Truth in Media Activism: Letters to Editors

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July 7, 1999

To: The Wall Street Journal

To the "Death Merchants Journal," a.k.a. the Wall Street Journal

Re. "To All But Americans, Kosovo War Appears a Major U.S. Victory," July 6, 1999 (by Carla Anne Robbins) 



Ned Crabb, Letters Editor


New York, NY

Subject: A letter to the editor re. "To All But Americans, Kosovo War Appears a Major U.S. Victory," July 6, 1999 (by Carla Anne Robbins)

Dear Ned,

Your front page story, "To All But Americans, Kosovo War Appears a Major U.S. Victory," July 6, 1999 (by Carla Anne Robbins), is a classic. Journalism schools should use it as an example of smarmy, self-congratulatory and obsequious reporting, free of meaningful news content, and suitable only as free advertising for the nation's "death merchants" and other industrialists who feed at the Pentagon trough.

Why put the Journal readers through a wasteful 2,000-word circular journey when the story could have ended up in their circular files much faster if you had labeled is as "advertisement""

"For America's European allies -- co-victors in a war completely dominated by American technology and firepower -- Kosovo has sparked renewed soul-searching about their stark dependence on the U.S.," the Journal says arrogantly, glorifying the virtues of war technology, without saying a word about its pitfalls. Such as the 2,000 innocent Serb civilians, for example, who were killed as "collateral damage," proving that the Pentagon's reliance on "smart" bombs is nothing but a grand delusion worthy of a war crimes trial for manslaughter.

As to the "wounded pride and big-power jockeying," which you say "can be seen in everything from the Russian Army's mad dash last month to beat NATO troops to the Pristina airport, to floundering negotiations over China's entry into the World Trade Organization," you must have been joking? For, let me give you a real life example of wounded pride which the Journal story never mentioned - that of the Pentagon officials and contractors.

Close to the war's end, NATO claimed that it had destroyed about 60% of the Yugoslav Army's artillery and about 40% of its main battle tanks.

Yet, after the war ended, it turned out that "hundreds of Serb dummies managed to fool the NATO brass dummies into believing they were bombing hundreds of Serbian tanks and artillery," the London Times reported in a front page story on June 24. "NATO'S 79-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, which involved thousands of sorties and some of the most sophisticated precision weapons, succeeded in damaging only 13 of the Serbs' 300 battle tanks in Kosovo, despite alliance claims of large-scale destruction of Belgrade's heavy armor," the Times defense editor, Michael Evans, reported from Pristina.

With NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) now spread out into every area of the province, troops from all the different nationalities taking part in the peacekeeping operation have been searching for destroyed or damaged tanks and artillery. They have, so far, found just three damaged T55 tanks left behind in Kosovo. "What we have found is a huge number of dummy tanks and artillery," one KFOR source told the London Times.

The Yugoslav Army used well-practiced camouflage techniques which involved placing dummies around the countryside, some of them next to dummy bridges with strips of black plastic sheeting across fields as fake roads to delude NATO bombers into thinking they had a prime target to hit. "When you're travelling at 500mph at 15,000ft, it is easy to be fooled," another KFOR source told the Times.

That we have never heard that from the arrogant Pentagon and NATO spokesmen perhaps is not surprising. But how does one explain such a glaring omission by the Journal's reporters and editors?

And then, the tiny Yugoslav Air Force provided more fodder for the Pentagon's "wounded pride"...

Before the NATO bombing started on Mar. 24, the Yugoslav Air Force had a total of 16 MiG-29s, two of which were not operational, according to expert defense sources. For the 11 out of the 14 operational Yugoslav MiG-29s to take off from the Pristina airport on June 12, after the armistice was signed, was nothing short of a miracle. And a tremendous shock to the "omnipotent" Pentagon and NATO officials. Because, the Yugoslav Air Force should have had only three of the MiGs left after the 79-day bombing campaign, according to the NATO claims.

Furthermore, NATO officials have also claimed that only four Yugoslav Air Force MiG-21s remained in Kosovo. On June 12, scores of MiG-21s also took off from Pristina's Slatina airport and headed north, according to eyewitness reports.

Yet, not a word about that Pentagon "achievement" in the Journal's story? Why not? Because it's bad for the warmongering business? Because the truth about their incompetence and impotence would hurt the stocks of the top Pentagon suppliers? And deprive them of a chance to keep on milking the taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars every year for their high-tech weapons which kill hospitals, embassies or apartment buildings, but leave the tanks and MiG's virtually intact?

And since the Journal is obviously in the warmongering, rather than the news business, why not change your name to the "Death Merchants Journal?" At least that way your readers will know whose interests the Journal serves.

Best regards,

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Bob Djurdjevic, Founder, Truth in Media

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Also check out... "Does WSJ Dance to Wall St. Bankers' Tunes?""Clinton Fiddles While Milosevic Burns""Let the Bombing Begin?  Not!" , "What's Good for the Goose..."  and "Journal's Rotten Apples" (Wall Street Journal); and "Stock buybacks: Wall St.'s duping of Main St.", Business Week).