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June 7 1999

The Modern Emperor's New Clothes... Green or Gray?

by Otto Miller, Bavaria, Germany

About a month or so ago when NATO was first publicly accused of bombing a
Kosovar refugee column in Kosovo, the Pentagon and their stooges in the
press were quick to deny it. I remember specifically a CNN news person
repeating the Pentagon line that "eye witnesses reported that the planes
were green, and NATO only uses gray planes"; this followed by a picture of a
green camo Serb jet and a gray NATO plane. At the time I was struck with my
usual sense of dumbfoundedness at the childlike simplicity of these lies.
This one really stuck in my head though for some reason and I've been
thinking about it on and off ever since.

First of all, of course, as has been shown in numerous police studies, eye
witnesses after a crime often contradict each other, one saying the
perpetrator was white, one saying he/she was black, 6' tall, 4' tall, etc.
In the stress of the crime things get blurred. So right off the bat we might
be skeptical of eye witness accounts of the colour of a sleek warplane flying
far overhead at the speed of sound reported by people who are more
immediately concerned not with colours of planes but the bombs falling on
their heads.

Then we factor in that NATO, as it often reminds us, has achieved air
superiority ages ago and not a single Serb jet has flown anywhere since the
first few days of the attack.

But the colour again. Are NATO planes all gray? Not really. At least some
German Luftwaffa Tornado's are camo green, as shown on the front pages of
German newspapers and magazines right at the beginning of the conflict. And
British Tornado's based in Germany are gray with green stripes - as recently
shown on a CNN in a report of these planes being moved to a new air base on
Corsica (course CNN didn't bother to notice the colour of the planes).

All of this comes to mind because last Wednesday, a clear sunny day, I was
at the nearby lake Chiemsee showing some friends around when about a half
dozen Tornado's flew overhead with external fuel tanks and empty bomb racks,
fresh from the attack on Yugoslavia. As a little test I turned to one of my
friends, a German engineer with a good eye, and I asked him what colour he
thought the plane was. He thought about it for a minute and said, "I don't
know, green? gray?" Then I told him why I asked him. We turned to my Indian
friend who had just joined us as another plane flew overhead and I asked him
the same question. "Greenish gray" was his response.

Obviously, according to eyewitness accounts, the Serbs have invaded Bavaria:
someone go tell CNN.

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