Liar, Liar
George Szamuely
New York Press


It is hard to match the United States for mendacity and cruelty. The other day The Washington Post ran a story informing us that the "Clinton Administration increasingly sees [Kosovo’s] secession as inevitable." This was hardly a shocking revelation. To be sure, such an outcome would violate UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which speaks of the "commitment of all member states to the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." But the United States has been violating the Resolution from the beginning.

Kosovo already has its own currency (the D-mark); the border with Albania has ceased to exist; it has its own customs posts; Albanian flags hang on every building. And now, thanks to valiant U.S. efforts, the KLA has been delegated to act as the province’s official police force – to be known as the Kosovo Protection Corps.

Yet thanks to our compliant media the United States continues telling fairy tales. However, the administration still felt obligated to issue a denial of the story: "Any suggestion that we have altered our policy on the question of the future status of Kosovo is wrong and incorrect," lisped the State Dept.’s Jamie Rubin. Well, that wasn’t quite the suggestion actually. "We are supporting the development of a democratic, autonomous, self-governing Kosovo under UN oversight and NATO protection," he explained. The pompous platitude is a lie. US policy has been to detach Kosovo from Serbia.

In a recent article in The New York Times the loathsome Richard Holbrooke let the cat out of the bag. He referred to the people of Kosovo as having "known nothing but various forms of oppression since at least 1912." His choice of 1912 was revealing. That was when Kosovo was detached from the Ottoman Empire and became part of Serbia. Evidently, according to Holbrooke, life in pre-1912 Kosovo was pretty cool. That Kosovo’s 1910 rebellion against Turkish rule was put down savagely does not trouble him. That the Kosovo Serbs were treated with almost unimaginable cruelty during both world wars concerns him even less. In Holbrooke’s view, Muslims can commit atrocities against fellow Muslims.

And they can commit atrocities against Christians in the bargain. The point of the Post story was to soften us up for the inevitable announcement that, due to circumstances beyond the administration’s control, Greater Albania is now a fact of life. We will then be told that, sadly, US policymakers have also had to give up on their commitment to create a "multiethnic Kosovo."

The United States, of course, never had the slightest intention of permitting the Serbs to stay in Kosovo. Even before NATO’s arrival in Pristina, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon was telling the world: "The fact of the matter is that I don’t think Kosovo is going to be a very happy place for Serbs… As Kosovar Albanians flow back in, our assumption is that many Serbs will leave Kosovo." But the TV sitcom-addled public will apparently believe anything. The Post’s follow-up to the Kosovo "secession" story was even phonier than the initial story. The reporter described a Punch-and-Judy debate supposedly going on behind the scenes. On one side were the Europeans. They believe that "ethnic enmity can fade, and Kosovo can be pressured to remain part of Yugoslavia once [Milosevic] is removed from office." On the other side are the Americans. They have given up on "multiethnic" Kosovo. Guess who will get the better of this debate!

We went through this charade last month on the issue of the KLA. The Europeans wanted the KLA to disarm. The Americans wanted to turn the KLA into the province’s security force. They split the difference and turned the KLA into the province’s security force. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana announced that the new Kosovo Protection Corps would be "multiethnic." Now, the Corps is to be under the command of KLA Chief of Staff Agim Ceku. Ceku masterminded the worst act of ethnic cleansing since 1945 – the 1995 expulsion of 300,000 Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia. Obviously neither European nor American officials are stupid enough to believe that Ceku has any intention of presiding over a "multiethnic" force. Once again we are being told fairy tales about that great bunch of naive, humanitarian guys–our rulers.

Speaking of humanitarian guys, whatever happened to the Serb atrocities? Back in April, about a month after NATO bombs started dropping on Belgrade, the soft-spoken Jamie Rubin estimated that 100,000 Albanians had already lost their lives at the hands of the Serbs. Shortly after the arrival of the NATO troops in Kosovo, we were reliably informed that the number was 10,000. A few days ago, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – a U.S.-run operation – announced that it had exhumed bodies from 150 mass graves in Kosovo. And there were still 350 potential sites left to examine. Moreover, the Tribunal’s spokeswoman cheerfully pointed out, "new sites are reported…on virtually a daily basis. We anticipate just as big an effort next year as we have had this year."

Next year! Bosnia rides again. More than four years after the fall of Srebrenica, Tribunal investigators are still desperately digging and digging trying to find the bodies of those 8000 Bosnian Muslims supposedly killed by Serbs. So how many Albanians were killed in Kosovo? The spokeswoman replied that she would not be drawn into a "numbers game." However, she added helpfully, "we are talking about thousands." Month after month, the United States played the "numbers game." It had nothing whatsoever on which to base its wild allegations. Now that it has the free run of Kosovo and all its alleged "mass graves," suddenly it gets tongue-tied about numbers.

Lying about numbers, lying about almost anything, is the driving principle of the US government. As soon as NATO hoisted the KLA into power, the province’s Serbs were being murdered and expelled. Initially, the US line was to justify this by referring to the Albanians’ understandable desire for "revenge." However, as the atrocities mounted the US had to come up with a new story. The KLA’s hands were clean, we were told. "There is no organized KLA effort to retaliate against the Serbs," a Clinton administration official announced in typically lawyerly fashion in June. The demented Wesley Clark went further: "From the leadership of the KLA, we’ve seen continuing expressions of support for multi-ethnicity…so I can’t put a finger on who is doing this."

This story, too, wore thin after a while. So Clark came up with another explanation. The Serbs were responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against them. How? Apparently, Milosevic was sending in Serb paramilitaries to provoke violence. Bernard Kouchner, the UN Secretary-general’s special representative to Kosovo, parroted the story: A "lot of non-official people are coming," he rumbled ominously the other day, "Some of the incidents have been organized." Asked if he had any proof for this allegation, he admitted that he had none. However, he blustered, Milosevic "has been accused of war crimes…and if he is capable of committing war crimes then he is capable of sending people to destabilize the regime." There speaks the voice of contemporary international justice! If he is "capable" of it, then he must have done it!

Kouchner, The Washington Post reported, "was initially viewed with suspicion in Washington but is now highly regarded as a valuable ally." One can see why. Though a Frenchman, he has become totally Clintonized.

Wesley Clark, however, was not done yet. The other day he came up with yet another story. There had been no ethnic cleansing of Serbs. "I discovered, interestingly enough," he announced, "that a complete survey has been taken of how many Serbs remain in Kosovo. It’s not 30,000. The figure that KFOR came up with is 97,000." "Came up with" is the appropriate expression. The International Committee of the Red Cross reckons that 160,000 Serbs and Gypsies have fled Kosovo. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also estimates that around 160,000 have left. Therefore, both organizations calculate that something like 30-40,000 Serbs and Gypsies remain in the province. Clark does not believe a word of this. "I think one has to recognize that whenever one’s dealing in the Balkans there’s always a certain amount of incorrect information put out. So there’s a lot of mythology now about this reverse ethnic cleansing."

Clark is still NATO Supreme Allied Commander. The man is a mass-murderer. He clearly belongs in a straitjacket. One has to ask: Will the day ever come when Americans feel ashamed of themselves for letting a pack of liars, gangsters and lunatics speak for them?

Back to Home Page | Contact Us