Saturday, November 3, 2007

How to "fisk" a Feder

The following is the "fisking" I did in late 2004 in an online discussion group I belong to of a piece by one of the staunchest of the "Haters", Don Feder. (The original piece can be found here.) Feder, a former Boston Herald columnist, is, shall we say, known for his rather dogmatic and extreme opinions, as well as his lack of diplomacy. Google him sometime-you'll find the results interesting, to say the least. Because of when I wrote the original "fisking", some things have changed since then, and so I've made a few changes-none of which substantially changes the points I originally made-as well as a few notations too.

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KOSOVO: THE WAR DEMOCRATS LOVED
By Don Feder


There was a
little war of which Democrats are exceedingly fond -
so much so that they're still bragging about it five
years later. It's a conflict that didn't involve allegations of
weapons of mass destruction.
So? Is that the only reason we should become militarily involved somewhere?

The nation we subjugated wasn't a sponsor of international terrorism.


No, just death and destruction for a race of people they didn't like, who were legal citizens of their "empire".

(this time we fought for the terrorists)

Interesting. To me (and most people), a "terrorist" is a person or group that deliberately uses violence and intimidation on the civilian part of a populace. I've never seen any examples from credible, non-biased source or sources that shows that the UÇK leadership ever ordered any sort of systematic attacks on the Serbian, Roma, or other non-Albanian civilian segments of the Kosovar population from the time they were formed in 1996 to their official disbanding in 1999, the way during that time (and before) that the MUP (Interior Ministry Police) and local police were engaging in such actions against Albanian civilians. Or perhaps Mr. Feder is defining the term the way most governments do-that anyone who opposes the "lawful" rule of the reigning government in question is a "terrorist". In which case, everything from the Continental Army to Partisans fighting the Nazis in WWII is/was a "terrorist" organisation (and many such groups like them have indeed been labeled such by the powers that be).

It wasn't remotely related to national security.


Does saving a people who were begging us (and had been begging us even before the Dayton Accords) to be saved from potential annihilation have to be related to national security? I would have thought Oswiczim and Bergen-Belsen would have settled that argument forever.

And the justification for our intervention turned out to be a complete fabrication.

Baloney. I've been following this issue closely since 1993, long before most people (or at least those who aren't Albanian or Serbian) had ever heard of the region. I think Mr. Feder needs to read some real history sometime: About how the Socialist Yugoslav government tried to wipe out Albanians who resisted their rule right after WWII; about how the Serbs tried to wipe them out during the First Balkan War; about how even after the province had been given "semi-autonomous" status in '74, that Albanians still had to put up with substandard institutions and second-class citizenship (which lead to the spring riots of 1981), because it was really Belgrade that still held the reins of power. He needs to read sometime about how Albanians in the early 90's went to bed in fear, hoping that they wouldn't hear a knock on the door from the local police, or even worse, the Interior Ministry Police. And how if they did, they hoped they would be alive the next day to tell the tale after their "questioning" down at the station. And he needs to read about Drenicë, Raçak, or Krushë Vela, among other things.

For 78 days in 1999, we bombed Christian Yugoslavia
(our ally in two World Wars)


Hmmm....which "Yugoslavia" are we talking about here? The "Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes"? The post war Tito state? I'm not aware that either was "officially" Christian, especially not the Tito and post-tito states. And both incarnations contained Muslim citizens (some Albanians, Bosniaks, and some Serbian Muslims and Gorani, too). And as for our ally in two World Wars? Well, there was no "Yugoslavia" in WWI. There was a "Serbia", and we aligned with more or less "by default" with them rather than they with us, largely because they "stood up" to the big, bad Austro-Hungarian Empire (and actually, it was a gang of Serb revolutionaries, lead by Gavrilo Princip, who started the whole damned thing by assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife). And Yugoslavia in WWII was "busted up" into their constituent "republics" by the Nazis, all of which were Nazi puppet states (yes, we did fight with Yugoslav partisans, but most of the Chetnik bands were royalist and many, like that lead by the "great" Drazha Mihailovic, were willing to collaborate with the Nazis just as much as they were with us, too). So "Yugoslavia" was not our "ally" in two world wars, for the simple reason that it did not exist during either of them. Or is Mr. Feder equating "Yugoslavia" with "Serbia". If so, that is very telling....for that is precisely what Serbian Nationalists today do.

to aid Moslem separatists

The UÇK has never identified itself with religion, it's members have never been exclusively Moslem (there were Catholic Kosovar Albanians fighting in the organisation, as well as well as non-Albanian, non-Moslem volunteers), and in any case, Albanians are the only people in the Balkans (with the possible exception of the Roma) who never have identified themselves by religion to begin with. Even the Yugoslav government during the Kosova situation (including the NATO action) never characterised them as an Islamic-based organisation.

who were tight with Osama bin Laden.

I've never seen any reliable information to this effect. All the stories to this effect that I've seen have either had their origin in Serbian sources (surprise, surprise), or poor intellegence and/or biased/dubious outside sources. To the best of my knowledge, UÇK rejected working with the Mujahideen (unlike the Bosniak forces) because they did not want to be beholden to any sort of Islamic fundamentalist organisation. They clearly saw Kosova's future as being with the West, not the East. Kosovars have even rejected help from Saudi and other sources as far as rebuilding mosques and the like goes, as the times they did naively accept help, the organisations in question rebuilt things to Wahabi specifications, rather than recreate the original design and ambience of the building in question. Bin Laden and his outfit evidently had a presence in the Balkans from the mid 90's onward, but there is no-0-no evidence to suggest that he, Al-Qaeda, and UÇK ever cooperated, or made any deals with one another.


Ever since, NATO has occupied its sovereign territory - with disastrous
results.


If NATO/KFOR's results have been "disasterous", it has been more because of their incompetence in handling the situation than anything else. (Though the unsettled status of the region, not to mention the hard-headness on some of the folks on both sides, hasn't helped much.)

Appearing on CNN's "Late Edition" in August, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
offered her husband's 1999
adventure, over the ancient province of Kosovo,


Ancient? I wonder if Mr. Feder ever has tried to read any real history. The only time it's been a "province" by that name (or usually Kosovo-Metohija) has been in the 20th century. For 500 years before that, it was comprised of 4 Ottoman villyets, or administrative regions, and before that it was simply a region known usually as "Metohija", due to the large number of churches built there during the Nemanjid Dynasty.

as evidence that Democrats are better at fighting wars than Republicans. (I would have thought Korea and
Vietnam proved that conclusively.) We smashed the
Serb war-machine, and "we didn't lose a

single American military person,"


We did (supposedly, had "Yugoslavia" gotten it's way in Kosova, Voivodina's Hungarians would have been next), and we didn't.

Hillary boasted of the conflict her draft-dodger hubby dragged us into.


Mr. Feder seems to be forgetting a few things. Like George H W Bush's "Christmas Warning", putting Milosevic on notice that he might be subject to military action by the US if he kept oppressing Albanians in Kosova? That was certainly before Clinton.

She neglected to mention that it was a war we fought from 30,000 feet.


Would Mr. Feder have been happier if we had actually lost military personnel there? If we'd fought a ground war instead? I don't think so.

The party of McGovern and Dean is so proud of this
notable feat of arms, that it invited Hashim Thaci,

chieftain of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)


He was Chief of their Political Wing, and their chief negotiator at Ramboullet. He was never their military CinC. That was Agim Çeku.

and Clinton's erstwhile ally, to attend the Democratic National Convention.

Kerry did so IIRC, not the DNC.

(You'd think the Party in a Perpetual Fog would be at
least a little curious about
how Thaci got the nickname
"Snake." Hint: It's not
because he's a patron of the arts.)

Hmmm....I suppose Feder only approves of military leaders with nomes de guerre like "Angelbutt", or "Sweetcheeks"? :-)

On his return to Kosovo, Snake Thaci - head of a terrorist gang

What "terrorist gang" might this be? UÇK? They weren't a terrorist gang (except to Serbian Nationalists, and their supporters like Mr. Feder, Julia Gorin, and Michael Reagan), and they don't exist any more, haven't since 1999. TMK (Kosova Protection Corps)? They are a multi-ethnic state police force. They are comprised in large part of former members of UÇK, but they are not a rebel army, they are the lawful police force of the region. Hashim Thaçi belongs to no "gang", terrorist or otherwise.

that finances its operations through drug-running and prostitution

Well, at last he says something that has maybe some basis in fact. It's true that there is, and has been, some legitimate question as to how the UÇK gained some of it's finances, and some evidence that it might have been through morally and legally questionable means. However, can all the other revoultionary movements out there, even the ones that are pretty universally recoginised as having been "legitimate", claim to have gotten their financing and supplies only from morally and ethically "proper" sources? I think that most "revolutionary armies" don't look too closely at where their monies and supplies are always coming from. Maybe in a perfect world, they would. But when you are looking at fighting a properly equipped and financed army that's much larger than yours, maybe doing a through check to make sure that all the money and all the equipment comes from "proper" sources might not be the highest consideration at the moment. This is not to condone any rebel or revolutionary gaining financial resources or equipment by illegal means, but to acknowledge a simple fact of life.

- proclaimed, "It was confirmed once again that a Democratic
administration
would recognize and respect the will of the people of
Kosovo for self-determination." Self-determination is code for
independence from
Yugoslavia


Here Mr. Feder is correct. And the Serbian nationalists (like Draskovic and Seselj) and psuedo-nationalists (like Milosevic) have no one to blame but themselves. Kosovar Albanians prior to 1989 only wanted an equal republic with all the other Yugoslav republics. After that, they knew that the only way to end the harrasment of themselves by Belgrade was by independence. They tried the "Gandhi" method, until they realised that they were dealing with a bunch of goons who were determined to provoke them at all costs, and no matter how long it took, as a pretext for killing/expelling them.

- the creation of another Republic of Jihad
(Balkanistan) on the periphery of Europe.


Last I saw, Kosova was pretty solidly inside the bounds of Eastern Europe. And again, Mr. Feder seems to have this weird idea: All Muslims by definition are "fundies" or "islamofascists", and second, that Albanians who are Muslim are as devoutly fanatical about their Islam as Saudis, Iranians, etc. Nearly 14 years of personal experience tells me this is not true. Albanian Muslims are among the least religiously devout people I have ever known in my life. They are also a people that mostly think of themselves as Western (and ofttimes Latinate as well), not Eastern. Most if not all of them believe that religion is a personal matter, not a matter for public display. And certainly not something to be forced upon others. But then, I guess personal, first hand experience doesn't matter-only political philosophy and world view.

Assistant Secretary of State for
European Affairs under Clinton, Holbrooke (who once

called the Serbs "murderous assholes")


And the Nationalist ones are. Or perhaps he considers people like the late Zeljko Raznatovic (aka Commandante Arkan) to be heros?

A war resolution died in the Republican House.


Is there any evidence for what is being implied here-that they let it die because they thought it was "wrong" for us to save a group of 2,000,000 people from being at the least displaced, at most annihilated?

What, we went to war without congressional authorization!
We also did it without the permission
of the United Nations.

We were a part of a NATO coalition.
(Whatever happened to
multilateralism?)
It was multilateral, as Mr. Feder admits on the next line.

Still, the French and Germans were on board - always a bad sign.

And so were the Brits "on board" too.

In a July 23, 2004 letter to Albanian-Americans, Kerry
charged the Bush administration was "turning its back

on the region"


At the time Feder wrote that, it did appear that Kosova was indeed a lukewarm concern to him at best. Of course, at least as of this summer, he's moved it up to the front burner.

Whenever Bush doesn't coddle terrorists (the PLO, the KLA)

Taking in interest in the region, and not sucking up to Serbian Nationalist politicians like the ones in the SRS (Serbian Radical Party-no friends of democracy or free-enterprise, BTW), and actually caring about an ethnic minority that's gotten pushed around by both it's neighbors and invaders for centuries is "coddling terrorists"? Oh, but I'm sorry-I forgot. They're all Muslim, hence they're all fundies, hence they're all bad. :-(

Kerry accuses him of abandoning
whole regions. In said letter, Kerry declared, "The people of Kosovo

must be able to determine their own future, including
how they want to be governed." Since "the people of Kosovo" now are overwhelmingly Moslem, thanks in part
to Clinton,


Stuff and nonsense-the province had been about 90% Albanian (not Muslim, but then to an anti-Islamic types like Mr. Feder, there is no difference) at least since the early 60's. And much of the increase in Albanian population there was due to an increased birth rate on their part (Albanians there are Muslim or Catholic, and both do not believe in birth control), plus many Serbs leaving the area for urban centers, where the economy was better, and the chance for jobs greater.

Kosovo is the ancient heartland of Serbian Orthodoxy.

Bull. Serbs never saw it as such until their own "national renaissance" that began with the publication of a nationalist tract called "Nacertanje" (The Program) in the 1840s. It was a part of the Nemanjid Dynasty (the only real Kingdom of Serbia that existed until after they got their independence from Turkey in 1878, when what amounted to a very wealthy pig farmer and bandit chieftain managing to get himself declared king), but the region during that time was never seen as central to said kingdom either politically or religiously. Kosovo Polije (Field of the Blackbirds), where the famous battle of the same name took place (which is more akin to the Alamo than Jerusalem, except for the fact that it wasn't just the "Brave Little Serbs" alone against the "Big Bad Turks"-there's plenty of evidence that it was a "coalition" effort, and on top of that, the battle was lost (though some, such as Balkans historian Noel Malcolm, claim a minor Serb victory in the battle) because of a couple of Serb generals that went over to the Turk side) has played a part in the Serb conciousness ever since 1389 (there was also a similar one a century later on the same spot, lead by the Hungarian king Janos Hunyadi, but most Serbs chose not to remember/honor that one), but that's a far different thing.

Until the 1970s, its population was predominately Serb.

Is Mr. Feder completely ignorant of Balkan History? Or does he get it all from things like the Serbian Unity Congress website, or worldnetdaily? I'm not surprised that he picked up on the old Serbian Nationalist BS about a mass influx of Albanians into Kosova after WWII, but I am surprised that he put it as late as the 70's. Even the most rabid Serb Nationalist doesn't try to date it any later then the early 50's! Well, here are a few facts that are obvious to anyone who's done any serious study of the Balkans (and/or has any common sense).

First, Albania proper from 1944 to 1985 was in the hands of one of the most paranoid Communist dictators who ever lived, Enver Hoxha. Now there may have been some migration from Albania to Kosova (though why there should be, when most Albanians knew what happened to the Albanians living there in '46) the first few years after the war, when Enver and the Albanian Party of Labor were trying to get their power consolidated over the nation they "liberated", but I can guarantee that Albania from the late 40's onward, after the fallout with Tito, was sewn up tighter than a drum. VERY few people who tried to escape,whether by sea, or to Yugoslavia, or to Greece, ever suceeded. The borders were VERY tightly guarded, even the mountainous northern one with Yugoslavia. Most who tried to escape were shot, or brought back, severly beaten, and sentenced to VERY long prison sentences. The idea of huge numbers of Albanians streaming over the border during that time period is so ludicrous as to be dismissed out of hand, with no recourse to further evidence. Second, there's a little matter of the official 1953 Yugoslav census for the region. It puts the ethnic Serb population at 27%. Period. (Interestingly enough, in order to try to strip the Albanians there of any sort of ethnic identity without resorting to violence, the Yugoslav government made it so that a very high number of Albanians managed to redefine themselves, possibly unwittingly, as Turks.) And considering that the only other two major ethnic groups in the region (Turks and Roma) have never made a very high concentration of the population, guess who that leaves? (^_^)

Due to illegal immigration from Albania,


Again BS, but I dealt with that above.

Moslems became a majority


ALBANIANS (not "MUSLIMS"), have been a majority on and off in the region since at least the middle ages (most Albanians there didn't start converting-in order to make their lives easier, primarily-until about 2 centuries after the Turkish conquest of the region). The last time, IIRC, that Serbs were a majority (barely, at 60%) was sometime shortly after WWI. (But then, that's a real easy way to get people over to your side and "fired up"-just use a "buzzword" like "Moslem". Never mind that though technically true-most Albanians are Moslem-it only tells a very small part of the story. But then that would blow our "faith-based" view of the world out of the water. And we can't have that, now can we?)

and began agitating for autonomy.

The first time that happened was in 1968. Kosova was granted semi-autonomous status within Serbia in 1974, as was Voivodina. And the reason they "agitated" for autonomy was that they wanted to be granted the same rights and priveleges that all the other major constituent groups in Yugoslavia had-some of who were even less numerous than they were.

Then they started committing atrocities against their Serb neighbors - like beating elderly nuns, raping
young girls and attacking monasteries.


Yes, there was some Albanian on Serb crime, even back then. But at the same time, many of the "incidents" Feder alludes to were proven to have no basis in evidence-by Yugoslav police. And according to an independent survey done in 1990, there was more per capita Albanian on Albanian and Serb on Serb crime than there was Albanian on Serb. That's not to say it's right, but it is to say that Mr. Feder seems to be more interested in hystronic, unsubstantiated "spin" to support his side than he is objective fact (like that's a big surprise).

Then the KLA -which the U.S. State Department listed as a terrorist
group as late as 1998


Yes, because they-along with a lot of the Albanian diaspora and even Kosovar Albanians-thought and hoped that the Rugova way (passive resistance) would ultimately work, as it did for Gandhi. Only one problem though-in order for passive resistance to work, you have to be dealing with an enemy that has a moral conscience, and normally acts civilised. Milosevic and his supporters were neither and had neither.

- started assassinating Yugoslav police and government officials.

Yes, after year upon year of putting up with worsening harrasment of peaceful Albanian civilians, soley because they were Albanian. Of course, there is some argument that this is precisely the response Milosevic and his cronies were hoping for, and there is likely some merit to this argument.

Slobodan Milosevic, an ex-communist apparatchik who was President of Yugoslavia at the time, overreacted.


Amazing. Mr. Feder is actually willing to admit that Slobo might have "overreacted" in his handling of the situation. How magnanmous. :-(

(It is the Balkans, after all, a region second only to the Middle East for ethnic/religious harmony.)

Yes, and people like Slobo, Draskovic, and Seselj have helped make it that way.

Casting about for a way to take the nation's attention off oral sex and impeachment, Bubba determined that we must intervene to save the saintly Albanians from the
savage Serbs.


No, the issue started to get forced (as the Serbs no doubt hoped it would) when they invaded the Jashari compound, and not only killed the family patriarch, Adem, but all others there, including pregnant women (they cut the foetus out of one of them, alive) and young children. Of course, the Interior Ministry claimed they were all "terrorists". :-( And though neither side can be said to be 100% saintly, or 100% savage, objective history shows that, for good or ill, the Serbs (or at least the ones that have bought into nationalism) have chosen the latter role for themselves far more often than the former. (BTW, prior to the attack on the Jashari family, UÇK had next to no support from most Albanians, either in Kosova or in the diaspora. I remember that time very, very well, and remember a lot of Albanians expressing fears that they would crap up any chance for independence or even renewed autonomy, and that despite the failures and inaction of Rugova's policies, most wanted to continue going that route, since they saw it as their best bet for attaining their goals.)

Ethnic cleansing was afoot, President Perjury gravely
intoned. Exactly how this was different from the

exchange of populations that took place throughout

Europe in the aftermath of World War II (think of

Poland and Germany, think of India and Pakistan)


The first was changes of borders due to war, IIRC. The second, voluntary migration after the settling of disputed borders. In neither case was it the effect of a state sponsored terror campaign, to the best of my knowledge. (Also, I'm not aware of any Albanian Serbs being resettled during that time, forcibly or otherwise.) Of course, it always helps to trivialise the plight of anyone you despise, make them look like a bunch of whiners. Or is Mr. Feder saying ethnic cleansing is OK, so long as it's the right people that it's being done to? I guess so, since he decries it for the Serbs (who did voluntarily leave Kosova, and were not systematically ethnically cleansed), but not for the Albanians (or Bosnians too, I assume).

was never quite explained. Worse, there were reports of killing fields and mass
graves.


All of which turned out to be true, even if the number of dead was smaller than was first predicted. But this makes it right?

Milosevic was cast as an architect of genocide
- the Heinrich Himmler of the Balkans,


Perhaps a bit overstated (BTW, it was Eichmann that was the architect of the Nazi "Final Solution", not Himmler), but whether genocide was the desired result, or merely "ethnic cleansing", that still makes it right? Especially against legal citizens of a country (though to Slobo's "credit", he was smart enough to try to have his "cops" confiscate all the passports and residency papers of all those who his thugs let go alive....)?

At the Rambouillet conference, the Yugoslav president
was presented with an ultimatum: allow a peace-keeping
force into Kosovo (as a prelude to detaching the
province from Yugoslavia)


The US position was "no". Ditto for the UN and NATO. The only ones who were asking for it (and even they eventually were willing to settle for "autonomy") were the Albanians, and only because they knew that they could no longer live in peace under a Yugoslav regime.

and permit NATO forces to
occupy the entire country, if they choose.


So that the Serbs would stop trying to get rid of/harass Albanians.

The Serbs refused


No kidding. Milosevic and his buddies knew that if they did sign the treaty, their wet dream of an "Albanien Frei" Serbia would be crushed forever. And beyond that, Slobo knew also that if he did that, his time left in the drivers seat would be limited. Hence, he figured on trying to hold on to power by making himself look like the brave defender of the Serbs' interest, even if it meant getting his country bombed.

and the bombing commenced.

The fault was Milosevic's, pure and simple. There was nothing in the treaty promising independence for Kosova-at most, there was to be a review of the province's status in three years time. Hell, it didn't even call for a total withdrawl of all Yugoslav military troops. But Slobo just couldn't stomach the idea of a UN force being there to keep him from beating the crap out of Albanians any more.

We killed over 3,000 - mostly civilians, mostly with cluster-bombs
Bull. And most of the civilians who died were on, in, or near legitimate military targets at the time. It is still sad when any civilian dies as a result of military actions, but that is something that any leader of a country is supposed to be aware of when he consents to any sort of state of war with another country or entity. Milosevic had chances for 10 years to make things right with the Albanians living in Kosova. Instead, he insisted on stripping them of their jobs (if they worked in the public sector, which most people in Yugoslavia did, technically speaking), their homes (and often forcably moving Serbs from outside Kosova there-I know, I personally met one young Serbian woman once whose family was forced by the government to "resettle" in Kosova, against their wishes).

-- before Milosevic finally yielded to vastly superior force.

Yeah-only took bright boy 3 mo. to figure it out.

After the Yugoslav Federal Army was driven from Kosovo,


And the MUP forces. And the Chetnik scum.

forensic experts scoured the countryside, and came up empty-handed.

Baloney. They did not find the mass graves they expected right away (they eventually did find some, though the numbers were not as great as they thought for), but that's because Slobo and his buddies had found an intriguing way to avoid looking like monsters and being brought up on war crimes charges, or so they thought-removing at least some of the bodies to Serbia proper and burying them there. Some have been found under army bases near Belgrade, some in old refrigerator trucks in rivers, and elsewhere. But so what if the number found (and they are still finding them) was smaller than what the US and NATO thought they'd be? That makes it right?

A December 31, 1999, article in the Wall Street
Journal (coincidentally, by Daniel Pearl) reported

that allegations of "indiscriminate mass murder, rape

camps, crematoriums, mutilation of the dead - haven't

been borne out in the six months since NATO troops

entered Kosovo. Ethnic-Albanian militants,

humanitarian organizations, NATO and the news media

fed off each other to give genocide rumors

credibility. Now, a different picture is emerging."


Oh yay. This proves a point? Citing an article from 6 mo. after the end of hostilities, and that is almost 5 years past it's "sell by" date (note: As mentioned earlier, I wrote this "fisking" back in late 2004, hence the 5 year reference)? And why didn't Mr. Feder cite more of the article, so that people could see for themselves whether the quote was in or out of context? And why not an article more recent on the subject? (BTW, I tried to read the article for myself-it's on balkanpeace.org, a notoriously anti-albanian site. I couldn't access it for some reason, despite multiple attempts.)

Following these revelations, there were no cries of "Where are the MGs?" (mass graves).

Yes there were-from the Serbs, and of course people like Mr. Feder and others.

Republicans didn't begin every speech by accusing Clinton of lying to the nation in his rush to justify an unnecessary war (though they could have).

No-most of them who voiced an opinion, supported it.

Michael Moore did not make a documentary on how a
Democratic president engineered a conflict to advance
his personal agenda. ("Fahrenheit 1999"?)

Maybe because Milosevic made no serious attempt to cover up his intent, so the only people who did buy the Serbian-originated stories claiming this were those who supported (wittingly or unwittingly) Serbian Nationalism, and the pathetic wet-dream of a "Greater Serbia".

No one in the media asked about Clinton's exit strategy (5 years
later, U.S. forces are still stationed in Kosovo)


The reason we've not gotten out is because the UN still holds on to this ridiculous notion that Kosova can remain a part of the Republic of Serbia, and not break out into civil war eventually.

or demanded to know how he intended to "win the peace." Whether or not there was ethnic cleansing before the war,


Well, since Mr. Feder has made it clear that even if there was, it was OK by him....

there certainly was afterward.


Again, nonsense. The mass exodus of military, police, paramilitary, and civilians was voluntary; the first three because they were ordered to leave as a part of the peace treaty, the last one because many of them had taken part in terrorising their Albanian neighbors-in some cases, people they'd been friends with for decades. They knew what likely awaited them when their neighbors returned-the same fate that most bullies suffer, esp, when there aren't even bigger bullies still to back them up.

Albanians, who were handed a victory by Clinton and
NATO, drove out 277,000 Serbs.


That is more than the total number of Serbs believed to be living in the province at the time. According to the official 1991 Yugoslav census, the Serb population was 214,555. There would have had to have been (adding Mr. Feder's numbers-277,000 and 102,000 to get 379,000) nearly a 50% increase in Serbian population over 8 years! Even with forced migrations of Serb families to settle in Kosova, those figures seem totally out of line with pre-NATO population estimates and the relatively low birth rate in Serbian families at that time.

(Hundreds were murdered and thousands brutalized.)

That is likely, and also both very wrong and very unfortunate.

As of March 2004, Moslem multiculturalists had
destroyed 135 Orthodox churches,
monasteries and shrines

"Destroyed"? Or is that the figure for sites either destroyed or damaged? I've seen figures approximating that for both, but not for soley "destroyed". And no, desecration or destruction of religious sites, regardless of religion (Serb forces destroyed several mosques in Kosova pre-1999, BTW), is not OK. But unfortunately, it is symptomatic of a larger problem, said problem being the severe mistrust and animosity that has risen like never before between the Serb and Albanian communities there. It is going to take a long time, given the history of the region, for reconciliation to take place.

The rampage continues. The latest pogrom occurred in
March, when (in a planned and coordinated campaign) 28

Serbs were murdered, more than 600 wounded and another

3,600 forced to flee.


The incident in question took place in an area of Kosova with very high ethnic tensions, near Mitrovicë. The actual "truth" was not (and some would say still isn't) known for sure. A couple of boys claim that they had wandered over to the "Serb side" of the Ibar river with their friends, where some locals spotted them, and chased them along with their dogs, forcing the boys to "swim for it". There seems to be some evidence that the boys may have been goofing around in the river, literally got in over their heads, and made up the story in order not to be blamed for the fact that three of their comrades drowned. There is no definitive proof one way or the other. There is evidence that some ad-hoc factions (not official government individuals or parties) did orchestrate in some regions the protests, violence, and vandalism that took place after the supposed incident. However, there is no evidence I've seen from reliable sources that the whole thing was coordinated by a central authority, governmental or non-governmental. The actions were not right, nor justifiable in any case. However, they do serve to show how long a road there is to be traversed until both parties can live together in peace and freedom.

The Serbs left in Kosovo --estimated at between 102,000 and 114,000

Actually, that's the first accurate figure Mr. Feder's provided in this whole article.

-- live in a state of siege.


In many places at the time Feder wrote his original piece, about 6 months after the unrest that took place over the Mitrovice incident, that was unfortunately probably true. And while the situation there is still far from perfect, that is basically not true today.

Should KFOR be withdrawn, they'd all
be dead or exiled in a matter of days.


Was it possible if it had happened when Feder wrote his original piece? Probably yes. Was it likely? That is purely academic. It isn't now, and IMO won't be when Kosova finally gains independent status.

Yes, Kosovo truly was the Democrats' finest hour - a
prime example of just how tough the party of Jimmy

Carter and Ramsey Clark can be,


Interesting that he cites Ramsey Clark, since he's been a staunch defender of Milosevic, and of the Serbs in general.

when they're in a fighting mood. On the other hand,
their Kosovo allies are threatening
to give
scum-of-the-earth a bad name.


No, I don't think there's any way you can give Chetniks a bad name. They've already managed that themselves. :-)

Back in '99, Senator Joe Lieberman, who's rumored to know something
about foreign policy, called the KLA "freedom
fighters." Well, you know
what the moral relativists
of the left say: "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

Hmmmm....and of course the right wing was being purely objective when they called the Nicaraugan Contras the same thing....yeah, sure, riiiighhhtttt.

As it transpires, the KLA is allied with other freedomf
fighters, -- whose SOP is car bombs and demolishing
s
ky-scrappers.

0 Percent evidence of this (of course, that is in part because the UÇK doesn't exist any more).

Bin Laden was active in the Balkans as early as 1994.

Yes, though I believe that was initially in Bosnia in 1993. In any case, most of his activities in the Balkans from what I can tell were all conducted initially under false pretenses, and most of his actions were independent ones-he was interested in using the region as a base not with the conscious consent of the local governments, but under their noses. And I've seen no reliable evidence that he or Al-Qaida have ever been involved with UÇK. In any case, UÇK did not even exist prior to about 96-97.

In a Washington Times story published within days of 9/11,

Ah yes, "All the Moonie News that's Fit to Print"....

defense expert Bill Gertz disclosed

Hmmm....interesting that this "expert" is primarily a columnist for the WT, and that most of the places I see his "reports" cited are ultra-far right ones, making his reliability as an "objective" source somewhat dubious.

: "Islamic radicals, including supporters of bin Laden, have been supporting Albanian rebels fighting in the region (who
then were trying to de-stabilize Montenegro),


Nonsense. There has never been any attempt by any organised group of Albanians to destabilise the Montenegrin government that I'm aware of. Perhaps Mr. Feder is thinking of Macedonia, and in that case, the attempt was not to destabilise the government, but to get them to listen to the grievances of Albanians living as second-class citizens in Macedonia. The rebels disbanded immediately after a treaty was signed with the Macedonia government.

including members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Intelligence officials have said there are reports

that KLA members have been trained at bin Laden camps

in Afghanistan."


Utter nonsense. Searching for reliable evidence on this one brought up a goose egg-at least from any neutral sources. Most UÇK training camps were in Northern Albania or Southern Kosova, in highly mountainous regions near the border.

During the initial fighting there,
U.S. units scooped up Kosovar Albanians who were

serving with the Taliban's foreign legion.


Baloney. There were a couple of Albanian nationals from Albania proper who were caught, IIRC. But what does this say? Nothing more than the fact that some Americans were fighting for them, too.

Another investigative article ("Al Qaeda's Balkan
Links," The Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2002)

noted, "By feeding off the region's impoverished

republics and taking root in the unsettled aftermath

of the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts, al Qaeda, along

with Iranian Revolutionary Guard-sponsored terrorists,

have burrowed their way into Europe's backyard."


I've read that article (BTW, Mr. Feder is a year off on the publication date). A lot of the conclusions seem spurious, and the author's details more sketchy than I care for in any sort of a reliable information article. And all of her info citations hark to a website that seem to have more than, shall we say, a slight anti-albanian bias?

Also, in the wake of the Democrats' merry little war,
Kosovo became the prime route, after Turkey, for the

importation of heroin from Southeast Asia to Europe -

just one more way our friends the freedom fighters

thanked us for giving them a country.


Unfortunately, there is indeed a drug trafficing problem there at the moment. Unfortunately, poverty and instablilty seems to breed such "alternatives".

The foregoing all is courtesy of Bill Clinton, John
Kerry and the other Democrats who know what the US

military is for - killing Christians to aid Moslem
terrorists.

I see Mr. Feder insists on boiling it all down to religion again, which shows how little he truly knows about the region, and how much he relies on articles, "experts", and fellow pundits.

In Kosovo, we put the terrorists in power.


Ibrahim Rugova a terrorist? Again, shows how little Mr. Feder knows (or wants to know) about the reality of the situation in the Balkans.

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