Review



Noam Chomsky, The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo (Pluto, £9.99)



Those members of the "left" who supported NATO's armed aggression against Yugoslavia would do well to read this book. The idea that US foreign policy could possibly be motivated by humanitarian considerations is so preposterous that in some ways it is a shame that as fine a writer as Noam Chomsky has to expend so much time and energy repeatedly debunking it. However, doing so enables him to things work in reality, rather than in the fantasy-world of left-leaning liberals. Chomsky begins by looking at the selectiveness of this humanitarian concern. You can be terrorised with full US permission - and sometimes enthusiastic participation - but only by an American ally. Given their experience it would be surprising if the Kurdish people have no tradition of gallows humour, which raises the question of whether they would have laughed or cried at the spectacle of NATO "humanitarianism" and the way in which certain "progressives" swallowed it. The sound of barrel-scraping reaches its climax with the claim that whatever the US has done in the past, that does not prove that motives weren't different this time around. Maybe not - but Rambouillet does. Read it - or see Brian Denny's article in Spectre's last issue - and you'll see what I mean. Read this book, too, and you'll see that the US deliberately chose the kind of weaponry most likely to cost the maximum number of civilian lives ( and to go on doing so long after the war), and sent the kind of personnel least likely to display any kind of basic humanity in their operations. Humanitarian imperialism? In George Orwell's 1984 permanent wars are conducted by the Ministry of Peace. By my calculations he was just 15 years out.


The reviewer, Steve McGiffen, is Spectre's editor.