by Justin Raimondo
KEEP 'EM COMING!
Two Kosovar Albanian refugees landing in this country at McGuire Air Force, New Jersey, landed in jail a few hours after their arrival. Immigration officials grew suspicious when they realized that the two passengers' names did not match identity photos issued by camp officials in Macedonia. Although it is unclear why they were using aliases, the news that the Kosovars were being detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service pending a full investigation was greeted with cheers in Carbon County, Pa., where they will be held. According to an Associated Press report: "Meanwhile, county officials, under contract with the INS to house detainees at the local prison, wanted more Kosovo refugees to be detained in order to help stem the annual $1.9 million cost of operating the facility, which is underused. 'We're hoping more will be coming,' Carbon County Commissioner John Mogilski told the Allentown Morning Call. 'We have room for 15.' INS detainees have generated $460,000 in county revenues over the past year." This war is going to be a big hit in Carbon County, but I wonder if the rest of the country is going to be all that enthusiastic.
GORE NO MORE
Take the veterans groups, traditionally a warlike bunch. Well, as Bob Dylan once put it, the times they are a changin': the 2.8-million member American Legion has come out against this war front and center. And lest you be deceived into thinking that this is just part of the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy, simply a case of the Clinton-hating American Legionnaires out to get the President, get ready for a major shock: Veterans for Gore has announced that they are taking down their website and disbanding in protest against the war in the Balkans. The notice on their website inform visitors: "Due to the poor leadership performance during the current military involvement in Yugoslavia, the failure of the Clinton/Gore Administration to achieve an expedient termination of this crises, the staff, members and supporters of Veterans for Gore 2000 have elected to stand down this website of three years until and if better leadership is demonstrated and mission success appears speedily forthcoming. Veterans for Gore 2000 are terribly disappointed in the sluggish and incompetent manner American military forces are being deployed and managed." While this dissent seems suspiciously hawkish American bombs are not falling "sluggishly" on Yugoslavia any split in the War Party is a welcome development.
A CALL TO ARMS
Speaking before a convocation of veterans in Washington yesterday, President Clinton reiterated his determination to continue the war in the face of rising criticism, invoking the moral imperative of action and the shade of World War II: "Though his ethnic cleansing is not the same as the ethnic extermination of the Holocaust, the two are related," he declared, "both [are] vicious, premeditated, systematic oppression fueled by religious and ethnic hatred." In other words, this isn't "genocide," a word often brandished by the militant wing of the War Party, but that doesn't matter because any military action "fueled by religious and ethnic hatred" is punishable by bombardment and possible invasion by NATO forces. Since most of the conflict in the world can be attributed to ethnic tension, almost by definition, this is a formula for endless wars. By this standard, NATO led by the United States must intervene militarily not only in every conflict in the Balkans, but in mini-wars from the Caucasus to the Philippines.
This Blairite internationalism did not go over well with the veterans. The American Legion's top official, Butch Miller, reacted to the President's remarks with open scorn: "Committing the sons and daughters of America to armed conflict overseas requires a clear, compelling statement of the national interest that hasn't been articulated yet for the Kosovo operation,'' Miller said. Thank God for the American Legion. Along with the Boy Scouts and reruns of the Donna Reed Show, this surviving remnant of the Old Culture is a beacon of benevolence in an increasingly sinister world.
FREELANCERS ON THE OFFENSIVE
The main opponents of the administration's war plans are not stationed in Yugoslavia, but in Washington, D.C., where a bipartisan group in Congress is negotiating directly with members of the Russian Duma to implement a peace plan. In the wake of Jesse Jackson's coup in releasing the three captured American soldiers and raising hopes for a peaceful settlement, the White House is not about to be upstaged again. "Our efforts are not helped indeed they are hurt by uncoordinated, freelance efforts at negotiating with Milosevic," said Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering to a committee of the House considering the bipartisan Russo-American peace plan. Meanwhile, Madeleine Albright has been complaining that Jackson's meeting with Milosevic has stymied her efforts to bring the Serbs to their knees. Jackson, she said, "was causing terrible problems," because he was photographed praying with Milosevic. Asked about this, Pickering claimed that the act of praying with the Serbian leader "enhanced Milosevic's position." Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) then inquired: "The Department of State does not object to prayer, does it?" "No," answered Pickering and does the American Civil Liberties know about this?
NONE DARE CALL IT REASON
The plan drafted by Weldon and his fellow citizen-diplomats calls for the pullout of Serbian forces from the province of Kosovo and a return of the refugees, but is flexible on the composition of the peacekeeping force and silent on the question of a bombing halt. The hearing provided a platform for the warmongering pyrotechnics of Rep. Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut, senior Democrat on the committee, who attacked the peace initiative, saying it would put Albright "in a straitjacket." Demonstrating beyond doubt that he belongs in a straitjacket, Gejdenson, one of the more rabid warhawks, then declared that "If Democrats and Republicans had done this during the Gulf War, there would have been charges of treason.'' Gejdenson's talk of "treason" brought the wrath of the House down on his head, from Republicans and Democrats alike: "I am not a gentlewoman. If anyone thinks I was involved in treason, I would ask them to step outside,'' said Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla. Gejdenson did not oblige her.
A GRAND TRADITION
Far from being treason, citizen diplomacy is a proud American tradition, from Henry Ford's "Peace Ship" to the citizens' delegations that tried to open the path to a negotiated settlement of the Vietnam war. The warmakers naturally want a monopoly on diplomacy, and in an authoritarian regime, where the ruler is the State and freedom to travel and to speak is routinely abrogated, diplomacy is the domain of kings and their ministers. But in a republic, where each citizen has a voice and the freedom to act, the State enjoys no such cartel. If Madeleine Albright is horrified by what Jesse Jackson accomplished, then let her tell it to the families of the three American soldiers liberated on account of his persistence.
FREE THE SERBIAN POWS
was an informative hearing. Aside from revealing that the administration
now estimates that a postwar "peacekeeping" force would have
to consist of "30,000-plus" up from the earlier estimate
of 28,000, and due to go up higher still Pickering also updated
the committee on the status of the two Serbian prisoners of war still
being held by NATO. On the one hand, he said, they might be released;
on the other hand, he raised the "possibility" that NATO might
hold on to them "in light of the possibility that more Americans
THE BARBARIANS AT THE GATES
It is typical of the NATO-crats, in their cruelty and arrogance, that they would use human beings as pawns in a power game and without making any bones about it. Wesley Clark likes to talk about "tightening the noose." Jamie Shea delights in NATO's ability "to turn off and on the light switch in Belgrade." Today NATO struck Serbia's electrical grid, knocking out power in parts of Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad. The NATO-crats also bombed roads and a local TV building in Nis. Madeleine Albright has taken to broadcasting threats of dire punishment "the whole world is against you!" to the Yugoslavs in her broken Serbo-Croatian, and vows that her enemies will be dragged before the International War Crimes Tribunal like runaway slaves brought cringing and begging before their masters. The savagery of these thugs is not only rhetorical. Every night for the past 40-plus days I have heard the very same comment from newscasters: "This has been the most intensive night of bombing yet," they say, night after night after night, and for once we are being told the truth. The Clinton administration has worked itself up into a murderous frenzy, and the death toll in Yugoslavia is rapidly rising. This is the inevitable consequence of extending the target list to include anything even remotely connected to the Yugoslav military effort: television stations, a cigarette factory (that was no accident!), and more than a few hospitals: clearly the goal of this relentless and inhuman bombing campaign is to reduce the nation to a pre-modern condition, to so humiliate its people that no one will dare to challenge the NATO-crats ever again. Faith in human nature, in the orneryness and stubbornness of ordinary human beings, allows me to hope that this strategy will backfire in their faces, and badly.
LORAL ORION BACKS OFF
The threat to Yugoslav Internet sites from the U.S. government has abated, somewhat, but not disappeared. It looks like Loral Orion, the company that owns the satellite providing access to Yugo ISPs has decided not to deny them service. An executive order issued by the Clinton administration prohibiting financial transactions within Yugoslavia and forbidding most contacts was the original basis for Loral Orion's initial decision to close down their satellite feed. This sent alarm bells ringing the length and breadth of the Internet, and, although they won't admit it, the storm of protest that arose as the news of the imminent shutdown filtered out undoubtedly led them to reconsider their position. I am told by a spokesperson for the company that they are now "reinterpreting" the executive order to not include providing network services to Yugoslav ISPs. The ball is now in the Administration's court: let them enforce their illegal executive order if they can or if they dare.
The United Nations announced yesterday that it will send a team into Kosovo to report on conditions there. This will be the first entry into the province since the bombing began. Now we shall see if the atrocity stories circulated by NATO propagandists and their KLA protégés have any basis in reality. But if Milosevic is killing Kosovars by the tens of thousands, organizing mass rapes, and engaging in more sheer sadistic terrorism than Vlad the Impailer ever dreamed of, as the War Party alleges, then why is he inviting the UN to Pristina to collect evidence? The tall tales carried out of Kosovo by some of the refugees and broadcast uncritically by the news media will ultimately go down in history with the World War I stories of Belgian babies speared by German bayonets phony from beginning to end.
Raimondo's Wartime Diary
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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 is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and 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).