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Jewish World Review May 7, 1999 /21 Iyar, 5759

Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg
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There is no substitute for victory

(JWR) ---- (
HOW ASSURING. The war in Kosovo is on track. So says Gen. Wesley Clark, commander of NATO's (strictly air) forces. But has word got to Slobodan Milosevic? Or to the refugees still fleeing his murderous thuggery in Kosovo?

Another 20,000 Albanians were forced out of the southern city of Prizren just this weekend, to seek refuge in the wilds or try to make their way to Albania or Macedonia. At least the women and children seek refuge. The men would flee, too, if they could escape the execution squads. The stories are familiar by now, the pattern as well established as the Nazis' Einsatzgruppen:

"They crowded all the men together in a big open field. They put them into groups of about 15 and lined them up. The commander told the soldiers to open fire, and the soldier killed them in small groups. Each soldier killed a small group with a machine gun.'' -- Isa Thaci, who witnessed the massacre of 151 men at Izbica.

Who commits these atrocities -- Serbian troops or just free-lancers, the kind of ordinary folks from back home depicted in the book "Hitler's Willing Executioners''? And does it matter much whether the killers are in uniform or not? They're all equally brave when they have to deal only with the unarmed and defenseless.

The spirit of the Serbian enterprise in Kosovo was summed up decades ago: "The soldier in the Eastern Territories is not merely a fighter according to the rules of the art of war but also the bearer of a ruthless national ideology ... therefore the soldier must have an understanding of the necessity of a severe but just revenge on sub-human Jewry.'' -- Order of the Day, October 19, 1941, signed by Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau.

The more things change in Europe, the more they stay the bloody same. Only the victims change. Did you read that interview with a Serb who'd gone to Kosovo to lend a hand with the Ethnic Cleansing? It was replete with the same kind of excuses Germans must have made to themselves in the Forties. Only the identity of the hunted has changed; the reasons offered for the slaughter remain remarkably the same. Listen to this volunteer thug talking to a reporter for Britain's Guardian:

"We gave most of them 24 hours to get out. The rich ones -- and they're all criminals, you know, with satellite TV and big houses -- were tougher to move. But if you push hard enough, they'll all go in the end. They're cowards, those Albanians; they run like rabbits. ...'' At one point, his daughter popped up: "Albanian women smell bad because they eat a lot of lamb fat and you can smell it on their skin.'' Dad himself offered the most familiar line of all by now: "I had to follow my orders. ...'' Befehl ist befehl. Orders are orders.

This time it's the Albanians who are the untermenschen, the sub-humans who are to be cleaned out, the way Europe was once to be made Judenrein. But this time, the West cannot claim it doesn't know what's happening. The eyewitnesses are talking, the television cameras are recording, and the war crimes trial should be convened -- now. Diplomatic feelers? The West need have only one message for Slobodan Milosevic and his accomplices: You're under arrest.

It needs to be made clear that, by this war's end, not a single Serbian soldier, irregular, freebooter or marauder will remain in Kosovo. Instead, the Allies still wage a peculiar halfway war, which may produce only halfway results, and not even halfway justice.

Only slowly, agonizingly slowly, does it become clear to this president that the target list of Allied bombers should be expanded, and the whole might of the Western alliance brought to bear against the enemy -- on land, sea and air. Only now is NATO turning off the lights in Belgrade.

Within 24 hours after the first air raids of the Gulf War, the lights were out in Baghdad. Within 48 hours, there was no more Iraqi television. Within a week, the telephones were out, too. But life in Belgrade now goes on almost normally after a month of spotty bombing. The presidential palace still stands, the telephones still work, and the capital of a regime that has caused so much pain and suffering for others this past decade -- in Bosnia, now in Kosovo, next in Montenegro or Macedonia -- remains largely unscathed.

The command-and-control centers of Serbian society remain a privileged sanctuary, and therefore capable of continuing this war. What does Slobodan Milosevic care how many empty barracks and office buildings are destroyed so long as he remains in absolute control of an emptied Kosovo? The war has actually given him the excuse he sought to hunt down his opposition at home, for not just Albanians are being executed. A particularly troublesome editor has been assassinated, and other dissidents are jailed as the bombs fall. The leader of the Serbian opposition has been dismissed and may soon be silenced.

For too long, dangerously long, the world has underestimated Slobodan Milosevic's brutality. This massive pogrom in Kosovo, complete with executions and "resettlement,'' had to be well planned. All it needed was the signal from Belgrade. And it is still proceeding.

There hasn't been anything like this on the European continent since the Second World War, since the Holocaust. But even now, the West tries to find some way around this evil -- instead of confronting it. Not until this war is fought as a war will Comrade Milosevic have a meaningful incentive to release his grip on Kosovo. Speeches are fine, but they cannot substitute for deeds. Because in war there is no substitute for victory.


05/03/99: A Tale of two colonels
05/03/99: It's the culture, stupid
04/30/99: Bumpers' 'B.S.'
04/27/99: An American tragedy: the fall of Kenneth Starr
04/23/99: Presidents and the press
04/14/99: A revealing moment
04/14/99: War Day by day
04/12/99: Just a few questions
04/06/99: The problem with the Left
04/05/99: The problem with the Right
03/30/99: But can he convince himself?
03/26/99: Short bursts
03/24/99: Once more into the quagmire
03/17/99: Big time in Little Rock
03/15/99: Our own Roger Taney
03/09/99: A different ‘Waterfront’
03/05/99: Law and disorder
2/26/99: King Richard's revenge
2/25/99: Open season on the fetus, and a good word for the pagans
2/23/99: It never ends: Here comes the judge
2/19/99: After the storm: Going through the debris
2/17/99: Where's the closure?
2/12/99: Hussein the Hashemite: The wiliest player on the board
2/09/99: The social security game
2/04/99: Our own Inspector Clouseau
2/01/99: Night scene, night thoughts
1/28/99: The decay of the art of lying
1/26/99: Impeachment: Short subjects
1/22/99: Bounce, glitz and tedium: The State of the Disunion
1/20/99: Destructive engagement: How to encourage tyranny
1/18/99: Martin Luther King: The radical as conservative?
1/11/99: Why America is apathetic about Bill's date with destiny
1/06/99:The year of Moronica
1/04/99: Clinton’s janitorial crew of two
12/29/98:The Senate will be on trial, too
12/29/98:A look down the avenue
12/22/98: The surreal impeachment
12/17/98: Another moment of truth approaches
12/15/98: The President's defenders: witnesses for the prosecution
12/10/98:The latest miracle cure: CensurePlus
12/03/98: Sentences at an airport Sentences at an airport
12/03/98: Games lawyers play
12/01/98: Ms. Magoo strikes again, or: Janet Reno and the law
11/26/98: The most American holiday
11/23/98: Same game, another round
11/18/98: Guide to the perplexed
11/09/98: A vote for apathy
11/03/98: Global village goes Clintonesque
11/02/98: Farewell to all that
10/30/98: New budget, same swollen government
10/26/98: Of life on the old plantation -- and death in the Middle East
10/22/98: Starr Wars (CONT'D)
10/19/98:Another retreat: weakness invites aggression
10/16/98: Profile in courage
10/14/98: A new voice out of Arkansas
10/09/98: Gerald Ford, Mr. Fix-It?
10/07/98: Impeachment Journal: Dept. of Doublespeak
10/01/98: The new tradition
9/25/98: Mr. President, PLEASE don't resign
9/23/98: The demolition of meaning
9/18/98: So help us G-d; The nature of the crisis
9/17/98: First impressions: on reading the Starr Report
9/15/98: George Wallace: All the South in one man
9/10/98: Here comes the judge
9/07/98: Toward impeachment
9/03/98: The politics of impeachment
9/01/98: The eagle can still soar
8/28/98: Boris Yeltsin's mind: a riddle pickled in an enigma
8/26/98: Clinton agonistes, or: Twisting in the wind
8/25/98: The rise of the English murder
8/24/98: Confess and attack: Slick comes semi-clean
8/19/98: Little Rock perspectives
8/14/98: Department of deja vu
8/12/98: The French would understand
8/10/98: A fable: The Rat in the Corner
8/07/98: Welcome to the roaring 90s
8/06/98: No surprises dept. -- promotion denied
8/03/98: Quotes of and for the week: take your pick
7/29/98: A subpoena for the president:
so what else is new?
7/27/98: Forget about Bubba, it's time to investigate Reno
7/23/98: Ghosts on the roof, 1998
7/21/98: The new elegance
7/16/98: In defense of manners
7/13/98: Another day, another delay: what's missing from the scandal news
7/9/98:The language-wars continue
7/7/98:The new Detente
7/2/98: Bubba in Beijing: history does occur twice
6/30/98: Hurry back, Mr. President -- to freedom
6/24/98: When Clinton follows Quayle's lead
6/22/98: Independence Day, 2002
6/18/98: Adventures in poli-speke

©1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate