Remember Operation Erase Pecker Tracks
? Apparently hardly anybody does, even though every mendatious attack that left-wing nuts have thrown at the liberations of Afghanistan and Iraq were true of Sick Willie's 1999, post-impeachment, unprovoked attack on Serbia a zillion times over (minus the "Halliburton wants their oil" part, I guess).
Well, we still have troops in Kosovo, and every ethnic group (Albanians, Serbs, Jews, Roma, and non-Albanian Muslims) still hates every other ethnic group, and as was obvious to some of us from the beginning, there is no optimal, let alone workable or practical, solution to the problems that have persisted there for over seven centuries. It's why we should never have gotten involved in the first place and why we should get out now.
Finally, somebody with bigger pull than little ol' me is serving as the echo chamber
Although Clinton administration officials who did so much to unnecessarily entangle America in the Balkans have demanded continued U.S. "leadership," solving the region's problems always should have been Europe's rather than America's problem. Unfortunately, the U.S. now bears significant responsibility for the outcome due to its foolish intervention in 1999. But Europe retains both a greater interest in Kosovo's final status and ability to influence Balkan governments than does America.
Thus, Washington should baptize the beginning of an international process for resolving Kosovo's status and then step back, withdrawing its last 1,800 troops from the region. Europe then could wield its various tools of influence - a willingness to maintain military garrisons, the prospect of joining the European Union, and the offer of economic opportunities and aid. If the Europeans choose a different strategy than preferred by Washington, so be it. And if a continuing troop presence is necessary, as many analysts argue, it should be provided by Europe.
Amen. Call it putting the best face on a bad - and utterly cynical - mistake.
But Mr. Bandow doesn't stop with just cleaning up the mess:
There are lessons to be learned. The U.S., with or without NATO, should say never again. Never again will Washington substitute ideological fantasies for practical realities when implementing its foreign policy. Never again will Washington intervene in a distant civil war of no geopolitical concern to America. Never again will America attack another nation that poses no threat to the U.S. The world is filled with tragedy, and the Balkans.... demonstrates how difficult it is for outsiders to resolve ancient and intractable conflicts.
You could add "no more playing global gendarme" and "no more wagging the dog" for good measure. After all, we have a real war to fight.Here
is my own post-mortem, written in the immediate aftermath of Clinton's eleven-week bombing campaign. 'Tis amazing how fresh it reads six years later.
It is several weeks later, and happily – except for the Serbs of Kosovo, who are about to be themselves "cleansed" by his KLA allies – Bill Clinton decided to settle for fictional "victory" after all. And he started with the below-bracketed address to the nation.
My fellow Americans, tonight, for the first time in 79 days, the skies over Yugoslavia are silent. The Serb army and police are withdrawing from Kosovo. The 1 million men, women and children driven from their land are preparing to return home. The demands of an outraged and united international community have been met.
One million Kosovars have been driven from their "homes?" The 1993 World Almanac shows the population of Yugoslavia as 10,337,000 people, after the former republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia seceded from Yugoslavia, and indicates the ethnic Albanians in the nation to be 8% of the total. That would be 826,960 Albanians in ALL OF YUGOSLAVIA in 1993. Now Clinton tells us that there are a million refugees from tiny Kosovo alone - and they have been there for generations?
Also, the "international community" is a Clintonoid myth. NATO is not the "international community," and even some alliance members were less than enthusiastic about the war at best (Italy, Germany), adamantly opposed at worst (Greece). Most of the rest of the "international community" backed the Serbs.
I can report to the American people that we have achieved a victory for a safer world, for our democratic values, and for a stronger America. Our pilots have returned to base. The air strikes have been suspended. Aggression against an innocent people has been contained and is being turned back.
When I ordered our armed forces into combat, we had three clear goals: to enable the Kosovar people, the victims of some of the most vicious atrocities in Europe since the Second World War, to return to their homes with safety and self-government; to require Serbian forces responsible for those atrocities to leave Kosovo; and to deploy an international security force, with NATO at its core, to protect all the people of that troubled land, Serbs and Albanians alike.
Those goals will be achieved. Unnecessary conflict has been brought to a just and honorable conclusion.
In his March 24, 1999 speech, in which he announced the bombing campaign, Clinton claimed the goals of the bombing, which was started without the approval of Congress or the United Nations:
Clinton: "Acting to end the crisis in Kosovo. President Milosevic's forces have intensified their attacks of burning down Kosovar Albanian villages and murdering innocent civilians. As a result, 60,000 Kosovars have fled their homes in the past five weeks, and a million of them are refugees in neighboring countries like Albania and Macedonia.
The United States and NATO allies' air strikes have three objectives: To deter President Milosevic from continuing to escalate his attacks on helpless civilians by imposing a price for those attacks."
Complete failure - There were NO ethnic Albanians in refugee camps on March 24, 1999.
"To demonstrate the seriousness of NATO's opposition to aggression and its support for peace."
Complete failure. The entire world now realizes NATO has turned into an out of control war machine.
"If necessary, to damage Serbia's capacity to wage war against Kosovo in the
future by seriously diminishing its military capabilities."
Complete failure. Milosevic's military capabilities, we see as they leave Kosovo, are intact.
The result will be security and dignity for the people of Kosovo, achieved by an alliance that stood together in purpose and resolve, assisted by the diplomatic efforts of Russia. This victory brings a new hope that when a people are singled out for destruction because of their heritage and religious faith and we can do something about it, the world will not look the other way.
The ethnic Albanians were not "singled out" for their heritage and religion. The Yugoslav army went after the KLA, a drug cartel, terrorist group which had killed not only Serbs, but hundreds of ethnic Albanians who would not support them.
Meanwhile, it was the Serbs who were "singled out for destruction because of their heritage and religious faith" by Bill Clinton.
I want to express my profound gratitude to the men and women of our armed forces and those of our allies. Day after day, night after night, they flew, risking their lives to attack their targets and to avoid civilian casualties when they were fired upon from populated areas. I ask every American to join me in saying to them, "Thank you. You've made us very proud."
I'm also grateful to the American people for standing against the awful ethnic cleansing, for sending generous assistance to the refugees and for opening your hearts and your homes to the innocent victims who came here.
I want to speak with you for a few moments tonight about why we fought, what we achieved and what we have to do now to advance the peace and, together with the people of the Balkans, forge a future of freedom, progress and harmony.
We should remember that the violence we responded to in Kosovo was the culmination of a 10-year campaign by Slobodan Milosevic, the leader of Serbia, to exploit ethnic and religious difference in order to impose his will on the lines of the former Yugoslavia.
That's what he tried to do in Croatia and Bosnia and now in Kosovo. The world saw the terrifying consequences: five hundred villages burned; men of all ages separated from their loved ones to be shot and buried in mass graves; women raped; children made to watch their parents die; a whole people forced to abandon in hours communities their families had spent generations building.
They had "spent generations building?" One million of the 1.8 million Albanians supposedly in Kosovo only arrived in the province since the collapse of the Albanian communist government. And why would rapes (if they occurred) in Yugoslavia bother Bill Clinton when he so studiously avoided answering any questions about his (alleged) rape of Juanita Broaddrick?
"Avoid civilian casualties"? Most of NATO’s targets were civilian in nature. Jamie Shea was going on the tube every few days towards the end, blandly "apologizing" for one "mistake" after another that massacred, in the aggregate, well over a thousand civilians, Serbs and Albanians alike. If avoiding civilian casualties was high on NATO’s list of priorities, they’d never have launched the air war to begin with.
For these atrocities, Mr. Milosevic and his top aides have been indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
I will never forget the Kosovar refugees I recently met. Some of them could barely talk about what they had been through. All they had left was hope that the world would not turn its back. When our diplomatic efforts to avert this horror were rebuffed, and the violence mounted, we and our allies chose to act. Mr. Milosevic continued to do terrible things to the people of Kosovo. But we were determined to turn him back. Our firmness finally has brought an end to a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing.
WHAT ethnic cleansing? How can the ethnic Albania population of Yugoslavia GROWING by 120% in 5 years be "ethnic cleansing"?
Also, "our diplomatic efforts" were not "rebuffed," because there was never any genuine attempt at diplomacy. The Clinton White House and the KLA hatched a deal in advance intended to be unacceptable to the Serbs and presented it to them as an ultimatum. It was MEANT to be "rebuffed" because both, for their own respective reasons, wanted war.
And we acted early enough to reverse it, to enable the Kosovars to go home. When they do, they will be safe. They will be able to reopen their schools, speak their language, practice their religion, choose their leaders and shape their destiny. There will be no more days of foraging for food in the cold mountains and forests. No more nights of hiding in cellars, wondering if the next day will bring death or deliverance. They will know that Mr. Milosevic's army and paramilitary forces will be gone, his 10 years of repression, finished.
All NATO forces have to worry about now is that THEY, not the Serb Army and police, will be the targets of KLA terrorists. And neither they, nor anybody else in what’s left of Kosovo – least of all the Serbs about to be cleansed – will be "safe."
NATO has achieved this success as a united alliance, ably led by Secretary-General Solana and General Clark. Nineteen democracies came together and stayed together through the stiffest military challenge in NATO's 50-year history.
"The stiffest military challenge in 50 years?" NATO was formed as a defense against the USSR - which by 1965 was a nuclear power with a population of more than 232 million people. Tiny Yugoslavia, which is about the size of the State of Kentucky with only 11 million people, is a stiffer challenge than the USSR?
We also preserved our critically important partnership with Russia. Thanks to President Yeltsin, who opposed our military effort, but supported diplomacy to end the conflict on terms that met our conditions. I'm grateful to Russian envoy Chernomyrdin and Finnish President Ahtisaari for their work, and to Vice President Gore for the key role he played in putting their partnership together.
Now, I hope Russian troops will join us in the force that will keep the peace in Kosovo, just as they have in Bosnia.
Finally, we have averted the wider war this conflict might well have sparked. The countries of Southeastern Europe backed the NATO campaign, helped the refugees, and showed the world there is more compassion than cruelty in this troubled region. This victory makes it all the more likely that they will choose a future of democracy, fair treatment of minorities, and peace.
There IS no "peace" in Kosovo. None of the real problems (i.e. the KLA's demand for a "Greater Albania" which would include Kosovo and parts of Macedonia, which will fuel years of conflict and possibly another world war) have been addressed. And the conflict was ended on Milosevic’s terms, not Clinton’s.
There are formidable challenges.
First, we must be sure the Serbian authorities meet their commitments. We are prepared to resume our military campaign, should they fail to do so.
Next, we must get the Kosovar refugees home safely. Minefields will have to be cleared. Homes destroyed by Serb forces will have to be rebuilt. Homeless people in need of food and medicine will have to get them. The fate of the missing will have to be determined. The Kosovar Liberation Army will have to demilitarize as it has agreed to do. And we in the peacekeeping force will have to ensure that Kosovo is a safe place to live for all its citizens, ethnic Serbs as well as ethnic Albanians.
No mention made of the destroyed schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, homes bombed by NATO? Are we merely going to rebuild what the Serb forces destroyed, not what NATO destroyed by dropping 20,000 bombs?
Also, suppose some or most Albanians don’t want to go back to Kosovo. Will NATO "cleanse" them back in the way the Western Allies forced Russian ethnic minorities to return to the tender mercies of Josef Stalin half a century ago?
For these things to happen, security must be established. To that end, some 50,000 troops from almost 30 countries will deploy to Kosovo. Our European allies will provide the vast majority of them. America will contribute about 7,000.
We are grateful that during NATO's air campaign, we did not lose a single serviceman in combat. But this next phase also will be dangerous. Bitter memories will still be fresh, and there may well be casualties.
He's right about that. There will be casualties, all right – from all sides, each of whom now has ample reason to hate and distrust us.
So we have made sure that the force going into Kosovo will have NATO command and control and rules of engagement set by NATO. It will have the means and the mandate to protect itself while doing its job.
In the meantime, the United Nations will organize a civilian administration while preparing the Kosovars to govern and police themselves.
So, who does he have in mind for the police force? The "demilitarized" but not "disarmed" KLA?
As local institutions take hold, NATO will be able to turn over increasing responsibility to them and draw down its forces.
Our third challenge will be to put in place a plan for lasting peace and stability in Kosovo and through all the Balkans. For that to happen, the European Union and the United States must plan for tomorrow, not just today. We must help to give the democracies of Southeastern Europe a path to a prosperous shared future, a unifying magnet more powerful than the pull of hatred and destruction that has threatened to tear them apart.
Our European partners must provide most of the resources for this effort, but it is in America's interest to do our part as well.
And just who do you suppose will be moving into Kosovo to exploit its considerable mineral resources?
A final challenge will be to encourage Serbia to join its neighbors in this historic journey, to a peaceful democratic united Europe.
I want to say a few words to the Serbian people tonight. I know that you too have suffered in Mr. Milosevic's war. You should know that your leaders could have kept Kosovo as a part of your country without driving a single Kosovar family from its home, without killing a single adult or child, without inviting a single NATO bomb to fall on your country. You endured 79 days of bombing, not to keep Kosovo a province of Serbia, but simply because Mr. Milosevic was determined to eliminate Kosovar Albanians from Kosovo, dead or alive. As long as he remains in power, as long as your nation is ruled by an indicted war criminal, we will provide no support for the reconstruction of Serbia. But we are ready to provide humanitarian aid, and to help to build a better future for Serbia too, when its government represents tolerance and freedom, not repression and terror.
Let's see. Clinton dropped over 20,000 bombs on Yugoslavia. The death rate of civilians to military appears to have been about 4 civilians to every military death. He has bombed the electrical system, sewage treatment and water systems, hospitals, schools, homes, TV studios - killing journalists because he said they were "not telling the truth." Does he seriously believe the Serbs have any regard for him other than hatred for what he has done to their country? Or that he stands for "tolerance and freedom" while blackmailing them as to who their leaders are going to be?
Also, Kosovo IS still a part of Yugoslavia – until, of course, Clinton reneges on his end of the "peace" agreement.
My fellow Americans, all these challenges are substantial, but they are far preferable to the challenges of war and continued instability in Europe. We have sent a message of determination and hope to all the world. Think of all the millions of innocent people who died in this bloody century because democracies reacted too late to evil and aggression. Because of our resolve, the 20th century is ending, not with helpless indignation, but with a hopeful affirmation of human dignity and human rights for the 21st century. In a world too divided by fear among people of different racial, ethnic and religious groups, we have given confidence to the friends of freedom and pause to those who would exploit human difference for inhuman purposes.
America still faces great challenges in this world, but we look forward to meeting them. So tonight I ask you to be proud of your country and very proud of the men and women who serve it in uniform. For in Kosovo we did the right thing. We did it the right way. And we will finish the job.
Good night and may God bless our wonderful United States of America.
So Clinton believes that slaughtering civilians, destroying the water, heating supplies and electricity of homes and schools and hospitals ends the 20th century as a 'hopeful affirmation of human dignity and human rights for the 21st century?" He believes that destroying the people's water supply is "doing it the right way?"
History will not see it that way. History will see it as a cowardly attack on innocent civilians - women, children, elderly – not undertaken for "human dignity" or "human rights" or any other noble purpose, but to aggrandize the real tyrant, the impeached pervert, the universal betrayer, William Jefferson Clinton.
He wanted a unique legacy. I think he has it.
If, in the spring of 1999, George W. Bush had been Bill Clinton and the Democrats had been in the majority on Capitol Hill, with all other factors unchanged, Dubya's presidency wouldn't have survived the summer. Something to consider when those same once-and-future Clinton capos join the extremist anti-war crowd in their Bushophobic hysterics.