Three years ago, on March 24, 1999, the United States government, along with England, Canada, and a few other nations, began a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia on a consecutive twenty-four hour basis for a total of seventy-eight days and nights without pause. It was made to look like a NATO campaign; but it was primarily the United States and England which provided most of the air power and the bombs.
The targets were not necessarily military installations, but civilian areas in Novi Sad, Nis, Vojvodina, Belgrade, and numerous towns and villages. The industrial infrastructure of Yugoslavia, including electric power plants and water supply sources, were demolished, as well as schools, hospitals and nursing homes. The central television station and the Chinese embassy were also destroyed. Several thousand innocent civilians were killed in the most barbaric manner with the use of cluster bombs which tore apart infants and adults, including the decapitation of an Orthodox Christian priest returning from church on a Sunday afternoon. Obviously most of the victims of this so-called NATO campaign were the innocents. Unfortunately, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of NATO, those in power needed a reason for the continued existence of the military organization since the cold war was over..
The tragedy was that NATO, which was always considered a defensive organization against communism, decided to alter its appearance by becoming an offensive one.
Thousands of bombs which contained spent uranium, as well as the people-killing cluster bombs, were dropped on Serbia and Kosovo; and even though three years have passed, American military personnel are not permitted to enter those areas where the bombs fell because of the high radiation.
Time will tell if normal vegetation will be able to grow in those polluted regions.
All the bridges across the Danube River were destroyed by our warplanes. This major waterway for several European countries is still impassable. No one has taken the responsibility, even from the countries which use the Danube, to clear away the fallen bridges. This major tributary of Europe, which flows into the Black Sea, continues to carry all sorts of pollution with it. Yugoslavia was in actuality bombed back to the pre-industrial period before the eighteenth century.
All this came about during the eight-year rule of the Clinton administration. Initially, a conspiracy took place in our country from the early 1990's to demonize the Serbian people who, as is known, were staunch allies of the United States in both the First World War and in the Second World War. It is ironic that German bombs destroyed Yugoslavia in the 1940's, and fifty years later American and English bombs repeated the disaster. To add insult to injury, it was Germany which first, unilaterally, recognized its former Nazi ally, Croatia, as an independent nation during the warfare of the early 1990's. In all of this, no one showed concern for the Serbian people because the public relations firms and the American media had successfully convinced the American people that the Serbians deserved the destruction rained upon them.
Even here in the United States, in some public schools in the Midwest, Serbian-American children were verbally attacked by teachers as well as students because of the media reports.
It is interesting to note that the Clinton administration in the winter of 1998-1999 stopped its brief bombing campaign on Iraq due to the period of Ramadan on the Islamic calendar. However, both English and American warplanes continued to bomb the Serbian Christians throughout the Christian Holy Week and especially on Easter Sunday of the Orthodox Christian calendar. Some of the bombs that were dropped by English pilots had the message painted on them, "Happy Easter."
All the members of the Clinton administration, especially Albright, Cohen, Clark, Rubin, Burns, and others, including the Englishmen Tony Blair and Jamie Shea, were bent on the continuation of the intense bombing campaign, even though, as Wesley Clark put it, there was "collateral damage," meaning the death of innocent civilians.. Compounding the intensity of our policy, which even Congress could not decide upon — it was an even split whether our country should go on the offensive when no one had declared war on us — the president, along with his Secretary of State, looked the other way when several hundred Mujahadeen from Afghanistan and other Arab countries entered into the Balkans, along with more than enough weapons and ammunition for their use, most of which are still hidden in parts of Kosovo today.
In the 1990's the Mujahadeen had set up training camps in Bosnia and in Kosovo. Today the Mujahadeen are still there and active in the drug and prostitution trades, amassing millions of dollars in order to finance their future terrorist activities. Osama bin Laden himself visited the Balkans several times in the 1990's, even as late as April 2000. The Wall Street Journal, in its November 1, 2001 edition, reported that Osama bin Laden held a Bosnian passport, and that it was he who directed al-Qaeda commanders to incorporate the Balkans as another sphere of control and influence.
Today, over 500,000 Serbian people continue to live as refugees in Serbia, having been forcibly expelled from Croatia and Bosnia with the participation of retired American military officers who saw to it that most of the Serbian population would never return.
How strange it seems that no one has shown any concern for those thousands of expelled victims of a war that was reputedly declared against one man. the dictatorial ruler of Yugoslavia. Many innocent people who could not leave the regions of Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo fast enough died violent deaths as they tried to flee the slaughter.. Where were the American news media in the plight of those thousands of victims? Obviously, the news media had another agenda; they were busy convincing the public that to do away with the Serbs was not really a bad thing. The media went on further to state, without reliable evidence, that thousands of rapes were going on, as well as genocide, first of the Bosnians and then of the Kosovars. Was there really genocide? Did the Serbs want to eliminate all Bosnians and Kosovars as the word, genocide, implies? Did what happened in Bosnia and Kosovo really compare with what Nazi Germany did to the Jews?
All the media, except for three or four syndicated columnists, continued to condemn the Serbian people throughout the years of the Clinton administration. Was there collusion between the news media and the Clinton administration? One would suspect that there was when the news media's behavior under the Clinton administration was radically different than it is now under the Bush administration. Today we witness a strange phenomenon with the news media. It is not as friendly to the Bush administration as it was to the Clinton administration. If the popularity of our President were not so high, it appears certain that the media would be more critical, if not condemnatory, of President Bush.
During the Afghanistan bombing by our warplanes the news media questioned the extended continuity of the bombing. Yet the mediakeptsilent during the ten-week bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. During the last observation of Ramadan in December, the various media questioned whether the bombing should have continued. Where were the media when the "Happy Easter" bombs fell on Serbian Orthodox Christians? They question as to how an American traitor should be treated by the country he betrayed. They question if the al-Qaeda killers being held at Guantanamo Bay are receiving proper and fair treatment. Are today's media the same media that gave to us the news in the 1990's?
What is all this "peace talk" after several thousand innocent Americans and our hero firemen and policemen died so violently on September 11, 2001? Are today's news media made up of different people? Did a space-ship land and bring all these peace-lovers to us? They are vehemently against bombings and violence against our enemies. Why were they so silent in March, April, May and June of 1999? Why do they not go to Serbia today to report on the internal refugee problems involving 500,000 people? Today they interview individuals who are declared enemies of our country, but they do not bother to interview refugees who have always loved our nation. Why did the media demonize the Serbian people in the 1990s, showing no empathy for the thousands of victims who are still living in temporary shelters? What is this "benevolent" compassion that is now shown to our sworn enemies?
President George W. Bush has demonstrated what a real American is. He is concerned for all people, the American people first, but also those who belong to the same culture and religion from where those fanatic terrorists emerged.
Why did the Serbian people not receive the same even-handed treatment by the previous administration, and why was their country so violently attacked with so much destruction when our nation was under no direct threat? Why did the former administration decide to drop more bombs on Yugoslavia in seventy-eight days than were dropped throughout the Viet Nam war? All of this was done just to get rid of one man? Was this the only reason? Does anyone have a logical explanation regarding the news media during the 1990's and now in 2002 in regard to Yugoslavia and the al-Qaeda? Please help this writer to understand.
On the occasion of the great feastday of the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Ever-Virgin Mary to be celebrated on March 25, 2002, that she would bring forth the Savior of the world, all Orthodox Christians will offer prayers to the Almighty for the repose of the thousands of souls now before the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, innocent souls whose earthly lives were violently cut short at the direction of the previous administration in Washington. It was this administration which created an artificial enemy in the Serbian people in order to distract the American public from its unethical and immoral behavior, which was so carefully handled by our American media, so that as little criticism as possible would be raised against the leaders of the past administration. The American media can be proud of influencing public opinion in the 1990's in order to demonstrate their power, as they tried, but failed, to do with the last presidential elections. Or they can now mollify their collective guilt by being kind to America's enemies.
His Eminence Metropolitan ISAIAH of Proikonisos Presiding Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver
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