by Justin Raimondo
Those 20,000 Kosovar refugees who were supposed to be housed at Guantanamo Bay naval base are now coming to the United States -- just as I predicted in this column. And here's another prediction for you: this is only the beginning.
THE LIBERAL THING TO DO
In opposing Clinton's war against the Serbian people, the antiwar movement is facing its greatest challenge ever. The dilemma posed by this so-called "humanitarian" war was dramatized by a remark made by Bill Maher, the host of Politically Incorrect, who said: "I'm FOR this war because it's the liberal thing to do." The transformation of American liberals from peaceniks to warmongers is a fascinating sight to behold. Possessed by the idea that government can and must right every wrong on the domestic front, it is only natural that they should now turn their attention to the rest of the world. Ever since the end of the Cold War, the liberals and the Left in general have been moving toward an open endorsement of imperialism. Now that we have no real enemy, now that Communism has collapsed of its own inner weaknesses, the liberals want to go to war. And who is the enemy?
"KOSOVO IS MY ALAMO"
In the emerging New World Order backed up by NATO's guns, the enemy is nationalism: Iraqi nationalism, Panamanian nationalism, Serbian nationalism, -- and especially American nationalism, which is often called "isolationism." At a demonstration against the war in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago I saw a young woman holding aloft a sign that said: "Kosovo is my Alamo." Clinton and his supporters know this -- they have embarked on a crusade to tear Kosovo out of Serbia precisely because it is the heart and soul of the Serbian national mystique. They mean to make an example out of Serbia: they want to be able to point to the ruins of Belgrade and say "See what happens to anyone who dares to fight for their national sovereignty?"
PEACENIKS ON THE RIGHT
The transformation of liberals, and even much of the socialist Left, into the biggest warmongers on the block is accompanied by another great sea change: for the astonishing fact of the matter is that the most vocal opposition to this oh-so-politically-correct war is coming from conservatives: the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly against the bombing. The list of prominent conservatives who have come out against this war reads like a who's who of the American Right: it was astonishing the other night to see none other than Jesse Jackson berating Ollie North for "not supporting our boys." The times they are a changin' as the old song goes.
THE CONSERVATIVE CASE
I can sum up the conservative case against U.S. intervention in the Balkans in three basic points:
1) This is not our war. It matters not one whit to any ordinary American whose flag flies over Pristina. Yugoslavia has not attacked us, and does not threaten our interests. And don't anyone tell me that American soldiers must die to preserve the credibility of NATO -- in the post-Cold War era, NATO is an anachronism and an expensive one at that. It is time for Europe to police her own disputes, and time for us to bring our troops home -- fifty years after the end of World War II.
2) We are not being told the whole story. Amid the biggest and most intense propaganda campaign in recent memory, the Kosovars are being portrayed as the victims and the Serbs are routinely villainized. But this is based on a very selective reading of history. We keep seeing the streams of refugees pouring out of Kosovo, but what is ignored is the fact that 100,000 Serbs had been forced out of Kosovo in World War Ii, and some 200,000 were forced out in the turbulent period from 1961-81. The Albanian minority used the Titoist system to their own advantage in many ways. With eight percent of the Yugoslav population Kosovo alone was getting 30 percent of federal subsidies. The money was used by the local authorities to buy up land from Serbians and sell it (at very low prices) to Albanians. Under socialism, the developed regions of the northwest produced most of the wealth, and the Albanians in the south reaped most of the benefits: they had their own Albanian language schools and newspapers, and they had autonomy. Still, they were not appeased. In the ethnic riots of the seventies and eighties, tens of thousands of Serbians were driven from Kosovo by Albanian mobs. And when 250,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed from the Krajina region of Bosnia, Christiane Amanpour and CNN somehow failed to show up.
3) If we allow ourselves to get sucked into the Kosovo quagmire, there will be no getting out. Even if we "win," what will be the result of our so-called victory? U.S. troops will be in the region for the next fifty years, caught in the crossfire of a vicious civil war. The cost, in lives and treasure, is going to be very high -- and for what? To build a Greater Albania -- a militant Muslim state in the heart of Christian Europe? How is that in our national interest? Clinton claims that by intervening he is preventing a wider war, but American intervention is already widening this war: to Macedonia, Montenegro, and all the small states of a volatile region.
Okay, so what can we do to oppose this war? This is the question that comes up most often in the blizzard of email that we get at this site, and this point the answer is: put pressure on Congress. We need to get those Republicans who voted against the bombing to stand firm against the introduction of ground troops -- and we need to put pressure on those Democrats who are wavering or having second thoughts. This means a massive campaign of letter-writing, rallies, public educational forums, as well as demonstrations. We need to engage the interventionists in a vigorous and very public debate, and take the initiative in the war for public opinion. We need to focus on members of Congress; for example, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, a city with a long and distinguished antiwar tradition, Rep. Nancy Pelosi is a leading interventionist, who has been beating the war drums ever since Clinton sent American troops to Bosnia. She just returned from a trip to confer with NATO officials in the Balkans, along with a bipartisan delegation, and yet we have not heard a peep out of her in the local press. She does not have to defend her position because she is never challenged. Bay area antiwar activists, of which there are many, have given her a free ride, so far. Why? What is needed is a militant effort to go after these warmongers; to seek them out and challenge them, to engage them in debate -- not only in the Bay area, but across the country. And we don't have a lot of time to do it. The drumbeat for ground troops grows louder, and the War Party is well-organized and well-financed. We need to organize at the local level, and hold our elected officials accountable for the disaster that is now unfolding.
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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. 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 the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).