Historical analogies are notoriously misleading, but the similarity of the Kosovo catastrophe to the beginning of the Vietnam war is obvious.

On the basis of an idea even vaguer than the domino theory, an American President is subjecting a small country to an undetermined amount of military terror for an undefined goal, risking the destruction of the planet. Like Lyndon Johnson in 1965, when bombing didn't achieve it's aims, it was escalated. Clinton claimed that two world wars started in the Balkans: unless we stop him, he could be right. The first world war started when a major power presented Serbia with an impossible ultimatum.

Wars are created to defeat the working class, but often backfire. Look at the best possible outcome from the official perspective. NATO defeats the Serbian army and irregulars at a cost of a million dead Yugoslavians and a hundred thousand NATO casualties. The cities of occupied Yugoslavia are in ruins, like Germany's in 1945. Starving people wander the countryside, and an American soldier can have a Yugoslav woman for a packet of cigarettes. Millions of refugees live in camps for decades, unable to return to their wrecked homes and landmined fields. The whole of Europe suffers from pollution, and the Danube is lifeless and unnavigable.

In 1945, the working class was smashed, and the world economy boomed on the foundation of a mountain of corpses. In the sixties and seventies, it didn't quite work out. The Vietnam War provoked the biggest movement of resistance America had ever seen.

Which is it to be this time?

Our rulers have been just a little too confident. They starved Iraqi kids by the hundreds of thousands, destroyed the Sudanese drug industry, and humbled even mighty Afghanistan. But the doubts afflicting the war criminals of NATO seep through even into the official media. Millions of refugees are fleeing NATO bombs rather than the non-existent Serbian military offensive. The destruction of the civilian infrastructure will not prevent the Yugoslav army from defending the country - they've been preparing for this for 50 years. They are digging mass graves, not for Albanians, but for NATO soldiers.

As the evidence that the war has had exactly the opposite effect to its declared aims accumulates, resistance grows. Greece is the weakest link in the NATO chain, not because of its Orthodox religion, but because of its relatively high level of class struggle. Greek sailors have refused to go to sea, and the Corinth canal is being blockaded. In Italy, demonstrations are growing as the poison clouds blow across the Adriatic. Resistance in other European countries and the USA is still small, but this war is less than a month old. It took years to reach this level in the sixties.

In the Vietnam war, the TV stations played an important role in showing the failure of the bombing. The ruling class dealt with that problem, turning the TV media into a Ministry of Propaganda Goebbels would have envied. The newspapers, from the Guardian to the San Jose Mercury News, parrot the official lies, and have fired all their genuine journalists.

The Internet is another matter. Starting from, anyone with a modem or the price of a visit to Kinko's can find an alternative journalism, suppressed from the official media, which tears apart the lies of the Pentagon.

Within the ruling elite itself, there are genuine splits. European governments are looking for a way out. Pundits are warning gravely of the collapse of NATO. What an awful prospect!

The bastards are shitting themselves. They've cancelled the fireworks for NATO's 50th birthday party. There are daily defections from the war party. Even the German Greens are having doubts about supporting the massacre. Soon liberal politicians in the USA will join their more astute counterparts on the right and start half-heartedly opposing the war.

Clinton dodged Vietnam, but it's come back to haunt him. By the time of the June 5th demonstration in Washington DC, the disaster will have become a catastrophe, but the end may be in sight.