by Mike Scruggs

for the Tribune Papers


According to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. and NATO war against Serbia in 1999 proved that the Democratic Party, under the leadership of her husband, President William Clinton, is the party of military success. Never mind that the U.S. Congress never actually approved the war. A resolution supporting Clinton’s misadventure in the Balkans failed to pass the U.S. House. What Field Marshall and former draft-dodger Wilhelm von Clinton did accomplish was to make the former Serbian province of Kosovo a new Muslim foothold in Europe.


Kosovo is still technically a semi-autonomous province of Serbia, but since 1999 it has been occupied by NATO and UN troops and governed under a United Nations Mandate. But it is a province of great historical importance to the Serbs, especially in regards to their Orthodox Christian heritage. In the fourteenth Century, the population of Kosovo was 98 percent Serbian-Orthodox Christian. However, the Ottoman Turks conquered them in 1389 and remained in power there until near the end of the First World War. Despite persecution and sporadic ethnic cleansings under Turkish rule and continuous immigration from Muslim northern Albania, Kosovo remained predominantly Serbian and Christian until at least 1871. That year the Austro-Hungarian Army completed a survey that showed Kosovo’s population of about 500 thousand to be 64 percent Serbian Christian. But from 1876 to 1912 the Turks cleansed about 400 thousand Serbs from Kosovo.


 During the Second World War, Albania allied itself with Nazi Germany, and the Germans obliged their dream of “Greater Albania” by facilitating the settlement of more Albanians in Kosovo. The German Army also wished to retaliate against the Serbs for their fierce resistance to German occupation. After the war Albania became the most radically Communist state in Europe, and its utter economic failure encouraged more Albanians to escape into Kosovo. Furthermore, following the war, the Communist rule of the Croatian, Josip Broz (Tito) in Yugoslavia, tended to discriminate against Serbia, and illegal immigration from Albania into Kosovo continued.  By 1953, Kosovo was 64 percent Albanian Muslim. By the time of Tito’s death in 1980, the Albanian Muslim population had risen to 77 percent of a total of 1.6 million.


Once the Albanian Muslims became a majority, they began agitating for independence from Serbia and started committing atrocities against their Serb neighbors. Other harassment included beating elderly nuns, raping young girls, and attacking monasteries.


Thanks to the U.S. and NATO victory in 1999 and the help of ruthless ethnic cleansing and terrorism since then by the Muslim KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army),  Kosovo’s population of nearly two million is now over 90 percent Albanian Muslim. The Orthodox Christian Serbs have been reduced to about 5 percent. These live in a state of constant siege and fear.


In 1986, sixteen prominent members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts released a report focusing on the plight of Serbs in Kosovo. They argued that the Serbian population there was being subjected to “physical, political, legal, and cultural genocide” and noted that 200 thousand Serbs had fled Kosovo in the last twenty years. They called for Serbian government action to ensure “genuine security and unambiguous equality for all peoples living in Kosovo” and for “creating the conditions for the return of the expelled Serbian nation” there.


This report was at first denounced by the old Communist guard, including Slobodan Milosovic, an ambitious party apparatchik, who was later elected President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in 1989. But in response to public pressure and violence against the remaining Serbs in Kosovo, he began to change his thinking and policies. Reacting to violent Albanian agitation for independence and demonstrations in which 24 people, including two policemen were killed, he curtailed Kosovar autonomy and imposed a curfew and state of emergency. Finally, on July 5, 1990, a referendum was passed in the Serbian Republic (including Kosovo) providing for sweeping constitutional changes in the governing of Kosovo. In addition, some 40 thousand Serbian troops and police were sent to replace the Albanian-run security forces.


The Albanian reaction was continued violence and terror against Serbian civilians, police and soldiers.  During this period the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) became the principal resistance against Serbia’s attempt to take back control of Kosovo.

Many Western journalists have called the KLA “freedom fighters,” but their methods soon resulted in their designation as a terrorist organization by the State Department in 1998. When NATO and the Clinton administration sided with the Albanians in 1999, they became freedom fighters again. The KLA has since proved its reputation both as terrorists and criminals. They have close contacts with such Islamist terror organizations as Al-Qaeda and are important purveyors of drugs and prostitution in Europe.


Beginning in late 1997, the Western powers began to respond to Muslim pressures to side with the Albanians. Additionally, multiculturally correct European and American leaders periodically feel the need to affirm Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance, even if it means demonizing former staunch allies like the Serbs, who happen to be Orthodox Christians. But as I have noted elsewhere, any form of Christianity is suspect to the secular humanist worldview.


Russian President Boris Yeltsin persuaded Milosovic to negotiate with Albanian leaders, but the Albanians would not negotiate. By this time they knew they had the U.S. and NATO on their side. Meanwhile, NATO and the Albanians stepped up a propaganda campaign against the Serbs, accusing them of ethnic cleansing and many atrocities. This occurred despite the fact that General Klaus Naumann, Chief of the NATO Military Committee, stated that the KLA was responsible for a majority of all such incidents.

Much of it appears to have been fabricated by the Clinton administration and their KLA allies to justify military intervention. Nevertheless, on March 18, 1999, the Albanians, Americans, and British signed what became known as the Rambouillet Accords.  This called for Kosovo to be administered by NATO. Remarkably, it also called for an unhindered NATO troop passage into not only Kosovo but Serbia and Montenegro as well. In addition, it insisted that NATO troops and agents be immune from Serbian/Yugoslav Law. The demands were such that no patriotic Serbian leader could sign.  It seems rather obvious that NATO deliberately created a document that no self-respecting leader of any country in Serbia’s place would sign. Clinton and Britain’s Tony Blair wanted to bomb Serbia to teach the Serbs a lesson—not to aid their ethnic and religious kin in Kosovo or Bosnia.  Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger described the Rambouillet text as a “provocation, an excuse to start bombing.”  Both the Serbs and the Russians refused to sign, and the Serbs bravely rejected NATO’s subsequent bombing ultimatum.


Clinton ignored a CIA warning that a humanitarian refugee disaster could result if NATO started bombing  The Serbs did not begin to drive Albanian refugees into Albania until NATO had already commenced bombing. Except for thousands of Albanians fleeing Kosovo in the face of Serbian troops, escalating war, and NATO bombing, very little of the NATO propaganda turned out to be true. The number of refugees, once estimated at 800 thousand, also turned out to be vast exaggeration.


For 78 days in 1999, we bombed Christian Serbia and their forces in Kosovo, ostensibly as a humanitarian move to prevent Serbian ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’s Albanian population. Our real motive was to cripple the troublesome anti-multiculturalist Serbs and to enhance our standing with the oil-rich Muslim world. We bombed bridges, selected buildings, railroads, even passenger trains, and other targets in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. Unfortunately, the Chinese Embassy was also hit. According to John Pilger, writing in the Guardian, many of the bombs dropped from a relatively safe altitude (for us) of 15,000 feet, also hit schools, hospitals, and homes. Total Serbian dead amounted to about two thousand. Pope John Paul II described the bombing as an “act of diabolical retribution.” Many conservative and liberal American leaders agreed, but the Serbs eventually had to yield to our more advanced technology and vastly superior force.


As a former Air Force officer I take much pride in the accomplishments of our Armed Forces and especially the USAF. My own experience is that USAF and U.S Navy bombing in Viet Nam and later in Iraq went to great, almost extreme, length to avoid collateral civilian casualties. But the bombing of Belgrade in Bill Clinton’s unauthorized war against Serbia is something no American can be proud of.


The results of our alliance with the KLA and establishing an Albanian base of Muslim power in Kosovo have been horrific. The Albanians have driven 277 thousand Serbs from Kosovo. Hundreds have been murdered. Thousands have been robbed and brutalized as their homes and property were destroyed. Muslim multiculturalists have destroyed 135 Orthodox churches, monasteries, and shrines. All this was done under the noses of UN security forces.


Bill Clinton’s great military achievement was a humanitarian disaster, and it established a dangerous Muslim foothold in Europe that is exporting terror and crime.