“Narrative as Truth: The Public Construction of Operation Allied Force in the United States”
This paper examines the United States’ public construction of “Operation Allied Force,” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) 1999 military intervention into Kosovo, a southern province of Serbia. Competing historical narratives of the war demonstrate the degree of authority stories hold in constructing our views and truths of the world. I argue the authority granted to the Clinton administration’s narratives of the war, stating that NATO engagement was a success, are the stories that construct the dominant narrative in American society and in turn the current truth of the intervention in Kosovo. Citing the distinguished military historian John Keegan, I define success through his definition, “…the capitulation of President Milošević proved that a war could be won by air power alone.” This paper proposes that the dominant narrative of Operation Allied Force changed the way Americans understand and think about war. A truth was established that a conflict could be fought, and won, without having to endanger troops by inserting them into a conflict. To comprehend how this truth came to fruition, the explanations and justifications from the principal U.S. architects must be deconstructed. By comparing the memoirs written by key Clinton administration members; the interviews of cabinet members filmed for the PBS program, Frontline, that aired in February of 2000; popular media appearances by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; and public speeches and statements by members of the U.S. government, I intend to discover the differing perspectives regarding Operation Allied Force that form the dominant narrative in the United States.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2016
- F&M Theses Collection