Quoted some years ago: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to then-Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Colin Powell: “What is the point of having so much firepower if it is never going to be used?”
If NATO wants to destroy the Yugoslav army’s defense, as it has said, why has it destroyed bridges, schools, buildings, factories, gas stations and cities all over Serbia and Montenegro? Why, then, have thousands of people – mostly women and children – left Serbia trying to find some safer place in neighboring countries? They are also refugees.
In New Belgrade, a crucial heating plant that served hundreds of thousands of people in that part of town was bombed. Why?
One essential thing the U.S. government, as a leading force of NATO, hasn’t understood yet – or doesn’t want to admit – is that its brutal attacks against cities, its messages full of threats and raw war logic, have pulled the people of Yugoslavia together. They have united in defense of their lives, pride and future, and of the country, of course. Milosevic’s position has never been stronger.
When we in Serbia wanted to get rid of Milosevic (massive peaceful protests three years ago), the only – but crucial – support we missed was from Washington. And what now? Civilians who live under constant waves of bombing are certainly not going to listen to Washington’s demands.
If one has to spend 15 or 20 hours daily in a shelter, night after night, able to surface only now and again; if it can be dangerous to cross the street to buy bread; if your own city becomes unknown at night without street lights; and if there is no feeling but human humiliation, then revolt against those who put them in this situation will inevitably grow.
Ajdanic (e-mail: email@example.com)
is a 1998 fellow at the World Press Institute based at Macalester College.
An editor of the independent BETA news agency, based in Belgrade, she is
temporarily staying in Minneapolis.
The cost of the war to the U.S. taxpayers is just beginning to be realized. The Navy, which purchased thousands of Tomahawks during the Cold War, has about 3000 in its inventory, according to the Center for Defense Information. The Tomahawks cost $1 million each.
The Air Force has a smaller inventory of cruise missiles – with perhaps
150 non-nuclear missiles
left. They cost $1.5 million apiece.
The Stealth fighter shot down near Belgrade cost $45 million when it was built a decade ago. There are 57 Stealths in operation. Before the Stealth was shot down over Belgrade, one crashed last May at an air show in Maryland.
Neither the Pentagon nor NATO will say how many “smart” bombs have been dropped from fighters or bombers. These bombs can run anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000.
Finally, the costs of key aircraft in use over Kosovo include: the F-16 ($20 million apiece); the F-15 ($40 million apiece); and the A-10 “Warthog” anti-tank fighter ($15 million).
Voices for Peace asks: What price do we pay with our souls?