It was the Serbs’ own fault …
It was the murderous actions of the Serb people that forced NATO to bomb Yugoslavia. The pollution of Yugoslavia is therefore the fault of the Serb people because they willfully continued to engage in genocide against the people of Kosovo. Therefore NATO had no choice but to bomb the targets that it did. Saying that NATO is responsible is like saying that a policeman is responsible for the property damage that a criminal causes during a pursuit. Considering that the Serbs are responsible for the majority of the problems in the Balkans and are responsible for starting World War I, they have gotten what they deserve.
No, it wasn’t
Regardless of legal responsibility, NATO has a moral responsibility to clean up its mess. The people of the region should not be condemned to live in a dangerously polluted area because NATO thinks its actions justifiable in the face of the Milosevic regime’s atrocious behavior in Kosovo.
The majority of Serbian people do not support that regime, and while they struggle to rid themselves of it, they should not be punished with long-term health consequences due to NATO actions. NATO attacked full of righteous moral outrage at the tragedy of the Kosovars, and now abandons any morality toward another group of innocent civilians whom they have harmed with their attack.
It is long overdue for the US and its fellow warriors to take responsibility for their crimes of international terrorism, and to have the pilots who dropped the bombs and their superiors who gave the orders be subjected to personally removing left-over cluster bombs scattered over the country. Have them also experience the fun of cleaning up the chemical mess that was spilled. But most of all let them smell, touch, and see the consequences of their “humanitarian” bombs upon the hundreds of human bodies in Serbia. This would be a more substantive step than simply legal measures. How much longer will the rest of the world stand for US-instigated and encouraged international terrorism?
Stephen G. Lewis
Tough love for Serbia
I think if the Yugoslavian people were concerned about pollution they should have gotten rid of that mad man Milosevic instead of crying about being hurt in a war. What has happened, happened. Bad things happen when despots are attacked. Tough! I say don’t give them a nickel until they get the despots out of control.
D. N. Smith
Clean up will be too late
The NATO countries that participated actively in the bombing are morally and legally responsible for cleaning up the environment. Unfortunately, given the politicizing of the issue, Yugoslavia may never be heard in any venue these countries dominate.
Eventually, many of the countries in the surrounding areas will be affected. Behind the scenes negotiations will hopefully lead to some sort of cleanup. Of course, it will be too late for the generations already damaged.
We are everywhere
RE: “MoJo Poll”
This is in response to your recent poll, “Is there a place for anarchists in the anti-globalization movement?” I find this completely ridiculous. There would be no anti-globalization movement if it weren’t for us. Don’t assume that the only anarchists are those who wear masks. We have been working at this new movement from its very beginning. Hell, anarchists have been working on this since imperialism began.
Liberals and progressives are the new ones in this struggle, taking up something like this perhaps for good reasons, perhaps to get funding for their political parties, who knows. If we are to question the relevance of anyone in this movement, it’s those who seek to create divisions where in most places there are none. I would suggest being more respectful of your comrades in the future. We are much, much more numerous and present than this question you pose implies.
Provoking NATO bombing for fun and profit
Pollution does, too.
If, however, a despotic national leader knows he can get away with it, he will carefully place petrochemical plants in close proximity to both military targets and densely populated areas in such a way as use them as a defense.
While I am in no way a proponent of military action, I believe it may soon become popular among Milosevic-like rulers to force NATO or other such forces into military action.
Scenario: “Let’s see, we can pollute our backward nation for 10 or 15 years like there’s no tomorrow, then provoke and lose a war with [your nation here]. Then we can blame our pollution on them, get them to clean it up, subsidize the modernization of our industrial base, and make them pay us, too!”
Colombia this, Colombia that
RE: “Colombia’s Death Squads”
Regarding your portrayal of the Colombians as being brutal human rights abusers, I challenge you to report the truth of the matter. They are being funded as usual by the CIA, being shipped arms and are being trained at the US-based School of the Americas.
As a progressive magazine, you should be able to expend the resources (writing talent, money, etc.) to look into this.
The recent article about Colombia’s death squads, shows how American policy continues to side with power elites who have a vested interest against genuine human rights, democracy, economic justice and environmental safeguards. American policy has historically been beset by irony — its propagandists have often billed it as the beacon of freedom and democracy while overlooking the fact that America has more often than not worked against democratic movements in the Third World.
President Clinton’s waiver of legal safeguards that are supposed to prevent US aid money from going to such human-rights abusers is problematic. It indicates that we have learned little from our previous misadventures. The problems in Colombia require political and economic solutions, not more military arms. More military aid will only add more fuel to a cycle of injustice in Colombia. History seems to indicate that this will lead to increased polarization and possibly a total meltdown of Colombian society.
People do not pick up arms and fight the army of their country just for the fun of it, rather it is the case that people they know have been killed, tortured or injured by government forces. Until these feelings are dealt with, there can be no peace in Colombia or anywhere else for that matter.