The War on Yugoslavia Twenty Years Later: NATO’s First ‘Humanitarian’ War

On March 24th 1999, following the failure of peace talks brokered by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the people of Yugoslavia writhed and screamed under a shower of deadly bombs raining down from the skies. [2][3]

Over the course of a 78 day campaign, NATO would dispatch 35,000 combat operations over the sovereign state involving over 1,000 warplanes (including F-15, F-16 and F-117), 206 helicopters, more than 20,000 laser and satellite-guided weapons, 79,000 tons of explosives, including 152 containers for 35,450 cluster bombs, and other weaponry prohibited under international conventions.[4]

According to research conducted by a July 1999 Independent Commission of Inquiry, overseen by the International Action Center, thousands of people were killed and 6000 injured as a direct result of the bombings. Thirty percent of the casualties were children.

In her report, Vivian Martin stated:

“Belgrade suffered the most hits during the entire two months of NATO’s aggression. On May 20,1999 at 12:55 am NATO directly hit the “Dragisa Misovic” hospital in the neurological ward, the gynecological ward and the children’s ward for lung diseases were completely destroyed. NATO admitted that one of the laser-guided bombs overshot it’s target by about 1,500 feet. Four patients were killed and several women in labor were wounded.

“The Chinese Embassy Building also suffered numerous direct hits as well. One half of the building was destroyed. Four Chinese citizens were killed and 20 were injured…. A transmitter used by foreign journalists situated in Belgrade was also destroyed. More than 15 civilian employees of the TV station were killed.” [5]

The war was fought, allegedly, in the name of stopping violence by ethnic Serbs against Kosovo Albanians. The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine was invoked as a justification for launching an aggressive attack in violation of the United Nations Charter, and indeed even the NATO Charter. The result was the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and the creation of an ‘independent’ Kosovo. [6]

The 20th anniversary of this historic event was largely drowned out by other news stories, in spite of its significance, both in terms of human lives and in terms of the precedent it said for launching future ‘humanitarian wars.’ [7][8]

The Global Research News Hour commemorates the last major conflict of the 20th century with a special program highlighting the less talked about aspects of the War on Yugoslavia and its aftermath with four analysts with more than a passing interest in the tragedy.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky provides some of the historical and geopolitical context of the 1999 war. We next get the perspective of Živadin Jovanović, Yugoslavia’s Foreign Affairs Minister during the conflict, who details his government’s perspective on what happened 20 years ago.

In the second half hour, we are joined by James Bissett, Canada’s former Ambassador to Yugoslavia, who deconstructs some of the humanitarian arguments advanced to justify the war, and the precedent it set for the institutions of world order. Finally, former soldier and journalist Scott Taylor breaks down his on the ground observations of what he saw and experienced during and after the war.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research. In May of 1999 he published the in depth analysis of the conflict in Yugoslavia in the article NATO’s War of Aggression against Yugoslavia: Who are the War Criminals?For these and related writings he received the 2014 Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia.

Živadin Jovanović served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1998 and 2000. Since 2005, he has served as President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, a non-profit organization which is a member of the World Peace Council. The Forum supports world peace and non-interventionism and opposes “humanitarian wars”.

James Bissett is a Canadian diplomat with a 36 year track record of public service in the Departments of Citizenship and Immigration and Foreign Affairs. He was Canada’s ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1990 until 1992, with responsibility for Albania and Bulgaria. A consistent critic of the West’s policies in the former Yugoslavia, Bissett testified at the Trial of Slobodan Milošević as a defence witness.

Scott Taylor is a former soldier, a journalist, and the Publisher/Editor of the Canadian military magazine Esprit de Corps. Taylor reported from the ground during and after NATO’s 1999 assault on the former Yugoslavia. He is the author of several books including Diary of an Uncivil War: The Violent Aftermath of the Kosovo Conflict (2002).

(Global Research News Hour Episode 253)

Find an extensive archive of in depth reports on Yugoslavia, Kosovo and the NATO War on Global Research.


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at . Excerpts of the show have begun airing on Rabble Radio and appear as podcasts at

The Global Research News Hour now airs Fridays at 6pm PST, 8pm CST and 9pm EST on Alternative Current Radio (

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at

RIOT RADIO, the visual radio station based out of Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario has begun airing the Global Research News Hour on an occasional basis. Tune in at

Radio Fanshawe: Fanshawe’s 106.9 The X (CIXX-FM) out of London, Ontario airs the Global Research News Hour Sundays at 6am with an encore at 4pm.

Los Angeles, California based airs the Global Research News Hour every Monday from 6-7pm Pacific time. 

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