Stop the Bombing--NATO bombing is destroying civilian life in Yugoslavia.
Thursday, April 15, 1999
On Wednesday, March 24, Yugoslavia, a sovereign country in the heart of Europe, was attacked by NATO. The aggression was launched against one European sovereign country and its people who have never, throughout their long history, pursued a conquering or aggressors'' policy, and who have suffered enormous numbers of victims in this century while defending peace in the world.
Yugoslavia was twice attacked in this century, in World War I and in World War II, both times by aggressors that started the two world wars. In both wars, Yugoslavia was on the side of progressive and democratic countries.
The NATO bombing is a violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force against a sovereign state which has not committed aggression against other states. Yugoslavia did not attack any neighboring states outside its borders. The Security Council did not sanction the use of force here. If the issue had been submitted to the Security Council, it would certainly have been vetoed by Russia and China. NATO knows it and therefore bypassed it.
It is a violation of NATO''s own charter, which claims it is a defensive organization and is only committed to force if one of its members is attacked. No member of NATO was attacked. NATO possesses no mandate from the United Nations to act as an international police force. Many countries outside NATO are strongly opposed to the bombing, including Russia and China. Even countries inside NATO seem unhappy, especially Italy and Greece.
The statements by NATO officials that only military targets are attacked in Yugoslavia are not true and they are intended to deceive many peace-loving people in the West into thinking that their air force is engaged in a "humanitarian" action. Unfortunately, many people in the West still live under the illusion that their super-powerful and precise air force is fighting against the Yugoslav military. The truth is that there are more and more civilian victims and damage to exclusively non-military facilities. Therefore the Western governments bear great responsibility for these criminal acts in front of God and history.
NATO said it wants to stop the humanitarian catastrophe. This is hypocrisy. Air strikes are causing a humanitarian catastrophe. Serbs and Albanians have to leave their homes and run away because of the air strikes. Serbs and Albanians from Kosovo are refugees. The bombing has jeopardized the lives of 10.5 million people and unleashed an attack on the fledgling forces of democracy in Kosovo and Serbia. Bombs are falling all over Yugoslavia. Air strikes are not only shooting military targets. In continuous attacks by several hundred airplanes, all the vital strategic objects in Yugoslavia have been attacked as well as schools, kindergartens, hospitals, medical factories, churches, monasteries, gas stations and water wells, cemeteries and national sanctuaries, libraries and cultural institutions, rivers, forests and mountains. Many civilians are killed. Many more are injured during these air strikes.
The protection of a population under threat is a noble duty, but it requires a clear strategy and a coherent end game. As the situation unfolds on the ground and in the air day by day, it is becoming more apparent that there is no such strategy. Instead, NATO is fulfilling the prophecy of its own doomsaying: Each missile that hits the ground exacerbates the humanitarian disaster that NATO is supposed to be preventing.
NATO attacks will only make things worse. They will definitely destroy the prospects of peaceful coexistence and will further radicalize extremists on both sides. And finally, the greatest victims of this criminal policy will be innocent civilians.
Goran Jovicin is a Serbian student at the Monterey Institute for International Studies. His family lives in Yugoslavia.