1. Now the Russians have one of our Stealth planes.
2. It wouldn't have seemed possible a few months ago, but this war has given Russia the opportunity to seize the moral high ground on the world stage. When the Serbs refused to give in, the West increased the ferocity of the air attacks, killing over 1,000 civilians thus far. In other words, we're doing what the Russians did in Chechnya, but whereas the West kept conspicuously quiet about the Russian mass slaughter, the Russian government and people have been shocked and vocally outraged by NATO's "barbaric aggression." And the worst thing of all is... they're right!
3. Trying to bring the Serbs to heel by making them suffer won't work; these people have too much practice at suffering. After their army was slaughtered by the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo Field in 1389, things started getting a little bit rough for the Serbs. Though many Serb uprisings were brutally suppressed, the Serbs slowly drove the Turks out, eventually "liberating" Kosovo in a series of blood-drenched battles. In 1914, the Serbs were overrun by the Central Powers.The Serbs lost one-fourth of their population during the war; two-thirds of its male population between the ages of 15 and 55 perished. World War Two was even worse. After being overrun by a Nazi blitzkrieg, the Serbs found themselves at the mercy of the Nazis' Croat puppet regime, the Ustashe, who killed over a million people in death camps so horrible they repelled even the SS. Meanwhile, the Serbs somehow managed to pin down eight divisions of Nazi infantry, the Italians, a Bosnian Muslim SS Division--and wage a bitter civil war against fellow Serbs. In all, one-fourth of the Serb population died during WW II. Toss in a respectable number of dead Serbs since the wars in Croatia and Bosnia started earlier this decade, and you get the idea: bombing will not scare these people.
4. Why do American troops have to go in at all? Why should kids from Ohio and New Mexico have to die in Kosovo? Kosovo is part of Europe, and every one of the big Western European countries has a huge, expensive army. Any one of these armies--French, Italian, German or British--ought to be able to take Kosovo on its own. After all, the ostensible goal of "preventing further instability in the region" is an end that would benefit any of these countries directly, while it benefits the United States hardly at all.
5. Even the Secretary of State isn't sure what we're doing in Yugoslavia. Madeleine Albright earlier this week said that NATO just wanted to "Send Milosevic a message." When a pool reporter pointed out that she had earlier said that the NATO goal was to STOP Milosevic, she hesitated and said, "That, too."
6. The Serbs were behaving with relative restraint in Kosovo last year (by Balkan standards) until we started bombing Serbia. Then they decided they had nothing to lose, and started driving Albanians out in earnest. Wasn't this what we were trying to prevent?
7. After the Gulf War, the US had everybody believing in air power again. The bombing of Serbia is going to destroy that belief. The USAF trains in Nevada, and the less a landscape resembles Nevada, the less effective American air power. Iraq looks just like Nevada; Kosovo looks more like Vietnam.
8. These endless comparisons of thugs like Milosevic to Adolf Hitler insult the public's intelligence and cheapen the special, awful legacy of WWII. Before America started calling Milosevic a new Hitler, it used the same tactic to demonize everyone from Saddam Hussein to Manuel Noriega to Osama bin Laden to the Ayatollah Khomeini to Fidel Castro--we at the eXile even found an American-owned newspaper in Africa which, in complete earnest, compared Kenneth Starr to the Fuhrer. Gore Vidal put it this way: "The CIA's demonizing process is fascinating, swift, unvarying. Each demon admires Hitler. Keeps a copy of Mein Kampf beside his bed." Hitler killed six million Jews; he made lampshades out of little children; he tried to take over the entire world. Milosevic is a monster, but he's not close to a record like that. Comparing Milosevic to Hitler proves that the U.S. government no longer trusts its citizens to make real moral distinctions.
9. In 1941, the Nazi puppet state of Croatia wanted to solve the Serb Question once and for all... not by mass expulsions, but by extermination. Out of 6.3 million people in the new Croat state, there were 1.9 million Serbs. Official documents show that the Ustashe government planned to exterminate or convert every one of them. Within weeks after the Nazi takeover, Croats set to massacring Serbs in a variety of ways, including a documented favorite trick: throwing Serb mothers with their children off cliffs, by the hundreds. By mid-1941, even the Germans started complaining. Here is a quote from an SS report: "The Ustashe units have carried out their atrocities not only against male Orthodox of military age, but in particular in the most bestial fashion against unarmed old men, women and children..." The Croats set up several concentration camps, including the infamous Jasenovic death camp, which is to Serbs what Auschwitz is to Jews . This camp is notorious not just because hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were killed there (Serbs claim a million Serbs were killed at Jasenovic), but because of the way they were killed: butchered with knives, like pigs. In all, the Serbs are said to have lost some one million people just to Croat death camps and massacres. If it is unthinkable that the Bundeswehr could be called in to bomb Tel Aviv in order to force the Jews to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians, then why can we order German bombers to attack Belgrade with a clear conscience?
10. Serbs are now comparing NATO to the Nazis. Here's why. The Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia in April, 1941, began with the relentless bombardment of Belgrade, flattening most of the city before a ground invasion by troops from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria. Three of those four are now NATO members. Modern German bombers, ominously sporting iron cross Luftwaffe markings, are targeting Serb cities. And now, once again, Germans, Italians and Hungarians are preparing to invade.
11. The Gulf War left Western armies looking good. Kosovo is going to make us look very bad. Like the Israelis, the Americans and their allies in the Gulf War built a reputation fighting pitiful Arab conscripts who, as Sam Kinison said, would've surrendered to a video camera. ("Give up or I'll zoom!") Serbs are not Iraqis. They believe in their cause, know how to fight, and can operate in small units. Western armies don't do well against this sort of opponent.
12. The parallels of this conflict to World War I are so obvious, it's amazing that the West has chosen to ignore them. In 1914, a major European power (Austria-Hungary) declared war on Serbia after it refused to acquiesce to its demands; a group of similarly powerful nations bound by alliances (Britain, Russia) then decided to back Serbia; and in a flash, millions of people were dying all over Europe. Wasn't the whole point of that chapter in the history textbook to teach kids how not to start a World War--to learn to back off when a minor regional conflict threatens to escalate into an irreversible global nightmare?
13. Here's a trick question: which idiotic theory sucked America into Vietnam, and sucked the life out of the country for the next twenty years? Here's a clue: the theory's metaphor is based on a really shitty game that no one plays, the name of which was later picked up by an even shittier pizza delivery company that can only count on the most desperate, resin-scraping, munchie-jonesing dirtheads to order its pizzas. That's right: the Domino Theory! And guess why we're going to war with Serbia? You guessed again! The Domino's Pizza Theory! Hey, if tasted so good the first time, why not order another, huh? Albright sure is. Just read this excerpt from the Washington Post, dated Monday, April 5th: "Led by Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commanders challenged in particular the 'domino theory' being pressed in interagency discussions by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright." ("Joint Chiefs Doubted Air Strategy" by Bradley Graham).
14. We've made an enemy of Montenegro, the strategically vital junior republic in Yugoslavia. In presidential elections last year Montenegrins elected Milan Djukanovic, an enemy of Milosevic who reached out to the West. His victory meant a majority of Montenegrins wanted to move away from Milosevic and towards the West. They opposed the crackdown in Kosovo and encouraged locals to desert units serving there. How did NATO exploit this division in Yugoslav society? Well, actually they bombed the shit out of Montenegro, to the point that now thousands are pouring into the streets daily in order to denounce NATO as the second coming of Hitler. Today, Montenegrins are solidly behind the Serbs and Milosevic.
15. How many Americans could find Kosovo on a map of the world? There should be entrance exams for warmongers.
16. Because Nostradamus predicted (or so they say) that the third World War would start in the Balkans, every crystal-gazing New Age American moron, as well as every quack-cure-loving, horoscope-is-a-science believing, insufferably superstitious Russian will have a captive audience in the rational rest of us until this thing blows over, and we can tell them to shut up again.
17. The owner of the single biggest pro-war propaganda organ in the world, Ted Turner, is married harmoniously to Jane Fonda, who thirty years ago was running around in khaki shorts publicly embracing the Viet Cong. Apparently being a liberal means not having to say you're sorry, so long as your civilian bombing victims are white and taller than you are.
18. Journalists love wars. Even the most vacuous, uninspired accountant can wrap himself up in other people's tragedy and suddenly acquire depth. This is what happened in Bosnia. And it'll happen in Kosovo too, guaranteed. The Bosnian war nurtured some of the worst, most maudlin, dishonest "war journalism" of all time. We quote: "Tragedy and absurdity were moons circling the Bosnian war." (Peter Maass, Love Thy Neighbor). "Words are my tears." [Ibid.] "The typewriter keys went bang-bang-bang, like shots from an old revolver." [Ibid.] And of course what would a war book be without the dark sexual angle: "Sarajevo was a temptress, and it was hard to know which was more seductive, the half-mad look in her dark eyes, or the scarlet drops of blood on her extended hand." [Ibid.] Kosovo can expect to be taken to the mall for some makeup and a long black dress by every soulless Western journalist hunting for a metaphor.
19. Nuke Alert! Russian General Anatoly Kvashnin, Yeltsin's Chief of Staff, announced last week that Russia was prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons to stop NATO aggression.
20. In 1991, your Western passport made you a demi-god in Russia. Most Russians, particularly the younger ones, admired Westerners and listened to what we said: restructure your economy like so; keep Chubais in charge of things; NATO is a defensive organization whose goal is to unite Europe into one peaceable kingdom; we mean you no harm. And then the Russians woke up. They had to: we'd stolen their wives, their blankets, their sheets, their beds, the roofs over their heads... IMF advice destroyed Russia's economy faster than you can say "Gary Peach", millions have gone to their grave early, the country is fucked for at least a generation to come, and to top it all off, NATO is unilaterally scrapping the ABM treaty, enlarging NATO so as to completely surround and isolate Russia, and now, ruthlessly bombing Russia's oldest historical ally and slaughtering its citizens. It would be as if a victorious Soviet Union were to bomb London and destroy its bridges because they didn't allow Warsaw Pact troops to occupy Ulster. All this might explain why, over the past few months, the number of Russians who believe that they should fear a NATO attack has soared to 63 percent, up from the low twenties just a few months ago, according to a poll recently conducted by the Russian Center for Public Opinion and reported on CNN on April 3. Numerous expats, who at one time were treated like royalty here, are now complaining about "incidents" of being harassed by Russians. It's like we said: Does the West know how-ta make friends or what?!
21. We're going to be flooded with annoying Vietnam analogies from pompous leftists everywhere. And the worst thing is that they'll be right.
22. Has anyone thought about the peculiar logic behind NATO's "peace mission" in Kosovo? They dragged the warring parties to some two-bit pastry
23. NATO bombing is making a hero out of Milosevic. Similarly, there once was a guy named Dzhokar Dudayev. The Russians blamed him for all their problems in Chechnya. By 1994, Dudayev's popularity was declining. Then the Russians invaded, bombed, slaughtered... and Dudayev became a national hero. So the Russians figured all they'd have to do is kill Dudayev, and the war would be over. So they killed him, and made him a national martyr. And then got their asses slaughtered in Grozny, and had to surrender to the Chechens. So far, we've made Milosevic, whose popularity was shaky at best, into a national hero, an achievement which stands exactly counter to our stated objective.
24. If ethnic massacres bother us so much, why didn't we send troops to stop the massacre of a half-million Tutsi in Rwanda? Why did we back the Russian bloodbath in Chechnya? Why did the US defend Pol Pot when the Vietnamese interrupted his autogenocide? What's happening in Kosovo is a parking-lot scuffle compared to these horrors, so why are we going in?
25. The Albanian partisan group we're promoting, the Kosovar Liberation Army, has been identified by several sources as a mafia-backed gang of heroin dealers. According to a March 24th article in the Times of London, "police forces in three Western European countries, together with Europol, the European police authority, are separately investigating growing evidence that drug money is funding the KLA's leap from obscurity to power..." Police sources in Germany have made plain their suspicions: the sudden ascendancy of Kosovan Albanians in the heroin trade in Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia coincides with the sudden growth of the KLA from a ragamuffin peasants' army two years ago to a 30,000-strong force equipped with grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons and AK47s.
26. The KLA seeks total independence for Kosovo from Serbia, and the creation of a Greater Albania incorporating parts of Montenegro and Macedonia. NATO is firmly opposed to that, pushing instead for Kosovar autonomy. Nearly every nation in the Balkans, from NATO ally Greece to Bulgaria, Rumania and Macedonia, also opposes any change in borders. However, the bombing and subsequent ethnic cleansing means that today, you couldn't find a single Albanian who would support our position of Kosovar autonomy within Serbia. Which is to say, we are opposed to the ultimate goal of the people we're ostensibly protecting, and closer to the position of the people whom we're bombing.
27. Every commentator agrees that the dangerous rise of far-right wing parties in Western Europe this decade coincides with refugee influxes. NATO was warned in-advance that its bombing could ignite a massive refugee flight. Now we've got refugees by the buckets, and quasi-fascist politicians like Jean-Marie Le Pen and Joerg Haider will only grow in power and popularity. In other words, NATO bombing of this supposed Hitler in Belgrade could help real Hitler devotees come to power.
28. The U.S. knowingly destroyed the biggest maternity ward in all of the Balkans. On April 3, Clinton and NATO, clearly frustrated at the ineffectuality of their surgical-strike air campaign, decided to get nasty by sending three cruise missiles into the Yugoslav and Serbian Interior Ministry buildings. Those buildings had long since been emptied--ever since Tito, Yugoslavia's basic war plan is based on decentralized partisan warfare--but there was a huge maternity ward full of people just 30 meters away. Now, think about it. It was no secret that a maternity ward was located next door to the target. It was no secret that the target had been emptied long before the strike. Kinda muddies up that whole moral high ground thing a little, doesn't it? Or did we intend to show, Kurtz-like, that we could play just as cold and mean as the next quasi-Hitler?
29. We'll have to listen to more crap from fat armchair hawks like Tom Clancy. They'll bore their wives and clog the internet with coaching metaphors and tech jargon. Clancy will also get another Waffen-Twerpen novel out of it, just when the dork had finally run out of scenarios. Do you really want that?
30. Last Tuesday, Bill Clinton give the entire world still one more visually compelling and obvious reason to loathe America when, at the very moment American bombs and missiles were raining down on Serb civilians at his order, he took the afternoon off to play golf. Then, as if that wasn't enough, some Americans saw fit to portray the Balkan war as a tiresome interruption in the President's golfing schedule. The Washington Post had the unbelievable balls to phrase it this way: "The president tried to return to a more normal schedule, playing golf in Virginia and preparing for two domestic [i.e. real] events Tuesday..."
31. A few decades ago, Bill Clinton didn't seem to worry too much about the fate of American POWs in Vietnam when he first burned his draft card, then snagglepussed his way across the Atlantic to smoke joints and beat off in bathroom stalls at Oxford. Now he may soon expect us to believe that he feels so outraged by the sight of those three bloodied American POWs that his administration would feel comfortable, and even duty-bound, to commit legions of college-age Americans to a savage ground war with no end in sight.
32. Arguments about Serb vs. Albanian demographics just invite analogies to the secession of Hispanic-majority parts of the US. This excites really horrible people like Pat Buchanan.
33. Name one Albanian!
34. If we lose this war, there will be Oliver Stone films about damaged vets, with collagen-lipped stars crying on Oscar Night as they vault to the stage to cop their award for playing paraplegic survivors. If we win, there'll be Chuck Norris movies where "Serbian" extras in fake moustaches get mowed down by a one-man American army. Even Stallone could return. Rambo in Kosovo--can we risk that?
35. Americans like ourselves who live abroad are now in considerably more danger than they were before as a result of a violent swing of opinion against our government's policies. In Moscow alone, our embassy has been attacked, and a bar has been busted up just because its name is "Uncle Sam's". The embassy in Montenegro was attacked by 2,000 protesters, who bombed cars parked outside the embassy grounds and set the first floor of the embassy building on fire-- forcing Marines to fight to secure the area. As a result, expats around the world are living out the old Woody Allen joke: "My draft status? I'm a C-6, which means that in the event of war, I'm a hostage."
36. Until a few weeks ago, Western men in Moscow could always count on being given special attention by that most precious of God's creatures, the Russian dyevushka. Nerds became lady-killers; chronic masturbators acquired fluffers; guys who hadn't been laid more than three times in thirty American years suddenly found themselves living like low-rent Sultans. Not now. Thanks to the NATO airstrikes, the White God has become the White Devil. All bets are off. If you do get lucky, expect to get reamed. Now that we're looked upon as duplicitous barbarians, expect all relationships to be like a game of 3-dimensional chess. The days of E-Z sex and multiple partners in a consequence-free environment are over, thanks to America's sexually-demented president. Now, dyevs don't swallow. They just spit. All because your stupid country had to go 'n' bomb the Serbs. Think about that the next time you're getting a skull shine, will ya?!
37. We bombed Serbia on Easter Sunday, needlessly offending about 500 million Christians worldwide. Now the Serbs are offering an Orthodox Easter ceasefire, which we've pledged to ignore with reckless abandon.
38. If we're doing this to score some points with the Islamic world, why invade Kosovo, which means nothing to Muslims? Why not liberate Jerusalem and blast the Israelis off the Dome of the Rock?
39. After a brief shift toward reason earlier this decade, when Americans slashed their defense budget in the wake of the Cold War victory and elected a President who at least made an attempt to pass national health insurance legislation, the defense budget is rising again, while the percentage of Americans covered by health insurance continues to decrease.
40. In 1809, the Turks built a tower in the town of Nis. It was made of the skulls of Serbs who had tried to rebel. The Turks first skinned and stuffed the heads as souvenirs, then used 1,000 skulls for the tower. This kind of thing has happened to the Serbs rather often. Remember it when you judge them.
41. Some more perspective on the American perception of unilateral Serbian aggression: in 1915, during World War I, the Serbian army, having been overrun by a combined Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian and German force, was forced to retreat through Kosovo. Over a quarter of a million Serb troops and refugees, weak from cold and hunger, passed through Albanian village after village, and they weren't exactly treated to Gatorade and crushed ice. An eyewitness account, published in 1920, records: "The Albanians killed those who had become isolated, chopping their heads off with axe blows. Then they seized the uniform of the dead man and, disguised as Serbian soldiers so as to allay any suspicion, they killed other unhappy men by luring them into ambushes." Of the quarter million soldiers and refugees on the run through Kosovo, over half died.
42. America is once again indiscriminately bombing civilian populations when its ostensible grievance is with one particular individual foreign tyrant, who could be killed and done with. We could just assassinate Milosevic, of course, just as we could have killed or captured Saddam Hussein, or Osama Bin Laden, or Manuel Noriega, instead of bombing and killing mass numbers of civilians in each of their respective countries and leaving them alive. But we won't assassinate Milosevic, because a 1974 law written in response to revelations of CIA excesses prohibits the assassination of foreign leaders. Which sounds like not such a bad law, on the face of it...But as far as the eXile is concerned, if you're committed to killing people, you might as well start with your real target--and stop once you've hit him. You kill fewer people that way, right?
43. The Brits. You know they couldn't care less about the Albanians. They're just tagging along for the chance to hurt somebody, like the smallest, meanest guy in a gang. And since their toy Harrier jets--expensive, useless '70's military exotica--can't handle guided weapons, they're loading them with cluster bombs, the cheapest, fastest way to maim large numbers of people indiscriminately.
44. The Greens Party of Germany has long been famous for its pacifism-- until this war. Today, the Greens Party is part of the coalition that rules Germany. The Green's platform had been total demilitarization and a withdrawal from NATO. When Green leader Joschka Fischer was named Foreign Minister, he decided, aw, to hell with it! Although he insists he's still a pacifist, he wholeheartedly backs the Luftwaffe's bombing of Belgrade. Fischer has sold out in every way possible. He no longer opposes nuclear power, no longer wants to tax energy, no longer wants to lower the speed limit to 100km/hr... hell, he doesn't even wear casual wear anymore, proudly trading in his trademark sneakers and leather jacket for brogan wingtips and a pinstripe suit. The unleashing of the tree-hugging lesbian nazi yuppie: just another reason to oppose NATO bombing.
45. Javier Solana, elected NATO Secretary-General in 1996, was the leader of a 1980s movement protesting Spain's entrance into NATO.
46. This bombing has done more to enhance the legitimacy of Russia's communist party than the combined effect of our entire public policy and private commercial presence here in Russia since 1991-and we screwed up a lot during that time. Russia's dispatch of ships to the Adriatic more or less officially puts the US and Russia in military confrontation again, a horrific blunder considering that we Americans spent forty years and hundreds of billions of dollars to achieve the neutralization of the Russian military threat. Now it's all back, for the sake of...Albania?
47. Tom Clancy is probably too old to draft. And it's such a pity, because no doubt he'd be the first to parachute into Kosovo with the Rangers if he could.
48. As if one ancient Nostradamus wasn't enough, the Clinton administration has willed two more neo-Nostradami into being by following almost exactly the plot of the box-office failure Wag the Dog in its bombing of Yugoslavia. Because they wrote and produced a movie about a scandal-plagued President who starts a war on behalf of an oppressed Albanian minority, Hollywood journeymen Barry Levinson and David Mamet have become the oracles of our age.
49. If we send ground troops, it will be a NATO operation, which means American troops will die under Eurotrash command. Do you want your cousin to walk into an ambush under Belgian orders?
50. The war is distracting the American public from a number of serious investigations of allegations of corruption in the Clinton administration, not the least of which being the reported acceptance of a $300,000 donation from China's Chief of Military Intelligence, Gen. Ji Shengde, into the account of Democratic Party fundraiser Johnny Chung (not to be confused with our Johnny Chen), which was then funnelled into the 1996 Clinton re-election campaign fund (April 4, L.A. Times).