By Cliff Kincaid
Of all the whoppers told by former President Clinton in his Chris Wallace interview, perhaps the most outrageous was his claim that he was involved in "trying to stop a genocide in Kosovo..." In fact, Clinton's bombing of the former Yugoslavia killed more people than died in this "genocide." And his policy benefited Osama bin Laden and the global Jihad.
In the year before the bombing, some 2,000 people had been killed in a civil war in Kosovo. A conservative estimate is that 6,000 were killed by U.S. and NATO bombs.
It's strange as well that Clinton complained to Wallace about the "neocons" attacking him when many of the same neocons in 1999 supported Clinton's war on Yugoslavia. The war was never approved by the U.N. or the U.S. Congress, and in fact violated the War Powers Act. The main beneficiary of the intervention was a Muslim terrorist group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with links to bin Laden, who had declared war on America in 1996, bombed our embassies in Africa in 1998, and would later, of course, orchestrate 9/11.
When former CIA official Michael Scheuer says that the Clinton Administration "had eight to ten chances" to kill bin Laden and "they refused to try," he is making a statement that goes far beyond acknowledging Clinton Administration incompetence or a lack of will. The fact is that Clinton had a pro-Muslim foreign policy that actually benefited bin Laden and facilitated 9/11. Most Republicans don't mention this because too many of them were duped into backing Clinton's misguided policy in Kosovo. President Bush, then a candidate, even backed U.S. military intervention there through NATO.
Scheuer's CIA also has a lot to answer for. It is noteworthy that the CIA issued a January 2000 report that essentially whitewashed the nature of the KLA and claimed it was pro-American. The only public release of this dubious report came through Rep. Elliot Engel, in a posting on the website of the National Albanian American Council, which supports an Albanian Muslim takeover of Kosovo.
That report was prepared under CIA Director George Tenet, who on February 2, 1999, gave testimony referring to the Serb "massacre at Ra?ak," which provided the pretext for NATO intervention against Serbia but which turned out to be a hoax. Tenet was, of course, kept on by President Bush. Not only were Tenet's fingerprints all over the failed and deceptive policy in Kosovo, he told Bush that finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a slam dunk.
Interestingly, Al-Jazeera celebrated the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by airing several al-Qaeda videos, one of which showed two of the 9/11 hijackers saying their actions were designed to avenge the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya. Nothing demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Clinton policy more than that. Not only did Clinton order the CIA to help the KLA in Kosovo, he approved Iranian arms shipments to the Bosnian Muslims, in order to help them establish a Muslim state in Bosnia. Still, that wasn't good enough for the Jihadists. Nothing appeases them.
The Clinton policy of supporting the same extremist Muslim forces in Europe that subsequently attacked us on 9/11 is far more controversial than the policy of regime change in Iraq, which was officially a policy of Clinton, Bush and the Congress. Kosovo was never a threat to the U.S., and Serbia didn't even pretend to have weapons of mass destruction.
At least in Iraq, despite some questionable intelligence, the cause is just. The U.S. removed a dictator and is fighting for democracy and against the terrorists. The neocons got it right here. Such a policy may in the short term provoke a strong anti-American reaction, as Al-Jazeera rallies the foreign fighters to Iraq to kill Americans, but it is vastly preferable to the Clinton policy of helping Muslim radicals come to power in places like Bosnia or Kosovo. What's more, as the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) acknowledges, in a statement that has been curiously played down by most of the media, a victory in Iraq would deflate the forces of global Jihad.
Our media like to talk about Iraq, because they think the issue will damage Bush, but Kosovo gets no mention, except when Clinton himself or former officials of his administration bring it up and claim it as a foreign policy success. There is no coverage of the anti-Christian Jihad underway there. But seven years after the illegal Kosovo intervention, the September 15 Washington Post reports on a new World Bank study on fragile or failing states that "can breed terrorism." One of them is listed as Kosovo, which is not a state—not yet. Actually, in the report itself, Kosovo is identified as a "territory," not a province of Serbia, but the point remains valid. Kosovo is identified as being "outside the control of a recognized and reputable government," offering "fertile soil on which terrorism could thrive." Terrorism is thriving there, of course, because it was Clinton's official policy to support the terrorist KLA and remove Kosovo from Serbian control.
The result was captured by the summer 1999 U.N. Association newsletter, The Interdependent, which showed Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the cover with her thumb in the air. The headline was: "Kosovo: The U.N. Takes Charge."
Seven years later, the U.N. is still in charge.
The growing danger in Kosovo is compounded by the fact that the problem gets almost no attention in our media, which reported the false charges of genocide that provided the pretext for the military intervention in the first place but still refuse to correct the record and hold Clinton, Albright and then-NATO Commander, General Wesley Clark, responsible for what they have done.
The media blackout is what enables Albright, in a lecture on religion and international affairs at Georgetown University on September 18, to declare, "Of all that we accomplished during my time in office, I'm proudest of what we did in Kosovo because we stopped the killing, and people are back in Kosovo living a free life."
A free life when Christian Serbs are fleeing and their homes and churches in Kosovo are being destroyed? Albright's outrageous comments provide the answer in stark terms to the question: Whose side was the Clinton Administration on in the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West? All of the "missed opportunities" to kill bin Laden, and the interventions on behalf of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, didn't give us anything but more anti-American attacks, more terrorism, and finally, 9/11.
Compounding the failure of the Clinton policy in Kosovo, the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group recently released a report saying that the international community "must avoid creating a weak state" and that the territory must have its own army. Left unsaid is that it would be an army dominated by former members of the KLA. That would be the ultimate reward for terrorism. The terrorists would become the official army of Kosovo.
Buried in the report, on page 8, you will find an interesting piece of information. It states that "A tiny but growing minority is turning to Wahhabi Islam," the dangerous brand of Sunni Islam underwritten by Saudi Arabia, which is also financing the building of many mosques in Kosovo. But this should come as no surprise. That element was always there, nurtured by the Clinton policy. Now it gathers force again, just as it did before 9/11.
Serbian President Boris Tadic was in the U.S. recently, on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, but failed to make any public comments about the status of Kosovo in the context of the global war against radical Islam. That was a glaring oversight. He failed to educate the American people about the stakes involved in the proposed dismemberment of the Serbian Republic. His article in the Washington Post, "Justice for Serbia," was similarly flawed in this respect, focusing on the admittedly important issue of Serbian sovereignty but ignoring the religious dimensions of this conflict.
It won't be enough to oppose independence for Kosovo. The terrorism problem will remain regardless of whether it is a province, territory or a state. But a U.S. position against independence will at least reflect belated recognition that the Clinton policy of encouraging terrorism in Kosovo has finally come to an end. The Bush Administration must side with Serbia in this important chapter in the clash of civilizations.