cover image To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia

To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia

Michael Parenti. Verso, $18.95 (246pp) ISBN 978-1-85984-776-3

For 78 days in 1999, the United States and NATO forces responded to the violence in Kosovo by conducting aerial attacks against Yugoslavia. Parenti gives an unabashedly critical assessment of this intervention, based on a solid and passionate rejection of Western leaders' ""lies"" about events in the Balkans and Western interests in that part of the world. Readers not familiar with his leftist analysis may find Parenti's dismissal of NATO's justification for its 1999 bombing campaign shocking or silly; others may find it thought-provoking. He argues that Western intervention in Yugoslavia was driven not by a humanitarian desire to stop ethnic cleansing, but rather by a self-interested determination to subjugate formerly Communist countries to the forces of free-market globalization. The government-controlled media in the U.S., he claims, was unfairly prejudiced against Slobodan Milosevic, once he was no longer of use to the West. Parenti makes compelling points about biased media coverage of Serbia, but he seems to misunderstand the huge role that the Serbian government played in creating the conditions for violence in Yugoslavia. While other Balkan political and military leaders may also deserve blame, Milosevic does not deserve a defense. Sometimes Parenti's assessments seem paranoid, as in his claim that an elementary school was bombed because it bore the name of a Socialist leader. And his economic and political arguments, as well as his accounts of U.S. involvements in other parts of the world not covered by mainstream media, though they may give one pause, will appeal mostly to readers who share his leftist perspective. (Jan.)