War is not decided on by soldiers

               General Momcilo PeriŻic, Chief of General Staff of the
               Yugoslav Army:

               General Momcilo PeriŻic, Chief of General Staff of the
               Yugoslav Army, is a commander about whom only a little is
               known to the general public. Those who do know him well, know
               that he is prudent and courageous, a man of high morals,
               somebody who inspires deep respect. General PeriŻic is a
               strategist, a military leader and above all, a patriot,
               humanist and intellectual. We can see in him all the features
               which had adorned famous Serbian warriors and military
               leaders throughout our history. He graduated from the
               Military Academy first and the General Staff School and the
               National Defense School subsequently. In the meanwhile, he
               won a bachelor's degree in psychology. He has occupied almost
               all command posts in his military career so far. He was
               appointed to the post of Chief of General Staff of the
               Yugoslav Army on 26 August 1993, by the decision of the
               Supreme Council of Defense. He is the youngest-ever Chief of
               General Staff of the Yugoslav Army.

               TUMULTUOUS TIMES

               QUESTION: Mr.PeriŻic, ever since your appointment as Chief of
               General Staff, there have been rumours about your dismissal,
               and some media have swooped down on you. Who is bothered by
               General PeriŻic? Who wants to have you dismissed and why?

               I'm being attacked in the media by the people who are
               probably acting under the influence of those who would want
               to bring the military into a position of inferiority, and
               through me, they are attacking the military as an
               institution, wishing for it not to serve exclusively to the
               interests of the state, the people, the society as a whole,
               but to the interests of some individuals. I'm not sure that
               those who want me to be dismissed from this post know our
               people's situation. It is quite another matter whether they
               are the people who are prepared to sacrifice themselves,
               their amenities, for the sake of their people's defense.
               Another thing, it seems that the wish to come to power at any
               cost is so strong that the assistance of influential factors
               is accepted non-critically. In that context, knowing that the
               military is the basic factor of the state and stability in
               these tumultuous times, they want to destabilize the military
               by attacking me and get it to work towards their own aims.

               QUESTION: How much influence do America and Germany have in
               all this?

               The ongoing conflicts in the territory of the former SFR of
               Yugoslavia reflect the interests of the big powers, including
               America, which is a big power indeed, and Germany which wants
               to become one. However, not only the interests of these two
               powers are involved. Also Turkey, as well as other European
               countries, have their interests in this region. They are not
               even trying to cover them up. On the basis of the moves made
               on the international scene, you can identify them easily. We
               are appraising the mechanisms and possible scenarios for the
               implementation of such interests, and we are accordingly
               taking action towards maintaining the security of the Federal
               Republic of Yugoslavia.

               GREEN TRANSVERSAL

               QUESTION: Mr.PeriŻic, is that the reason why a unitarian
               Bosnia would suit either side?

               Yes, of course. A unitarian Bosnia would suit the both,
               although the Germans and Americans alike have their own
               separate strategic interests, which explains why they are in
               a manner of speaking so ruthless to the Serbian people.

               QUESTION: I think that the reasons of the Americans are
               somewhat different. Namely, that they want to facilitate the
               creation of a Muslim state with the aid of a unitarian

               Many people don't understand why the Americans are helping
               the Muslims in Bosnia. They are doing so for two main
               reasons. First, they want to ingratiate themselves with the
               Islamic states, from which they are getting many economic
               benefits, by standing up for Islam in Europe. Second, they
               want to create any Muslim state which could serve as a
               "regulator" for the situation in Europe, with a view to
               destabilizing Europe in line with their strategic interests
               and current appraisals.

               QUESTION: And what is the interest of the Serbian people?

               The Serbian people are interested in retaining as much as
               possible of the territory which has belonged to them for
               centuries, protecting the population and rounding off their
               own state, as well as in seeing that all other peoples living
               in the territory of the former Yugoslavia create their own
               states in their own ethnic lands, so that the controversies
               the other civilized countries have dealt with in the 18th and
               19th centuries could be dealt with now.

               QUESTION: Zagreb is openly helping the Croats in Bosnia.
               According to some sources, the Muslims are obtaining weaponry
               from the Americans and Islamic countries. The Muslim
               offensive has been launched. Do you think that the Serbs can
               resist the attacks launched by the Muslim-Croat federation
               with the resources at their disposal and the morale they
               have, can they defend themselves and their territory?

               The Serbs in this region are supported by no country in the
               world like the Muslims and Croats are supported. They are in
               a very, very difficult position. However, in the history of
               wars, no people were ever defeated if they were resolutely
               struggling for survival. The Serbs have demonstrated in the
               course of history that they have always been fighting against
               stronger enemies and taking their fate in their own hands.
               The Serbs never wanted to seize something belonging to other
               people; they were always defending their own possessions
               only. Unfortunately, the Serbs are now completely isolated
               and they are in a more difficult situation than ever before.
               They are now resolute, ready to fight for their territorial
               integrity and their bare existence. In military and
               organizational terms, the Serbs are capable of defending
               their ethnic territory using the resources at their disposal
               even without outside help.

               QUESTION: We often hear assertions that Yugoslavia's state
               policy is geared to peace. Does that mean that the Serbs from
               the other side of the Drina don't want peace or is a
               misunderstanding involved?

               The people of the Serb Republic and the FR of Yugoslavia have
               not been divided. I think that the leaderships of the Serbian
               people will find ways and means of settling the political
               differences. Professional soldiers have realized that the
               intention of the foreign factor is to provoke a conflict
               between the political leaderships, and through that conflict,
               also a conflict on the military side. That's a wrong

               QUESTION: Mr.PeriŻic, in the event of large scale clashes in
               the territory of the Serb Republic, would the FR of
               Yugoslavia give military support?

               In my capacity of Chief of General Staff of the Yugoslav
               Army, and under the Constitution, it is my duty to defend
               with the Yugoslav Army the territorial integrity, sovereignty
               and freedom of the citizens of the FR of Yugoslavia, and any
               involvement of members of the Yugoslav Army outside the
               territory of the FR of Yugoslavia is a matter to be decided
               on by the present state.


               QUESTION: What do you think about the situation in the
               Republic of Serb Krajina and the efforts being made towards
               reintegrating Krajina into the Republic of Croatia?

               Croatia has had a historic opportunity to set up, with the
               aid of the foreign factor and through its secession, a
               democratic state of the civil type in which also the Serbs
               would be a constituent nation under the Constitution of the
               Republic of Croatia. However, since Croatia was dazzled by
               nationalist interests which border on Fascism, the Serbs were
               accorded no rights. They stood up for their vital interests
               and they didn't want to be pulled out of the former
               Yugoslavia forcibly and live in an Ustashi-run state which
               has been exterminating them for centuries. In any case, like
               any other people, the Serbs, too, have the right to

               QUESTION: What developments do you anticipate in the
               territory of the former Yugoslavia?

               IIn pursuing their aims, America and Germany will try to
               achieve such aims in the territory of the former Yugoslavia
               also by resorting to the strategy of low intensity war, step
               by step. They will try to avoid a higher intensity war since
               in that case, there would be a danger of many other countries
               being involved. In the event of many countries being
               involved, it would not be possible to control that war and
               the conflict could acquire large proportions. Being aware of
               this, they are provoking internal contradictions to the
               extent they can keep under control and channel towards the
               achievement of their aims. The creators of the "new world
               order" want to go further east and if the Serbian people
               stand in their way, they will circumvent that people
               temporarily because of their strong resistance, but they will
               never give up their aims in this region. They will have
               prepared by then also new scenarios for settling the Balkan
               issues. The achievement of their aims will depend among other
               things, also on the conduct and resistance of the Serbian
               people as a whole and their leaders. Many leaders in the
               entities formed in the territory of the SFR of Yugoslavia are
               not world policy makers, but implementers of the
               international policy aims instead.

               QUESTION: Can you be more specific?

               There is no need for that. All of them are recognizable.
               After all, also the attacks on the Yugoslav Army are being
               launched with that objective in mind.

               I think that sanctions will be lifted sooner or later and
               that the FR of Yugoslavia will open up to the world. As in
               the past, the interests in the Balkans will remain unchanged
               mostly. The Serbian and Montenegrin people will certainly
               remain in this region regardless of the existing difficulties
               and losses, and the FR of Yugoslavia will be able to define
               its interests and pick the friends and countries with which
               it will cooperate, taking also in account the conduct of
               others while the FR of Yugoslavia was kept in isolation

               QUESTION: Mr.PeriŻic, what do you think about the recent
               recognition of Alija Izetbegovic's Government, i.e., Bosnia,
               by Russia? Is that indicative of a weakness of Russia's
               official politics or of something else?

               That is the Russian diplomats' current appraisal of Russia's
               interests in the Balkans.

               QUESTION: Was that a good opportunity for the Serbs to learn
               that there is no love in politics and that we must be more

               The Serbs are what they are and their history is more painful
               than that of any other Balkan nation. They haven't learned
               much from their history. We belong to a people with a soul, a
               heart and who are remarkably well-intentioned. We have a
               heart because in the event of any hazard, with arms in our
               hands, we are capable of defeating a far stronger enemy; we
               have a soul because we are supporting in our own territory
               the children and parents of our blood enemies; and we are
               very unpragmatic because we tend to trust everybody, and
               among other things, we are also always on the defensive. It
               is because of these properties of ours that we have been
               repeatedly experiencing similar things in our history, which
               shows that to a certain extent, we deserve our existing

               QUESTION: All aggressors adhere to a certain extent to the
               "divide and rule" principle. It is being traded on the
               provoking of international conflicts. What do you think of
               the security situation in the FR of Yugoslavia and
               particularly in Kosovo and Metohija?

               Kosovo and Metohija make up a special phenomenon in which
               keen interest is being shown by the creators of the "new
               world order". They were planning for the first spark of
               secessionism to be ignited in Kosovo and Metohija precisely,
               but their plan misfired. The Albanian people living in the FR
               of Yugoslavia are fully aware of how much better off they are
               in economic and other senses than their patriots in their
               parent country, so that they can hardly be pushed into their
               own disaster. Even so, it is not unlikely that if the FR of
               Yugoslavia fails to behave in line with the international
               political factor's strategy, Kosovo and Metohija could become
               a hotbed of crisis. The obstruction to that are actually the
               interests of the Albanians living in Kosovo and Metohija, who
               have not allowed themselves to be manipulated so far. Thanks
               to the extremist leaderships and outside influence, the
               province Kosovo and Metohija is a latent crisis hotbed which
               could be activated in a complex situation. The districts of
               RaŻka and Polimlje are also covered by different spheres of
               interest. The Muslim territorial claims in Bosnia are geared
               to the joining of the Gora`de enclave with RaŻka and
               Polimlje, which is becoming all the more evident. The Gora`de
               enclave is the stronghold of the Muslim factor and its wish
               for the Muslim state under foundation in Bosnia to expand and
               be connected by the green transversal with Albania, via
               Gora`de and the RaŻka and Polimlje districts. It can be
               concluded that Turkey would like to establish a link with
               Alija Izetbegovic's state, through Albania as its partner and
               collaborator and, of course, the Muslims living in the RaŻka
               and Polimlje districts. Should that happen, it would mean a
               disaster for Europe and Serbian people in particular, because
               the physical link between the Montenegrin and Serbian people
               would be severed in that case, which would lead to the
               disintegration of the FR of Yugoslavia.

               HOW TO AVOID WAR

               QUESTION: Mr.PeriŻic, can we save our country, our freedom,
               and avoid fighting, and can we say that we have a strong
               united army?

               You are asking me, as a soldier, a general, whether war can
               be avoided? If everybody shared not only my views, but also
               those of generals, normal generals of all countries of the
               world, there would be far less wars, because a professional
               soldier knows best what war means, which goes even more for a
               general. If there were no politicians who wish to achieve
               certain aims through wars, generals would be less warrior
               generals. This is corroborated among others also by Pentagon
               whose representatives said on more than one occasion that the
               crisis in Yugoslavia cannot be settled by a war. Moreover,
               they even restrained some of their "hawk" politicians,
               assuring them that such an objective cannot be achieved by
               martial methods. However, as professional soldiers, my
               associates and I are aware of the hazards and developments,
               hazards to our people. We will do our utmost towards
               preventing a war from breaking out, and we have done a lot so
               far, assisted also by others of course, towards preventing
               the war from spilling over into the FR of Yugoslavia. I think
               that we are one of the few countries that have managed to
               prevent a war in their neighbourhood from spilling over into
               them. I think that it would be possible to prevent the war
               from spilling over into our country if other relevant factors
               share this reasoning. In the event of a war being imposed
               onto us, my associates and I, as well as all commissioned and
               non-commissioned officers, professional soldiers, conscripts
               and patriots who will join our ranks even without being
               called up, will defend the integrity and sovereignty of our
               country. The Yugoslav Army is our country's backbone. Now, in
               time of peace, it is 100,000-strong and it represents the
               core of our people's future million-strong army. With such
               potential manpower, the Yugoslav Army will be able to protect
               our country's territorial integrity and sovereignty. If we
               close our ranks, we will be able to defend our country
               successfully. If we allow the "hawks" and ignoramuses to
               disrupt our people's unity, to achieve their own aims and to
               be in the service of war lords, sacrificing a part of their
               own people in the process, then our total defence capability
               would be that much smaller.

               QUESTION: Are you satisfied with the transformation of the

               The transformation of the Yugoslav Army has been completed in
               the sense of organization and formation, while its
               modernization is dependent on the country's economic
               capacity. There are also some other segments undergoing
               transformation. The depoliticization of the Army has been
               carried out completely. However, some advocates of
               depoliticization of the military now want to be in a position
               to exert some influence on the military, especially in sphere
               of staff policy. We are opposed to that, which is often the
               cause of attacks on us.

               QUESTION: Who is in charge of staff policy in the military?

               The Constitution and the Yugoslav Army Law provide accurately
               who is in charge of staff in various grades and responsible
               for their promotion. The Chief of General Staff is in charge
               of staff policy up to the rank of colonel. The appointment
               and dismissal of general officers is the responsibility of
               the Supreme Council of Defense.

               QUESTION: Are you satisfied with the current staff policy?

               Instead of answering that question, I would ask whether I'm
               satisfied with the staff structure.

               We can never be completely satisfied with the staff
               situation. However, only the best available, verified staff
               have been assigned to key positions in the General Staff and
               put in charge of the operative/strategic groups. Nobody has a
               life mandate for any function, everything is susceptible to

               GENERALS' MISTAKES

               QUESTION: Mr.PeriŻic, how important is it for a man in your
               position, who bears such a great responsibility, to be able
               to anticipate developments, to see more and further than
               others and not to be blindly obedient?

               IIt is very important that key posts are assigned to
               remarkably capable persons, who besides other characteristics
               expected of good officers, must also be highly intelligent
               and capable of anticipating developments. Only such men are
               capable of leading their soldiers and their people to victory
               even in the most difficult situations, by making proper
               decisions. If they are not like that, they tend to make bad
               decisions and thus lead people to disaster. Unfortunately, we
               have had many bad examples in our history and in the latest
               war. I have promised to myself not to speak about the people
               from this war precisely because many of them were not up to
               their posts and duties, because they were blindly obedient
               persons who just awaited orders from somebody above,
               sacrificing thus the dignity of the people they were in
               charge of. They sacrificed the dignity of their people and
               their own dignity. Therefore, the most important requirements
               of any officer include the following ones: ability to use
               their own heads, ability to sublime collective sense into
               decisions, and perseverance and persistence in the
               implementation of the decisions made, working exclusively in
               the best interests of their people and their country.

               QUESTION: Some media have criticized you for the operations
               you launched in Zadar and Mostar. When some people want to
               speak against General PeriŻic, they refer to Zadar and

               We are talking here about the people who in the first place
               don't know or don't want to know the situation in which our
               sons were in Zadar. This is spoken by people who don't
               realize what the most lethal part of the population of the
               Republic of Croatia, which is quite rightly referred to as
               Ustashe, has done towards driving us out of Zadar as quickly
               as possible. When the war broke out in 1991, I was serving in
               Zadar as the commanding officer of the Artillery Training
               Centre there. The Croats were probably instructed by foreign
               parties to get rid of the Yugoslav People's Army and they
               made large scale assaults on its members, using hardened
               murderers and other criminals released from their own and
               foreign prisons for such purposes. As the commanding officer
               with a long experience in command posts, with combat systems
               and with several thousand reliable men, I could not allow the
               terrorists to kill my soldiers, so I took action in line with
               the degree of hazard, towards saving the lives and honour of
               my soldiers and my people as a whole. I responded amicably to
               all provocations and strained situations, and tried to find
               ways and means of settling the crisis peaceably. However,
               since that turned out to be impossible and they moved to
               liquidate us physically, we quite naturally responded
               physically, using all weapons at our disposal, for the
               purpose of saving our lives. I managed to get my soldiers,
               weaponry and other equipment out of Zadar.

               QUESTION: What happened in ^apljina?

               When the war broke out in Bosnia, I was in the region of
               Mostar. I took maximum care of the civilian population in my
               zone of responsibility. Like in Zadar, there were no
               casualties. The cooperation with the Muslims in my zone of
               responsibility was a very good one. We were giving them
               material and other kinds of assistance. Our clashes were with
               the Croatian units which were transferred to Bosnia at that
               time. This means that regular Croatian army units were in the
               territory of the SFR of Yugoslavia, since Bosnia was still a
               part of the former Yugoslavia then. They accused us then of
               being an occupying force. There was no logic in that
               accusation, because the Yugoslav People's Army was then the
               sole legitimate and recognized armed force in all areas other
               than Slovenia and Croatia. Therefore, the conflict began when
               the Croatian units blew up a tank truck full of explosives
               near our barracks, demolishing a big part of the latter in
               the process. Eleven civilians and only one member of the
               Yugoslav People's Army died. In that case, too, I was accused
               of causing various destructions. What was actually involved,
               was the destruction of military targets and targets used for
               launching attacks on my soldiers and Serbian population. It
               would be worth to mention on this occasion the rescuing of
               the surrounded soldiers and civilians in the municipality of
               ^apljina and subsequently from the ^apljina barracks which
               were surrounded by about 4,000 members of HOS, the regular
               Croatian army, and where they were in the danger of being
               killed. When I took over the command of the Bileca Corps, I
               took on also about 270 people who were captured or gathered
               in ^apljina by HOS. They were Serbs, Croats and Muslims. I
               took action towards having these people released peaceably,
               but that didn't work, so that we launched a combined
               offensive in the course of which all members of the Yugoslav
               People's Army, as well as the civilians surrounded by the HOS
               units, were rescued without a single casualty. We moved
               people to an area under our control and inflicted heavy
               losses to the Croat side. It took us 15 days to prepare this
               offensive and we carried out in only half an hour. We rescued
               all people and there were no wounded or killed on our side.
               We inflicted heavy losses to the other side, and these losses
               were admitted and announced on the Croatian television. Be it
               as it may, had Pero Markovic, the then town mayor, taken my
               advice, all this would have been settled peaceably. All of
               these people who were surrounded by the Croats know that
               General PeriŻic sent them a message saying that he will
               rescue them at any cost and they can testify that I have kept
               my word. It was a remarkably successful military operation
               planned by my associates collectively and it was carried out
               so brilliantly, that I believe that it will be studied by our
               young officers in the future.

               QUESTION: Did you receive orders after this operation to
               return to the FR of Yugoslavia?

               Following the ^apljina operation, I was ordered by the
               General Staff (on 25 April 1992) to return to the FR of
               Yugoslavia. I didn't want to do that because the people of
               Herzegovina were not organized for fighting the enemy and
               they were in a very big danger. In anticipation of
               developments, I stayed there until 28 May, by which time I
               had made the people of Herzegovina fully fit for defending
               themselves. For the sake of truth and an objective insight
               into our history, I drew up a record of facts, which was
               signed by my successor and myself. It is still in my
               possession. I'm saying this because many of those who are
               attacking the Yugoslav Army, as well as myself, are trying to
               shift the developments into some other periods of time.

               QUESTION: Andric said: "There are times when sensible people
               fall silent, fools began to speak out and scoundrels become
               rich". You came out of the war virtually with a dictaphone in
               your possession. What do you think about the war profiteers?

               In this war, most men under my command, as well as under the
               command of others, who even without asking for reasons, went
               to the western parts of the then SFR of Yugoslavia for the
               purpose of defending Yugoslavia, fared the worst. Far from
               their homes, they had to fight the enemy and in doing so,
               most of us lost our tangible possessions. The only
               possessions many of them were left with were what they had on
               them. When I came out of this war, my most valuable
               possessions were a watch and a dictaphone and I'm happy not
               only for myself, but because I've shared the lot of the men
               under my command. Unfortunately, I'm still sharing their lot
               even now, while then and even now, some people are getting
               rich on Serbian blood here and there, far behind the front
               lines, presenting themselves even as heroes, which shows how
               much the system of values has been disrupted. I was fully
               aware of the responsibility involved when I assumed this
               duty. I know that by accepting this duty I have shortened my
               soldier's life, that I'm in for no tangible gains and that my
               only satisfaction is in preventing that which has been or is
               being prepared for my people from being done. Of course, that
               calls for some kind of asceticism and I'm often referred to
               as an ascetic. Be it as it may, in such historic times, true
               professional soldiers, as well as high officials, must behave
               as ascetics. I assumed this duty fully consciously. It
               astonished me to learn that there are people who had come to
               the head of the system in the most difficult times, and
               instead of helping their people, they are turning the
               calamity of the latter in gains for themselves.

               LEISURE TIME

               QUESTION: A personal question. What do you do in your leisure

               I have less and less leisure time. I used to read 3-4 books a
               month on average, that is to say, a couple of thousand pages.
               Sadly enough, I'm now able to read just one book monthly. I'm
               very fond of books. I used to own several thousand books, and
               none when I came out of the war. However, thanks to my
               friends who know how much I like books, I have renewed my
               library, so that now I have several hundred of them.

               QUESTION: What are you reading now?

               I'm reading Antihumanism by Emil Vlaiki at present, as well
               as professional literature, of course.

               QUESTION: Mr.PeriŻic, how important is affection in your

               Remarkably important. Affection for man in the first place.
               I'm a man who has opted for a military career out of love for
               man and I'm performing this duty precisely out of love for my
               people. Affection for man and affection for one's country,
               though a country with people, not a country without them.

               QUESTION: What is the foreign factor's objective in this

               The foreign factor's objective was to break up the SFR of
               Yugoslavia at it was largely successful in that. The
               objective the foreign factor has set for itself in the
               territory of the former Yugoslavia still remains and it is
               the same in the territory of the present FR of Yugoslavia. In
               order to achieve such objective, they are making use,
               according to a scenario, mostly the local people who because
               of their lacking patriotism or ignorance are putting
               themselves in the position of implementers of the aims of our
               people's enemies.

               QUESTION: What would the FR of Yugoslavia look like according
               to that scenario for making us what others want us to be?

               Since there are many scenario makers outside and inside, who
               would want to be big in small places, it is quite certain
               that they would tear up this tormented country into many
               feudal states which they would want to rule exclusively. Many
               internal factors, which are not only in the service of the
               foreign ones, want to achieve their aims under the guise of
               democracy in order to set up a country which will not be
               viable in the existing surroundings or which will be
               completely dependent on the foreign factor. Since I am one of
               my people and a professional soldier, and because my main
               task and that of the institution to which I belong relates to
               the defense of my country's sovereignty and integrity, I will
               do my utmost towards making sure that the Yugoslav Army
               performs its constitutional duty.