July 7, 1999; 02:45 PM
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
New York, NY
Subject: A letter to the editor re. "To All But Americans, Kosovo War
Appears a Major U.S. Victory," July 6, 1999 (by Carla Anne Robbins)
Your front page story, "To All But Americans, Kosovo War Appears a Major
U.S. Victory," July 6, 1999 (by Carla Anne Robbins), is a classic.
Journalism schools should use it as an example of smarmy,
self-congratulatory and obsequious reporting, free of meaningful news
content, and suitable only as free advertising for the nation's "death
merchants" and other industrialists who feed at the Pentagon trough.
Why put the Journal readers through a wasteful 2,000-word circular journey
when the story could have ended up in their circular files much faster if
you had labeled is as "advertisement""
"For America's European allies -- co-victors in a war completely dominated
by American technology and firepower -- Kosovo has sparked renewed
soul-searching about their stark dependence on the U.S.," the Journal says
arrogantly, glorifying the virtues of war technology, without saying a word
about its pitfalls.Such as the 2,000 innocent Serb civilians, for
example, who were killed as "collateral damage," proving that the
Pentagon's reliance on "smart" bombs is nothing but a grand delusion worthy
of a war crimes trial for manslaughter.
As to the "wounded pride and big-power jockeying," which you say "can be
seen in everything from the Russian Army's mad dash last month to beat NATO
troops to the Pristina airport, to floundering negotiations over China's
entry into the World Trade Organization," you must have been joking?For,
let me give you a real life example of wounded pride which the Journal
story never mentioned - that of the Pentagon officials and contractors.
Close to the war's end, NATO claimed that it had destroyed about 60% of the
Yugoslav Army's artillery and about 40% of its main battle tanks.
Yet, after the war ended, it turned out that "hundreds of Serb dummies
managed to fool the NATO brass dummies into believing they were bombing
hundreds of Serbian tanks and artillery," the London Times reported in a
front page story on June 24. "NATO'S 79-day bombing campaign against
Yugoslavia, which involved thousands of sorties and some of the most
sophisticated precision weapons, succeeded in damaging only 13 of the
Serbs' 300 battle tanks in Kosovo, despite alliance claims of large-scale
destruction of Belgrade's heavy armor," the Times defense editor, Michael
Evans, reported from Pristina.
With NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) now spread out into every area of the
province, troops from all the different nationalities taking part in the
peacekeeping operation have been searching for destroyed or damaged tanks
and artillery. They have, so far, found just three damaged T55 tanks left
behind in Kosovo. "What we have found is a huge number of dummy tanks and
artillery," one KFOR source told the London Times.
The Yugoslav Army used well-practiced camouflage techniques which involved
placing dummies around the countryside, some of them next to dummy bridges
with strips of black plastic sheeting across fields as fake roads to delude
NATO bombers into thinking they had a prime target to hit. "When you're
travelling at 500mph at 15,000ft, it is easy to be fooled," another KFOR
source told the Times.
That we have never heard that from the arrogant Pentagon and NATO spokesmen
perhaps is not surprising.But how does one explain such a glaring
omission by the Journal's reporters and editors?
And then, the tiny Yugoslav Air Force provided more fodder for the
Pentagon's "wounded pride"...
Before the NATO bombing started on Mar. 24, the Yugoslav Air Force had a
total of 16 MiG-29s, two of which were not operational, according to expert
defense sources.For the 11 out of the 14 operational Yugoslav MiG-29s to
take off from the Pristina airport on June 12, after the armistice was
signed, was nothing short of a miracle.And a tremendous shock to the
"omnipotent" Pentagon and NATO officials.Because, the Yugoslav Air Force
should have had only three of the MiGs left after the 79-day bombing
campaign, according to the NATO claims.
Furthermore, NATO officials have also claimed that only four Yugoslav Air
Force MiG-21s remained in Kosovo.On June 12, scores of MiG-21s also took
off from Pristina's Slatina airport and headed north, according to
Yet, not a word about that Pentagon "achievement" in the Journal's story?
Why not?Because it's bad for the warmongering business?Because the
truth about their incompetence and impotence would hurt the stocks of the
top Pentagon suppliers?And deprive them of a chance to keep on milking
the taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars every year for their
high-tech weapons which kill hospitals, embassies or apartment buildings,
but leave the tanks and MiG's virtually intact?
And since the Journal is obviously in the warmongering rather than the news
business, why not change your name to the "Death Merchants Journal?"At
least that way your readers will know whose interests the Journal serves.
Bob Djurdjevic, Founder
Truth in Media