I got called by a military recruiter when I was a senior in high school. This was ’86 or ’87, and I wasn’t surprised; other guys I knew had been contacted too, but even so, I hadn’t put any thought into how to respond ahead of time. Nonetheless, when the moment came I was unequivocal. I told the man I had no interest whatsoever in going overseas to kill people, no matter what. He was a bit taken aback–this was Nebraska, after all–but he pushed on.
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Two decades ago Nato started its 78 day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Using the language of peace and humanitarianism Nato dismembered Yugoslavia killing more civilians than they did soldiers. A non-stop aerial assault on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia using more than a thousand Nato warplanes delivering 2,000 air-strikes in 40,000 sorties and with over 20,000 bombs dropped on the country.
The rabid imperialists shed crocodile tears of humanitarian concern for Albanians in Kosovo. Or so the press and its organs told us. In just a few months President Clinton bombed four countries: Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yugoslavia.
During the Cold War, the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia represented to many a viable alternative to the Soviet model. Grounded by workplace self-management, the Yugoslav system seemingly gave workers the right to exercise democratic control on the shop floor.
The distinct Yugoslav path to socialism found admirers around the world. In Eastern Europe, the combination of market socialism and self-management offered a model for anti-Stalinist reformers. In the capitalist West, democratic socialists hopefully viewed the experiment as a more “human” socialism. And across much of the Third World, Yugoslavia — a leading member of the Non-Aligned Movement — demonstrated the viability of a “third way” between the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union.