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imperialism & war

The Confession of Bombs

"The super-powers practice crime and recommend crime. No one has broken the law as often. Bomber states laugh at international law and at their own founding document of NATO. Everything is allowed against Milosevic, even what is prohibited." This article is translated from the German. Other articles by Eduardo Galeano are available on www.zmag.org.
The Confession of Bombs

By Eduardo Galeano

[This article originally published in: La Jornada, April 10, 1999 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, www.muenster.de/~cviento/kosovo/d_galeano1.html. The author Eduardo Galeano born in 1940 in Montevideo (Uruguay) is well-known through his books "The Open Veins of Latin America" and "Memories of Fire".]

1. The United States and its allies in NATO exploded a flood of missiles on Yugoslavia or the little that remains of Yugoslavia.

According to the original version, the aggressors champion the rights of Albanian people in Kosovo, the victims of "ethnic cleansing" by the Milosevic government. According to statements of President Clinton, the western democracies cannot fold their arms in view of this "unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe".

The most dreadful "ethnic cleansing" and the "most unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe" of the history of America in the 20th century, happened in the last decades in Guatemala, above all in the 80s. The Guatemalan Indigenas were the main victims of this massacre. There were a hundred times more dead than in Kosovo and twice as many expellees. During his last journey to Central America, President Clinton asked for forgiveness for his country's support of the butchers of the Indigenas, developed, armed and advised by the United States. Why didn't Clinton urge Milosevic to also apply this successful doctrine of washing his hands? The bombardments could be stopped in exchange for a formal commitment to ask the deceased in Kosovo around 2012 or 2013 for forgiveness so everything could be restored, the matter finished and the sin atoned. Then the murders could go on.

2. The US president was entangled in a sex scandal and Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman invented a war to divert the attention of the esteemed public. In the film "Wag the Dog", this fictional war was carried out in the name of saving the Albanian people. Now the film is continued with other means, again in the name of the deliverance of the Albanian people. This is like the movie. The airplanes that seem to have come from Hollywood start and explode fireworks in the sky over Yugoslavia night after night.

As with Iraq's bombardments, pictures of the dead enemies do not belong to the spectacle. There are no dead persons on one's side. As long as the attacks occur from the air, this war pretends to be a virtual war. If the troops were to march on the ground and the first heroes returned in coffins to the aggressor countries, that would be a very different story.

3. NATO celebrates its 50th birthday on a mammoth scale. Cheers! This is the most expensive birthday party of history. The value of the life and goods destroyed in Yugoslavia is not taken into account because every enemy deserves his unhappiness. Each night of bombing cost $330 million. According to a calculation of the March 30, 2001 Frankfurt Allgemeinen Zeitung newspaper, the United States spent as much money on the first night of this war as Clinton promised the Central American countries devastated by Hurricane Mitch.

This was not without reason. Some asked whether NATO was needed after the communist threat in eastern Europe disappeared. The manager of the enterprise, Javier Solana, sought to diffuse these doubts. Twenty years ago, Solana wrote "No to NATO!". Ten years ago, he said "We were informed later" after the war of the US against Iraq began. Now he declares to us NATO "defends the peace" - at a million dollars per missile.

4. The superpowers practice crime and recommend crime. No one has broken the law as often. Bomber states laugh at international law and at their own founding document of NATO. Everything is allowed against Milosevic, even what is prohibited, they tell us. On television, the so-called Hitler of the Balkans appears healthy and colorful. The people suffer.

The wars against Iraq that have violated all the laws that ever existed were justified with the necessity of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The years passed by with one bombardment after another and the so-called Hitler of the Middle East continues to govern as though nothing happened. How many Iraqis have died? According to official statistics of the United States (US Bureau of the Census, January 1992), 145,000 Iraqis and 124 Americans died in the war of 1991. How many more suffer under the blockade that theoretically should have brought the dictator to his knees? How many will be afflicted by hunger forced on them by the international economic sanctions? The number of children born underweight rose sixfold in this decade according to the last report of the Red Cross.

5. Did the "ethnic cleansings" really rend NATO's heart? Is every means justified to protect threatened minorities from genocide? That would be touching. If this were true, why didn't NATO bomb Turkey? Doesn't Turkey practice the systematic cleansing of the Kurdish people? Why did Yugoslavia deserve punishment and Turkey applause? Perhaps Turkey belongs to the family, is a member country of NATO or perhaps even more significantly is one of the most important consumers of the western arms industry.

6. This war like all wars is a gigantic showcase for exhibiting and selling weapons. The F-117 (stealth bomber) that began its destructive car4eer with the murder of Palestinians at the end of 1989 is still the star. A stumbling occurs in every career and advertising campaign. A sample of this allegedly invisible wonder weapons was seen and shot down. This cost American taxpayers $45 million apart from the weapons that the plane carried.

7. This war like all wars serves to justify military expenditures. The great western powers armed to the teeth need customers and enemies. The generals of the Pentagon warned `Our supplies are nearly exhausted' not long ago, at the beginning of the year when the second war against Irag ended. Immediately President Clinton announced he would pad the enormous war budget amounting to 15% of the entire US budget with $12 billion. No one knows why the war budget is called the defense budget.

8. NATO arose as an armed arm of the United States in Europe. Although Russia threatens no one anymore, NATO continues growing along with Washington's hegemony and the market for the US arms industry. To receive certificates of good conduct, Poland, Hungary and the Czech republic enter NATO and become purchasers of new US weapons. The evil of yesterday proves to be the good of today by renewing its war arsenal to reach the operation level demanded by NATO.

The Lockheed corporation and other industries of death grease the palms of the representatives quite legally so the US Congress agrees.

9. A scandal recently surfaced in Great Britain. The most famous universities, the most pious relief organizations and the most important hospitals invest the pension funds of their employees in the weapons industry. Those responsible for education, charity and health care declared that they invest their money in the firms that make the highest profits, the businesses of the arms industry. A spokesperson of the University of Glasgow said very clearly: "We don't make any moral decisions. Whether the investments are profitable interests us, not whether they are ethical." If the bombs falling on Yugoslavia could speak and not only explode and kill, would they then confess the truth? O Lord bombs, you are the deadly instruments of the good? - Please a littlemore respect, sir, we are a good business.

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