CHAPTER FIVE: THE NEW IMPERIAL MODEL
3. THE TRIUMPH OF HATRED [continued]
Johnstone now details what she says were the changing motives behind the war:
"What were the true objectives of the NATO war against Yugoslavia? How did the means employed correspond to those objectives?"
These are worthwhile questions, and worthy of serious analysis and sustained study. Johnstone gives them all of one page, just enough to time to present of motley assortment of quotes from various sources, some of whom actually having been directly a part of the NATO effort.
Johnstone has set her sights low--the Kosovo War was a tough sell to an indifferent public, and often the rhetoric of Clinton Administration officials and even the President himself chose sloppy hyperbole over reasoned argument. When you also consider the political compromises that hampered war planning and restricted the options open to General Clark, the reasons for rhetorical vagueness were multiplied.
Which doesn't excuse the confusion. But Johnstone is not interested in even understanding the complexities and contradictions of the NATO approach to the war or the political leadership's varied responses. She needs the reader to believe that the Kosovo War was a fiendishly executed finale to a well-orchestrated and long-running Western conspiracy to destroy Yugoslavia, and the fact that the Western world obviously edged itself into the war unenthusiastically after four years of mostly avoiding involvement in Bosnia isn't going to stop her. The murkiness around the war must--in her mind--reflect a desperate spin to confuse and mislead the public.
It isn't just American political leaders who get quoted--Johnstone quotes from Newsweek magazine as if all outlets of the American print media are part and parcel of this vast conspiracy. As usual, she finds stories and reporting from the American mass media oversimplifying the issues and call them "NATO propaganda."
Much media coverage from the time was over-the-top. I still cringe when I read or hear knee-jerk "Nazi" or "Hitler" parallels. They are sloppy and generally obscure the particulars of the situation rather than illuminating it. But, again, Johnstone is not interested in helping to bring the issue into focus. She merely wants to throw dirt in the reader's eyes.