Foreign Policy has never been William Jefferson Clinton's strong suit . . .rather his strengths run to domestic affairs, both public and personal, and raising money . . .
In deciding that March 24, 1999 was the time to begin a NATO led foray into Kosovo, Clinton is perhaps trying to wag the dog one last time. Perhaps, by moving the headlines away from Juanita Broderick and the still classified Cox report, Clinton can buy a few more days, weeks or months in office . . . we shall see.
The failure of the Serbs to sign the Kosovo accords was cited by Clinton as the last straw that unleashed the dogs of war. However, those peace accords are not what they have been represented to the American people. The March 28, 1999 Sunday Houston Chronicle had an editorial by Dr. Ronald L. Hatchett of the University of St. Thomas on the Kosovo Peace Accord which should be required reading for every American wanting the truth.
By DR. RONALD L. HATCHETT
The primary justification for our military strikes against Yugoslavia is its refusal to sign the Kosovo peace agreement put forward by the United States. and its allies at Rambouillet, France. The president told us that the Albanians chose peace by signing the agreement even though "they did not get everything they wanted." The Serbs, he said, refused to negotiate, even though the agreement left Kosovo as part of Yugoslavia.
However, as in several other instances over the past months, the president is telling us only part of the story. Most Americans assume that the deal we put together at Rambouillet was evenhanded, offering advantage to neither side, but including the core concerns of both Albanians and Serbs alike. But few of us have taken the time to look at the actual agreement the president is condemning the Serbs for not signing. I urge you to do so.
The agreement is available in its entirety on the Internet (www.transnational.org), or in a U.S. State Department summary (www.usia.gov). Take a look at it and you will see that the "peace plan" actually gives the Albanians precisely what they want: de facto independence now, with guaranteed de jure independence in three years. For the Serbs, signing the Rambouillet agreement would actually be signing away all Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo immediately.
Under the agreement,
· "Kosovo will have a president, prime minister and government, an assembly, its own Supreme Court, constitutional court and other courts and prosecutors."
· "Kosovo will have the authority to make laws not subject to revision by Serbia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including levying taxes, instituting programs of economic, scientific, technological, regional and social development, conducting foreign relations within its area of responsibility in the same manner as a Republic."
· "Yugoslav army forces will withdraw completely from Kosovo, except for a limited border guard force (active only within a 5 kilometers border zone)."
· "Serb security forces "police" will withdraw completely from Kosovo except for a limited number of border police (active only within a 5 kilometers border zone)."
· The parties invite NATO to deploy a military force (KFOR), which will be authorized to use necessary force to ensure compliance with the accords."
· "The international community will play a role in ensuring that these provisions are carried out through a Civilian Implementation Mission "appointed by NATO"."
· "The Chief of the CIM has the authority to issue binding directives to the Parties on all important matters he sees fit, including appointing and removing officials and curtailing institutions."
· "Three years after the implementation of the Accords, an international meeting will be convened to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo on the basis of the will of the people."
· For the Kosovo Albanians, the Rambouillet agreement gives them total control over the province immediately. The only sacrifice required of them is to wait three years before the arrangements are made legally permanent.
For the Serbs, the Rambouillet agreement means that immediately upon signing they lose all sovereignty over Kosovo. Total political control would be in the hands of the Albanians and the NATO Civilian Implementation Mission. Yugoslav laws would no longer apply in Kosovo. Neither would Yugoslavia be able to exercise police powers in Kosovo. After three years, these arrangements would be made permanent by the "will of the people" -- not the people of the whole country of Yugoslavia of which Kosovo is supposedly a part, but only by the will of the people of Kosovo, who are mainly Albanians.
The Yugoslavian delegation at Rambouillet agreed to give the Albanians autonomy in Kosovo -- control over their day-to-day lives including religious, education and health care systems, and local government operations. But they tried to negotiate changes to preserve the right of the Yugoslav federal government to determine economic and foreign policy, for Yugoslav national law to continue to apply in Kosovo, and for any international presence in Kosovo to be limited to observation and
advice, not control.
The Serbian negotiating efforts were summarily dismissed and the Serbs were told they had only two choices: sign the agreement as written or face NATO bombing. What would you have done if you were on the Serb delegation?
Hatchett is director, Center for International Studies at The University of St. Thomas.
The supposed massacre of ethnic Albanian villages on January 15, 1999 in Racak is often cited by the Clinton administration and NATO officials as the catalyst for upping the ante in the Balkans . . . we must prevent genocide and save innocent women and children.
FIGARO QUESTIONS OSCE CLAIMS REGARDING EVENTS IN RACAK
A Film refutes Walker and terrorists
Eyewitness accounts by Albanians are refuted by film shot by reporters of Associated Press, the French paper, Figaro, stresses, stating that the gully where the bodies were was discovered only on the day after the fighting, even though observers were present in Racak within half an hour after the fighting ended. The French daily Figaro today [Jan. 23] casts doubt on the statements of OSCE regarding events in the village of Racak, asking the question whether terrorists of the KLA staged the so-called massacre in an attempt to turn their military defeat into a political victory.
In a text bearing the heading "Kosovo - Shadow of Doubt Falls on a Massacre", Figaro writes that the version offered to the world by OSCE regarding events in Racak should be re-examined and that, by analyzing available facts, an answer should be found to the question of what really happened in Racak. The available facts - film shot both during the fighting at Racak and yesterday on location by Renaud Girard, special reporter for Figaro - refute the claims of OSCE and of the Albanian separatists that Serbian security forces massacred 45 civilians on Friday, points out the French daily.
Yugoslav experts in forensic medicine, who yesterday began to perform autopsies of the bodies of those killed in Racak, declared that "not one of the bodies showed evidence that the victim was executed," writes Figaro.
Since questions exist as to what actually happened in Racak, this paper felt that it was important to try to reconstruct the chronology of events on the critical date. According to Figaro, at dawn the Serb police surrounded and attacked the village of Racak, known to be a base of the separatist KLA. The police had nothing to hide, since at 8:30 a.m. they invited a television crew (two reporters of the American Associated Press) to film the operation. Members of the OSCE mission were also present: on location were two vehicles with American diplomatic plates. The OSCE observers stayed on location the whole day, situated in a valley from where they were able to observe the village, writes Figaro.
At approximately 3:00 p.m., a police report was made public via the International Press Center in Pristina, which stated that, during the course of fighting at Racak, 15 "KLA terrorists were killed and a significant quantity of weapons was confiscated". At 3:30 p.m. the police forces, accompanied by the television crew of Associated Press, left the village, taking with them a heavy artillery piece of 12.7 mm caliber, two hand-held artillery pieces, two sniper rifles and approximately 30 Kalashnikovs manufactured in China. At 4:30 p.m., a French reporter drove through the village, where he encountered three orange OSCE vehicles. The international observers were calmly talking with three adult Albanians in civilian clothes. They were looking for possible injured civilians. Upon returning to the village at 6:00 p.m., the French reporter saw the observers taking away two women and two old men, who were very lightly injured.
The observers, who did not appear to be too excited, did not say anything significant to the reporter. They only said that they "were not able to assess the outcome of the fighting".
The spectacle of bodies of Albanian civilians in a gully, which shocked the world, was not discovered until the next day, at about 9:00 a.m., when reporters appeared on location, who were soon followed by OSCE observers, writes Figaro.
The village at that moment was under the control of armed members of the KLA, who were directing foreign visitors toward the scene of the so-called massacre. Around noon, William Walker, the chief of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, appeared and expressed his indignation regarding what he had seen, the paper reminds us. All eyewitness accounts from Albanians, according to Figaro, confirm one version of the story: in the middle of the day, the police raided the village, separated women from men, and took the latter into the hills where they subsequently killed them.
It is disturbing, however, that these eyewitness accounts are in complete contradiction with the film shot by the Associated Press crew, stresses the French paper. The film shows an empty village which the police had raided in the morning, moving along the walls of the houses for protection. Shooting began because the police encountered resistance from the trenches which the KLA separatists had dug nearby. The fighting was more intense on the higher ground around the village. Standing in a sheltered place by the mosque, the AP reporters concluded that the KLA separatists, who were surrounded, were desperately trying to break out. About 20 of them succeeded in doing so, a fact which the police confirmed.
"What, in fact, happened? Did the KLA during the night collect the bodies of those killed in the fighting in order to prepare the spectacle of a so-called cold-blooded execution? Another disturbing fact is that on Saturday morning the reporters found very few cartridge shells around the gully where the so-called massacre took place", concludes Figaro.
The report by Figaro's journalist generated a great deal of interest in France: Girard was interviewed by Evropa-1 Radio and by France Info Radio, and many French and Swiss radio stations requested permission to retransmit the interview. Radio Frans Info today [Jan. 23] transmitted this interview every hour.
 Le Figaro, Paris 20. January 1999
English: "KOSOVO: OBSCURE AREAS OF A MASSACRE "
 Le Monde, Paris 21. January 1999
French: "Les morts de Racak ont-ils vraiment été massacrés froidement ? "
English: "Were the Racak dead really clodly massacred?"
 Die Welt, Berlin 21. January 1999
German: "Der Krieg um die 40 Toten von Racak im Kosovo Massaker oder "nur" die Opfer eines Tages? "
 Liberation, Paris 21. January 1999
French: "Neuf questions sur les morts de Racak"
English: "Nine questions concerning the Racak dead"
 International Action Center, New York, Paris 21. January 1999
English: "Who is William Walker: "WARHAWK BEHIND U.S. KOSOVO POLICY -
AMB. WALKER COVERED UP REAL MASSACRES IN EL SALVADOR"
To ascertain the truth, an independent team of Finnish pathologists was sent to Racak to determine if the Serbs had massacred ethnic Albanians. Finnish pathologists investigating how 45 ethnic Albanian villagers were killed may be unable to determine whether they were massacred or died in battle because of possible evidence-tampering, the team leader said on January 25, 1999.. The remarks by Helena Ranta, leader of the Finnish team, mean that international officials may never learn the full story of the Jan. 15 killings in the village of Racak, which stirred international outrage and renewed calls for military action against Serbia to halt its crackdown in Kosovo.
Various TV and news reporters are reporting a completely different story in Europe than what the mass media in the U.S. would have us believe. One can only wonder if the Clinton spin machine is still active. The report by the Finnish pathologists has been finished since January 30, 1999 but has been suppressed by the Clinton Administration and NATO . . . given Clinton's track record on truthfulness, one can only surmise why.
It would seem that in a civil war, both sides commit atrocities. Both the Serbs and the KLA have spotty records. Why should NATO and the U.S. take sides in this struggle. What vital national interest does the U.S. have? So far, Clinton has not mentioned anything that is sufficient to my mind that entails risking American lives. Since when have we become the police agency for the world. I don't recall that Congress voted a bill and/or resolution authorizing our military to become the worlds' police agency. Do you?
The Clinton justification for air strikes in Kosovo is basically, we must act to prevent genocide, surely, a noble cause, after all, we are trying to protect the innocent women and children . . . why are there never any innocent men, but perhaps, I digress in this age of the liberals and feminists.
However, if the Clinton brain trust actually thinks that air strikes can prevent genocide, then we are in deep political trouble. No, the problem is a lack of definition of how to decide what the mission is and when we have accomplished that mission. Do you feel that Clinton has made a strong case for our national interest in the Balkans. Many do not agree with his premises and conclusions. But then, perhaps, they are just part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. After all, the Kosovo Liberation Army are only some of the most radical Islamic fundamentalists in the world and who are supported by Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, and Egypt Islamic groups as well as being supplied by the Chinese Communists.
It should be of great concern to Americans that their armed forces are being drawn into a conflict that can not be won without massive ground forces and even then, the question is in doubt. Colonel Hackworth who spent four years in the Balkans has stated repeatedly that the Balkans should be left to the Balkans and that the U.S. and NATA should stay out!
The situation in the Balkans is complicated and primarily, a civil and religious war between factions that have been fighting for over 600 years. And if history teaches us anything, it is that outsider interventions do not solve internal civil and religious conflicts.
The Germans spent four years and lost 250,000 in trying to conquer Yugoslavia during WWII and had over 22 divisions tied down in the area to fight a lightly armed, but fierce, guerilla army.
It would be wise to review the experiences of the German Army Group E that was committed to stamping out Serb resistance between 1941 and 1945. Though the Germans also had the help of 200,000 Croatian, Slovenian and Bosnian Moslem volunteer auxiliaries, they still could not do the job -- and with a combined army of over 700,000 men willing to commit atrocities that the U.S. and her allies would never contemplate in this "civilized" day and age.
Army Group E surrendered to the Serbs and was subsequently force-marched the length and width of Serbia without food until every German soldier had dropped dead by the wayside.
Tito and his partisans undertook after WWII, a strategy to prevent outside aggressors from transgressions on Serbian soil. For almost 40 years, they held the Soviets at bay unlike their counter-parts in Poland and Czeckoslavia. Now with the tunnels built under the mountains since WWII, huge stockpiles of ammunition, food and medical supplies hidden underground in fortresses built to withstand atomic bombs, the Clinton brain trust has the gall to suggest that a few days of air strikes can compel the Serbs to the bargaining table.
We ought to take the analyst who suggested this plan to the gallows immediately before WWIII is ignited and withdraw all of our troops.
Resettlement of the Muslim population in Kosovo to neighboring countries would cost a lot less than the cost of this limited war will cost in the short run with missiles at $1 million up and downed F-117A fighters at $40 million a copy. Lose a B-2 bomber over Serb territory and the cost goes way up.
Clinton has not learned the lessons of Vietnam. Putting the SAS on the ground to take out the so-called Serb warlords is a joke. We are still talking about a sovereign nation and NATO despite acting under the guidance of UN resolutions is the aggressor. NATO's actions has only to strengthen the resolve of the Serbian people, and serve to create potential problems with the Russians and detente. Whether the weakened state of the Russian military will become a factor in this conflict is a potential issue. Once a shooting war starts, they by definition, are difficult to stop.
Let's bring our troops home from Bosnia, let the Europeans in NATO try to solve this civil and religious war and defuse the confrontation immediately. We don't need the Serbs becoming aligned with Iraq, and the Russians, Indians, and Chinese forming an alliance against the U.S. and NATO.
Sometimes, the better part of valor is to not fight. This is not the time nor the place to expend valuable resources. If they have been fighting in the Balkans for 600 years, what is going to change with our intervention. Nothing . . . absolutely nothing! Stop and get out now before we ignite World War III and things get really out of hand.
But then Tis Only My Opinion!
This issue of 'Tis Only My Opinion was copyrighted by Adrich Corporation in April 1999.
It is intended to provoke thinking, then dialogue among its readers. Quotation with attribution is encouraged.
'Tis Only My Opinion Archive Menu
Last updated - July 3, 2008