Allied Farce:
A Wartime Diary
A New Feature of




by Justin Raimondo



The theme of the day is punishment. Administration officials are letting us know, through their media megaphones, that the Serbs are going to be punished for taking the captives. The Serbs, for their part, have announced that they are putting the three Americans on trial before a military tribunal. While Vuk Draskovich, the Serbian Deputy Minister known for his moderate stance, assures the West that they will be well-treated, the charges and possible sentence have put the War Party in a frenzy -- even while NATO admits that the captives may indeed have been captured in Serbian territory.


The yellow ribbons are going back up. Talk of "the hostages" fills the airwaves and the internet. Once again, Senator John McCain is all over the talk shows, his eyes strangely vacant, his sneering smile sinister. His warmongering is oddly passionless, the veritable embodiment of what it means to kill "in cold blood." While announcing that he had put his presidential bid on hold -- "the country is going through a bad time now," he explained, oozing insincerity -- he attacks Pat Buchanan's position that we ought to get every one of our soldiers out of the Balkans: "If we aren't the world's superpower, then who shall play that role. There are great luxuries and also great responsibilities with being the world's only superpower." Name one such luxury, Senator, one that all of us enjoy -- aside from the luxury of getting campaign contributions from foreign lobbyists and their domestic fifth column. McCain's alleged moral authority on military issues rests on his 7-year residence at the Hanoi Hilton, a prisoner in another immoral and unwinnable war. But why does this mean that his opinion has any special value on these matters? Quite the contrary: given the bloodthirstiness of his views, it seems that his years in captivity unhinged him.


McCain's interviewer, Bob Novak on CNN's Crossfire, put the uproar over the "hostages" in sober perspective: "If Americans get this upset over three captured soldiers, they aren't ready for a war."


Amid all the analysis and speculation about what circumstances led to the capture of three American soldiers, the mother of one of them put it succinctly but quite accurately when, between sobs, she said: "They were put in a bad situation." Every American soldier in the Balkans is in that same situation.


The appearance of Ibrahim Rugova, the only democratically-elected representative of the Kosovar people, at talks in Belgrade with Slobodan Milosevic has caused a sensation in the West -- and effectively pulled the rug out from under whatever legitimacy "Operation Allied Force" ever had. Rugova is a revered figure, among his own people and internationally, a kind of Gandhi of the Balkans who preaches nonviolent resistance. He was, up until recently, the recognized leader of the Kosovan independence movement, having been elected President in a referendum organized by the nonviolent wing of the Kosovar resistance last year. Rugova not only called for a halt to the bombing, but also denounced U.S.–NATO intervention.

As crude as Serbian government propaganda is, the reaction over at NATO headquarters to the news of Rugova's peace initiative was as heavy-handed as anything that ever came out of Belgrade. "NATO officials have concluded that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is holding Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova against his will," said a UPI dispatch from Washington headlined "Milosevic Holds Rugova Against His Will." But the ludicrous assertion that Rugova is somehow being forced to hold news conferences with a gun to his head is not proved by anything in that story. Unnamed NATO officials are quoted as saying that "Rugova's detention is a sinister development," and UPI reporter Sid Balman, Jr., claims that U.S. officials asked him not to break the story of Rugova's alleged detention by the Serbs on the grounds that it puts Rugova's life in danger. KLA sources had earlier claimed that the Kosovar leader had been abducted and shot by the Serbian police, and NBC reported it as fact: When he turned up some hours later at his home in Pristina, untouched and eager to talk with Western reporters about the prospects for peace, the NATO disinformation campaign went into overdrive. According to the Balman account, Rugova's reappearance "took a bizarre twist when [he] told the small pool of reporters, hand-picked for the news conference by Serbian authorities, that NATO should stop the airstrikes."

But what is so "bizarre" about that? With the exception of the KLA, the peoples of the region desperately want peace -- and especially Rugova, a principled pacifist, who has consistently opposed the violence of the KLA as well as that of the Serbian state. The article goes on to state that Rugova was "smiling but clearly uncomfortable during an appearance with Milosevic" -- a lie made even more bald-faced when Serbian television distributed that footage around the world. No way did Rugova look in the least uncomfortable: there he was looking quite relaxed and chatting away, laughing and smiling at the man we are supposed to believe is the mass-murderer of the Kosovar people.


Rugova's resurrection was followed by two others: Fehmi Agani, former chief negotiator for the Kosovars, and Baton Haxhiu, editor of the Pristina daily Koha Ditore, also turned up unharmed, after NATO military spokesman David Wilby claimed they had been executed. Is some Balkan Lazarus raising all these victims of Serbian atrocities from the dead?


Amid the endless footage of dumpy Kosovar women bawling for the cameras, a glimpse of ethnic hatred, Kosovar-style: A woman shrieks that she was driven out of Pristina by men wearing black masks. She is crying hysterically, and claims that her tormentors were "let out from the prisons": they are "criminals and Gypsies." This last word is uttered with the utmost disgust and contempt; her face is contorted, for a moment, by hatred, and she bursts into uncontrollable sobs -- as if the mere thought of a Gypsy is too much to be endured. What is surprising is that this got past the guardians of political correctness at CNN; for the Gypsies have long had victimological credentials. But in the fast-moving field of victimology, yesterday's victims are forgotten and even transmuted into villains as new victim groups make their way to the fore.


That Europe has good reason to fear the effects of the Kosovar–Albanian diaspora is illustrated in a report in the London Telegraph (April 1) which details a gun battle that took place in Calais between two Kosovans in which one died, two others were injured, and a British tourist's camper was struck by gunfire. The Kosovars have descended on the 24-hour terminal, where they have camped out with the intention of eventually traveling to Dover. A spokesman for the ferry company complained that "for several weeks we have sounded the alarm to tell the authorities the problems we face each night. Even the truck drivers are afraid and dare not sleep in their lorries in the car parks." The wounded were taken to the hospital, and five other Kosovars were questioned. The Albanians are some pretty rough customers, they are up to their necks in the heroin trade and make up the hard core of Europe's criminal underclass. Several hundred-thousand of these model citizens are now headed straight for Western Europe, and America -- Milosevic's gift to the West.


"The Republicans so dislike Bill Clinton," averred Bill Kristol on ABC's This Week, "that they are in danger of becoming neo-isolationists." Poor Billy just doesn't get it -- but, for once, Bill Maher does: "I'm for this war," says Maher, host of Politically Incorrect, "because it's the liberal thing to do." This was confirmed by the ugly spectacle of Jesse Jackson scolding Ollie North for "not supporting our troops" -- a moment of such mind-boggling hypocrisy that not even Jackson could look Ollie full in the face. Ollie deserves a medal for not reaching over the table and strangling this Johnny-come-lately "patriot" then and there, in the full view of millions.

~ Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is also the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

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