Wars have ever been but another aristocratic mode of plundering and oppressing commerce.
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Letters to
March 24, 2004

Kosovo Burning

Must agree with you. Have listened to BBC reports and also our local commercial and state-funded media reports, and the blatant ignoring of reality of the situation so that their little Albanian buddies are absolved of their crimes is nauseating. Thanks for your information.

~ Jim Rendevski, Melb, Australia

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Thank you. I believe the question is no longer "if" or "how" the media are excusing Albanian violence, but rather "why"? But whether their motivation is simple laziness, deliberate malice, or simply fear of embarrassment once the truth about Kosovo comes out, their conduct has been more than shameful.

Thank you for your detailed report on the absolutely outrageous events in Kosovo, equaling in its essence to the Nazi holocaust. I am glad that you bring the issue up and you expose the lies of the mainstream imperial media, which downplays the events or else blames it on the Serbs. Your weekly columns, as well as the numerous other columns at Antiwar.com about the situation in Yugoslavia are invaluable as far as presenting the truth about the tragic events of the last 12-13 years in that part of the world and counteracting against the ugly smear campaign of the mainstream media against the Serbs. They have done a great deal in helping me assess the situation in Yugoslavia in a broad perspective (though I was against Clinton's meddling from the beginning, I didn't realize to what extent I was right before I discovered this wonderful website).

I wonder if you could help encourage other columnists at Antiwar.com to take a closer look at the current events of the last week in Kosovo and write more about it, expressing their rightful criticism and indignation at the violence of the Albanian mobsters and the entirely ineffective behavior of NATO and KFOR in "protecting" the Serbs against these criminals. I think that this is an extremely urgent matter and I strongly feel that the events in Kosovo should be more highlighted and brought out on the front, rather than just stuck somewhere at the bottom of the home page, as if it is just another minor occurrence in the world among many other occurrences.

You probably realize that this is a tragedy of an enormous caliber and more rightful outrage should be voiced in greater detail about this. I am writing this because I greatly appreciate the harsh criticism by all the contributing columnists of Antiwar.com against Bill Clinton's illegal war in 1999. Thus, I feel that this website could elucidate the present catastrophic consequences of this war in greater detail. I sympathize with your cause entirely and I wish you the greatest luck in your noble work.

~ A.R.

Nebojsa Malic replies:

As you may well be aware, every writer operates with a day or two of time lag. My special Kosovo column didn't appear until Saturday, the fourth day of the pogrom, simply because that's the soonest I could get it together.

Justin Raimondo has written about Kosovo on Friday ("The Déjà Vu War"), and Antiwar.com has published Chris Deliso's timely piece as well. I'm not too excited about the Kosovo news being at the bottom of the page, either – but truth be told, there is so much information coming out of there, it could easily take over the entire front page. Other things are happening – maybe part of the reason the pogrom started at this stage in the news cycle – and much as I'd like folks to drop everything and focus on Kosovo, that wouldn't be reasonable. Now, there are a couple of sites with dedicated news feeds to the situation (I put the links on the 'blog), which I've found very useful.

Thank you for your words of encouragement. I hope we will manage to convey the full extent of the disaster in Kosovo in the coming days, and expose the things its makers would prefer remain hidden.

Why is there no mention of the gold and silver mines?

~ Jim Tarvin

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I find them unimportant in the current context. This isn't about money. It's about land and hatred.

After reading your article concerning the latest violence in Kosovo, I am curious what is your opinion about the strained relations between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Macedonian Orthodox Church? I know it is a different topic, yet it is a big source of tensions between Macedonians and Serbs.

After all the MOC predates both Pech and Trnovo. The MOC was instrumental in educating Sava and establishing the SOC. Additionally the MOC was closed in 1767 by the Ottoman Sultan with the help of Greeks. I am a bit confused why the SOC and Greek Orthodox Church are against the recognition of the MOC because it declared its independence in 1967? I find "canonical" reasons a weak excuse to mask the SOC and GOC true intentions – the denial of the Macedonian nationality. What is your perspective Nebojsa?

~ Trajko Papuckoski

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I've said it before, and I'd like to say it again: any problems that Serbs and Macedonians may have pale in comparison to the threat they both face from Albanian expansionism. That is, of course, not to deny that problems exist, and this seems to be a big one.

Everything I have seen so far indicates that a vast majority of Serbs have no issue with Macedonians being a separate nationality – unlike many Greeks, Bulgarians and Albanians. From what I hear, it is not the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) per se questioning the legitimacy of the Macedonian Church (MOC), but most of the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in general, on grounds of canonical procedure. I believe this may also have something to do with the fact that the current MOC established by the Communists, bypassing the Church. The MOC refuses to reapply for canonization, while the Orthodox synod refuses to recognize what they consider a Communist usurpation. I imagine some of the SOC's objections also keep in mind the illegitimate "Montenegrin Orthodox Church," which was also set up by the secular authorities (i.e. the Montenegro government).

In all honesty, I think making this dispute into a national issue only seems to complicate its resolution. I am sure that some time in the near future Macedonians will get their national church recognized. But if some people west of Skopje have their way, there might not be a Macedonia left.

Thanks for your article "Kosovo burning". It is a good informative article. However, what I am missing in the story is arrests.

During the protests and burning of mosques in Serbia about a hundred people were arrested and that stopped the violence. However, in Kosovo to my knowledge no Albanian has been arrested during several days of violence.

This continues the policy of impunity for Albanian violence against Serbs that has been UN policy from the end of the war. I don't expect this violence to stop as long as it goes unpunished. Even independence for Kosovo will not change that. The prospect of pilfering with impunity is just too attractive so the next incident will be used as an excuse to start again.

~ Wim Roffel, Leiden, Netherlands

Nebojsa Malic replies:

In trying to process the flood of information coming from the region, I somehow left out the important bit about the Serbian police arresting almost 80 vandals (by Thursday morning, anyway). As far as I know, no Albanian has been detained by either KFOR or the Kosovo Police. Of course independence won't make things better, since it is obvious what Kosovo is like when run by the KLA and its sympathizers. The argument put forth by Rugova, Taqi, Haradinaj and Holbrooke that the pogrom shows the need for independence – that it should be rewarded, in effect – is almost more revolting than the pogrom itself.

Paddy Ashdown is always described as the "High Representative" in the Balkans. I assume he is the "UN's" High Representative – or is he? Who pays his salary?

~ David Yuhas

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I'm not entirely sure about that. From what I understand, the HR represents the 'Peace Implementation Council' of countries from the former 'Contact Group' – i.e. the arbitrarily self-appointed guardians of peace and justice, among whom are the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Russia. These are the people who define his powers, anyway. That is why I call him the 'Viceroy', a more apt description of his position and influence.

Chinese and US Bluffs

I'm puzzled about your comments on the Taiwan election. I've enjoyed reading your observations in the past, as my wife grew up in Chengdu, and your stories often provide insights about what people in China are thinking. I assumed you were some sort of "pacifist," given you're writing for this website, but your latest essay seems to advocate the idea of the P.R.C. violently overthrowing Taiwan's government. You wrote "if Beijing were to cruise across the Straits and restore order..."! This is an impossible proposition – if the P.R.C. military were to cross the Straights, then I'm sure you will agree that "order" would the opposite of what occurred. Of course, several atomic bombs could create the order of a graveyard in Taiwan, but it's pretty clear that a PRC military action would be violently unpopular with the vast majority of Taiwanese people, and would involve a massive violation of individual rights. So looking at the way your essay ended – seeming to advocate the P.R.C. use of force to attack innocents in Taiwan, while finding the potential U.S. use of force to defend these innocents distasteful, I sense that the underlying motivation here is not "antiwar" but rather "anti-U.S." emotions.

If your essay was a parody of violently nationalist sentiments widely held in the PRC, then my apologies for not getting the joke.

~ Andrew West

Sascha Matuszak replies:

Yes, I was being a bit ironic in this column – in no way do I advocate Chinese military intervention in Taiwanese affairs. Instead of expressing my own personal opinion, I tried to present a possible scenario, based on what I believe the interests of Beijing and Washington might be.

'Spoiled Brats Detract From Big San Francisco Antiwar Protest' (aka Antiwar protesters rally in San Francisco)

I must take exception to the characterization of protesters who chose not to follow the state-sanctioned parade route in San Francisco as spoiled brats. We do have the right to peacefully assemble of course. All the laws that limit that right, from permits to protest pens placed out of sight of news cameras and the government officials we have reason to protest to, are attempts by the government to limit that right, and to tame us in our methods of protest. "All right, if you must, you may protest HERE and march to THERE, but you may not go to this place."

For a long time, the permit process was used mainly to prevent protest, and as a pretext for arresting unpermitted protesters. Now it is used primarily to contain protest and control its expressions. So some jurisdictions are not satisfied with determining the route (or okaying it, which is really the same thing) but they decide whether signs can be carried (potential weapons) and of course ban the participation of puppets altogether.

The question we should be asking is, "How much control should WE grant THEM?" If we concede to the state the right to determine who may protest, and where and whether we will be allowed to demonstrate through signage the root of our discontent, we have ceded control of our movements entirely to the state.

~ Adrien Rain Burke

Eric Garris replies:

I have to say, you have proven my point. You sound like a little kid who won't do what his parents say just to be a contrarian.

It is all well and good for you to make these symbolic gestures equating traffic laws with fascist control by the state. But this is about bigger things, like the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

I would ask you to restrain yourself when the issue is one of such importance.

Jeremy Sapienza replies:

That comment applied to people blocking traffic and damaging property. We believe nobody should need permission from the State to assemble anywhere on public property.


Just curious why there are no organized protests against the terrorists and their actions, that are targeted for civilians, while you continue to protest against the government trying to stop the terrorist. Yes would it not be great to sit the leaders down and talk peace! But like one antiwar representative said on TV when asked if they would ask Osama bin Laden to the peace conference their response was no!

The killing of those people in Spain was the result of a planned attack by a terrorist group. On 9-11 our country was a planned attack and I ask what action by our government brought that attack on. We had not used any military action against these people. Yes by going after these groups that target civilians, they are continuing violent attacks, but when had they stopped when we did nothing?

Please don't get me wrong, I have nothing against your protesting, but I am curious why there are no protesting against the actions of terrorist groups that use violence and violence only and its targeted at civilians. Thanks for listening.

~ John Harvey

Eric Garris replies:

There have been many protests against the terrorists. Last week, 12 million protested in Spain.

We are not protesting the government for fighting terrorism. We are protesting the government targeting non-terrorists as an excuse for their being unable to battle terrorism.

Kosovo & Putin

Putin is using Kosovo to appease the Russian public's dissatisfaction with the genocide against the Serbs. Unfortunately his words are Orwellian. He tells us "Russia cannot merely watch what is happening there" while he is doing just that. Russia turned its back on the Serbians before, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that they are exhibiting the same cowardly behavior. As this reflects on Russia's image everywhere, it only emboldens the extremists in Chechnya and elsewhere to continue their struggle since no one fears fighting a coward. Not even a big one like Russia.

~ Ioan Tirlui

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Or, perhaps, Putin is trying to throw Kosovo into Empire's face so Washington would get off his back about Chechnya? Though Washington cares about Chechens even less than Moscow cares for Serbs, both pawns in their power game.

Though the Western media makes much out of the Serbs' supposed Russophilia, I would wager most Serbs are less enthusiastic. After all, it was Russian envoy Chernomyrdin who brought NATO's armistice proposal to Belgrade that enabled the Alliance to occupy Kosovo without actually having to fight for it.

Note to David Brooks: That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

you that seems to be the protector of all. surely you can comprehend that look over the past 30 years which is in my lifetime whom is to blame for majority of the terrorist acts and yes i do mean the poor muslim nation sic.

1. the terrorist acts in bosnia (muslims)
2. the terrorist acts in russia /chechnya (Muslims)
3. the terrorist acts in nigeria (Muslims)
4. the terrorist acts in kenya (Muslims)
5. the terrorist acts in morocco(Muslims)
6. needless to say the terrorist acts in the u.s. (Muslims)
7. the terrorist acts in bali duh let me see (Muslims)
8. israel etc, etc, etc

so before you go defending the poor Muslim nation give a thought to all the other nations that have been subjected to their acts of terror, and all because they are too much of a coward to fight a conventional war and in the name of islam or allah or whatever they send woman and children to their deaths! so chew on that

~ quentin albert

Matt Barganier replies:

"Protector of all": I like that, kind of superheroish. I'm not sure what it has to do with my essay on David Brooks, but I like it.

By the way, is no-caps the new all-caps?

Richard Clarke and the White House Reaction

I keep wondering why the fact that the administration was focused on Iraq after 9/11 continues to be treated as if it is a new revelation. It was well documented in Bob Woodward's book, Bush at War, in which he described the attempt by the White House to link Iraq the very evening of the attacks on America. By now, one would think it's old news.

Articles appearing in the Washington Post this morning by National Security Adviser, Rice, and the Office of the White House Press Secretary, are practically identical. I noted that there is absolutely no mention of Saudi Arabia or Hizbullah's Mughniyeh, who were also considered to be linked to 9/11 and Al-Qaeda. Instead, both White House releases highlight the "crucial role of Pakistan" in the terror fight. The politics implied by these official statements are clearly designed to boost Pakistan's image, regardless of the fact that US authorities are not allowed to interview Khan, the Pakistani scientist who so blatantly gave away his country's nuclear secrets.

It's clear that this White House will spin and spin and spin its message to make sure the American public continues to be deceived about what really happened since Bush came into power. How that public can still support a leader while some of his top officials have risked their reputations by coming out and telling the truth shows just how powerful ignorance can be. This blind dedication to the conservative ideology has trumped reality once again. One can only hope that Bush administration supporters will finally open their eyes and truly see the tainted goods they've been sold by defeating this president in the upcoming election.

To allow this administration to serve another term will set a course for the future that can only be more disastrous.

~ Lucie Gelinas, Canada

The Consequences of Bush's War

Your points about the Iraq War are spot on. Furthermore, am I the only one who thought it out of place to promise tax cuts and then go off to war? What ever happened to a Republican Party of Fiscal Responsibility? My father-in-law, who is 76 and has been a Robert Taft Republican all his life, thinks they have lost their collective minds in Washington. This imperial pretension to intervene in every quarrel on the planet has left us despised. Neither political party has the courage to say enough! It really is too bad we cannot seem to realize that the best way to promote democracy is, to paraphrase John Quincy Adams, become a shining beacon of democracy at home. Keep up the good work.

~ Michael Sinclair

Cost Benefit Analysis

Bullets are expensive. Missiles have a cost. Tanks, helicopters and fighter aircraft absorb millions of dollars. Instead of killing stone throwers, what if is Israel used the cost of every bullet to buy books for Palestinian children. Instead of assassinating Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, what if is Israel used the cost of every missile to pay the salary of a teacher to work in the refugee camps of Gaza. Instead of destroying homes, what if is Israel used the cost of every armored bulldozer or tank to build health clinics or community centers in the West Bank. Instead of building a Wall, what if is Israel used the money to build a university for Arabs and Jews. Instead of funding war, what if Israel worked for peace. The savings would be tremendous.

~ Rashid Miraj

The Antiwar Movement Is Not Progressive

Your article was great, however I respectfully disagree with one line.

"That is why I believe an election boycott is the best way to nurture this movement."

Consider the boycott of the 2002 election which led the current Administration and the War Party to claim a mandate to rule.

To not vote is the same as accepting the status quo. It is to trust the state and the ruling party to govern honestly and truthfully.

In Spain, a latecomer to democratic governance, it was participation not avoidance that has brought in a government willing to challenge the state of war.

The politician understands that the polls are unreliable. When a President states the those who are not for us are against us, and his drones apply that policy in the workplaces, churches and government offices, will many answer the polls honestly? If and administration controls the press the polls that are printed are suspect, but who can prove it.

But those that will vote, those are the ones the politicians will perform for. We voters hold their future in our hand. They not only look at the
votes the main opposition got, but they look to a the minor parties, and wonder how they can be cajoled into casting the 'right' vote next time. Voting isn't just for the present. Whether our choices win or lose those votes will affect the future in substantial ways.

This is not betting on a football game and picking the winner. This is making use of the one true voice given to us by our Constitution. It is the one way that each and every American reaffirms their support of Constitutional Law specifically and the rule of law generally.

To be sure the ruling party will be out in force, and if they can convince the opposition that their vote doesn't count, or that they are wasting their time or that no one cares, the better for them.

I implore everyone to vote. There is no need to make your vote count, it already does the moment the ballot is cast. It becomes part of the history of our democracy. We all need to know that besides Democrats and Republicans that there are many other opinions and ideas: Libertarian, Green, Progressive, Socialist and Communist just to mention a few. Without your ballot, the winner will presume that you are on their side, and who can argue, if you choose to abdicate your responsibility to choose otherwise.

"a sense of human values, a sense of decency, a sense of what is right and fitting that led us to cry out against the war and to call on our government to stay its hand."

But crying out loud is not enough. Few of us have a platform from which we can be heard. Neither do we all have competence in the oratorical or literary arts. But we have our vote, we are free to accept or reject the one responsibility that we have to each other.

"We should discover in these shared values a new democratic vision, more powerful and more real than the democratic vision on which the nation was founded. In it lies the redemptive vision for a second American revolution."

In the end I think we agree. But never in my life has the need for all to vote been more clear in my mind. Voting is the essence of a truly democratic vision.

~ Paul S. Nofs

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