Sunday, April 22, 2007

"Some Damned Fool Thing in the Balkans"

Spengler at Asia Times has some very unpolitically correct thoughts. But is he right?

When the outcome of a tragedy is known in advance, it finds ways of occurring earlier than expected. In this case, the fate of 100,000 Serbian Christians who remain in Kosovo may pre-empt the debate over Europe's eventual absorption into the Muslim world. ... If Serbia and Russia draw a line in the sand over the independence of Kosovo, we may observe the second occasion in history when a Muslim advance on Europe halted on Serbian soil.


The Bill Clinton administration, in this writer's considered view, provoked NATO's 1999 bombing war against Serbia with malice of forethought, as a gesture to the Muslim world. The United States in effect was willing to bomb Christians in order to protect Muslims, in this case the Albanian Kosovo majority whom it accused the Serbs of mistreating. That is precisely what the Democrats say. In a January 3 article in the Financial Times, Democratic Senator Joseph Biden contended that Kosovo independence would constitute a "victory for Muslim democracy", and "a much-need example of US-Muslim partnership".

Whether or not Spengler is right on this score, any reasonable observer will agree that an important battle over which direction Europe will take is now being fought in the election precincts of France. The LA Times reports:

It is ironic that Nicolas Sarkozy, the front-runner in France's presidential race, finds himself on the defensive in the immigrant slums that could play a key role in today's first-round election

Chris Cillizza blogging at the Washington Post thinks this French election is very unpredictable. The polls have opened just now in Metropolitan France, after which we shall see what we shall see. At any rate, it is fair bet the tectonic plates are rattling when a French presidential contender poses in a red plaid shirt on horseback.

39 Comments:

Blogger putnam said...

The Serbs, the Bulgarians and perhaps the Hungarians together with the Russians could well save the lazy western part of europe.

I was recently in Bulgaria and was impressed with a fierce and proud people toughened by history. At an internet cafe I watched for an hour as a burly Bulgarian in front of me surfed Russian military web sites admiring various hardware. I think these people will fight hard and won't collapse like the metro-sexual cowards in the west raised at the soft tit of the socialist mother state probably will. The question is will Bulgars be spoiled as quickly as the Chechs appear to have been.

4/22/2007 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/22/2007 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Yes.

4/22/2007 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

My memory of events both preceding and during the Serbian incursion into Kosovo are different from Spengler's. I followed events in Yugoslavia and Kosovo closely as they were happening and participated in many online forums originating from the region. Spengler portrays the US/NATO response as a goodwill gesture to Muslims but I recall no public conversations from any source that would support that view as primary or even valid.

I admit to my ignorance at that time that Islam should have been recognized for the threat it was even then. Many Muslim combat elements in Bosnia and Kosovo were mujahadeen veterans from Afghanistan and Chechnya. Decapitation of captured Serbian soldiers was not uncommon. The Serbs did not win many Western hearts by randomly lobbing artillery shells into Sarajevo. Perhaps of greater interest is that we did not see the same Western reaction to the thousands of rockets that Hizuallah lobbed into Israeli population ceters.

Spengler also dismisses reports of massacres with the his line that "the Serbs had shot a few thousand Muslim militants in their efforts to pacify the province." On the ground reports birthed Spengler's pregnant remarks into something much more than a cavalier pacification.

Serbian forum posters held out Kosovo as the holy battleground against the Muslim onslaught of the Middle Ages but few, if any, even tried to portray Kosovo into a parallel of modern times. Maybe I would have thought differently of the ultimate value of NATO's response if they had. In any event it would have been difficult to champion the Serbian death squads that made play of slaughtering entire Kosovan familes and then retiring to Belgrade nightclubs for an evening of entertainment.

If anything, Kosovo has taught me how very complicated this clash of civilizations can be. At what point we may have to dismiss individual narratives out of consideration of advancing the greater good remains to be seen. The lesson is there even if I do not yet understand it. I do know, however, that a new Muslim state in Europe is unacceptable under any circumstances.

4/22/2007 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Many in the West seem to know not what to fight or why, as Spengler constantly reminds. Rod Dreher’s opinion piece on the irrepressible Camille Paglia may shed some light on a primary weakness of the West.

Camille Paglia and the Western tradition

"‘I remain concerned about the compulsive denigration of the West and the reductiveness so many leading academics in the humanities have toward their own tradition," she tells me. "They reduce it all to the lowest common denominator of racism, imperialism, sexism and homophobia. That's an extremely small-minded way of looking at culture and a betrayal of the career mission of these educators, whose job is to educate students in our culture.’"

***

4/22/2007 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

We know now what really drove the U.S. intervention in Kosovo. The earlier intervention in Bosnia was driven by the fact that Bill Clinton had attacked GHW Bush on his refusal to get involved there, and Clinton desperately needed at least one promise he could keep, - aside from the one about allowing gays in the U.S. Military, which he sort of kept, at least halfway.

For Kosovo, Hillary Clinton needed a issue to get her face before the public in a manner other than the supposedly dumfounded “must be a vast right wing conspiracy” wife. Some PR shots of her welcoming refugees from Kosovo would do nicely, and she told Bill that something had to be done about the plight of the poor people in Kosvo. Bill’s response was “If I do that, will you start talking to me again?”

We were told that the Serbs had murdered an estimated 100K Kosovoians, and we needed to prevent the deaths of all the rest. You see, we know what the population of the place was and thought we knew where all the living ones all were, and the math showed that 100K were missing - thus the missing must lie in mass graves somewhere.

So off to war in Kosovo it was. But everyone knew it was not worth doing in the first damn place, so bombing from not lower than 15K ft was the order of the day and our involvement on the ground would be strictly limited. The Russians moved into the subsequent vacuum - after the commanders who worked for Gen Wesley Clark declined to start WWIV in order for him to save face.

But mobilize the Red Cross for all the refugees that would result? Nope. Can’t do that. You see, the head of the U.S. Red Cross was none other than ELIZABETH DOLE, whose husband had been defeated by Hillary’s and who was as big a rival for the mantle of Head Feminist as existed. Getting Mrs. Dole some PR out of Hillary’s War would never do. And Hillary got to welcome some refugees to her new native state of New York and looked, if not presidential in the process, at least somewhat senatorial. Meanwhile, the journalists wondered aloud: why did we not call in the Red Cross? Duhhhh?

And that is what the Seinfeld War was all about – a war about nothing.

And somehow, those mass graves never did turn up, not 100,000 bodies, not 100 bodies, not as much as 1.

4/22/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

The experience of Kosovo provides another example of the immutability of diplomacy. The contretemps example of the Second International Conference on Peace is illustrative.

How Korea became illegal in 1907

While names change, the game is the same.

H/T Far Outliers

4/22/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

rwe

US military involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo were more than a function of Presidential personality. There is some bad blood among the Croations, Serbs, and Bosnian Muslims that goes back a very long time. The way the wars were fought reflected all the nationalistic brutality that centuries of past wounds, hatred, and mistrust can conjure up.

The Serbs were the most powerful militarily and therefore had the most opportunities to star in the horror show. They didn't seem to miss many chances either.

Whitewashing Kosovo offends the truth. Dick Koppel had a show about a convoy of civilian Kosovian vehicles that was attacked by the Serbs with hundreds killed. I had seen many photos of civilian bodies littering the landscape.

I would support the Serbs and the Russians preventing the formation of an independent Muslim state in Kosovo but that still doesn't mean that I have to accept a revised history of the past.

4/22/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Spengler makes much of Richard Holbrooke's role in the Clinton's Balkan adventures. Holbrooke, who BTW would've likely been Sen Kerry's Sec of State (esp after "Sox" Berger's disgrace), is following his old Carter Administration pattern; just read the Catholic East Timorese into the Kosovar Christian's role, re Holbrooke's "chips for the Muz bargaining table" (as Spengler sardonically puts it).

Urge a glance here, and, more directly, here.

I wonder if his affiliation with Credit Suisse has any influence on his diplomacy.

4/22/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

(quote from the second link)

Indeed by late 1977 the Indonesians literally began to run out of weapons in its campaign to destroy the Timorese. The Carter Administration stepped in and increased military aid and weapons sales to the Indonesians, which resulted in Indonesia’s stepped up campaigns of 1978 to 1980 when the level of killing reached genocidal levels.

When asked by Australian reporters at a press conference about atrocities in East Timor, Holbrooke responded:

I want to stress I am not remotely interested in getting involved in an argument over the actual number of people killed. People were killed and that always is a tragedy but what is at issue is the actual situation in Timor today . . . [Asked about how many Timorese were killed in the past] . . . we are never going to know anyway.(2)

(close quote)

4/22/2007 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I have no doubt that the Serbian extremists were engaging in ethnic cleansing. There's too much evidence to maintain the opposite. However, it is also possible that politics entered into the calculations at every turn, not only in the refusal to protect the Muslims, but also later in the refusal to protect Serbian civilians.

However his larger point, which seems more convincing, is that the Balkans lie along the natural fault line between Islam and Orthodoxy. That seems as true as saying that Iraq is the traditional dividing line beween the Sunni and the Shia. The Balkans were the Western end of the Ottoman empire as Mesopotamia was the Eastern. Both were multiethnic stews.

4/22/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Peterboston: I don’t disagree with anything you say – except possibly the age of the hatreds in the former Yugoslavia. A piece I read said that the different groups there actually got along pretty well until WWII, at which time they chose sides based on the larger conflict.

However, I don’t see what any of this has to do with the United States of America in general or the use of our military power specifically. The oath that our military takes says, “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” I can’t put the Serbs in either of those categories. There was no strategic advantage to getting involved in that Civil War and a number of disadvantages. The Bosnians and maybe the Kosovoians are grateful but no one else seems to be. There was no apparent strategic advantage and a number of disadvantages. And if the real purpose was to prevent Islamic Fascism from penetrating into the region, it did not work, not that it is apparent that it was even a consideration.

You are quite right that the Serbs acted like beasts and went out of their way to do so. However, if we are to base our use of military power on opposing beasts simply because they are such we are going to need a military several thousand percent larger than it is today. Doing good is simply not enough of a reason for undertaking a combat role. Humanitarian considerations should affect how you make war – as they certainly have in Iraq and Afghanistan – but are not a reason in themselves.

Our intervention in the former Yugoslavia was based on the personal political ambitions of a very small number of U.S. politicians, and not on any compelling need to use our military to protect our vital interests. It may have been a random act of senseless kindness – but that is not enough of a reason.

4/22/2007 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I remember being happy that the massacres of Muslim women and children in the Balkans had been stopped by the forceful application of US power. My naive hope then had been that it would force negotiated solutions by showing that brutality was not the answer.

That is the same message which the US is trying to send in Iraq. Honest liberals must realize that "behave or else" is the same message they want the UN or the US to send in Darfur. Do we still believe it is possible? How cynical we have become in the meantime! Who cheers on the project of creating a rational government in Iraq today. It's much more fashionable to say "let them kill each other off and let God sort them out".

And the most interesting thing about solutions to separating ethnic groups locked in a deadly embrace of hatred is that it always requires force to do it. Separating two vicious fighters requires a third, more powerful presence. Thus Yugoslavia required NATO (really the US) and Iraq requires the Coalition. Surely people understand that if one is to solve the massacres in Darfur, shooting will be necessary. We all know what happened in Rwanda when force was not applied.

But incontrovertibly the fault lines exist. Spengler is correct in saying that one exists in the Balkans; that it has not been stopped simply because the shoe is now on the other foot and that consequently, Russia may resist an ethnic cleansing of Serbs just as the West helped resist an ethnic cleansing of Muslims. How strange it would be if we "ended violence" only to continue it.

4/22/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Remember how the often the media in USA juxtaposed Bush I's "We don't have a dog in that fight" with corpse close-ups and live feeds from Sarajevo under fire.

4/22/2007 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen,

As you know, Holbrooke and company never look back. Their foreign policy is all about "moving forward." Ruminating on all those killing fields would be counterproductive to the "Progressive" agenda.

4/22/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The Bosnia/Kosovo War was a German operation. It was the Germans that instigated the whole thing and it was the Germans that first used propaganda against the Serbs to hide and deflect from what was really going on in Croatia. The Saudis took notes, and later repeated the formula to the advantage Albanian Jihadists using their stingers at the BBC and the US Administration.

4/22/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Recently, former president Clinton said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be solved in "fifteen minutes." Did Mr. Holbrooke advise him on the matter and was Mr. Holbrooke's counsel informed by his experience in Timor?

4/22/2007 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Allen, you could ask him, but you'll probably get the same answer that the house banking committee got when questioning him over his role in the late 90s Credit Suisse/First Boston banking fraud scandals: "I don't remember".

4/22/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

Hooah! We saved the Kosovars!

The KLA. The drug running (shall we say Taliban Opium running?) muslim lovers of freedom that they are. So wonderful their record of religious tolerance and freedom since the Evil Serbs were vanquished by Sir Wesley Clark of Brussels.

When we cleaned up Europe's mess in its own back yard because the Europeans were unwilling and incapable was the day that I figured out that Europe was the world's true paper tiger.

When the rest of the world gives up on the UN and half of Europe quits the EU, it will be funny watching the bureaucrats of Brussels issuing summons to "human rights courts" and other affiliated white noise to terrorists and islamists world wide.

It'll be like living in Texas and getting a parking ticket from Nigeria.

4/22/2007 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Is the Olmert government preparing for a devastatingly harmful report on its handling of last year’s war in Lebanon? Something unusual must account for the sudden deadly busyness of the IDF over the weekend.

Action on Shabbat

IAF hits N. Gaza following Qassam attack

Mr. Clinton’s “fifteen minutes” to peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict now looks a little iffy. Could a Republican have gotten away with making such an absurdly blithe remark?

4/22/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Naw --a republican doesn't even have to make such a remark, to get blamed for it anyways. See "Alberto Gonzales", who is being pilloried by his false accusers for the crime of poorly handling their false accusations.

4/22/2007 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen,

Not to mention Wolfowitz. See Hitchens's:
Sliming Wolfowitz. The World Bank President Did Nothing Wrong

***

4/22/2007 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Spengler is a brilliant man, but his purported befuddlement "I cannot penetrate the cloud of confusion at Foggy Bottom (aka the State Department)" misses the obvious. The State Department is a wholly owned fiefdom of the Family Sa'ud.

4/22/2007 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wolfie's a reformer --crooks don't *ever* like them reform shenanigans.

4/22/2007 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

ZEITGEIST by Bruce Sterling (2000)
Chapter Nine:

'Viktor sighed theatrically "I love they're not democratic. They're not advance, and market driven, and high tech. They're crooked. One never imagined a badly organized, clumsy, crooked, squalid World Government. Yet here they are at the end of the century, see them there--chain smoking and eating goats."

4/23/2007 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard: One of the great difficulties in engaging in operations such as we did in the former Yugoslavia is that since our interests are not “vital” there is no urgent need for our application of force to be effective. Thus, a “bold act” that “demonstrates our resolve” consists of cratering a Serb runway while being very careful not to actually hurt any of the aircraft or people on the airfield. A “victory” in that situation consists of getting Scott O’Grady back after the Serbs shot down his F-16 rather than eliminating the Serbs’ ability to shoot down as much as a party balloon.

At that, we were vastly more effective than the U.N., who boldly dispatched highly effective unarmed Bangladashi troops who lacked even winter clothing – and who, like the rest of the U.N. peacekeeping force, ended up serving as hostages to the Serbs – not quite what I think is meant by “peacekeeping.”

Any job not worth doing is only worth doing half-assed, at best. Torpedo Squadron 8 did not go into to drop leaflets on the Japanese fleet at Midway.

This situation is exacerbated by the fact that those most in favor of such operations are also the very people most horrified when you do more than crater a runway. The real answer to saving the people in Darfur is “Regime Change” but any attempt to do that would be shouted down as imperialist racism.

Allen: Just before we invaded Iraq, Bill Clinton stated “You just watch, this thing is going to be over in a flash.” And today millions of liberals seethe over the Iraq war because they recall someone assuring them that it was going to be a quickie.

4/23/2007 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Frog Man said...

Before World War I, Yugoslavia, Middle Europe, Iraq and other ethnically heterogeneous areas enjoyed centuries of relative peace under the hegemony of the Hapsburg, Romanoff and Ottoman Empires. In the collapse of those empires and its aftermath, we saw such horrors as the Armenian genocide, the expulsion of the Greeks from Turkey and, later, the mass slaughter of European Jewry on a scale hitherto unimaginable. Every effort to right the wrongs of the last century has led to more injustice and more slaughter. The Palestinian diaspora and expulsion of Jews from Arab lands are two sides of the same coin. Niall Ferguson details it all in "War of the World," a book Wretchard has read and everyone else here should run out and buy.

"On the eve of the twentieth century, H.G. Wells had imagined a 'war of the worlds' - a Martian invasion that devastated the earth. In the jundred years that followed, men proved that it was quite possible to wreak comparably havoc without the need for alien intervention. All they had to do was to identify this or that group of their fellow men as the aliens, and then kill them."

Even on this civilized blog, some fall prey to the temptation to divide humanity into us and them. Will the world go to war again over some damned fool thing in the Balkans? I wouldn't put it past us.

4/23/2007 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

rwe,

re: "quickie"

"Clinton"
"quickie"...

"Clinton"
"quickie"...

Hmm...

Words for the ages

4/23/2007 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Great man, that Clinton --gave the world "America, the stained blue dress nation". Yep --that scared them terrorists, alright.

4/23/2007 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Niall Ferguson inteview

4/23/2007 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Russia Warns on Kosovo Independence

4/23/2007 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Trebor said...

PeterBoston said: Whitewashing Kosovo offends the truth. Dick Koppel had a show about a convoy of civilian Kosovian vehicles that was attacked by the Serbs with hundreds killed. I had seen many photos of civilian bodies littering the landscape.

I have no idea who "Dick Koppel" is, however, reports that a civilian convoy was attacked by Serb forces turned out to be untrue. NATO later admitted that it's planes had bombed the convoy.

BBC: Nato pilot bombed Kosovo refugees

4/24/2007 04:51:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

trebor

It should have been Ted Koppel.

An air attack leaves a distinctive footprint such as bomb craters. The vehicles (tractors and cars) were not destroyed in the incident I recall seeing. Just the people killed. You cannot do that from the air.

That's not to say there were not other incidents involving friendly fire but the one I saw did not support the thesis.

4/24/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Germany lent full diplomatic support to Croatian "independence" as the Catholic Croatians were ethnically cleansing the Orthodox Serbs. To relieve the pressure applied by the Serbian Army on their front, Croatians made a de-facto alliance with the Muslims so that the Albanians would open a second front against the Serbs. When that looked to be failing, the Saudis had the Americans intervene, ostensibly to neutralize the "Russian sphere of influence" in the Balkans.

4/24/2007 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Matušélah

You may be correct. I do not know.

The breakup of Yugoslavia resulted in a number of perplexing issues to those of us not intimately familiar with the culture and politics of the Balkans. I do not consider myself anywhere near an expert. I believe that U.S. policy at the time was guided by two objectives:

1. Prevent a small scale shooting war in the Balkans from expanding into a large scale shooting war involving parties outside the immmediate conflict.

2. Prevent an autocratic Russian ally from establishing a robust military hegemony over the region.

If one accepts the legitimacy of these primary objectives (from a U.S. perspective) then the military action against Serbia is at least understandable. I believed at the time, and still do, that the destruction of economic infrastructure went too far. I think the reason may have been to deny Milosovic's successor, if he proved unfriendly, the economic base to conduct any further military adventures.

The situation is different now. The primary U.S. objective now should be to prevent the establishment of any new Islamic states in the Balkans or elsewhere, and the degradation or subversion of all existing Islamist organizations, both state and non-state.

4/24/2007 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger HERKENG said...

Wretchard, this is my first post to the club, I want to thank you and the posters to the club for the insight and the open discussion provided over the years. It has been a refreshing change from the culture of personal attack found on so many blogs. This blog is a must read for me each day I get on the computer.

Since this is my first comment, I need to qualify myself. As a veteran of the IFOR/SFOR "Joint Forge/Joint Guard/Joint Endeavor" operations I was able to meet with many a GI and NATO troop while flying in and out of the Balkans.

What I gained from the foot soldiers was revealing, they were determined to bring a halt to the fighting but were realists in knowing that this was only a pause in the historical fight between to cultures. The common theme expressed was "As soon as we leave the Balkans they'll start killing each other again." I believe the grunts are absolutely correct in their assessment.

Looking into the history of the area, you can see there is not a good guy/bad guy line. The Clinton administration did it's best to make the distinction but the reality of the conflict was gray. It was a matter of perception. Each side has a very dark and nasty past in dealing with each other. From the days of the Ottomans to the occupation by the Nazis each side of the conflict has been trying to settle the score with the other. I personally see both sides of the conflict as beyond repair. This is a war based on culture and religion. There can be no resolution until one side eliminates the other. The seeds of hatred run so deep the only way for violence not to break out is:
A: Peace Keepers on the ground until infinity
B: An entire generation of Balkans is magically removed from the area, taught differently and returned.
C: Both sides have a cultural reformation.
D: A natural disaster wipes the entire region out.

We (the West) were shown the inhumanity of the war each day on our televisions. The editors in the newsrooms showed the world who they believed were the bad guys. The Serbs happened to be the bad guys of choice in the editing rooms. It was presented that the Serbian side was the culprit. The Muslims were given a pass and NATO proceeded to act. Neither side was clean in this deal but it was presented as such.

It is my view that the intervention into the conflict was driven by the World News Media.
If we did not have CNN & BBC reporting from Sarajevo about the conflict, I believe the West would not have stepped in. There is a saying around my last duty station in DC "Wherever Christiane Amanpour goes the DOD is sure to follow." See Somalia etc. The main reason we do not see troops on the ground in Darfur is primarily because of the inattention of the World Press. There are snippets from the region but not the intense coverage we saw in Mogadishu or Sarajevo. If we had Christiane (or any other leading corespondent) reporting from the area, and the News networks saturating the public with images and stories, I think the Politicians in DC, London, Brussels, Berlin, Canberra and Paris would be pushing to have troops to quell the violence.

As for Western Europe: "Unfortunately I have seen the future of Western Europe, it is Bosnia".
Herkeng (USAF RET)

4/24/2007 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Peter,

I think it's critical that we drop our old cold war mentality and do everything in our power to befriend Russia China India, so we can partner in the war against the Islamers. When I look at dar al islam, the demographic and territorial magnitude involved, I am truly amazed at how far this cancer has metastasized.

4/24/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Peterboston:

I think the economic devastation aspect of the air war against the Serbs was driven by the fact that we really did not want to get in there and slug it out with their military, on the ground or in the air. We had our aircraft flying around looking for Serb units and not being allowed to bomb lower than 15,000 ft in order to avoid casualties. We were plinking tanks all over the place but I believe that subsequently we found that we never hit even one. As to why we took that approach, I have already explained my views. The economic attacks were a much easier way of punishing the Serbs because such targets simply don’t move and thus are easy to hit safely from the air. The result was an approach that more resembled that of the RAF Bomber Command in WWII than anything the USAF has done before or since.

As for the regional war aspect, the problem for us was that the Europeans were violently disinterested in getting involved in the area in other than symbolic ways. I think it would be hard to have the situation in the former Yugoslavia spill over in those circumstances.

Herkeng: When I was running around that big 5 sided building in the early 90’s, I used to think that the only way we would not end up fighting useless wars in unimportant places was if we could control where Sylvia Pujolie and her ilk were reporting from.

4/24/2007 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Evanston2 said...

Herkeng, good to have you on board. I was at TACOM during the Kosovo intervention. I agree with all your facts and conclusions, though you left out the fact that the process leading up to the impeachment of our Commander In Chief was in progress.
Democrats, in fact, stated that shouldn't be impeached in a time of war.
During my 22 years of service, this most closely resembled a Wag the Dog type of operation.
Sincerely,
Evanston2 LtCol USMC (Ret)

4/25/2007 10:56:00 AM  

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