, the attack was simultaneously justified by the claim that the Milosevic regime had no such genocidal intentions and indeed wanted the bombing campaign in order to use it to sell Rambouillet to the Serbian people.
These contradictions cannot be explained away by haste, improvisation and confusion on the part of the Clinton administration.
We know that the US National Security Council and the State Department had been planning this war in detail for 14 months before it started. We know also from the Washington Post that the experts in the US administration spent those 14 months running over, day after day, all the variants of the course of such a war, all the scenarios of possible Yugoslav government responses to the air attack. We know that they foresaw the possibilities of mass refugee exits from Kosovo. The Pentagon foresaw a long air war: the notion that Milosevic wanted the bombing attack was political spin put about by General Wesley Clark: it was nonsense.So why did they plan the start of the war in this particular way?
There is only one serious explanation: the Clinton administration was giving the 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.
This was a rational calculation on the part of the US planners. They knew that the main political opponents in Serbia of Milosevic's Socialist Party -- the Radical Party of Seselj and various Serbian fascist groups -- supported the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, though the Socialist Party did not. They knew also that Yugoslav military forces would pour into positions in Kosovo as the OSCE personnel left, clearing strategic villages, driving forward against KLA-US supporters. They could predict also that there would be a refugee flow across the borders into Macedonia and Albania.
And the US planners were proved right. Extremist Serbian groups did, it seems, go on the rampage in Pristina for three days after the start of the war. Refugees did start to flood across the borders. And the resulting news pictures did indeed swing European public opinion behind the war.As for the Serbian government organising a genocidal mass slaughter, this did not happen: the Clinton administration organised the launch of the war to invited the Serbian authorities to launch a genocide, but the Milosevic government declined the invitation.
It is simply impossible to argue that the US military campaign was designed to stop the brutalities against the Kosovo Albanians. It would be far easier to demonstrate that this thoroughly planned and prepared war was designed to increase the chances of such brutalities being escalated to qualitatively higher levels.The way that the war was launched was designed to increase the sufferings of the Kosovar Albanians in order to justify an open-ended US bombing campaign against the Serbian state. The technique worked. But this success cannot be acknowledged. Instead it must be hidden by the notion of Clinton administration stupidity.
And to this stupidity the European pundits of NATO can add many other supposed American stupidities.The stupidity of trying to save the Kosovar Albanians with an air war instead of a ground war. The stupidity of killing so many Albanian and Serbian civilians. The stupidity of not swiftly admitting such killings when they occur.
And then there is the most fascinating stupidity of all: the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.This particular stupidity must have been a defining moment for the European powers, a moment for hard, focused thinking, for one very simple reason: stupid or not, the governments of Western Europe know that it was not a mistake. They know that the US military attaches in Belgrade had dined more than once at the Chinese Embassy compound in the city before the war started. They know very well how prominent the compound is and how professional the US intelligence operation for targeting is. They know that the Embassy was hit on a special mission by a plane from the United States. And they noted Clinton's casual response: no press conference to make a formal public apology.
And the West European states have learned more about the stupidity of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy since it has occurred:it resulted in the collapse of weeks of German-Russian diplomacy which had gone into producing the G8 declaration agreed just before the Embassy was bombed. That G8 declaration threatened to undermine the US's 5 conditions for ending the war and threatened to rebuild the central authority of the UN over NATO: the Embassy bombing put a stop to all that.
More, it completely sabotaged Schoder's planned business visit to China:West European efforts to steal contracts with China by taking a softer line than the Clinton administration were brought to a standstill and the West Europeans are being brigaded into line behind Washington's policy in a new confrontation with China.
soon . . . THEORY OF EUROPEAN STUPIDITY: 1-4