Kosovo stuff

Brett Knowlton brettk at unica-usa.com
Fri Apr 2 16:32:14 PST 1999

So as not to go over my limit for today, I'm posting some general comments as well as a response to Chris Burford and Max.

General Comments on Recent Events

I find the recent escalation of the bombing highly disturbing. I listened to Bob Dole on Nightline the other night, and what he had to say was chilling. He said, essentially, that now that we're in it we have to win it. We're committed, and we should do whatever it takes. I've heard similar stuff attributed to Sen. McCain. Of course he said that Milosevic was a real bastard and all, but his primary concern seemed to be US "credibility," both in terms of keeping our promise to stop Milosevic from killing Kosovars and in the sense that it makes us look bad if some two bit thug can stand up to us and get away with it.

His first point is moot, since we've already failed to stop the Milosevic from driving the Kosovars from Kosovo. We can't get sufficient ground forces in fast enough even if NATO was committed to a ground war. But his second point means that that the plight of the Kosovars is irrelevant, and we will not stop bombing until we can claim Milosevic has been "defeated," in some sense. We need to be able to claim victory.

This is terrible news for the entire region. Tom has already posted that we are using cluster bombs (savage anti-personnel weaponry), and we are taking out infrastructure such as bridges. If you believe Dole when he says we should support the bombing for as long as it takes to "get the job done," however the US defines what its "job" is at any particular moment, this will inevitably mean heavy bombing of civilian targets. And with consequences which will last for a long time.

Instead of rescuing the vulnerable, NATO can now (or will very soon, I predict) be guilty of the very war crimes it claims to despise Milosevic for.

For Max:

>>On balance I'd say the U.S. left opposes the intervention. At
the end of the day, this will do it no credit because its moral claims re: innocent Serbians are cancelled out by its insensitivity to the Kosovars. After all, only 2,000 of the latter were killed, that was last year, they are led by drug runners and Mafiosi, and this year they've been blessed with complimentary train tickets out of the country, albeit with baggage service somewhat in abeyance.<<

Where is your evidence for the left that a) thinks the Serbs are innocent, and b) is insensitive to the Kosovars? This is an outrageous claim. I've read all the email on this thread, and I haven't seen anyone taking anything close to this position.

Yoshie brought all the dirt on the KLA for a very good reason (or even if her motives were suspect, it STILL served a good purpose). It was an attempt to give balance to the reporting of the war. There is no dearth of information here on Serb atrocities. In fact, in an environment where this sort of information is given near exclusive attention, an argument you can fairly make about the West right now, it is almost your DUTY to search out other sources of info, to shed light on the complexity of the situation *precisely* because reporting is so one-sided right here, right now. The one-sided nature of reporting serves an imperialistic purpose - to manufacture consent (to borrow from Chomsky) for NATO intervention. Not exclusively of course, there is also a simple element of straight reporting and so forth, but this is to a large extent correct.

And Yoshie made it clear several times that she did not support Serb actions in Kosovo, or think they were innocent, or in any way not responsible for their crimes.

for Chris Burford:

Can't we all just get along? At least we can calm down and soften the tone. I admit to getting worked up myself, but this is absurd.

>You have been a dedicated apologist for Serb fascism, all the more serious
>for the reasoned way you do it.
>It is disingenuous to suggest the proposition by which you are judged is
>that we must believe that the Serbs are the worst ethnic cleansers.
>It is enough to see the evidence that the Serb nationalists have had a well
>worked out plan to empty Kosovo of Albanians.
>You can try to trivialise the matter by calling it an "imperial thesis" if
>you wish. Others will form their own opinion.
>I do not regard that accusation as red-baiting. Marx said that a nation
>which oppresses another cannot itself be free.

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