April 16, 2004


We bombed the wrong side? (Lewis MacKenzie, April 6, 2004, National Post)

Five years ago our television screens were dominated by pictures of Kosovo-Albanian refugees escaping across Kosovo's borders to the sanctuaries of Macedonia and Albania. Shrill reports indicated that Slobodan Milosevic's security forces were conducting a campaign of genocide and that at least 100,000 Kosovo-Albanians had been exterminated and buried in mass graves throughout the Serbian province. NATO sprung into action and, in spite of the fact no member nation of the alliance was threatened, commenced bombing not only Kosovo, but the infrastructure and population of Serbia itself -- without the authorizing United Nations resolution so revered by Canadian leadership, past and present.

Those of us who warned that the West was being sucked in on the side of an extremist, militant, Kosovo-Albanian independence movement were dismissed as appeasers. The fact that the lead organization spearheading the fight for independence, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was universally designated a terrorist organization and known to be receiving support from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda was conveniently ignored. [...]

Since the NATO/UN intervention in 1999, Kosovo has become the crime capital of Europe. The sex slave trade is flourishing. The province has become an invaluable transit point for drugs en route to Europe and North America. Ironically, the majority of the drugs come from another state "liberated" by the West, Afghanistan. Members of the demobilized, but not eliminated, KLA are intimately involved in organized crime and the government. The UN police arrest a small percentage of those involved in criminal activities and turn them over to a judiciary with a revolving door that responds to bribes and coercion. The objective of the Albanians is to purge all non-Albanians, including the international community's representatives, from Kosovo and ultimately link up with mother Albania thereby achieving the goal of "Greater Albania." The campaign started with their attacks on Serbian security forces in the early 1990s and they were successful in turning Milosevic's heavy-handed response into worldwide sympathy for their cause. There was no genocide as claimed by the West -- the 100,000 allegedly buried in mass graves turned out to be around 2,000, of all ethnic origins, including those killed in combat during the war itself.

The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo.We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early '90s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary. When they achieve independence with the help of our tax dollars combined with those of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world.

Former U.N. Leader MacKenzie Speaks on Behalf of Serb Forces (Dele Olojede and Roy Gutman, Newsday)
The former U.N. commander in Bosnia has participated in a speakers tour funded by a Serbian-American advocacy group that seeks to dispel the internationally accepted view that Serb fighters were principally responsible for the mass killings, rape and ethnic cleansing that has destroyed the former Yugoslav republic.

In an interview with Newsday, retired Canadian Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie said he has done nothing unethical or improper in connection with last month's tour. MacKenzie last week acknowledged in a telephone conversation from Ottawa that his tour was funded by the group, SerbNet, but said he does not know how much he was paid. In his public appearances, including congressional testimony last month, MacKenzie never disclosed SerbNet's financial support.

MacKenzie said that he customarily receives up to $10,000 an appearance and that he "wouldn't be surprised" if SerbNet paid that rate through his agent.

Accepting money from an advocacy group violates no laws or official policies of the United Nations, but a top U.N. official, who asked to remain anonymous, said, "We quite frankly are displeased with his lack of judgment." MacKenzie, who served as the top U.N. peacekeeper in Bosnia for six months in 1992, argues that all the parties in the Balkans war are to blame for atrocities.

"Dealing with Bosnia is a little bit like dealing with three serial killers -- one has killed 15, one has killed 10, one has killed five," MacKenzie testified before the House Armed Services Committee last month. "Do we help the one that's only killed five?"

There are no good guys in the Balkans, but there are our guys and their guys--we went to war against our guys.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 16, 2004 2:52 PM

There were four wars in the Balkans in the 90's. In each case the Western chattering classes simply asked which side had the smaller population and decreed it was the oppressed victim. It's the underdog theory of geopolitical morality.

It's great because it is so simple. No need to bother with studying history or culture or that kind of tedious stuff.

Posted by: Peter B at April 16, 2004 5:07 PM

I'm reluctant to claim Slobodan and company as "our guys." As Peter said, there were several wars in the period, and while I didn't have a hard time picking sides in the first one or two, by the last one it seemed more like the Iran/Iraq war, where I would have been happy to see both sides lose.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 16, 2004 6:05 PM

Funny thing, Papaya. Orrin hates FDR for not standing aside from Germany v. USSR, but you'll never hear a peep or a murmur against Reagan and Bush I for making exactly the same mistake with Iran and Iraq.

I said at the time we'd regret it, and I guess we do.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 16, 2004 8:27 PM

Odd comment, Harry. Under Reagan and Bush I we did step aside and let Iran and Iraq fight it out. The aid given to Saddam was very very limited (much more limited than that given by other countries), and primarily limited to intelligence. It was given when Saddam was losing, and withdrawn when he was winning. Our entire policy was to make that war last as long as possible.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 16, 2004 9:00 PM

We should have helped Iran.

Posted by: oj at April 16, 2004 9:11 PM

Well, if the Serbs were "our guys" then shouldn't we have told Milosovich to step down?

Posted by: at April 17, 2004 1:04 AM

Why, they liked him.

Posted by: oj at April 17, 2004 7:48 AM

John, true for a while, but in the end instead of working to prolong that war, we worked to bring it to an end.

And the motive of Reagan was not to keep the two dogs fighting but to keep one dog fighting Iran.

His intentions were clear enough -- when Iraq attacked our Navy, he attacked Iran.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 17, 2004 10:44 PM

Our mistake in the Balkans was not bombing Belgrade in 1991-92. Everything would have stopped PDQ. And it would have given the Europeans something to cackle about for the next ten years.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 19, 2004 10:40 PM
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