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The Chomsky Article, "The Current Bombing: Behind the Rhetoric", can be found in
‘The Noam Chomsky Archive



My apologies regarding possible mistakes in the language. The article is an attempt, in the context of the Balkans,  to analyze the materialist Left which contributed considerable amount of hatred into the Balkan history in the last century. The method—or point of view—accepted here consists simply of connecting the facts through their concepts. 

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The Stenkovec refugee camp A view of the Stenkovec refugee camp near Skopje, Macedonia on May 11, 1999. Macedonia currently has over 230,000 refugees in nine over-crowded camps. (AP Photo/NATO )

After the NATO action against Serbia started,
the exodus was predictable. 

Yet Mr. Chomsky accuses not the Serbs 
but the the NATO countries for it.

Do not the Serbian Army and Police forces 
killing, torturing, raping the masses now in Kosovo 
have any moral capability just to be held responsible?

The Cegrane refugee camp The Cegrane refugee camp in Macedonia Tuesday May 11, 1999.  (AP Photo/NATO )

Writing in the name of the Left, Mr. Chomsky compares NATO bombardment to: 1) Japan’s attack on Manchuria during the WW-II; 2) Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia; 3) Hitler’s occupation of parts of Czechoslovakia. In plain words, NATO is a destructive force in the service of the worst intentions on the part of the North American and European democracies. Serbia is the victim, persecuted by the most aggressive, brutal, and dangerous powers in the world. This is the perception by an anarchist of a mass destruction which, in retrospect, is in no way different from the one that took place in Bosnia just four year ago—except a ‘humanitarian’ aerial bombardment by NATO to stop it.

Before the commencement of the NATO aerial bombardment over Yugoslavia, more than 2000 people had been killed and hundreds of thousands forced to leave their homes. Mr. Chomsky opposed to the bombardment which was undertaken to prevent the possible full scale mass destruction. Not because he had a better idea. He found it outright illegal. He proposed simply to DO NOTHING to stop it on the pretext of respecting and strengthening the international law, while the latter, as it was epitomized by the Security Council, would exactly have dictated the same: DO NOTHING, just as it DID NOTHING in the case of Bosnia before.


What was taking place in Kosovo for years was not a war between the combatants. Neither was it a matter of  ‘defending of Yugoslav territory against the terrorists,’ as Mr. Chomsky wants us to believe it to be. It was the prelude to a systematic persecution and destruction of the innocent through the most savage ways humanity is ever capable of, sponsored by a despotic residue still trying to keep its foot on the Balkans. It was a continuation of a campaign of hate by a people which, until it is free from its burden of sadistic impulses against humanity, it is immoral to recognize as a ‘Nation.’ Until the evil is admitted as such, the hate will not end but remain repressed. Its political expression, the will to war, will wait for its time to come once more. But when the evil is recognized for what it is, when the conscience is let free to do its job, human nature, which is no doubt shared by the Serbs also, is not incapable to get rid of it.

Makedonyalı çocuklar

Here it may be expedient to note that the pervert theory which takes the Serbian people or any people or nation for that matter as genocidal may have either no basis or a genetical one. For those of us who have a sound mind to differentiate what is spiritual from what is molecular, there can never be a question of judging a whole nation as genocidal. The ethno-cultural hatred which is a legacy of historical factors is a matter of temporary significance and can be cured by understanding. It is a matter for conceptual development. And that same conceptual deficiency is what haunts Mr. Chomsky, among others, in his theory of ‘wrong’ audiences.

Mr. Chomsky looks at the facts through his anarchistic point of view. He perceives the reality as it is seen in its negative image, that is, relative to the concepts he is obliged to put into the picture according to his anarcho-socialistic ideology. For him, the murder of 2000 people was only an unfortunate result of the defensive actions on the part of the socialist Yugoslav government forces against the KLA terrorism. NATO countries had the worst intentions in mind, although these were difficult to articulate even by this most important intellectual of the US. Again, in his opinion, the whole matter should have been handed over the UN authority as it was done in the case of Bosnia.

If you try to sell this sort of picture as an intellectual commentary, you get a bit nervous. So it is not unpredictable to find a note of hostility being emitted from his sense of guilt between the lines of Mr. Chomsky’s article. To that extent, this essay has its legitimate right to be a bit hostile against the apologetics of mass murder.

Kosovar girl

Normally we can’t feel, we can’t imagine the intensity of the pain and suffering afflicted on a peaceful people of which the only guilt is to have different beliefs and values, a different culture. Normally, the hatred with which the hearts of the mass murderers is filled is beyond the reach of our empathy. We can imagine the victim at the moment the gun is directed to his or her head; but we fail to feel the terror of the moment. If we, or rather, if the Serbs could have, the world certainly would have been a much better place.

In the spring of 1996, as eastern Bosnia's frozen ground was beginning to thaw, a photographer and I drove to Kamenica, a village in Republika Srpska, the Serb-run enclave that was carved out of Bosnia by Serbian ethnic cleansing and later given juridical existence by the 1995 Dayton peace accord. We had been told that Kamenica was the place where Bosnian Serb forces had killed many of the 7,000 Bosnian Muslims who were missing after the Serbs overran the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica the previous summer.

We veered off the main road through the village onto a dirt path that led into rolling green hills. A few minutes later, we found ourselves standing on a grassy hillside littered with human bones. Nearly eight months had passed since the men from Srebrenica were killed, and none of the Serbs of Kamenica had thought to bury them. Tennis shoes and woolen socks still hugged skeletal feet.

Bosnian woman

A stretcher made of a blanket and two wooden sticks lay on the ground; the wounded man who had lain on it was now an intact skeleton, still dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt. Skulls, vertebrae, arms, legs, rib cages, rubber boots, bits of clothing, and ID cards were everywhere. And, in a thorny bush at the bottom of the hill, we found an old Polaroid of four men—all presumably victims—laughing and sharing a bottle of beer.

As we walked among the dead, two Serb farmers drove past us on a tractor, the tires of their vehicle narrowly missing a corpse that still lay right in the path. They seemed not to notice. A few minutes later, two more young Serb men walked by. I asked the me if they knew what had happened on the hill. They shrugged their shoulders and told us that they had been on vacation in Austria during the summer of 1995.

Ever since that encounter, I have been struggling to understand what these men could have been thinking. Even before the current slaughter in Kosovo, Serb forces had killed a massive number of civilians in the name of national self-defense. Yet it has all gone on with barely a murmur of public dissent or protest. Even when I approach Serbs individually, probing them for remorse, I hardly find any. Why not?

From ‘‘Milosevic’s Willing Executioners’’
by Stacy Sullivan
The New Republic (Broken Link) Brief article