November 13, 2003

Bosnia Gets An Apology


SARAJEVO (AFP) - The president of the rump Yugoslavia, now renamed Serbia and Montenegro, apologised for the "evil" his country had caused during Bosnia's war of independence and asked for forgiveness.

"I want to use this opportunity to apologise for any evil or disaster that anyone from Serbia and Montenegro caused to anyone in Bosnia-Hercegovina," President Svetozar Marovic said.


"There was injustice, evil, suffering and murder. There were things ... one can't imagine people doing," Marovic said of the war.

This is a good time to thank President Clinton, too. He waited too long, but he did finally act to put a stop to it.

No thanks whatever to the UN. It refused to see, refused to act, and opposed what was finally done.

No thanks to the Republican Congress, either, especically Trent Lott, Don Nickles, and Tom DeLay. They blamed the atrocities on America, undermined the war effort, whined that we couldn’t win, and pressured Clinton to appease a fascist dictator. They should be ashamed of themselves, and they ought to apologize too. Now would be a good time since the Serbs have finally done it.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 13, 2003 10:40 PM

Michael I understand your quest to provide some balance to your previous piling or seeeming to pile on the idiocy of some leftists of late, however, from what I read Clinton's military tactics there left a lot to be desired and we even got pre-approved clearance for each military target we bombed from the UN, thought the UN didn't do shit. That's a great way to fight a war, ya think? Plus, I don't know if its true but I heard the atrocities, Holocaust stories were exagerrated to get us involved there, and that now there are is terrorism continuing and murders coming from the other side now under UN protection.... BOY DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR..... like the Hezbullah and UN flag flying on the same building southern Lebanon.

Not that I'm not glad we stopped that madman, but with no publicity what's going on today in Sudan and Tibet and Rwanda is 1000 or would you say 5000x worse than what was happening there or in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict which is all the UN CAN talk about.

Posted by: Mike at November 13, 2003 10:58 PM


A quest for balance is not at all why I posted this. If I feel the need to do that, I'll whack Bush on his tax policy. (This is not to suggest I want to get into an argument about that subject right now. I don't. It's boring, which is why I haven't written much about it.)

Bosnia and Kosovo are very important to me, and studying the crackup of Yugoslavia was an extremely educational experience that will affect my thinking forever.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 13, 2003 11:30 PM

Great reminder, Michael, that Clinton did, eventually, do the right thing ... and (some? many of?) the Reps opposed it on partisan grounds. Also that there are still problems, big problems, after all these years.

Did you follow/ read/ think about Cantonization of Yugoslavia, to avoid this? I also thought it would be a better policy for So. Africa, though admit that Mandela was far, far better than I thought he would be.

And I think it would be a good policy for Iraq, now: getting elected governors of the 28 provinces and devolving much of the governing authority to them.

For the US, tax policy & social security are actually more important ... but you're so right that they're much, much more boring.

Posted by: Tom Grey at November 14, 2003 01:42 AM

As a person who never supported Clinton, I did support his actions in Kosovo.

He could have won me over, had we done the right thing in Somalia. Unfortunately he did not.

Posted by: James Stephenson at November 14, 2003 04:30 AM

I don't really care whether Clinton waited too long to do the right thing in Bosnia or Kosovo. I'm just glad he did the right thing. And as a Republican, let me say that the Pack leadership covered themselves in no small amount of shame with their comportment both during Bosnia AND Kosovo (less so during Kosovo, but still I remember Tom Delay making unbearable snark-comments, especially after we hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade). My criticism of Clinton's 1998 Iraq episode was based less on its timing (oh come on, like everybody else I suspected a connection of convenience, but it didn't matter really) than on its pathetically half-assed nature; heck if he'd gone ahead and actually knocked out Saddam he would have saved the legacy of his presidency, Monica or no.

You'll never get an apology out of those Republicans, so that just so much empty rhetorical wind, but it's good to be reminded that our party didn't always have the moral high ground. In a way I'm almost glad we had that prior example to learn from (when the stakes, however important, were considerably smaller than those we play for now), because I hope (a pipe dream, this) that next time we're the party out of power and a similar war effort comes along, we on the right will remember our leadership's awful behavior in Bosnia, the left's self-immolation in Iraq today, and therefore speak with circumspection. Sure, that'll happen.

Posted by: Jeff B. at November 14, 2003 05:53 AM

Good post, Michael. Keep on reminding everyone of the facts of 1990's. Too many people seem to have forgotten, regarding not only the Balkans but Iraq as well.

Posted by: Mike Smith at November 14, 2003 06:01 AM

Serbs, our ally from the two world wars, were told in no uncertain terms that arming and training Bosnian Muslims and Croats was geared against the very existence of the Serbian people in Bosnia. The only option given to the Serbs was to be obedient slaves. Whatever the Serbs do, they can never be right. Today they are undergoing persecution and genocide that Bill Clinton helped put in motion. Funny how muslims can loot a museum in Belgrade and you leftists howl and blame the US--Clinton bombs the museum in Belgrade destroying Christian artifacts and it's cool. Ok, to bomb Christians for Willy but not terrorists for Bush. Clinton helped a bunch of terrorists in Bosnia . I'm sick of muslim states being established ,followed by the genocide of infidels. But leftists seem to look the other way when muslims kill Christians.

Posted by: Kat at November 14, 2003 06:02 AM

I have almost no respect for Lott, Nickles, or DeLay, but Bob Dole was instrumental in finally getting the U.S. to act (through his pressure to lift the embargo).

Of course, we did preclude U.N. action in Rwanda, so Clinton's record is pretty mixed. His second term's foreign policy was much, much better than his first.

Do you think Bush would act in a similar situation now?

Posted by: Katherine at November 14, 2003 07:20 AM

Good points, Michael. I often bring this up, when people start getting ultra-partisan on my ass, as an example of harmful partisan politics on both sides.

Of course, when I bring this up, the conservatives often say, "but the reason I opposed it is that it was Europe's job to do something about it, not the United States'."

So then we turn to North Korea, and it's not China's job or responsibility, but ours...

Posted by: scotty the body at November 14, 2003 07:38 AM

I should clarify. When I say "harmful...on both sides," this is my Republican example. I have many, many Democrat examples. But I don't have to go quite so far back in history for some of those...

Posted by: scotty the body at November 14, 2003 07:39 AM

It's a shame, Michael, that you treat the Republicans so selectively and the Clinton administration so generously. The GOP, or at least a significant portion of the GOP, was agitating for more action with regards to Bosnia from day one (recognition of Bosnia, lifting of the arms embargo, and so on). Republicans criticized Clinton's premature declaration to we would not use ground troops. And I think you gloss over Clinton's punting on Bosnia and Kosovo until the very end.

With regards to the quotes you link to, there is a perfectly reasonable argument that (1) the bombing campaign gave Milosovic cover to complete his cleansing campaign; (2) the inneffectiveness of the bombing campaign allowed Milosovic to endure longer than we had expected since rules of engagement prohibited more muscular strikes; and (3) the peace that was achieved was in effect a recognition of the cleansing Milosovic largely accomplished by the time he "gave up."

I won't defend everything the leaders quoted said nor will I pretend that GOP leaders have not acted in the past the way we criticise Democrat leaders of acting today. But Bosnia and Kosovo can hardly be called success stories. Yes the killing has largely been stopped but then again the goals of the killing have largely been accomplished and now in effect legitimized by the rest of the world. And while our troops have halted the slaughter, for which we should all be proud, the situation in the region has not improved at all. If we left, the killing would resume as if nothing had changed over the last few years.

Who do I blame for the mess? I blame Bush I who did not step in right away as the situation deteriorated. Clinton could have acted when he took office but followed Bush's lead. By the time he did act it was too little too late.

Posted by: Hacksaw at November 14, 2003 07:47 AM

Sorry for spamming your blog, but I was remembering something that happened to me that is very telling of Europe's attitude at the time.

I lived in Vienna when the war(s) first broke out. I was in a student-oriented bar near Vienna's political zones called The Tunnel, and chatting with a group of Austrian students, French students, American students and a couple of guys from Yugoslavia. Aladdin und diw Wunderlampen was playing their odd jazz-funk to the Gosser-swilling crowd.

Romeo, one of the guys from Belgrade (I think), was heading home the next day for vacation, and drinking a lot. He was in Vienna studying the art of winemaking at the University.

Austria was deploying tanks to the border, but only to keep the conflict out, not to threaten intervention. Everything seemed, to me, like the beginning of something very major -- maybe even a large-scale war. I asked everybody what they thought should be done.

One of the French students said that it was inevitable that the war play itself out. Too many years of conflict and eternal hatred were under the bridge, and it was time to finish it up. Eventually, he reasoned, they would figure out that it wasn't the right thing to do.

An Austrian student told me that he thought NATO should do something about it, but that it was never going to happen (he was right).

Everybody kept drinking and talking about the conflict, but any time military intervention was mentioned, it was looked upon as the craziest thing anyone could think of! Hadn't the world learned, through the World Wars, that military action was a nightmare? How many world wars would we suffer? The still-smouldering craters of World War II seemed fresh in everybody's minds. And the thought of German troops involved in military operations on European soil made everybody very, very uneasy.

Romeo, blustery and red-faced, but seemingly happy, announced his departure. I wished him luck.

He waved a dismissive hand. "It is not such a big deal," he said. "During the day is no problem. But you hear them shooting at night."

Posted by: Scotty The Body at November 14, 2003 08:01 AM

Yeah, it is sad that partisan advantage seems to be more important in Washington than consistent principles, for both Dems and the GOP.

But there is a significant difference between 1990s Bosnia and Kosovo and 2003 Iraq. There was (and still is) a real fear among a lot of Americans that Saddam had WMD that he would give to Islamists who want to blow up an American city. Or that Saddam was just waiting for the sanctions strategy to completely crumble before restarting a WMD program.

Regarding Serbia, there was no such fear that our doing nothing could threaten mainland U.S. security. What both situations had in common was a brutal dictator (Milosevic and Saddam) who was killing a lot of civilians.

That might have been enough of a reason to launch airstrikes or Serbia might have been a threat to European security. There are arguments there, but I think it's misleading to say Serbia and Iraq were equal threats, and that being for one and against the other labels anyone as a hypocrite.

That being said, I strongly suspect that many Republican leaders would have opposed anything Clinton did, their animus against him was that strong.

Posted by: Matt Ward at November 14, 2003 08:05 AM

Hacksaw is precisely right about this. Clinton may have eventually come arouind to doing the right thing, but he was pushed into it AND once he got in he made every single tactical mistake in the war you could think of, which directly led to a speeding of the ethnic cleasing campaign and probably more deaths than would have taken place had tactics been conducted differently.

But that is irrelevant to this post and Michael is right in his underlying post.

Posted by: Javier at November 14, 2003 08:10 AM

Bosnia is still the biggest argument in favor of a European rapid-reaction force that I've ever heard.

Posted by: Kimmitt at November 14, 2003 08:12 AM

The Bosnia and Kosovo situations were the first events which led me to seriously question the efficacy of an internationalist approach to foreign affairs, and rethink the idea of absolute soverignty. Though I do think that soverignty should be a very high bar, I do not think it is absolute. If you commit genocide, or ethnic cleansing, or the systematic extermination of a specific group or population to achieve political ends, regardless of whether it happens within internationally recognized borders or not, I believe you forfeit whatever rights you had as head of state to soverignty. If the U.N. is ever to be effective, it needs to enunciate such a principle and put tyrants on notice.

I addition, the terrible dithering of the EU and the U.N. in Bosnia and Kosovo convinced me that when it came to addressing such questions their response was utterly inadequate--totally confounded in political considerations, maddeningly legalistic, slow and unresponsive to crisis, and almost cowardly in its refusal to address the obvious.

Katherine, I think the U.S. has some culpability in Rwanda, but the French and the U.N. have far more. The French actually gave the killers political cover and dragged their feet, and had a long, ignoble history of involvmenet there. The U.N.'s higher ranking officials didn't do a damn thing, even though the (tiny) U.N. relief force was truly heroic in trying to safe lives. Even Kifo Annan has said that the Rwanda fiasco was one of the worst failures ever of the U.N.

Posted by: Daniel Calto at November 14, 2003 08:18 AM

The U.N. didn't do anything because the U.S. would have vetoed it. Perhaps not only because, but we're as guilty as anyone. It's a U.N. failure AND a U.S. failure. Often it comes down to this: the U.N. is as good as its members (especially the permanent members on the security council.)

Romeo Dallaire was the hero there.

I don't know the French history with Rwanda but I can easily believe it's bad.

Posted by: Katherine at November 14, 2003 08:54 AM

Kat: Serbs, our ally from the two world wars, were told in no uncertain terms that arming and training Bosnian Muslims and Croats was geared against the very existence of the Serbian people in Bosnia. The only option given to the Serbs was to be obedient slaves.

That is complete and utter crap with no basis in reality whatsoever. I don't even know where to begin with it. Where did you "learn" that?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 14, 2003 09:11 AM


What do you think they would have done with it?

Posted by: JPS at November 14, 2003 09:15 AM


There's a world of difference between a force that can react rapidly and one that will. My knowledge of the subject is a lot shallower than most of the posters here (Kat excepted, as usual), but I really don't think that Europe's failure to intercede in Bosnia was due to the logistical difficulties in assembling a military force capable of stopping the conflict.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at November 14, 2003 09:53 AM

I don't know what the Europeans would have done with it ten years ago. I am pretty sure that they'd be proactive now, with the memory of the horrors still fresh.

Posted by: Kimmitt at November 14, 2003 10:17 AM

Kat got it from Here.

Remember, when you hypothetically pull that lever Bush in the future, Mr. Totten, you pull it for all his fellow travelers, like the apologist for Serbian Genocide, above.

I especially like Hacksaw's revisionism.

Hacksaw, I challenge you to find one, just one, example of a sitting republican senator saying what you just said they were saying.

What does it say about you that these are the people who regularly agree with what you write?

To me, it says you're not actually bought and paid for. Think about it critically for a second - why would these people be so AGAINST a riskless humanitarian war in the former republic, and so FOR a risky humanitarian (at least, in this spinning) war in Iraq.

If I were being snarky, I'd say it's because they want American soldiers to die.

However, doesn't it make you question, just for one eensy second if your fellow travelers on the right actually don't care a bit about the poor opressed Iraqis? Does it make you think that there might be two dueling reasons they supported Iraq and didn't in the former republic?

Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because your fellow travelers on the right like killing Muslims?

Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because your fellow travelers on the right don't like humanitarian causes at all, but really are fighting the imperialistic war that the left accuses them of fighting, dressed up in a fancy dress of WMD/terorist threat/humanitarian cause that you support?

Perhaps this isn't the right war, at the right time?

Posted by: Hipocrite at November 14, 2003 10:39 AM


Why is it bad when the right is inconsistent, but perfectly okay when the left does the same? What makes you think the left is any better right now than the right was in Bosnia and Kosovo?

Has it occurred to you that what bugs me about the left right now is precisely what recently drove me nuts about the right?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 14, 2003 10:43 AM


I guess I haven't read enough Tom Clancy novels or really believe that there really exists that secret diabolical organization within the CIA that Hollywood screenwriters like to write so much about, but tell me--just for my own education--why do you think the U.S. invade Iraq?

1. To corner the world's oil supply?
2. To win contracts for Haliburton?
3. At the orders of the nefarious Tri-Lateral Commission?
4. To kill Muslims? (that's a new one)
5. Because Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan have been uncryogenically frozen and are now directing the creation of a new American empire?

Cause I want to know?

And if you start entering loonyland in your arguments--like writing that U.S. foreign policy is to kill Muslims--I can start saying crazy stuff like the American Left wants us to emulate North Korea. (Wait a minute...ANSWER, the anti-war organizer, does emulate North Korea. Better think of something else.)

Just let me know, Hipocrite.

Posted by: Matt Ward at November 14, 2003 11:15 AM
Michael Totten
Mike, A quest for balance is not at all why I posted this. If I feel the need to do that, I'll whack Bush on his tax policy. Bosnia and Kosovo are very important to me, and studying the crackup of Yugoslavia was an extremely educational experience that will affect my thinking forever.

You were taking some grief for your pro war positions in Iraq and others. Anyway, please be more specific as to HOW the crackup there was "extremely educational" and how it "will affect your thinking forever."

I am eager to hear your 'discoveries' here and reasonings in all seriousness. Also you didn't address any of the positions I made about the fighting and after effects of the Bosnia campaign, how accurate they are or wrong?


Posted by: Mike at November 14, 2003 11:29 AM

"Bosnia is still the biggest argument in favor of a European rapid-reaction force that I've ever heard." Why bother wasting the money. They wouldn't use it anyway.

"The U.N. didn't do anything because the U.S. would have vetoed it. Perhaps not only because, but we're as guilty as anyone. It's a U.N. failure AND a U.S. failure."

Sorry that is wrong. We aren't as guilty as anyone in this case. The UN resisted, Clinton tried to get them to do something, and when they wouldn't he invaded without UN approval.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at November 14, 2003 11:56 AM

The primary reason the UN was ineffective in the Balkans is because the Russians were on the side of Serbian aggression.

Unless all five members of the Security Council have the same foreign policy objective, the UN Security Council is worthless. There is no lowest common denominator.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 14, 2003 12:05 PM

It's not Hipocritical (haha) to support the fight in the former republic and oppose the war in Iraq. The war in the FR was prosecuted without significant risk to American lives. Not so in Iraq.

In my opinion, the reward of stopping genocide and insuring the stability of Eastern Europe was worth the risk we took.

I supported the war in Iraq. I was terrified that Saddam had WMDs. I felt there was real risk. When I found I was misinformed, I was pissed.

With 20/20 hindsight, I wish I didn't support the war in Iraq - it clearly diverted our focus from Afganistan. It failed to stabilize the region. It didn't turn up any anti-US terrorists. I feel now that there was adequate reason to inform the public that there were conflicting opinons on WMDs. I feel betrayed, and I feel lied to, and I blame the President, because it was either him or his immediate subordinates who did it.

What do we do now? I certainly don't know - and I don't see that Bush does either. What I do see is a lot of people dying. Every day. I don't want someone in the drivers seat who can look at what we got out of the Iraq war and say that they'd do it again. I can't imagine a candidate being asked to go back in time and answer the hypothetical about if they still believed what Bush was telling us before the war started, would the support it, so I don't expect them to.

I believe now that the Bush adminstration sent us to war in Iraq because they have advisors who convinced them we needed a non-Saudi base for our troops such that we could project power into the Middle East.

Posted by: Hipocrite at November 14, 2003 12:18 PM


The Serbs issued an apology for actions during Bosnia's war of independence. The comments in Slate by Lott, Nicles, and DeLay were about Kosovo. The two are separate wars, even if Serbia was involved in both. You are confusing two separate wars.

I think we belatedly did the right thing in Bosnia but completely mishandled Kosovo. I find it interesting that after the furor over Bush and Niger, WMD, and immediacy of the threat, there was no similar post mortem on Kosovo where President Clinton claimed a non-existant genocide as the reason for attacking Serbia, and committed the United States to war against Serbia without any authorization from Congress.

I think some of the senators' criticisms were valid and some weren't -- but I don't see much to apologize for unless you think that we should escalate to victory in every confrontation with a tyrant.

Posted by: Kevin "fun" Murphy at November 14, 2003 12:31 PM

Sebastian, my comment was about Rwanda, not Kosovo or Bosnia. It's a response to the post immediately above it.

Posted by: Katherine at November 14, 2003 12:35 PM

You know what, I just figured out what my problem with this whole "Left = Right = Soft on Torture" thing is.

Ted Rall is not an elected official. You can't find elected Democrats saying stupid shit, but you can find major Republican senators accusing a president of wagging the dog.

Yet, the Left is as bad as the Right because Ted Rall says things that sound like what Trent Lott said.

This, of couse, ignores the fact that Rall is a Naderite.

Posted by: Hipocrite at November 14, 2003 12:48 PM


I have never said Ted Rall even remotely represents Democratic Party opinion. On the contrary, I called him the Ultimate Wingnut.

Kevin: The two are separate wars, even if Serbia was involved in both. You are confusing two separate wars.

They were sort of separate and sort of not separate. I wouldn't say the German invasion of Poland was a separate war from the German invasion of Russia. But we could argue about this for quite some time without really getting anywhere worth going.

President Clinton claimed a non-existant genocide as the reason for attacking Serbia

Can we say "pre-emption"? We knew very well what Milosovic was capable of and planning on doing to all the Muslims in what he thought was "his" territory. Milosovic saw no difference between Bosnia and Kosovo. They were both parts of his ethno-fascist "Greater Serbia" project.

The Kosovars were actually in greater danger than the Muslims of Bosnia because the Kosovars weren't the Serbs' fellow Slavs, and were thus even more despised.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 14, 2003 01:48 PM


True enough to a certain degree.

I think acquiring a non-Saudi base for projecting American power was a valid secondary benefit to invading Iraq. I think Bush certainly had that in mind beforehand, as witness the skidmarks as we left Saudi after April 9.

But a non-Saudi base is in America's overall interest, as opposed to acquiring oil rights for Bush's Texas cronies, which is the Loony Left's standard line. Sorry for going ballistic.

However, I still feel that fear of WMD in Saddam's hands was (and is) the valid main reason for the invasion because:

A. it may take longer than seven months to find the big smoking gun.

B. based on a standard risk analysis of one anti-American dictator who dreams of a nuclear program, that dictator's refusal to open up to full inspections to confirm there was no WMD program, and one batch of anti-American terrorists who would nuke New York City without hestitation if they had the means, that doing nothing would be suicidal.

As Condi Rice put it, "I don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Posted by: Matt Ward at November 14, 2003 02:34 PM

Bill Clinton aided the KLA, a drug-dealing organization with ties to Al Qaeda.
His government gov't allowed the Albanian muslims to burn all the Christian churches and kill and run the Christians out of the country.NATO bombs destroyed the National Museum of Belgrade and much of its treasured art. But they were Christian artifacts so that's OK with the Left--look how they howled about the Baghdad Museum over some muslim junk.
Clinton helped facilitate the transfer of weapons from the Iranian Muslims to the Bosnian Muslims...while a weapons embargo was in effect. What's most disgusting is that each of these groups (KLA, Iran, ect) were acknowledged, at that time, to be involved in terrorism.

(AP-1996) WASHINGTON Despite President Clinton's public opposition to lifting the U.N. embargo on arms to Bosnia, the White House gave tacit approval to secret shipments of Iranian weapons to the warring region in 1994, an administration official said today.

In early 1994, President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia asked the administration whether he should allow the Iranians to ship arms through Croatia to the Bosnian Muslims.
"Our response was basically that we took no position on that," said the official, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

He said he was unable to confirm whether Clinton personally approved the decision. The Los Angeles Times said the president did sign off on the policy even while opposing unilateral lifting of the U.N. arms embargo.
The Times cited unidentified administration and intelligence officials as saying the arms shipments from Iran continued until January of this year.

The covert arrangement, which shipped thousands of tons of small arms, mortars, antitank weapons and other light equipment, would also have contradicted Clinton's official policy of isolating Iran as a supporter of terrorism.

The CIA, which was not told of the arms pipeline, eventually blew the whistle after discovering the operation through satellite monitoring, the newspaper said.
One source told the Times that officials concluded the activity couldn't be going on without the "active acquiescence" of the administration."
Wesley Clark tried bombing Serbian military targets from 30,000' for about a month and, seeing that not working, embarked upon a wholesale campaign of war crimes directed against Serbian civilians and their infrastructure hundreds of kilometers from any legitimate military target. Thousands of little slavic orthodox kids, amongst other civilians, were killed in these mad bombing raids, which included targets such as the bridge at the little market town of Varvarin, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and a television station. The idea was to make the lives of ordinary Serbs so miserable that they would somehow or other force Milosevic to hand the ancient heartland of Serbia (Kosovo) over to the KLA/AlQuaeda narco-terrorists.
Somebody has to stand up and say to the world that the war against Serbia was wrong, and the precedent set at Kosovo must be repudiated. Clinton fell for a big lie about a genocide and mass graves--only graves there were contained stinking terrorists and the Christian Serbs they murdered.
There might still be time to hand Kosovo back to its rightful owners before the UN demands that we hand Israel over to the muslims, too. And someone needs to apologize to the proper partiy--not the muslims.

Posted by: Kat at November 14, 2003 02:56 PM


I am not going to tolerate the spreading of ethno-fascist propaganda that supports America's enemies on my Web site. Get out.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 14, 2003 03:11 PM

The German invasions of Russia and Poland were part of the same war. The wars in Bosnia and Kosovo were separated by a peace treaty (AKA Dayton Accords) which the Serbs haven't broken. And since Kosovo is part of Serbia, it would be more like the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

Well over 200,000 people were killed during Bosnia - I don't think they found even 2,000 Kosovar graves. Almost all were killed in Bosnia before we intervened; almost all were killed in Kosovo after we intervened. They don't compare. From their actions, I can't see how serb (or croat for that matter) paramilitaries had the slightest hesitation in killing their fellow slavs in Bosnia.

I'm not defended attacks on Kosovars, but it should be remembered that the Kosovars were in armed insurrection and that a serb in Kosovo was more likely to be harmed by Kosovars than the other way around before we attacked. It was the Kosovars who started the practice of ethnic rape after all.

As far as pre-emption, I'm all in favor, but the way to do it right (since I said the war was mishandled) was to invade and depose Milosevic, which is not what we did. Instead we issued an ultimatim he couldn't agree to, and then bombed the Serbian people. The only time we did much damage to the Serb army was when we coordinated attacks with the KLA, a group indistinguishable from Serb paramilitaries except for the people they attacked.

It wasn't a very successful way to help the Kosovars -- if the only thing that was stopping Milosevic from unleashing the paramilitaries was the threat of American military action, once that action started, their was no point in holding them back. And that's how it played out - once the bombing started, the ethnic cleansing began.

Once NATO rolled in, the ethnic cleansing went in reverse. It may appeal to some that the Serbs in Kosovo "got what they deserved", but I'm not so sure that anybody got what they deserved in the whole mess. It's not even clear that we hastened the deposing of Milosevic.

Posted by: Kevin "fun" Murphy at November 14, 2003 04:36 PM

"Has it occurred to you that what bugs me about the left right now is precisely what recently drove me nuts about the right?"

3 men != "the right".

Opposition to Clinton's war was present in the ultra partisian, but the selective right's reluctance to support Clinton was nothing like the lock-step, unified, irrational and widespread refusal of the left today to even consider the fact that we need to be in Iraq.

In the 90s, the exception in the right was to oppose Clinton. Today, the exception is you - and about 4 other people.

Painting the actions of Lott, Nickles and Delay as representative of the right is as honest as painting your actions as representative of the left today.

Posted by: Roark at November 15, 2003 08:29 AM

"Painting the actions of Lott, Nickles and Delay as representative of the right is as honest as painting your actions as representative of the left today."

or, I daresay, as painting ANSWER or any of the other protest groups as representative of the Democratic party--but wait, Trent Lott and Tom DeLay were in the Republican leadership (at the time) so it's actually a good deal more honest. Most Senate Democrats supported the war. House Democrats opposed it by a small margin. Daschle, Gephardt, Kerry (somewhat ambigously), Edwards, & Lieberman supported it. Of the leaders, only Pelosi, maybe a house whip, Dean, and Clark (again, somewhat ambiguously) opposed it. And they've behaved more honorably than DeLay, Lott, Nickles etc. during Kosovo.

Posted by: Katherine at November 15, 2003 11:04 AM

Painting the actions of Lott, Nickles and Delay as representative of the right is honest.

It's funny, because it's true!

Posted by: Hipocrite at November 15, 2003 02:29 PM

Lott, Nickles, and DeLay don't represent the entire political right, but they do represent a huge swath of it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 15, 2003 02:59 PM


Sorry I missed your questions, well sort of sorry anyway.

You are I assume perfectly capable of executing a "Bosnia+Republican+Senator+1994" google search but to give a brief reply:

Senator Bob Dole, as Republican leader at the time, was very vocal in calling for (and pledging bipartisan support for) lifting the arms embargo against the Bosnians (for that's what it was) and even calling for air strikes and so on. Note this was very early in the war, when the ,ingering animosities that plague the region today might have been reduced.

Senator John McCain, among others, was an ardent critic of Clinton's decision to publically take the use of ground troops off the table.

How sad for you that you think this country's greatest purpose is to kill Muslims. Fortunately our record, both on the right and the left, shows how preposterous a thought that is.

Lastly, we have plenty of non-Saudi bases in the Middle East and around it. Freeing Iraq may provide the ancillary benefit of operating bases in a geographically benefitial location but it is hardly the principle aim.

Posted by: Hacksaw at November 17, 2003 07:30 AM

I'm really glad Bosnians get an official apology. I'm glad the US (under Carter) apologized to the Japanese Americans, with some (small) cash, who were wrongfully interred in US concentration camps.

Posted by: Tom Grey at November 17, 2003 07:04 PM

Listen, Hackery, I don't think that "this country's greatest purpose is to kill Muslims."

That's what your fellow travelers on the right think. Totten here has blogrolled them.

Posted by: Hipocrite at November 18, 2003 06:07 AM

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