“Narrative as Truth: The Public Construction of Operation Allied Force in the United States”
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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