James George Jatras
Director, American Council for Kosovo
Sen. John McCain (interviewed by Anderson Cooper), 5/29/13 (coincidently, May 29 is the date Constantinople fell to the Turks):
McCain: "Everyone talks about Iraq and Afghanistan, and that's a legitimate concern. I'd also like them to consider that we went into Bosnia and we went to Kosovo and we were able to, without too much difficulty, to be able to stop genocide in those places," McCain said.
So the distortion, myths, and outright lies surrounding Bosnia and Kosovo – starting with the notion that NATO was “able to stop genocide” and not facilitate it – are the gift that keeps on giving.
Bosnia and Kosovo have become a kind of “can-do” antidote to an Iraq or Vietnam syndrome. Indeed, it was the claim of success “without too much difficulty” (meaning no Americans lost) that fed the expectation that Iraq would be a “cakewalk” and that we could build democracy in Afghanistan. Those latter fantasies died in Mesopotamia and the Hind Kush but the Balkan illusions that fed them remain.
Yes, there were no Americans lost in Bosnia or Kosovo, but were they successes? As in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan, in Bosnia and Kosovo the US was on the side of militant Muslims – including al-Qaeda – against the Christians. The result was a disaster for the local Christians (especially in Kosovo) and empowerment of jihadists, recrudescence of the Ottoman Empire (see http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3728/germany-new-ottoman-empire), and blowback against Americans, including in the United States (see http://www.savekosovo.org/?p=9&sp=595 ).
As for “genocide” in Bosnia or Kosovo, that’s parked somewhere near Saddam’s WMDs. The only “genocide” likely to occur in Syria is if we help the jihadists to win. See Sen. Rand Paul: “It is troubling to think that American arms may be given to Islamic fighters who may in turn be firing them at Christians. . . . These Christians are natural allies of the United States, and if we're going to seriously discuss any American interests in Syria, the welfare of these Christians is more important than arming Islamic extremists. http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/29/opinion/rand-paul-syria/index.html ”
Until the story is set straight of what really happened in the Balkans in the 1990s, and of the results that reverberate there to this day, the lies told then and elevated to the status of truism ever after will keeping exerting their poisonous legacy and undermine a sound perception of the choices before us.
Link and partial text to interview follow:
John McCain: Syrian Rebels 'Do Not Understand Why We Won't Help Them' (VIDEO)
Posted: 05/30/2013 2:22 am EDT
John McCain spoke publicly about his visit to Syria for the first time Wednesday night on CNN's 'AC 360.' The Arizona senator quietly entered the country and met with rebel leaders Monday.
"I wanted to be able to go back and be able to tell my colleagues in the Senate that at least the military side of those who are fighting against Bashar Al Assad is well-organized and they are well-led and they have people now who have been fighting for over two years," McCain told Anderson Cooper. "And they really are fighting an unfair fight. As you know the scuds continue, the air attacks continue, the massacres continue."
"They do not understand why we won't help them," McCain added.
The senator urged the Obama adminsitration to reconsider its stance on arming the Syrian opposition, and argued that it would be a mistake to avoid getting involved for fear of repeating the U.S. experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Everyone talks about Iraq and Afghanistan, and that's a legitimate concern. I'd also like them to consider that we went into Bosnia and we went to Kosovo and we were able to, without too much difficulty, to be able to stop genocide in those places," McCain said.
A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in late April found that 51 percent of respondents opposed providing weapons to rebel fighters in Syria, while only 12 percent supported it. 49 percent were opposed to conducting air strikes in Syria, while 16 percent supported it.