One Year Ago the Bombing Started - You Never Told us really WHY, Perhaps during the election campaigns is a good time to ask them
March 24, 2000
A year ago, after a difficult start, the American-inspired Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission of more than 1,000 was beginning to get traction, separating the Serbian military and police forces from the Kosovo Liberation Army and enabling thousands of displaced Albanians to return to their homes. The final report to OSCE by a German general who was part of KDOM confirms this.
But in its hubris, the Clinton administration sought more dramatic results - amounting to abject submission of the Serbs to NATO rule. This was the message of the failed "peace conference" in the French town of Rambouillet, the collapse of which led directly to war. Had the observer mission been allowed to continue, Kosovo would have been a much gentler, happier place today. Possibly even the seemingly endless cycle of ethnic revenge could have been halted.
There are few easy explanations in the Balkans. Even so, the State Department is hard pressed to describe how it could list the Kosovo Liberation Army among the world's terrorist organizations in 1997, denounce it as a "terrorist group" in February 1998, then turn around 180 degrees overnight and embrace it as a formation of freedom fighters who would ultimately be installed by NATO as a legitimate political force in the summer of 1999.
Through the war, some correspondents and policymakers continued to ask these questions. They also pointed to disclosures of links between the KLA and Albanian heroin trafficking rings in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and other European countries, and the connection of the KLA leader Hashim Thaci to assassinations of Albanian rivals.
Even without light being shed on those behind-the-scene developments, a strong case can be made that $11 billion military campaign against the Serbs and for the Albanians was largely a failure:
- We know it greatly accelerated
the flight of Albanians from Kosovo.
Military and political planners themselves acknowledged that the strategy was deeply flawed, that they were shocked when the Serbs did not capitulate after three days of bombs.
In the wake of the Cold War, some view the United States as the last great imperial power. The Balkan adventure of the United States in the last decade shows that if it is imperialism then it is essentially haphazard and makeshift in execution.
So, it has now been said. US bombing of NATO was no humanitarian operation. It was, pure and simple, American imperialism which has created a very dangerous military situation and a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. And what has the U.S. Congress done about it? It has made matters much worse by imposing sanctions (and almost by declaring Serbia a "terrorist state") in support of Clinton's blatant imperialism.
And, why has Congress supported Clinton's imperialism? Why did John McCain introduce S.J. Res 20 early in the bombing campaign to urge his colleagues in the Senate to authorize President Clinton "to use all necessary force and other means, in concert with United States allies, to accomplish United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization objectives in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)." It was known, and discussed, in the Senate that the goals against the sovereign state of Yugoslavia were actually imperialistic in nature. Kosovo is STILL legally, part of Yugoslavia, just like Los Angeles County, which is about the same size as Kosovo, is still legally part of the United States, even through some reports indicate it has a very large group of illegal aliens living there. We would object, as Yugoslavia objected, if some outside group decided to start bombing Los Angeles county.
On April 20th, in pushing for adoption of S.J. Res. 20, Senator McCain said: "As my colleagues know, I am concerned that the force the United States and our NATO allies have employed against Serbia, gradually escalating airstrikes, is insufficient to achieve our political objectives there, which are the removal of the Serb military and security forces from Kosovo, the return of the refugees to their homes, and the establishment of a NATO-led peacekeeping force."
The Serb military and security forces had every right to be in Kosovo to stop the KLA killing of policemen and citizens that was going on there. At no point did McCain question whether or not the Albanian refugees he was referring to were even legally IN Kosovo. An estimated one third of the Albanians living in Kosovo in March 1999 were living there illegally, having fled Albania when its economy collapsed after its communist government disintegrated. We were, and McCain knew it, interfering in an internal problem of a foreign country, in favor of a group of largely illegal aliens whose military wing consisted of crime bosses of the KLA. S.J. Res. 20 was tabled, with 22 senators voting to support McCain's clearly unconstitutional transfer of authority to go to war from the Congress to the President of the United States - the very same president they had voted 50-50 to remove from office a few weeks before.
On May 4, 1999, McCain's bill
was tabled with 22 Senators, including McCain, voting against tabling it. There has not
yet been in the year 2000 election campaign any discussion on what Clinton has done in
Kosovo or of the reasons why twenty-two U.S. Senators voted to hand over Congress'
constitutional authority to determine whether or not the United States goes to war.
Some of these senators are considered