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<nettime> The Matrix
Ivo Skoric on Sun, 18 Apr 1999 18:28:56 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> The Matrix


Interesting propositions

Israel, besides sending its doctors to help refugees, now takes the
refugees from Kosovo into Israel. This is for the second time that Israel
takes in Muslim refugees (first was Bosnia). This time it does it before
any Arab state offered to do it. And it definitely beats the U.S. kind
offer to take Kosovo refugees and put them on Guam and at Guantanamo Bay
military base on Cuba.

Brazen as he is, Milosevic offered military alliance to Russia and
Byelorussia. Duma is urging Yeltsin to accept that "offer." Yeltsin's
government does not seem eager to go into war with NATO over Serbia, but
Yeltsin is in frail health, and it is not quite clear what would happen if
he dies.

Clinton just rose his asking to $6 billion in emergency budget for the war
against Yugoslavia (last week it was $5 billion). With this tempo - a
billion a week - and with not knowing when it's going to end, who knows
how much it will cost in the end? And this is just a small country -
Serbia. Can you imagine how much it would cost to destroy all strategic
targets in Russia if such a need arises?

Ukraine offered to take three American POWs from Serbia and place it in
Ukraine until the end of NATO-Yugoslavia hostilities. It is as if former
Soviet Union would love to have some U.S. POWs on its soil, even after its
collapse.

Mc Donalds re-opened in Belgrade, making Serbia now the first country with
a McDonalds franchise in history to be bombed by Americans. I wonder how
do they get McDonalds wrappers now that they are in war with the country
where those are produced...

-/- Star Wars Generation At War

"The pilot attacked what he believed to be military vehicles," said Mr
Shea. "He dropped his bomb in good faith, as you would expect of a trained
pilot from a democratic country."

May force be with him the next time.

"The pilot reported at that time that he had attacked a military convoy."

"The bomb destroyed the lead vehicle which we now believe to have been a
civilian vehicle."

As I wrote in `Who Killed Bamby?' - refugees in the future should choose
bright orange trucks - so that trained pilots from democratic countries do
not have such a hard time making a difference between the military and the
refugee convoys.

Did you see those $50,000 dropped in the Serbian woods, the pilot having
steered it away from what looked like a civilian house, to prove that the
pilots will from now on be more careful about checking out their targets
before they let the bombs hit them? That happened after cases with
Aleksinac, the passenger train over the bridge and, most recently, with
the refugee convoy - which lead MSNBC commentator to say that "there is
confusion about who is killing more innocent civilians."

Indeed, so far the NATO killed more Albanian and Serb civilians than Serb
soldiers, policemen or paramilitaries. In fact, while the amount of
innocent civilians killed by NATO strikes steadily climbs to 100, not a
single Serb soldier, policeman or paramilitary was killed yet. Who needs
enemies with such friends?

Yet, KLA not only forgave but saved NATO's face by capturing a Serb
lieutenant and delivering him to the U.S. captivity in Albania (and
Clinton still opposes arming them?!). It is still 3:1 for Serbia in the
POW count. And, yes - the Pentagon declared that the captured officer
would be treated as a prisoner of war, although the U.S. never declared
the war.

For every action comes a reaction: the Serb forces continued to expel
Albanians from their homes as NATO intensified the bombing (and if you
watch CNN or MSNBC, each new day the bombing was the most intense so far),
and as KLA is infiltrating to Kosovo from Albania, Serb artillery started
shelling into Albania, prompting gen. Wesley Clark to utter a Serbian word
- `sovereignty' - as in: "Serbs are attacking a sovereign country..." The
Apache helicopters are going to finally arrive to Albania tomorrow, to
take care of that, or, at least, Pentagon says so.

In 1941 Germans marched their Wehrmacht into Belgrade in 12 days with 151
casualties. It is day 25 of NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia, while I
am writing this. I never realized that Serbia had that many factories,
bridges and military installations, that it would take around 10,000
sorties and nobody to say whether it is at least half done. And, when it
comes to Balkans, the conquering is usually the easy part - the keeping of
the territory proves to be tricky. In four years of occupation, Germans
needed to move 600,000 troops in Yugoslavia to fight 145,000 Tito's
partisans. Despite both the overwhelming force and massive amount of
collaborators in all parts of Yugoslavia, Germans lost.

There is a chilling definition of war by Bertrand Russel: maximum
slaughter at minimum expense. British historian Niall Ferguson proved that
Germans in the WW I were simply "more efficient killers" than the Entente
Powers soldiers: "Whereas it cost the Entente Powers $36,485.48 to kill a
serviceman fighting for Central Powers, it cost the Central Powers just
$11,344.77 to kill a serviceman fighting for the Entente." I believe that
we can fairly assume that the Serbs would be the "more efficient killers"
in this war: they can be sustained on Sljivovica (plum brandy) and need
just a kalashnikov and bullets, with minimum training. An Apache pilot,
agreeably, needs much more. After all, didn't Clinton just ask a billion
dollars more from Congress for the bombing campaign?

The only hope for quick resolution would then be in the erosion of Serbian
morale. This, however, is precisely what Milosevic is most careful about:
using all available media to keep that morale high and even sending his
messages of spite abroad using English in ads. Marathon run in which 49
people run together holding hands, rock-concerts (using an essentially
western influence as a tool against the west), joint weddings, human
chains on bridges, posters, films, ads, etc. In essence the media plays
similar role both in Serbia and in the U.S., it not only prepares people
for the war, but rather makes them accept the war as inevitable and even
good.

-/-

The Matrix

Media dictates the war both in the U.S. and in Serbia. Defense secretary
Cohen does not yet know how much reservists will be called up, but CNN
does (33,000). MSNBC commentator correctly noticed that the U.S. did not
declare a war against Serbia, but media like MSNBC and CNN de facto did
just that: their presentation (even the choice of background music) of
events give us an impression that we are in the war with Serbia. And now
the U.S. has a prisoner of the undeclared war: a Serb officer captured by
KLA and held in Albania.

>From Serbian Television we get pictures of rubble and buildings on fire,
buildings that always look like civilian buildings. There are close-ups on
kid's toys eerily looking at us from the rubble, parts of human bodies
and, inevitably, a part of exploded NATO bomb with clear markings in plain
English. From the western media, which are banned from taking pictures
inside Yugoslavia on their own, we get endless footage of walking
refugees, muddy camps with one toilet on 200 people, on one hand and on
the other the images of targets through the eyes of dropped laser guided
bombs, detailed, near pedantic description of used tools of war and maps
of targets hit, suggesting their utmost superiority.

Pictures of destruction of objects that might have been civilian by looks
and wounded, killed people in the vicinity of an American made exploded
bomb - they are repeated over and over on Serbian TV to instigate hate
amongst the Serbs against the NATO and particularly against the U.S.
government. Marathon runs and joint weddings are there to assert the
desired level of defiance.

Refugees are the lifeline of the western media. They justify the airplanes
and cruise missiles as the punishment for the Serbs.

In both cases the television makes it obvious that Yugoslavia and the U.S.
are at war.

Refugees, actually, are favored by the Serbian Television, too - although
they are Albanians chased away by Serbs. Serbian Television, of course,
claims that they run away from the NATO bombing. This trick Serbian
Television learned well after the fall of Kostajnica during the war in
Croatia: the same victims were claimed both by Croatian TV and by Serbian
TV. The picture was the same, only the comment was different: on Serbian
TV the victims were Serbs slaughtered by Croats and on Croatian TV they
were Croats slaughtered by Serbs. The sickest detail was a Yugoslav People
Army tattoo on one of the victims. It would be more likely for a Serb to
had such a tattoo. On the other hand, one of the top HDZ fundraisers in
the U.S. had the same tattoo. This is the Balkans: nothing is true and
anything is possible.

There is, of course, the fundamental difference between the Serbian
Television and the CNN and the MSNBC. In Serbia the TV represents the
interest of a single corporation: Milosevic's regime, Inc.  In the U.S.
the TV represents interests of a complex of interdependent corporations,
of which some, that pay ads for their civilian use products, also make
defense stuff. So, although in both cases the TVs profit from the war, in
the U.S. case the TV has no reason to favor the government, i.e. if
Clinton does not come up with something "together" pretty soon, the CNN
and MSNBC may burry him with his war with the same enthusiasm they showed
in covering the bombing campaign.

ivo


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