Friday, September 23, 2005

Myth: The Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) attacked Slovenia in June 1991.

FACT: In June 1991 Slovenia illegally declared itself an independent state, and, despite promising not to to the US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, proceeded to illegally take over its border posts. In response to this illegal and unilateral action, the JNA was ordered to assist the Federal police in peacefully resuming control over the borders of Yugoslavia in the Slovene federal unit, which is what it attempted to do. Just 2,000 unarmed troops were moved from their barracks in Slovenia to assist the police in this limited operation. The order to take over the border posts was published openly in the Federal Gazette a day before it went into operation, and the Slovene President, Milan Kucan, was directly informed by the JNA of what they were going to do, including the lines of their planned troop movements. Kucan even requested privately to the Commander of the Fifth Military District of the JNA, which included Slovenia, that they not do the operation on the day of their independence celebrations (which the JNA did not). The JNA was not expecting any violence at all in carrying out this policing action. But the Slovene separatists were planning otherwise. As soon as the JNA moved, Kucan gave the order for the Slovenes’ illegally armed and formed separatist forces to attack the JNA. JNA barracks were surrounded, roadblocks set up to block the JNA’s path, and armed attacks launched on the largely unarmed JNA conscripts. The Slovene propaganda machine, meanwhile, sent out the message that the plucky little democratic Slovene nation was being attacked by the JNA-Communist aggressor, a story which the media instantly picked up. In this so-called “JNA aggression”, forty-four JNA soldiers were killed and a hundred and eighty-seven wounded, “of whom the vast majority were conscripts, still in their teens”. Slovene casualties were in single figures. (Destruction, p.166)

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