On March 24, 1999, Bill Clinton unleashed a disastrous NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia, against the Christian Serbs, against a sovereign nation that did not pose a threat to members of the alliance.
The bombing campaign was the second major combat op in its history, following the 1995 bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The US involvement against the Christian Serbs was astonishing. Fifteen years on, we see the poison fruit of Clinton’s war, including the ethnic cleansing of Sarajevo (now all Muslim), while paving the way for an Islamic state in the heart of Europe.
Much thanks to Julia Gorin, who reminds me to mark this black day: “A day that means nothing by now to the forgetful American mind, but a day that will live in infamy more than any other in my mind and in those of others who remember.
This was the day, 16 years ago, that our supposedly anti-war president (still a shock to call him that) Bill Clinton announced to the world that NATO planes were in the skies, bombing our ally of WWI and WWII, Serbia. Talk about a “rush” to war, as the right was accused in the 1.5-year run-up to Iraq. (Even a month before, in Feb. 1999, Weekly Standard, for example, had not one article about a possible war in Yugoslavia, or mentioning Kosovo. Yet, like foot soldiers, as soon Clinton pulled it out of a hat in March, everyone was on board.)
Anyway, I just wanted to forward these few paragraphs, written today by Aleksandra Rebic—a onetime neighbor of one of the 500 American pilots sheltered from the Germans by Mihailovich’s guerrillas after crashing in Yugoslavia–marking the day.”
WHAT IS OWED TO THE SERBS. / By Aleksandra Rebic March 24, 2015
One of those moments you never forget: Before the dawn on March 25, 1999, I stepped outside the door to find The New York Times there on the ground with the headline announcing that NATO had begun its bombing campaign against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999. I remember looking at that front page of the paper before picking it up and thinking – “They are really doing it. It’s no longer a threat. It’s real. It’s real. What a mistake. What a mistake.” Then I picked up the paper and went back inside. So began a 78 bombing campaign which included the time span over the Easter holiday and my family’s Christian Patron Saint’s Day – our Krsna Slava, St. Lazarus Saturday – which falls a week before Serbian Orthodox Easter.
I love America. Always have. Always will. But that bombing campaign in 1999, yet another horrific mistep in American foreign policy against the Christian Serbs that had spanned throughout the decade of the 1990s, beginning with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, was a mistake of GIANT proportions. The Serbians had always been one of America’s most steadfast and loyal Allies and certainly her best friend in the Balkans for sure. What hurts the most is that now so many Serbians no longer consider America a friend or an ally and have no wish to be either of those to America. That is the real tragedy. The WRONG people were targeted. The WRONG people were punished. The WRONG people in the Balkans were alienated.
The NATO bombing campaign of 1999 against the Serbs stands as one of the most unjust acts of aggression in the history of the world. I can only hope and pray that, at the very least, some day there will be a public act of contrition in the form of a public apology from America, regardless of whether there is one from her NATO allies or not, and that this apology will resound for all the world to hear.
AMERICA OWES SERBIA THAT ACT OF REPENTANCE, AND MUCH MORE.
March 24, 2015