"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars..." (Matt 24:6)
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- War (with statistics)
- A World at War
- Since the Fall of the Wall
- Ethnic Cleansing
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Well, good news for Palestinians. President Clinton and other NATO heads of state have said repeatedly and explicitly that "ethnic cleansing shall not stand" and that refugees have a right to return to their homes.
Well, bless my pita bread, there's no group of people in the world who are more clearly victims of ethnic cleansing than the Palestinian refugees who have been rotting in refugee camps for 50 years. Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and again in 1967. They were forced out and have been forbidden to return specifically because they are Palestinians.
Because we are all sure that Clinton and the other heads of state who lead the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are men of honor and wouldn't think of lying, we can be sure then that as soon as this Balkan business is completed that Israel will be presented with an ultimatum just like the one presented to Slobodan Milosevic.
Israel will be told to withdraw its forces from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, to consent to occupation of those areas by an international military force, and shall allow all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and to live there safely. Or else the bombs will fall on Tel Aviv.
I know that some of you are cynical. Some of you think that the Israeli lobby protects Israel not only from the United States but from enforcement of the more than 60 UN resolutions directed against Israeli abuses of Palestinians and neighboring countries.
Some of you probably think that Clinton and company are lying about ethnic cleansing just because they've done nothing about Tibet's occupation and 1 million killed; or the 2 million dead in the Sudanese civil war; or the 1 million dead in the Angola civil war; or the 65,000 dead in the Algerian civil conflict; or the 40,000 dead in the Nagorno-Karabakh civil conflict; or the 750,000 killed in Rwanda, and so on and so on. Shame on you for being a cynic.
It has been said that NATO is really in search of a mission (before Milosevic it was an army with neither enemy nor mission). Well, if the new mission is to stamp out ethnic cleansing and undo it, it will have enough wars to keep the arms manufacturers in billion-dollar clover for the next century. There are about 15 million ethnically cleansed refugees in the world.
If ethnic cleansing is wrong in the Balkans, it's wrong in the Middle East, and it's high time the U.S. Congress and the executive branch apply the same concern for ethnically cleansed Palestinians as they profess to have for the Albanians.
The conflagration in former Yugoslavia and the tide of refugees it has created has become the focus of international media attention. But, away from the cameras, there are dozens of wars going on around the world today, and 30 million displaced people living on aid handouts as a result. Following is a list of death tolls or estimates in a sampling of conflicts fought in the 1990s:
Afghanistan: 2 million, 19791992. Soviet-backed coup put pro-Moscow regime in power, backed by more than 100,000 Soviet soldiers. Rebel groups drove the Soviets out and seized power, turning against each other. Civil war continues between Taliban militia and alliance of opposition forces.
Algeria: 75,000, 199298: An insurgency touched off when the army canceled elections the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win. Algeria is getting its first civilian chief of state since 1965, but the election brought charges of fraud.
Argentina: 9,00030,000, 197683: Death squads tortured and killed political opponents, many of whom disappeared, in the "dirty war" sparked by a military coup.
Bosnia: 250,000, 199195: Military conflict and civilian massacres following the breakup of Yugoslavia, settled with a U.S.-brokered peace deal.
Burundi: 150,000250,000: 199399: Tutsis and Hutus have been fighting since the 1993 assassination by Tutsis of the first democratically elected president--a Hutu--and a coup in 1996 that brought a Tutsi government to power.
Chechnya: 18,000100,000, 199496: Fighting between Russian soldiers and Chechen rebels, ending with Chechnya running its own affairs but no country recognizing its independence claim.
Colombia: 1,200 civilians, 1998: Thousands die yearly in violence perpetrated by drug traffickers, leftist rebels, right-wing paramilitary squads and wayward army soldiers in a decades-long struggle. The country's ombudsman says civilian massacres rose 16 percent last year, to 1,200, and more than 300,000 people were displaced by violence.
Ethiopia-Eritrea: Unknown, 199899: A continuing border war, one of Africa's worst conflicts, with each country claiming to have killed tens of thousands of soldiers on the other side, but no reliable estimates.
Guatemala: 200,000, 196096: Civil war ended with peace agreement between leftist rebels and the government.
Israel-Palestinians: 125,000, 19481997: The Center for Defense Information's count since the establishment of Israel as a modern state.
Kosovo: 2,000, 1998: A death toll that has risen this year to unknown heights since Serbs intensified their ethnic purge of Kosovars and NATO started bombing to stop the repression. Mass graves have been reported in Kosovo. NATO has acknowledged bombing a passenger train and possibly a refugee convoy; Serbs said about 75 died as a result.
Liberia: 150,000, 198997: Civil war sparked by rebellion to oust ethnic dictatorship. Democratic government installed, but sporadic armed clashes have followed.
Northern Ireland: 3,250, 19681998: Street clashes between Catholic protesters and Protestant police, leading in 1970 to the start of bombings and shootings by the IRA and then random killings by Protestant groups.
Persian Gulf War: 4,500350,000, 1991: The estimated civilian death toll from allied bombing has been put as low as 2,500 by U.S. officials and as high as 250,000 by Iraq. Estimates of Iraqi military deaths also vary widely, starting at about 1,500 and going up to 100,000. U.S. officials say 147 Americans died in action during Desert Storm bombing and ground campaign; 289 more died in accidents before and during the war and related Gulf operations since.
Rwanda: 500,0001,000,000, 1994: A 90-day slaughter of Tutsis or moderate Hutus by soldiers, militia and others under the influence of the Hutu government, finally put down by Tutsi-led rebels.
Sierra Leone: 14,000, 199299: Continuing war between the Revolutionary United Front and the government, with the rebels backed by an ousted military junta and the government by a Nigerian-led intervention force.
Spain: 800, 196199: Basque separatists declared a truce six months ago in their armed campaign for independence, although it has come under strain following a police crackdown.
Sri Lanka: 57,000, 198399: Tamil rebels have been fighting the government for an independent homeland in the small island nation.
Sudan: 1.5 million, 198399. Rebels from the Christian and animist south have been fighting for autonomy from the Arab and Muslim north in a conflict marked by famine.
Turkey: 37,000, 198499: Kurdish rebels have been fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey, using guerrilla bases in northern Iraq.
NATO was supposedly created to defend its members against attacks from unfriendly nations. Now NATO has initiated a war against a sovereign power trying to prevent an insurgency from depriving it of one of its provinces, a province of great historical significance to the Serbs.
No one denies that the suppression of the Kosovo independence movement by the Serbs has been brutal. President Lincoln launched a war that destroyed the South in order to maintain U.S. sovereignty over the states that had seceded from the Union. A half million lives were lost during that conflict. Had an outside power taken sides with the confederacy and sent troops and armaments to fight against the United States, that would have been considered a blatant act of war.
But we are living in a different world, in which the idea of a world government imposing its will on recalcitrant states is becoming more and more acceptable by a general public. NATO has suddenly transformed itself from a defensive alliance into a new international police force that will impose its will on other nations engaged in activities it disapproves of. A world government cannot be meek. It must exercise brute force.
What we are witnessing in Kosovo is the New World Order raising its benign humanist head and making its existence manifest. It will impose peace in Yugoslavia even if it has to bomb the Serbs into submission.
This decade--never mind this century--has been awash in blood, but the world's great power has been selective in using force to stanch the flow.
Multiply the loss of life in Kosovo by a magnitude of 100, and still it does not equal the toll in 90 days of Rwandan slaughter. Mass starvation in North Korea brings food shipments but no force from the U.S. to break a repressive regime's relief bottleneck. Sudan's civil war has left almost 2 million dead, and counting.
How the U.S. picks its enemies can bear little relation to the scale of suffering it wishes to ease, even when intervention is conducted on largely humanitarian grounds.
"Any justification you can use for getting involved in Kosovo applies even more so to other conflicts," says Gideon Rose, a national security official in the first Clinton administration. Foreign policy analysts are hard-pressed to see a logical pattern that would explain why Somalia, but not Rwanda; why Bosnia, but not Sierra Leone; why Kosovo, but not so many other places where tyrants crush their people or their neighbors.
For Americans who never gave much if any thought to Kosovo until the terrible stories and images began to emerge of Albanians in flight from an evil man called Slobodan Milosevic, it might have come as something of a rude shock that other countries, like Russia or Greece, seemed to actually see the U.S. and NATO as the bad guys for bombing Yugoslavia.
The reactions raise the question of whether there is an Orthodox world in the East that differs fundamentally from the West in its values and principles, that perceives the NATO attacks not as a morally justified crusade against a clear and present evil, but as a hypocritical Western assault against an Eastern Orthodox nation.
In a poignant statement that circulated by e-mail among Orthodox churches in America, Father Sava of the Serbian Orthodox Church--a church whose patriarch and bishops have consistently and courageously opposed Milosevic--bitterly derided the Western logic for the bombing: "The ironic statements that the goal of this operation is to prevent suffering of civilians are absolutely hypocritical and tragic," the message said. "President Clinton speaks sweet words to the Serbian people while the bombers mercilessly destroy schools, kindergartens and fill the hearts of children with hatred against the peoples which they believed were their friends and supporters of true peace and democracy."
Such protests seem to support the thesis made popular by Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon & Schuster, 1996) that the world is not moving inevitably toward Western values, as the West's victory in the Cold War seemed to promise, but, on the contrary, that it is moving toward a clash of cultures in which the Western model is confronted by increasingly assertive civilizations of the East--Islamic, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Orthodox Christian.
According to Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, ecumenical officer of the Orthodox Church in America, even among the most pro-Western Russians and Serbs there is a growing resentment over Washington's approach. "It worries me that this could be the beginning of a process that will lead to a new polarization," he said. "Once again, between East and West."
Until the NATO attacks on Serbia, Russia was a nation severely divided over politics. There were no "common enemies" among the disparate factions of Communists, fascists, nationalists and democrats. The once-fearful Russian bear was asleep. Bill Clinton fixed that. Today, there is virtual unanimity among Russians that the U.S. and its NATO allies represent an aggressive, imperialist threat.
As a result, Russians are demonstrating in the streets, volunteering for military service on behalf of Belgrade and mobilizing their military in a way not witnessed since the height of the Cold War. Is all this just an unfortunate side-effect of the Balkans action? Or does it potentially represent the unmistakable stage-setting for World War III?
According to Turkish intelligence sources, Russia is sending another nine-vessel naval battle group to the Mediterranean. Moscow is beginning to draft young men into military service with a preliminary target of 169,000 recruits.
The Western media pretend Russia's grumblings are meaningless. They are scarcely mentioned in the daily news coverage of the establishment press. It's as if the Russian army is perceived to be some kind of irrelevant "paper tiger." It is not.
Even in its fallen state, Moscow boasts military forces at least triple the size of Washington's. The new recruits will make it four times larger than the U.S. military. It's worth pointing out that Russia's nuclear arsenal is still potent enough to destroy the U.S.--to reduce it to cinders--several times over.
On virtually a daily basis, the most bellicose, warlike and threatening statements are being issued from Moscow and Beijing. The leaders of Russia and China are angry about the NATO attack on Serbia. They feel betrayed by the assurances of this "defensive" alliance that it would never use its military might in an offensive way--that it would never try to impose its will on neighbors.
No matter how you slice it, that's just what NATO has done in the Balkans. You can rationalize it all you want. You can pretend this action is humanitarian in nature and only designed to protect civilians from harm. The fact is that more civilians have been killed since this war began than in the weeks and months prior. It looks like imperialism. It smells like imperialism. It sounds like imperialism. It feels like imperialism.
Not only has the NATO mission failed miserably in its primary stated objective of humanitarian relief, it has moved the entire world precipitously closer to Armageddon. Is it all a big blunder? Or is there globalist calculation behind this apparent madness?
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