Jewish World Review April 14, 1999 /28 Nissan 5759
Before we march into Kosovo
(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
IN WORLD WAR II, the German blitz forced England to surrender. The 1972
Christmas bombing of Hanoi toppled the communist regime and secured the
independence of South Vietnam.
You missed that, didn't you?
In reality, strategic bombing alone has never decided anything. Yet Bill
Clinton and Madeleine Albright remain convinced they can bomb Slobodan
Milosevic back to the conference table, as Lyndon Johnson used to say.
Clinton demonstrated his keen understanding of the Balkans when he told an
audience thatboth world wars started there ---
doubtless after Poland became loose from its moorings and drifted south.
Among the many things the president does not understand is the Serbs'
determination. More than 400 years of being subjugated and slaughtered by
the Ottoman Turks hardened their resolve and gave them a fatalistic outlook.
After the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary gave
the Serbs an ultimatum. They ignored it. Austria shelled Belgrade and
occupied the city for most of World War I.
That didn't stop the Serbs, who sacrificed 52 percent of their adult male
population fighting the Central Powers.
In 1941, Hitler gave the Serbs an ultimatum. They responded by declaring
war on the Third Reich. The Nazis bombed Belgrade and 17,000 died. Serb
partisans tied down 37 German divisions and inflicted 700,000 casualties. In
turn, the Serbs lost 1.7 million, including hundreds of thousands killed by
Croat Nazis and Bosnian Moslems.
And now Clinton thinks Milosevic will throw up his hands after a few weeks
of NATO bombing runs. But then, the president is used to dealing with
When he at last realizes that the air war has failed, Clinton will
reluctantly allow Republicans like Sen. John McCain to persuade him to send
in the troops.
Blood and Guts Bill is hoping a ground war will be a reprise of Desert
Storm. Albright forgot to tell him there's no sand in Kosovo, just lots of
forests, mountains and boulders -- tough terrain to fight over.
The Yugoslav army includes 75,000 regulars and 150,000 reservists. Unlike
Iraq's Republican Guard, they are highly motivated.
The Serbs are fortifying their positions in the province and moving in
howitzers, tanks and other heavy equipment. If they are defeated in open
battle, the Serbs are prepared to fade into the mountains and fight a
guerrilla war, as they did from 1941 to 1945.
Why are we so eager to add our blood to that sodden soil? To stop a
But the New World Order gang is indifferent to ethnic cleansing in the
Sudan (which makes Kosovo look like a debutantes' ball), likewise the mound
of skulls that resulted from tribal cleansing in Rwanda.
While NATO bombers roared through the night sky over Belgrade last week,
Clinton feted Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. What does he think Beijing is
doing in Tibet, celebrating diversity?
Are we willing to recreate the Tet Offensive so Kosovar Albanians can have
autonomy? An autonomous Kosovo would be dominated by the Kosovo Liberation
Army, which former Secretary of State Alexander Haig calls "a gaggle of
drug-dealing fundamentalist Marxist goons."
When Croatia and Bosnia declared their independence in 1991-92, local Serbs
wanted a little autonomy of their own. The West flatly rejected that appeal.
Constituting 75 percent of the Krajina region of Croatia didn't help the
Serbs in the least.
During the war that ensued, 1.2 million Serbs were forced from their homes.
Despite the presence of 30,000 NATO peacekeepers, no effort has been made to
repatriate these refugees. Their haggard faces did not appear on the nightly
Not only is Kosovo the Serbs' historic homeland, the local Serbian minority
was badly mistreated by Albanians both during and after Tito. In 1989,
frail, elderly Patriarch Pavel, then bishop of Kosovo, was nearly beaten to
death by Albanian youths in the streets of Pristina.
The U.N. Human Rights Commission found the Kosovo Liberation Army
responsible for its share of mass graves. Will the addition of American
headstones help the Serbs and Albanians buried there rest more peacefully?
Before we march into hell for a dubious cause, I trust the commander in
chief will address the troops, telling them that just as he answered his
country's call to duty in the '60s, he's asking them to sacrifice now, while
in the background the Marine Corps band plays Phil Ochs' "The Draftdodger's
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©1999, Creators Syndicate