A cowardly war

The remains of the KLA seem to be cornered in the mountains bordering Albania in a state of total rout. NATO has already lost this war. It has flaunted all of Sir Michael Howard three rules for intervening in a civil war:

1. Do not;
2. If you do, pick a side;
3. Pick the side that will win and make sure it does.

Probably never in history has a war been fought with such cowardice. NATO had vowed to protect the Albanians and then watched them flee their homes by the hundreds of thousands. The great powers extracted from the KLA their signature in an agreement they didn't believe in, in exchange for military support. Then failed them miserably on the battlefield (they bombed just about everything, everywhere, except the Serbian troops on Kosovo who, naturally, had most of the surface-to-air missiles). The KLA fighters were probably killed like sheep in a slaughter house. But the NATO generals don't feel any shame. Only scorn.

Defeat is undisguisable. But Clinton and co. will certainly try to disguise it with more tough talk, more threats and still more bombing. That can still last for weeks (if not months) and cause lots of destruction and suffering, for no military purpose at all. After which they will declare victory and settle the matter with a more than willing Milosevic. The great cause of humanitarianism will prevail once again.

The absolute losers, as should be expected, are the Albanian and Serbian peoples.

I must say I never expected Milosevic to go so far in defiance to the western powers. I was surprised, first. Then I got a little carried away. Now I'm sobering up. In retrospect, I think he did the logical thing from his standpoint. The blunder was made by NATO and he simply outsmarted them. He is by no means an anti-imperialist and I don't trust him in the least to capitalize on the victory his men won on the field against the high-tech chickens (retired french general Philipe Morillon: "What kind of soldiers are these that are ready to kill, but not ready to die?"). By the contrary, he will collaborate fully in polishing NATO's tarnished feathers. Defiance to imperialism can be sustained militarily. But these people are reckless murderers and they can kill an entire Yugoslav generation by economic blockade, if not outright poisoning. Milosevic is not Saddam. He is a shrewd gambler but he has no political stance to make against "the West". His job is done. Now all his efforts will be directed at making himself forgiven and allowed back on the table. It won't be easy. But, once offered moral victory in a plate ("autonomy", the return of the refugees and maybe some blue helmets with them), I don't think the US will pursue this war at the risk of shattering its European "alliance". They have nothing of national interest at stake there. Another brilliant page of humanitarian history will be turned. In terms of peoples vs. imperialism, it will almost certainly be match null.

Some talk of fascism has been raised in discussions about this war. Let me tell you what I think about it. Orwellian fascism at a global scale: we're already there. The capitalist center lives in a sanitized tower of ivory. It pillages the world's resources, spreads ruin and social devastation throughout the world. Then it turns to giving moral lessons. It has the capacity to inflict pain on a massive scale (that makes it fearsome) but zero tolerance to pain inflicted back at it (that makes it vulnerable).

The gap is growing ever wider. So is hypocrisy, double speak and the most absolute contempt.

Joćo Paulo Monteiro