Rebuttal to Nathan

Seth Ackerman SAckerman at
Mon Mar 20 12:11:00 PST 2000

I was out sick Friday, so I'm only getting to this now.

Two points:

1) Nathan, you're grotesquely missing the point.You remember the Nicaraguan MiG crisis? To deflect attention away from the 1984 Nicaraguan elections, the Reagan Administration planted leaks at NBC, CBS, and New York Times from "senior Administration officials" that there were "preminary indications" that the Soviets were delivering MiG fighter jets to Nicaragua. This successfully whipped up hysteria about Soviet penetration of Latin America and the threat to Harlingen, Texas.

As soon as the election was over, the "senior officials" went back to the reporters and told them it was a false alarm--the "preliminary indications" turned out to be in error. Nathan, your argument expects us to believe that these propaganda attacks are really false alarms and honest mistakes. You would never accept that explanation when it comes to Nicaragua, but as soon as Slobo's involved, somehow the Pentagon turns into a band of couragous truth-tellers?

Of course NATO never said it had proof that 100,000 Albanians had been murdered. If it had, sooner or later it would have had to come up with 100,000 bodies. Instead, NATO said that 100,000 Albanians had gone "missing." NATO was "concerned" about the "unknown fate" of these vulnerable individuals. The goal--which worked--was to create the illusion that the Serbs had maasacred tens of thousands.

Maybe you think Sec. Def. William Cohen ACTUALLY THOUGHT 100,000 Albanians had gone missing, and was simply expressing his concerns out loud during an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation. By the same token, maybe you think that Jamie Shea really believed that 700 Albanian boys were being used as human blood banks by the Serb military, as he claimed at a NATO press briefing. My reading of the situation is that the military was doing what it has always done in times of war. It lied to soften up public opinion, mainly by making the enemy seem way more bloodthirsty than they actually were.

2) How do you know what Yugoslavia was or was not willing to accept before the bombing? None of these alternatives was ever pursued by Albright. Her goal from the beginning was to bomb. Newsweek's well-informed diplomatic correspondent, Michael Hersh, reports that Western intelligence agencies were predicting shortly before Rambouillet that Milosevic would be open to NATO troops in Kosovo. But those reports "disappeared" once Albright started insisting on a referendum on Kosovo independence. Steven Erlanger of the NY Times reported (Feb. 23) that Belgrade officials were tossing around ideas like "leavening" a NATO force with Russian troops. Again, that kind of talk was the last thing Albright wanted to hear. As she now admits, her goal at Rambouillet was not to get an agreement, but to get "clarity"--that is, a Serb "no" and an Albanian "yes" which would force the Europeans to approve a NATO activation order.

So, maybe the Milosevic was never willing to be reasonable. Maybe all his concessions were just negotiating ploys. Maybe he was planning all along to reneg at the last minute. We'll never know. But we do know for sure that Albright was negotiating in bad faith.

Besides. Kosovo would have been better off just keeping the OSCE monitors in place.

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