BUNGLING IN BALKANS REVEALED
In a conflict, good guys and bad guys aren't always clearly defined
By PETER WORTHINGTON -- Sun Media
For those interested in knowing how the Balkans got that way --
Bosnia and Kosovo -- a rare, three-part TV documentary concludes
tomorrow evening on the History Channel.
Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War is a product of New York's Frontier
Theatre and Film Inc., co-produced by George Bogdanich and German
TV producer Martin Lettmayer.
Four years in the making, the documentary has been amended as
events unfolded, including the Kosovo war and its effects, and
was judged the Best Social Documentary at the New York
International Independent Film and Video Festival.
There is a minimum of editorializing or unsubstantiated comment
in the documentary -- unusual for a topic as volatile,
controversial and emotional as the Balkans.
The segment on Kosovo is of special interest to Canadians, since
we joined the war because the U.S. wanted a united front, not
because we had a clue what was going on, or why.
Canada's former ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett, argued
against the war, and history is proving him right. Truth in
Kosovo -- the Balkans -- is cloaked in half-truths and
The documentary shows Madeleine Albright, first as UN ambassador
and later as U.S. Secretary of State, not only opposing Serbs,
but mindlessly endorsing Bosnia and eager for war in Kosovo.
She hand-picked Canada's Louise Arbour to be war crimes
prosecutor, who had no experience with the Balkans and tended to
believe every atrocity claimed by the Muslims.
Video footage shows Albright rejecting evidence that Bosnians
bombed or mortared their own people, then blaming the Serbs in
order to persuade NATO to attack the Serbs -- a ploy as ancient
as warfare itself, and repeatedly proven both in Bosnia and
The supposed massacre at Racak, in Kosovo, which lit the fuse for
the 78-day air war, has been shown to be a hoax -- dead Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA) fighters (since given military funerals)
were arranged in a gully to appear as if massacred, complete with
mutilations and torture -- proclaimed by both Albright and
President George Bush (Dubya's dad) was also captive of anti-Serb
mania, perhaps because the Bosnian and Kosovo sides hired New
York public relations firm Ruder-Fenn. Serbs were too dumb to do
Retired U.S. generals were actively involved in advising and
guiding both Bosnians and Croats against Serbs of Krajina,
massacring and "ethnically cleansing" some 300,000 of them in
Operation Storm -- mindful of Desert Storm (the same planners).
To his credit, Canada's General Alain Forand defied orders in
efforts to save Serb refugees in Knin from massacre.
In conflicts, we -- the allies -- like good guys and bad guys to
be clearly defined.
Who is right, who is wrong; who are victims, who villains. White
hats versus black hats.
The Balkans don't work that way. The tragedy of the Serbs (apart
from having Milosevic as president) is that their public
relations was so inept that they were effectively demonized.
From the start, Croatia got clandestine help and weaponry from
the U.S. and Germany, despite reviving Nazi symbols (checkerboard
flag) of the Ustashe.
The West conveniently forgot -- and wasn't reminded -- that Serbs
were first to fight the Nazis in Yugoslavia and at enormous risk
saved downed Allied airmen in the Second World War.
In Kosovo, after the Second World War, 80% of the Serb population
was pushed out by Albanians. Post-war Albania was the world's
most paranoid country -- too recalcitrant for even the Red
KLA atrocities to incite reprisals by Yugoslav security forces in
turn incited anti-Serb reaction from the U.S. -- overriding
European reluctance to get involved. The U.S. pushed NATO from
being a defensive alliance into an aggressive one.
Interviewed in the documentary are the likes of Lord Carrington,
Lord Owen, the New York Times' wise David Binder (with laser-like
insight about the Balkans), Generals Lew MacKenzie and Britain's
General Sir Michael Rose (whose proof that Muslim atrocities
against Muslims in order to blame Serbs was ignored).
In a perfect world, what the U.S. and NATO did in the Balkans
might constitute a war crime.
But the international tribunal in the Hague is winners against
losers; a conspiracy of silence among 19 NATO belligerents
What's done is done, but have lessons been learned?
So far, some 2,100 bodies have been recovered in Kosovo (no mass
graves), while the Red Cross lists 3,368 missing among all ethnic
groups -- a far cry from the 100,000 dead initially announced by
Canada's former ambassador Bissett put it succinctly and sadly:
"There's no question that Kosovo was an unnecessary war ... an
attempt to bomb Yugoslavia into submission that should be of
concern to all people ... We have the United States as a very
powerful military force that no longer sees diplomacy and
negotiation as worth their while."
In retrospect, if Yugoslavia had been left alone, Balkan people
would have worked things out with fewer casualties, less misery
and more hope for the future.
The U.S. blew it -- as it often does when it dabbles in areas it
knows nothing about.
Worthington is founding editor of the Toronto Sun
/for fair use only/
Avoidable war documentary:
Canada's former Ambassador to Yugoslavia:
Serbia War crime:
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