Was Serbia a Practice Run for Iraq

On March 11, the former Serbian
leader and president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic,
died in his prison cell at the Hague, where he had been
on trial for four years and one month for war crimes and
genocide. The Serbian Socialist Party leader Zoran
Andjelkovic responded to the

news of Milosevic`s death
with the following

Milosevic, the president of the Socialist Party of
Serbia and a former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia
was murdered today at the Tribunal in Hague. The
decision of the Tribunal to disallow Milosevic`s medical
treatment at the Bakunin Institute in Moscow represents
a prescribed death sentence against Milosevic. Truth and
justice were on his side and this is why they have used
a strategy of gradual killing of Slobodan Milosevic. The
responsibility for his death is clearly with the Hague

A partisan accusation or the truth?
Milosevic was known to be

seriously ill.
The Russian government promised to
return Milosevic to the Tribunal after treatment. The
Tribunal refused. It is easy to conclude that the case
against Milosevic had collapsed and that an embarrassed
US government, NATO authorities, and Hague Tribunal
decided to let him die in his cell rather than admit
that his guilt could not be proven even after a trial
lasting four years and one month.

Milosevic was caught up in the
post-Soviet era

break-up of Yugoslavia.
Nationalist forces broke up
the Yugoslav federation. During 1991-92, Croatia,
Slovenia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina seceded from
Yugoslavia. Large Serbian minorities in Croatia and in
Bosnia objected and claimed the identical right of
self-determination to remain in the federation as Croats
and Muslims claimed to leave it. Croatian and Bosnian
Serbs organized and a war against secession began.

Milosevic could hardly remain a
Serbian leader and not support the Serbs.

Abraham Lincoln
was canonized for invading the South
to prevent its secession, but Milosevic was damned for
trying to protect Yugoslavia`s territorial integrity. In
the end Milosevic accepted secession. In 1995 Milosevic
negotiated the Dayton Agreement which ended

the war in Bosnia.
According to the encyclopedia,

, "Milosevic was credited in the West
with being one of the pillars of Balkan peace."

In 1998 Milosevic was confronted
with a more severe problem. Armed actions by the
separatist Kosovar Liberation Army, listed as a
terrorist organization by the US Department of State, in
the ancient Serbian province of Kosovo broke out into
warfare. Milosevic was now trying to hold on to a
province not of Yugoslavia but of Serbia itself, a
province that had been colonized by ethnic Albanians.
The Serbian population in Kosovo was outnumbered nine to
one and suffered greatly at the hands of the KLA.

Milosevic, already damaged by the
wars of secession that destroyed Yugoslavia, lost the
media campaign waged by public relations firms hired by
contending factions that spun the news that Americans
received. Milosevic was demonized, and the Clinton
administration had Serbia bombed by NATO forces for 78
days in the spring of 1999. Many Serbian civilians were
killed by the air strikes which hit passenger trains and
destroyed the Chinese embassy. In effect, the US
interfered in Serbian affairs in behalf of the
secession, with the result that Kosovo has been
essentially ethnically cleansed of Serbs. Kosovo is
apparently still considered to be a part of Serbia, but
it is administered by the United Nations. Somehow, this
has been presented as a great moral victory for

If the massive propaganda campaign
against Milosevic had many facts behind it, he long ago
would have been convicted at the Hague. What was the
episode all about?

In my opinion, it was to establish
the precedent, later to be employed in the Middle East,
that the US government could demonize a head of state
geographically distant from any legitimate "sphere of
and use military force to remove him.
This is precisely the fate of Saddam Hussein, and the
Bush regime still hopes to repeat the strategy in Iran
and Syria.

The unanswered question is why does
the "international community" go along with it?
The numerous civilians killed by US interventions are
just as dead as the ones killed by heads of state
attempting to hold on to their countries. Why are the
latter deaths war crimes but not the former?

As a presidential candidate, George
W. Bush criticized President Clinton`s intervention in
Serbia and disavowed the international policeman role
for the US. But as soon as Bush got in office, he
plotted to invade Iraq. Why?

Americans should be very concerned
that Bush still has not come clean about why he invaded
Iraq. Americans should be disturbed that despite the
disastrous results in Iraq, Bush still intends
"regime change"
in Iran and Syria.



Paul Craig Roberts [email
] is the author


Alienation and the Soviet Economy


Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the author

with Lawrence M.
Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice



for Peter Brimelow`s

Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the
recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.