Kosovo: The Empire at War


Fifth Estate # 353, Summer, 1999

The articles on Kosovo were written in early April. The death rates from Serbian ethnic cleansing increase daily.

The articles have been edited for length; full text of the Chomsky and Cockburn pieces are available at www.zmag.org, a web site which contains many useful observations about the war in the Balkans.

David Bacon’s piece is available at dbacon@igc.apc.org.

Hopefully, by the time you read the following articles, the murderous assault on the Kosovar people and the bombing of Serbia will have ceased. As we put this issue together, we realize that the war (if you can use that word to describe a sustained bombing campaign in which the other side cannot respond) may soon be either ended or escalated to a more dangerous stage. In either event, we think these three essays capture much of the desperation and horror we feel about the situation and are relevant regardless of what transpires in the coming weeks and months.

The Current Bombing

A Belgrade Ecologist Cries Out for Peace

Being able to say neither/nor

If a Cluster Bomb could Talk

The Return of the Cold War?

As we finish this issue in mid-May, the NATO effort to bring Slobodan Milosevic to heel goes increasingly awry. The so-called Smart Bombs act stupider and stupider, here hitting the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, there slaughtering Albanian civilians in Kosovo—the very people the campaign is ostensibly to protect. In addition, the bombing has resurrected the prospect of new Cold War confrontations.

According to Dmitri Glinski Vassiliev, author of Market Bolshevism: The Tragedy of Russia’s Reforms, “The bombing of Yugoslavia has endangered US-Russian relations in a way unprecedented since the early 1980s. Polls show that 92 percent of Russians condemn the bombings, and 70,000 young people have registered as would-be volunteers in Yugoslavia. US actions have given a big boost to militant anti-American politicians in Russia. They may win the December elections and unseat [the] moderate reformist government that has been trying to abstain from an open confrontation with NATO.”