AUGUST 23, 1999
BY DAVID H. HACKWORTH
NATO IS NOW THE ENEMY
Bill Clinton and British leader Tony Blair don't want us to get the word that: Their promises to end the bloodshed and ethnic cleansing and bring peace to Kosovo aren't happening.
· Bullets and grenades are still flying in Kosovo.
· Americans and other NATO soldiers are now targets along with the Kosovors.
Just as they lied to us about how NATO air power was clobbering the Serbian Army, their spinmeisters are now working overtime to put the best face on a situation that daily becomes nastier.
The facts are that since VK-day --"Victory in Kosovo"-- more Serbs civilians have been slaughtered than ethnic Albanians were before the NATO air campaign began. Since NATO's last bomb fell, scores of Serbians, Gypsies and Jews have been murdered, over 200 Serb villages have been torched and 50 Christian churches have been defiled or destroyed. Grannies are being murdered in their homes.
Out of 350,000 Serbs, Gypsies, Jews and others who've lived in Kosovo for centuries, all but 30,000 have fled to nearby countries. They no longer trust NATO to protect them and don't see the promised peace coming anytime soon. Why should they? NATO troops flat haven't been able to stop the violence or the ethnic cleansing.
Clinton has once again stuck American soldiers into a killing field where he didn't think out the consequences beforehand. And the deal that stopped the war with Serbia, wrongheaded from the get-go, is now slip-sliding away. How could it be otherwise? Serbia was promised that Kosovo -- a Serbian province -- would remain within its territory, while the Kosovo Liberation Army's objective has always been total independence from Serbia with ethnic Albanians in control of the province. KLA leaders have stated from the onset they didn't see a democratic future for Kosovo or even a multi-ethnic state.
What started the fire that lead to NATO's most recent Balkan intervention was the KLA's insurgency campaign. Using standard guerrilla tactics and techniques -- terrorism, violence, insurgency -- they sought political power through the end of a gun barrel. When the KLA attacked Serbian police, military and civilian targets in Kosovo, the Serbs struck back at the KLA with no holds barred. "Ethnic Albanians are being murdered and oppressed by the Serbian monsters," the KLA propaganda apparatus screamed.
Led by the Geraldo Rivera school of journalism, much of the press failed to report the other half of the story. Now it's NATO's bad luck to replace the Serbs in this ancient quagmire as the latest "oppressors and occupation troops." They're beginning to get what the Serbs have taken for years. And the one thing they can count on is that it'll get worse.
The KLA say they've turned in their weapons in accordance with the peace agreement and the violence in Kosovo isn't their doing -- it's the work of Albanian rogues and gangsters. Right. Just like it wasn't the Imperial Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor -- it was a bunch of rogue Eskimos in flying machines rented from Hertz.
A year ago, our State Department -- headed up by Madeleine Albright -- declared the KLA was a "terrorist organization" big into drug running and organized crime, a finding backed up by international police. But while Mad Maddy was ranting, the rest of the Clinton gang was providing the KLA with secret funds, clandestine training and not-so-covert NATO air support. Clinton broke a cardinal rule: never jump in bed with terrorists and never declare them "freedom-fighters." History repeatedly has shown that yesterday's freedom-fighter often becomes today's terrorist and tomorrow's Public Enemy Number One.
But since German, Italian and French soldiers have been struck down in KLA attacks, it's likely that Clinton and Blair won't be able to keep the lid on the mess they've created very much longer. It's just a matter of time before one or several of the 17 other NATO architects of this fatally incongruent peace deal blows the whistle. Then maybe even the international press corps will put out the straight skinny.
The bottom line is NATO will never accept an independent Kosovo and the KLA will never accept anything less. If the KLA isn't put down, expect the violence to increase and American casualties to mount.