July 4, 2007
Ending the Balkan Quagmire at American ThinkerBy Julia Gorin
For the past eight years, I've been in a lonely place politically. I don't mean the kind of lonely that conservatives generally find themselves in. I'm talking about utter desolation, for there are just as few conservatives as liberals where I've been. One of the only non-Serbian Americans to do so, I watched with steady interest for the better part of a decade the clockwork predictability of the fallout from our forgotten Kosovo intervention, a bombing campaign against an emerging post-Communist democracy rooted in Judeo-Christian values--on behalf of tribalistic, blood-code-following nominal Muslims claiming oppression and no less than genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Watching the Albanians predictably move on to terrorize Macedonia within a few months of our intervention that would "contain" the conflict, and then watching Albanians turn their weapons on NATO peacekeepers within 18 months, I wondered what it would take to get a national discussion going about that huge, self-destructive debacle. What would it take to have the debate that, it must be said despite my hobby of mocking Europeans, the German public had in 2001 when it put its politicians' feet to the fire after learning the hoax that their country had been party to, thanks to a German documentary unapologetically titled "It Began with a Lie."
In sharp contrast to every other cynically reported war, this time not only were our peacenik presses on board, but conspicuously they didn't try to ingratiate us to the enemy perspective by letting us hear incessantly from the other side, as they're otherwise fond of doing. Something was off. Even the evolving "alternative media"-self-tasked with policing the mainstream press and usually very wary of "facts" coming from the mainstream media and of cause celebres--were either silent on this or on precisely the same page as the New York Times, with its Sontag yentas for the first time explaining the concept of "just war". I found that, aside from Serbian-Americans (and Serbian-Canadians), who would later describe 1999 as a surreality they observed as if outside themselves, the only other people who as a group understood that our action meant something awful for the free world were the Russian-Jewish community that I myself had come from-a cartoonishly patriotic and capitalistic immigrant group with less than zero feeling for "Mother Russia" (if we're talking about the 70s and 80s wave).
Every now and again, a glimmer of hope that the fraud would be revealed surfaced, first in March, 2000 with a Washington Post article titled "Was it a Mistake? We were Suckers for the KLA" and then in April, 2001, with a Toronto Sun article titled "The Hoax that Started a War". Now, I thought, the story of the century-a fabricated genocide and PR campaign starting a war-would finally "break."
But the silence persisted, and none of the rare newspapers giving the occasional op-ed space to the dissenting perspective was interested in actually investigating. Nothing changed in this regard after the attacks of September 11th. Not even after a Washington Times article titled "Hijackers connected to Albanian terrorist cell" came out a week after 9/11, reading:
Meanwhile, every one of my own articles attempting to expose the hoax-relegated to a small segment of the alternative media because of a near blackout on the subject everywhere else-dropped with a thud. As did an article coming out two months after 9/11, titled "Al Qaeda's Balkan Links"(which appeared only in the European edition of the Wall St. Journal). Same thing with a March 2002 National Post article titled "U.S. Supported al-Qaeda Cells during Balkan Wars, Fought Serbian Troops":
Even after another National Post article in 2004 by Canadian former UN General Lewis MacKenzie, titled "We Bombed the Wrong Side?", came out, Kosovo remained off the media's and public's radar-something that vested politicians were counting on.
But then came March 2004, when rumors, proved false, that Serbs drowned three Albanian boys, were used as a spark for the orchestrated pogroms of March 2004, leading to the deaths of 19 people, the displacement of 4,000 Serbs, the destruction of dozens of churches and medieval monuments plus hundreds of homes. Surely people would demand to know what on earth was going on over there, I thought, and what are these people whom we "rescued". All the questions that weren't asked in 1999 would finally be asked, I thought.
They weren't. And the silence grew louder. The questions still weren't asked even when the 9/11 Commission found that Bosnia, with our help, had been the breakout event that transformed al Qaeda into a truly global network; they weren't asked even when the Commission found that two of the 9/11 hijackers had fought alongside Bosnian and international forces against the Serbs, and that five of the hijackers had been trained in Bosnia, and that Australian David Hicks trained in a KLA camp. But the national dialogue that the issue demanded remained absent, and the media maintained its blackout, one door after another slamming in my face every time I proposed a piece on the repercussions of our Balkans intervention.
What o what would it take, I wondered, for people's eyes to stop glazing over at the mention of the words "Bosnia", "Kosovo" and "Balkans". The answer came a few days before Valentine's Day this past February, when a Bosnian immigrant shot nine Americans at a mall in Salt Lake City, an incident that raised some American eyebrows. But the media were prepared, quickly taking the story right back to Bosnia and rehashing the same "Serb-sparked Balkan-wars" explanation that brought us in on the Muslim side in the first place. The story died soon enough, after a round of the familiar "Bosnians aren't all like that" and "Community fears American Backlash" articles. However, the seed for the long-awaited questions had finally been planted, so that three months later when four Albanians were arrested for plotting to massacre American servicemen in New Jersey, the public finally wanted some answers.
One thing that comes with researching and trying to talk about the Balkans for eight years, and something that's important for this readership to understand, is that people we otherwise respect--people who seem to "get it" on every other vital issue of the day, including Islam--are utterly clueless on the Balkans-and, alternately, agenda-laden. The Balkans are every respectable commentator's blind spot. Notice that in their daily opining on the war on terror since 9/11, our best minds don't touch on the Balkans, a key region in the fight for civilization. In trying to engage people-including the conservative intelligentsia that went along with the peaceniks on our 1990s "humanitarian" wars-I find that people are confused, confounded, overwhelmed and bored by the subject.
Name your favorite conservative pundit, your most trusted jihadwatcher, and in deconstructing the war on terror and the danger of Islam and jihad, there is always, always one exception that he or she will make: the Balkans. That's where we give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt, where world trends don't apply, where Muslims don't stage atrocities or provoke military responses or use Western dupes; the area is suspended in its own context, immune to the tactic of nationalism followed by separatism - which we buy and then Americans die as that separatism morphs into Islamism.
This is nothing personal against anyone who has attacked me in these pages, but a simple statement of fact that I and the handful of other Balkans observers out there have noticed over the better part of a decade: The Balkans make smart people stupid. And that includes people and publications we conservatives generally respect, such as the Wall St. Journal, National Review, Weekly Standard, and so on.
As well, it is a favorite vocation of conservatives who want to earn their "I'm not anti-Muslim" stripes--to pile even more on those most expendable of whities, the Serbs. The Balkans are the bone we toss to the Islamic world in its perpetual but elsewhere transparent imaginings of genocides, massacres and hate crimes against them. At the policy level, attempting to win over the Muslim world by giving them Serbian territory and all the interventions that this included was a clearly stated goal-not only by Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Robert Wexler (D-FL) in April, but early on by Lawrence Eagleburger who, as Dr. Srdja Trifkovic wrote in his book Defeating Jihad, "said that a goal in Bosnia was to mollify the Muslim world and to counter any perception of an anti-Muslim bias regarding American policies in Iraq in the period leading up to Gulf War I." Added Trifkovic, "The result of years of policies thus inspired is a terrorist base in the heart of Europe, a moral debacle, and the absence of any positive payoff to the United States."
What is it about the Balkans that makes it such an exception? What is it about the Serbs that makes "Serbian propaganda" which is consistent with our own intelligence less preferable than Muslim propaganda? At the same time, what is it about the Serbs and the Balkans that makes George W. Bush indistinguishable from William Jefferson Clinton; Henry Hyde indistinguishable from Tom Lantos; John McCain indistinguishable from Joe Biden; Condoleezza Rice indistinguishable from Madeleine Albright; Joe Lieberman indistinguishable from Eliot Engel; and Wesley Clark from Bob Dole?
This confusion has found its way to the pages of American Thinker. As we finally, finally are confronted on our own shores with the direct consequences of our actions, as Americans pay the price of their leaders' still unadmitted foreign policy disasters, some opinion makers--without following the direction the region has taken and without reading even a shred of Hague transcripts or articles based on those transcripts--have the gall to come out of the woodwork and do their piece to keep the Balkans chapter closed. This is my contribution toward sparing American thinkers any further such insults to their intelligence.
In the recent section "Disputing Julia Gorin," American Thinker contributor Ray Robison wrote the following:
Robison was objecting to a source I cited in the following sentence: "But already the Albanians of Kosovo believe that independence is the very least they are due, and don't hesitate to attack UN officials or NATO troops that are perceived to stand in the way."
But which fact is he objecting to? The fact that Agim Ceku is the prime minister of Kosovo? Or the part where Ceku's Croatian troops shot at Canadian peacekeepers? If the Serbness of the source is what offends-and it usually does--then maybe the following source with a more graphic depiction will be more agreeable. From "Ceku Must Face Justice" by Canadian journalist Scott Taylor:
And if you want to see for yourself, here's a 17-minute video of the fighting-and of some body parts--courtesy of the Canadian Broadcasting Company's "National" subsidiary.
Meanwhile, I must point out that Mr. Robison has engaged in a favorite ploy of many Albanian readers, namely picking out one source out of a dozen that are cited, which he then points to and says, "Aha! A Serbian source! This writer can't be trusted!" (Stigmatizing a source as "Serbian" and therefore not to be listened to is another favorite international pastime, no matter how much backup that source may have from mainstream, non-Serbian sources--which often don't even know they're backing up any Serbian claims.)
As to Mr. Robison's quip that this information is "extremist Serb propaganda" put out by "probably the same people who were raping and murdering the Kosovars in the first place," professional writers generally don't make conjectures parroting debunked popular mythology, so I won't dignify this buffoonery with a professional response. But if ethnic cleansing, racial supremacy, systematic murder and rape, organized terror and property plundering are what one seeks, here is an article about eyewitness Branko Piliser, an American who grew up in Kosovo and whom I interviewed for the Jerusalem Report and JewishWorldReview.com about his brother Slobodan, among the last of the Jews driven from Kosovo.
Next, Robison objected to my citing a Reuters story that stated, "Three synchronized explosions in Kosovo's capital city were aimed at blocking the path to independence from Serbia, the province's ethnic Albanian president and prime minister said on Sunday."
Robison countered by saying, "In my book it is pretty obvious that in the very story she cites the Serbs are again attacking the Kosovars. That is evidence that we are enabling jihadists? What the ...?"
My detractors don't normally make it this easy for me, but if Mr. Robison insists on giving his inexpert opinion about who was behind an attack, then I can't have much mercy. The reason Robison is confused is that he hasn't been following the region for the past eight years and is unaware of its evolution as the big picture plays out. Had he been, he would know by now that if Serbs are suspected of attacks or attempted attacks, the word "Serbs" appears in the news reports on the subject, starting with the headline. When those suspected are Albanian, no ethnicity is mentioned-as we recently witnessed here with the Ft. Dix arrests, when just about every news outlet referred to "former Yugoslavs" instead of fingering our Albanian protégés. (It works similarly in the Middle East: "Israelis kill six Palestinians in West Bank Raid" vs. "Bus explodes in central Jerusalem.") Here are some headlines which don't give any idea as to who is behind an attack, until you read the actual article:
Terror strike on Bill Clinton Avenue [Boulevard]: Kosovo car bomb injures 32 as U.N. analyzes peacekeeping effort, WorldNetDaily.com, Dec. 17, 2002.
Explosion at UN Mission in Kosovo March 11, 2005, BBC
Three blasts rock Kosovo capital, sparking fears of fresh unrest July 3, 2005, AFP
"Another Explosion Rocks Kosovo. EU Fiercely Condemns Violence" July 4, 2005, Serbian source
"UN says threats made against Kosovo staff" Nov. 27, 2006, EuroNews:
KLA letter admitting attack on UNMIK cars sent from Tirana Feb. 23, 2007, Kosovo paper Express, via BBC Monitoring-Europe (Indeed, according to an American peacekeeper I spoke with, deployed with the National Guard in Kosovo, U.S. forces are advised to not park their vehicles near UN vehicles, as those are always exploding.)
Nor are recent headlines such as "NATO prepared to deal with possible civil disturbances in Kosovo" particularly a warning to the region's Serbs, with Albanians threatening violence if independence doesn't happen this summer.
With regard to the quote Robison chose from the cited source, please note that it comes from the Albanian leadership, whereas the rest of the article paints a different picture.
Poole's and Robison's Vision Clouded by Sentimentality
Robison's experience of Kosovo, which he described in his original, heart-warming account for American Thinker, dates back to his year 2000 peacekeeping mission during which, he wrote, he felt like a "rock star" to grateful people including "gorgeous" and "giggling" toothless nurses. Of course he felt that way. As in other backwards, impoverished lands where any American is a celebrity, most of these people had never seen an American before, and this American was there to help them; naturally, he was embraced. (I can't help wondering, though, if any of these nurses were employed at the hospitals which during Kosovo's autonomous era wouldn't treat Serbian patients, forcing pregnant Serbs to go to Serbia proper to give birth. Are the giggling nurses among the Albanians who later got work at the UN-run mental hospitals abusing Serbian patients?)
In contrast, after his trip to Kosovo and Bosnia last month, Jesse Petrilla, founder of The United American Committee, which promotes awareness of Islamic extremism in America, concluded:
Like Ray Robison, AT contributor Patrick Poole also has been befriended by Albanians, his heart touched by some hospitable and, for the moment, grateful people. While Albanians made Robison feel like a rock star, Poole openly states on his blog:
If that's the case, Poole should responsibly recuse himself from the discussion, as he admits to being incapable of impartiality and objectivity on this issue. Both he and Robison are too close to the situation, their regard for a people clouding their vision and causing them to work backwards from a preferred and stale premise rather than follow the information. On this point, I should mention that I was writing my "Serb propaganda" for more than eight years before befriending my first Serb face to face-which happened this past May in Israel.
It is clear that these two men depart from their anti-jihad guns when it comes to Albanians. Here is a perfect illustration in which, stunningly, Robison lays bare his conflicted confusion:
A truly amazing statement. This is supposedly someone who knows something about the way jihad works? Is Robison unaware of the long-used tactic of enlisting the West's help to further one's territorial, nationalist and/or jihadist ambitions-until the West won't take the jihadist or nationalist agenda to the next stage, at which point the weapons turn against the Western Infidel? The Bosnia and Kosovo jihads, as they are openly and casually called by Muslims around the world including Pakistani President Musharraf, were done by the book. Of course they called for a NATO intervention, and continue to call for Western interference where it is beneficial. For precedents on jihadists enlisting the aid of the international community (a.k.a. "Western dupes"), see the Oslo model (mind you, most Palestinians are "secular" too); 1980s Afghanistan and even the Islamic green-light that Anwar Sadat got from his imam before signing the Carter-brokered "peace" treaty with Menachem Begin.
In a September Human Events article titled "Will U.S. Back Islamo-Fascist State in Europe?", editor John Gizzi wrote:
It was at this time that the nascent al Qaeda "announced terrorist attacks against the ‘infidels', i.e. Great Britain, the USA, France, Israel, Russia, India and Serbia," according to this Serbian government report-if Robison, Poole and Albanian readers will deign to skim section 6, "Pan-Islamic Factor".
In defending his Albanian friends, Poole began one sentence with "But the fringe in the US that sees every Albanian as a terrorist, every Muslim a Wahhabi, and Kosovar independence a direct threat to the very existence of Europe..."
Robison similarly underestimates Kosovo' significance when he writes:
If Kosovo is an insignificant part of the fight, why is it so important to al Qaeda:
This item, reported by AFP ("Bin Laden in Kosovo") and CNSNews.com, reinforced Shay's notion as early as 2000:
And the National Guardsman I spoke with over the weekend echoed this reality, saying "With all the attention on Iraq, everyone underestimates this region. No one understands that what happens here will play a key role in European security for the next 10 years."
American writer Christopher Deliso, who has been following the Balkans even longer than I have (let alone Poole and Robison), is among the few who does. His book, The Coming Balkan Caliphate, has just been released.
Yes, Mr. Poole, we are indeed the fringe-the informed fringe.
The Big Picture
Again, it's common to be "all about stopping Islamic extremism" and be dead wrong on Islam in the Balkans; it's a standard disconnect among otherwise hawkish conservatives. The Bush administration itself, busy frying bigger fish, early on made the mistake of believing that Kosovo is not a significant part of the war on terror, and therefore defaulted to Clinton-era policies there.
But there is an old little propaganda pamphlet that Dr. Trifkovic has described, issued by an Albanian émigré organization in Turkey, which shows
It was no coincidence that the huge sports complex that Sarajevo built for the 1984 Olympics was named "Zetra", short for Zelena Transverzala. Continues Trifkovic:
About Albanians being anti-Wahhabi, as Poole has mentioned and as many Albanian readers have written me, all insisting that Albanians merely suffer from the same scourge as the rest of us-radical Islam making inroads with their population--what we have is this: The territorially ambitious Albanians accepted the Wahhabis' and al Qaeda's help, making themselves easy prey to jihadists while pursuing a terror war of secession, and now that they're about to get their independence, they don't want the Wahhabis moving in on their turf. It doesn't work that way; Wahhabi help always comes with a price tag. Meanwhile, here is an illustration of the dynamic between the Wahhabis and the anti-Wahhabi Albanians, from the NGO Institute for War and Peace Reporting:
But now watch Agim Krasniqi save the day:
Hamas vs. Fatah, anyone? Sunnis vs. Shiite? Meanwhile, as early as that November, 2001 article in Wall St. Journal-Europe, the writer discerned a trend:
According to Mickey Bozinovich at Serbianna.com:
Serbianna.com is a Serbian-American news and commentary site that was put on the map in the wake of news of the Ft. Dix plot. KFOR intelligence incorporates articles from sources like Serbianna and Serbia's "B92" news site into the National Guard's The Daily Falcon newspaper. According to Serbianna columnist Dr. Miroljub Jevtic, the most extreme imam in Bosnia comes from Kosovo:
With the recently announced delay in determining Kosovo's status and the province's leaders and citizens warning/threatening of violence to come should the province not get independence this summer, watch the "moderates" become indistinguishable from the radicals. Surely "former" terrorist and our pal, Democratic Party of Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci, knows what he's talking about when he says, "Enough is enough. The time was yesterday. Today is already too late. Tomorrow is dangerous." (Let's just hope the few hundred thousand Albanians living in America don't get as upset as their brethren in Kosovo, especially the KLA fighters we've resettled here.)
In his original Albanian rhapsody, titled "Albania and the Perils of the 21st Century" Poole wrote:
At the same time, a Washington Post article Poole cited demonstrates that Albanians are grateful for the foreign money:
If anyone has any illusions about the budding militancy of Kosovo, here is a small sampling of headlines to dispel them:
Ethnic Albanian Terror Suspects Appear in Court in Montenegro (Four of them live in the U.S., including three citizens from Michigan and one Tom Lantos contributor.)
We Buy Bag of Semtex from Terrorists [in Kosovo] ("a breeding ground for fanatics with al-Qaeda links.") Video here.
Bin Laden's Camps Teach Curriculum of Carnage (KLA fighter's application found at al Qaeda offices in Afghanistan, boasting experience fighting Serbian and American troops in Kosovo and recommending suicide operations against Disneyland)
And once again we are hearing from former al Qaeda operative Ali Hamad, who is still trying to warn the West about Bosnia and Kosovo:
All this is, of course, without even mentioning the sex-slave trade that Albanians are kings of and a mafia that has outpaced both the Italian and Russian mobs in this country.
Inverting Victim and Villain
But to keep American thinkers from second-guessing our help to the Albanians, Robison wrote:
To borrow a term from Peter Brock's book Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, Robison--like every journalist and politician involved with the Balkans in the 90s--"started the clock" at the point of the Serb response to the abuses that were going on in Kosovo. As we see consistently with reporting on Israel, the public is given a context-free version of the facts. But articles throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, in newspapers from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Christian Science Monitor described what was happening in Kosovo:
In Bosnia, writes Petrilla, he got a tour of the EUFOR Army base in Sarajevo "and was comforted to learn that although our politicians may not get it, the Army certainly understands who the enemy is today." Similarly, a Jerusalem-based monk from Kosovo named Father Jovan-who can't travel from one Kosovo monastery to another without an armored NATO escort so that he doesn't get beheaded the way other monks there have-told me, "Every American [and Spanish] soldier I meet in Kosovo says the same thing: ‘Our mission was to protect Albanians. But after a week I discover that it is the Serbs who need protecting from Albanians.'"
The policies and rhetoric coming out of Washington are in direct contradiction to the reality on the ground in Kosovo as observed by our fighting men and women.
But back to Poole's tall tales-one of which involves "poisoning" by the Yugoslavian government of Albanian high school students. This was a PR scam so thoroughly refuted and discredited that not even the most avid of the Albanians' advocates deign to invoke it in their list of Serbian "misdeeds."
Where have we heard this kind of accusation before? Recall the infamous poison slander by Suha Arafat in 1999. The Albanian-poisoning incident came up at the Milosevic trialcame up at the Milosevic trial-that momentous but aggressively ignored "Second Nuremberg"--in February 2005. The testimony is available in transcript form, but here it is as reported by the only known American observer of those proceedings-Andy Wilcoxson, on his unfortunately titled website "Slobodan-Milosevic.org":
This was not the only poisoning libel that Albanians tossed at the Serbs. However, if poisoning tales are the order of the day here, then refer to the above-cited New York Times article describing Kosovo in 1987:
As for Poole's ignorant aspersion that the Serbian government "seized" the formerly autonomous province, the Serbian government didn't "seize" anything. Even Tito's Communists who gave Albanians autonomous privileges acknowledged Kosovo as a part of Serbia. What critics of the revoked autonomy believe, essentially, is that it was right for all the entities to violently break away from Yugoslavia, which was created by communist Tito, but it was wrong for the Serbs to reverse communist Tito's 1974 decision to give Kosovo autonomy to appease the Albanians at the expense of the Serbs there.
Mr. Poole complained that in my article "Allied Assassins?", I claimed that Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha hosted Osama bin Laden in his former presidential offices in 1995, something for which he is sure that "not a shred of evidence exists that such a meeting ever happened." Two items of documentation for this were linked in two of my previous articles, but here they are for American thinkers. And here's a third. (Again, section 6, "Pan-Islamic Factor".)
The Role of Albania Proper, and some Asked-for Evidence
Last week a Tirana-based activist named Erion Veliaj shared a little more with us about Berisha:
Ready for the comments to his post? This one sums up at least a few: "Dude, you must be paid a pretty penny by the Serbs, or Greeks to talk like that about Albania, its political past and future under Sali Berisha or any other Albanian leader. You should be ashamed calling yourself Albanian..."
Though Veliaj supports Kosovo independence like just about every other Albanian on the planet, he asked the comment posters, "Shouldn't we in Albania fix things here first, before trying to ‘export' our despotic regime elsewhere?"
But the pull of tribalism is too strong, as Colorado State University professor G. Richard Jansen demonstrates in a paper he's been updating since 1999, titled "Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo: An Abbreviated History/An Opening for the Islamic Jihad in Europe":
Despite Albanian hesitations about a Greater Albania, then, concern for life and limb, as well as for quality of life and a solid future, paled in comparison to Albanian "solidarity", deadly as it can be for Albanians themselves. (One of many notable confluences between Albanians and Muslims in general.)
Jansen concludes with a note on Sali Berisha:
Just a bit more on "Greater Albania", an agenda that the comparatively "moderate" former Kosovo Prime Minister Ibrahim Rugova denied under oath at the Milosevic trial--from a 1982 New York Times article:
Poole accused me of warning "that President Bush was walking into a virtual Albanian deathtrap in his visit to Tirana on Sunday, where he was to be greeted with bombs, guns and the sinister machinations of al-Qaeda." See if you can find where I said this in the article, which related that former Defense Secretary William Cohen's visit to Albania had to be cancelled in 1999 because of a terror threat (as did Bill Clinton's), and also the fact that for Bush's visit the U.S. government requested that its own small army of 500 combat-ready Marines be flown in with the president for security and that Albania's elite guard be disarmed.
In his article "Kosova [sic] and Anti-Jihad Bigotry," Poole wrote:
It's humorous that someone who hasn't heard that the "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide" rumors were debunked is asking critics of the intervention to "acknowledge" the "real threat of Serbian butchery". The word "colossal" doesn't begin to cover it. The "war" in Kosovo absolutely was, and still is, the greatest, most costly ($45 billion so far), scandal in American history, outdone only by the elaborate, voluntary, conspiracy-free suppression that continues to keep the truth locked.
If you can imagine, the West was complicit in being conned into military action against a genocide and ethnic cleansing that proved false and in fact staged. (That has been the finding of one observation force after another, most vocally that of Spanish forensic pathologist Emilio Perez Pujol, who told London's Sunday Times, "We did not find one-not one-mass grave," and Spain's El Pais newspaper, "There never was a genocide in Kosovo.")
What is it about the Balkans that has led every last journalist and, more appallingly, the journalists' police-the blogosphere-to continue to miss/ignore the biggest story of the millennium?
But Poole is determined to perpetuate even more mythology:
According to U.S. columnist and security analyst Michael Garner:
To call the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo a "success" flies in the face of the daily reality that non-Albanians face, living in shipping containers and confined to two-kilometer perimeters beyond which they dare not venture. It flies in the face of the purification of the province that's been taking place, with 220,000 Serbs and thousands of other non-Albanians fleeing the province since 1999, and it defiles the memory of the 1,000 Serbs abducted and/or killed since that rest-in-peacekeeping mission began. It also makes a mockery of the meaning of "no combat-related deaths", given that KFOR troops are instructed to simply flee when fired upon-to avoid calling attention to the fact that our protégées are shooting at us. (Recall reports about the 2004 March pogrom describing the peacekeepers as being "helpless" to stop the mobs, with NATO tanks just standing watch and, alternately, turning away.)
Even writers whose take on Serb culpability in Kosovo is no more flattering than Poole's and Robison's know at least something about the reality of the situation. From a 2004 article "General Clark's Kosovo is a Mess" in Canada's Globe & Mail:
Like U.S. lawmakers, who continue touting our military adventure in Kosovo as a victory for "democratic values" of humanitarianism and multicultural tolerance, Poole is boasting our mono-ethnic "success" in the Balkans. Here's what that success actually looks like, as reported by Sherrie Gossett, managing editor of The Objectivist Center's magazine The New Individualist, in February:
The picture painted by Sunday Times of London diplomatic correspondent Tom Walker in his 2004 article "Kosovo Goes to Hell" isn't much different:
Nor do the following headlines-a tiny sampling of what has been a sustained campaign of violence--speak to the success of the peacekeeping mission or of our foreign policy there:
Albanian Threat to Kill UK Peacekeepers UK Observer, December 24, 2000
Albanian gunmen training for war; Guerrillas fire on British troops trying to keep the peace in the bit of Serbia that Kosovo wants, UK Guardian, Jan. 26, 2001
US troops in Kosovo border clash, BBC, March 7, 2001:
Yugoslav Forces to Return To Buffer Zone in Kosovo, Washington Post, March 9, 2001:
Peacekeepers, Albanians Could Clash, AP, March 12, 2001:
We'll Fight NATO Troops, Warn Albanian Rebels, UK Telegraph, June 19, 2001
U.S.-Based Muslim Charity Raided by NATO in Kosovo, NY Times, Dec. 18, 2001:
Gunmen attack Kosovo peacekeepers, BBC.com, Aug. 29, 2002:
U.N. Officer Killed in Ambush in Kosovo, Washington Post, Aug. 5, 2003:
Angry Kosovars call on 'colonial' UN occupying force to leave, The (UK) Observer, Oct. 19, 2003
'Specific Threat' Triggers Kosovo Alert, Reuters, Nov. 28, 2003 ("NATO has raised security in Kosovo in response to a ‘specific threat' of attack against international organizations in the United Nations protectorate.")
NATO Warns Albanians, Serbs Brace for More Attacks, Reuters, March 18, 2004:
NATO Sends Reinforcements to Kosovo, USA Today, March 18, 2004
NATO Sees Specter of Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo, Reuters, March 19, 2004:
New Kosovo Violence is Start of Predicted 2004 Wave of Islamist Operations, Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, March 19, 2004
Centuries of Culture Vanish in Kosovo City, March 24, 2004 AP:
Daily Stabs of Violence in Kosovo Rattle U.N., Reuters, March 29, 2005
CIA Probes Possible Kosovo Links to London Blasts, Defense & Foreign Affairs (viewable in this Kosovo.net compilation from August 6, 2005.) On this point Human Events' Gizzi wrote:
Police Attacked in South Serbia, B92, Jan. 31, 2006
NATO Peacekeepers, Police Seize Weapons Cache in Kosovo, Reuters, December 21, 2006
Explosion Damages 3 UN Vehicles in Kosovo, AP, Feb. 19, 2007
For good measure, the Albanians' advocates follow up boasting this "success" with citing Albanian pro-Americanism, as Poole and Robison have done. A dubious endorsement for America if ever there was one, enshrined in a makeshift Statue of Liberty that overlooks our handiwork from atop Pristina's "Victory Hotel".
The Kosovo Giveaway: the Beginning of the End, ala Munich
"One of the most cherished principles of international law-the territorial integrity of states-is about to be undone as part of the latest Western attempt to cover up failure in the Balkans," Tufts international law professor Hurst Hannum recently wrote in the Christian Science Monitor.
About covering up that failure, it has been like watching Keystone Cops as we attempt to patch up every disastrous consequence of our flawed policies with the next flawed policy, concealing every mistake with the next mistake--until we find ourselves protecting KLA heroin factories; supporting Albanians wherever they rise up against their host societies (even rescuing ANA terrorists when they lose the upper hand in Macedonia).
From an email to me by Canada's last ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett:
We've promised Albanians the impossible, and as it explodes in our faces in the coming weeks, the plan is to blame Serbian and Russian "intransigence" (though Greece, Slovakia, Spain and other European countries oppose independence as well-and note that the six-month delay in Kosovo's status resolution was suggested by Sarkozy's France, which has had more than a taste of what the Serbs got from a restive minority).
Supporting Kosovo independence is supporting illegal immigration; violability of borders; meaninglessness of international laws; secession by critical mass ethnicities; guerilla warfare; ethnic purification; religious purification; no rule of law; mob justice; collective guilt; blood code; no minority rights; selective justice; sex slavery; terrorism; the drug trade; mafia states; and might-makes-right diplomacy and intervention.
Pots Calling the Kettle Black
Yet somehow, pointing this out makes me a pro-Serb propagandist, according to Poole and Robison. Why is applying to Serbia the right of each country to keep its territory from being torn away by domestic terrorism or aggressive foreign states a "pro-Serb" position? Why is taking the position of legality, respect for international norms and territorial integrity, not to mention rule of law and civil rights, the ipso facto "pro-Serb" position--and my writings nothing more than "Serbian propaganda"?
Ah yes, all that Serbian propaganda that's just oozing out from the woodwork for American consumption, accounting for all the positive associations brought out in people the moment you say the word "Serb", and fooling us into...bombing the Serbs. Again I ask why, especially at this stage of the worldwide jihad, has Serbian propaganda been less preferable than Muslim propaganda?
The London Times' Walker runs into the same problems, particularly since he is married to a Serb. As he described in that same article:
Poole and Robison have attributed racist overtones to my writings on Albanians while, like most, not even attempting to hide their seething contempt for everything Serbian. For some reason, the universal and unchecked anti-Serbism is much less offensive than my "anti-Albanianism", with every aspersion and rumor against Serbs assumed as fact without it ever being called discrimination. Meanwhile, only pro-Albanian folks can be the objective arbiters of the situation. As Gossett asked me, "Ever notice how they're always accusing people of being ‘pro-Serb' because they're oblivious that they're anti-Serb?"
And all this is without mentioning the irony of Albanians and their promoters calling anyone racist, when Albanians with their open agenda of creating a pan-Albanian area in Europe are as supremacist as it gets. "Albanians' religion is Albanianism!" one Albanian reader informed me when I made the Islamic connection. And indeed, for now Albanian supremacy trumps Islamic supremacy among Albanian Muslims, but as radicalization asserts itself as the only future for Muslim countries, "Albanianism" will be twice as pleasant.
"The hope in giving [Albanian-ruled] Kosovo autonomy was that they would become loyal citizens of Yugoslavia," author Alexander Dragnich, who served in the American Embassy in Belgrade, told me in 1999. "But instead they used the increased privileges to clean Kosovo of Serbs."
And from Gossett about that autonomous era:
Meanwhile, who can forget the UN aid worker from New York who was killed on his first day in Kosovo--for speaking Serbo-Croatian? Bulgarian-born Valentin Krumov had "spent years working toward a peacekeeping assignment with the organization," the AP reported. The 38-year-old
Poole closes his article "Kosova [sic] and Anti-Jihad Bigotry" by writing:
The suggestion to not "add to it" always comes along on those rare occasions that someone ventures to expand the blame beyond the Serbs. So when they say "we shouldn't be trying to add to it", they mean "don't add non-Serbs to it." Yes, there is, as they say plenty of blame to go around, but somehow the only shoulders it ever lands on squarely are Serbian.
Poole's spelling and pronunciation Kosova impugns him as well. "Kosova" is the nationalist/Islamist/Fascist and dhimmi pronunciation. "Kosovo" means "of blackbirds" in Serbian. "Kosova" has no meaning in Albanian. The intent of inventing the word "Kosova" was to de-Serbify the name of the land. The invented "Kosova" is the same as if Hispanics were to take over the state of Maryland and call it "Marylando", which has no meaning in Spanish.
But let's go ahead and call all this my "anti-Albanian racism" for now. After the consequences of our Albanian-friendly but morally wrong and self-destructive policies manifest themselves more often and closer to home, then we can call it what it was: a warning. This is not pointing the finger at every last Albanian, most especially those who knew from the start to fear the KLA and its objectives. Even if one were to take the Salt Lake City shooting by a Bosnian and the Ft. Dix plot by Albanians as isolated incidents not representative of the overall populations the attackers hail from-though this article demonstrates that they're not quite "isolated"--the question needs to be asked: If it's not the Serbs who are involved in plots against America, why were they, and why are they still, the designated enemy? Why are the "handful" of Albanian and Bosnian baddies coming from the side we took? Is it just a coincidence that for years I've been writing articles titled "Kosovo May Explode-Here" and "What Happens in the Balkans Doesn't Stay in the Balkans"--and this year Americans faced Balkans-related attacks on their soil?
It started with the Serbs and now has moved on to the rest of us. Should we wait until the next Albanian or Bosnian attack before demanding that our politicians move away from the 1990s polices that endanger Americans, not least by resettling our designated "allies" on our shores? Thirty million dollars were raised here to support insurgents who have engaged in axe murders, purges of their own ranks, and killings of Albanians as "collaborators" merely for being employed by the Yugoslav government as postal workers. As official "allies", the KLA has a haven for their operations in the U.S., their supporters here collecting money and weapons to support operations in Kosovo, southern Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and northern Greece.
It's time to stop making exceptions, excuses and double standards for the Balkans, as Poole and Robison have been doing because they've had personal contact with affable Albanians. For Poole and Robison to try to lull American thinkers back into their pre-9/11 stupors-after all that's happened and all the lessons learned about what's what and who's what--would border on the treasonous if I didn't know that they're just dupes themselves.
I am not guided by a hatred for Albanians, but Poole and Robison are guided by a love for them, as they themselves admit. The "rhetoric" and "con artistry" they attribute to me is all theirs. The information is out there, but few are willing to put it together. I don't maintain my distasteful perspective on the Balkans because I don't know what I'm talking about, but because I do..