March 13, 2000
The Big Lie
NATO's Campaign of Deception in Kosovo
Citizens of a free country ought to expect they won't be burdened with the kind of propaganda barrage that has come to be associated with Nazi "interior ministers" such as Josef Goebbles or Soviet "media spokesmen" like Vladimir Posner. However, the more information that comes out about the NATO war in Kosovo, the more evident is the fact that NATO made an apparent "policy decision" to lie about Serbian atrocities. It seems the western democracies "stole a page from the play books" of their former totalitarian adversaries in Germany and the Soviet Union.
Writing recently in Liberty Magazine, David Ramsey Steele points out that in Kosovo we were told before the bombings that there was mass genocide occurring, the figure of "100,000 or more" was tossed around even though there was no evidence to back-up this claim. One media pundit suggested the number would be a quarter-of-a-million dead. NATO even gave a name to this "campaign of mass genocide," it was dubbed "Operation Horseshoe" but, as Steele says, the factual basis for the existence of such a genocide is spurious at best. In fact, Steele likens it to the Bryce report that reported falsified claims of genocide in Belgium in World War I.
Later after the NATO bombs began dropping, the official NATO claim was dropped to around 10,000 as it became clear no mass graves or killing fields even existed. The actual number of people found in the reported mass-graves totals slightly more than 2,000, a far cry from the hundreds of thousands that we were told originally. The loss of 2,000 lives is a great tragedy, but there are more Americans than that killed domestically every year and it hardly warrants the kind of violent response we saw in Kosovo. In fact, Mr. Steele states that Kosovo was safer than any major U.S. city prior to the NATO bombing. Moreover, as Steele shows, it is hardly evident that each of those bodies was killed as a result of a campaign of genocide.
Finally, Steele points out that the stories about Kosovo came not only from NATO officers but also from officials of the United Nations as well as from our own government. However, a few sources closely followed developments and seemed to get the story about right. Pablo Ordaz of El Pais magazine, Audrey Gillan of the London Review of Books and even two members of an inspection team sent to Kosovo for the purpose of investigating purported mass graves all challenged the stories of the propaganda machine.
Steele also shows that while we were told of ethnic cleansing and Kosovars who were being forced from their homes, the truth of the matter is they were being forced from their homes because of the danger and destruction being caused by NATO bombing in the region. If anything, this so-called ethnic cleansing appears as a direct result of NATO action. In fact, as Steele states, now that NATO and the KLA have control of Kosovo there have been widespread reports that the people we were supposedly protecting, the Kosovars, are now engaged in a murdering spree against the Serbians.
Instead of hearing the truth from our leadership, we were fed emotional tales of mass killing that were entirely blown out of proportion in order to justify force and violence in the region.
The sad trail of lies in Kosovo merely reinforces two facts. The first is that our republic depends upon a press that will question the claims of our leaders instead of just accepting them. The second is that Congress has shirked both its Constitutional responsibility to declare war before U.S. troops are sent into battle and its oversight responsibility to closely monitor the administration in its carrying out of foreign policy.