Since the Dynamic National Guard PR Duo only recently got onto my radar — by virtue of their attacks on me — I can’t say for sure that the Trip to the Visoki Decani Monastery was a rare excursion for our Soldier Brad. And perhaps it’s just coincidence that he went on this outing in the midst of the controversy about “the real Kosovo”, begun after he and his lady soldier read my articles mentioning the peril that such Kosovo sites are in. But here are some of the conciliatory observations that our soldier bard Brad shares from his journey:

On Saturday, August 4th, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. Thanks to our friend, Chaplain Wikstrom, I was allowed to tour the amazing Visoki Decani Serbian Orthodox Monastery 12 km south of Pec, Kosovo. The monastery is an amazing architectural feat which was built between 1327 and 1335, but the most amazing thing about it is that it has not been destroyed throughout history.

( “Amazing” is used three times in a single paragraph — to describe something Serbian. You definitely don’t see that every day.) Soldier Brad continues:

At a time when other Monasteries were being destroyed, the Decani Monastery survived. It survived the Ottoman invasion, World War II when the Nazis stole all of the gold from the chapel frescoes, and the most recent wars when other Monasteries were burned to the ground.

Ahem. Ahem. The Ottomans are named. The Nazis are named. No timidity there. But then we have some unnamed, non-distinct “wars” in which monasteries “were burned.” Did anyone do the burning, or did the monasteries suffer from spontaneous combustion? Do these “recent wars” include a certain 2004 pogrom, pre-planned and participated in by any particular group?

One is reminded of the news that four “former Yugoslavs” were planning to kill soldiers at Ft. Dix. (One is also reminded of headlines from the Middle East: “Israelis kill six Palestinians” versus “Bus explodes in central Jerusalem.”) Of course, it would make it harder to hand Kosovo to the folks who do this kind of thing if we went around calling a spade a spade. More from Soldier Brad:

Most amazing, however, are the Byzantine frescos which cover every square inch of wall and ceiling inside the chapel. These 14th Century frescoes were completed in 1350 and have survived mostly intact until this day. During the Ottoman occupation, the eyes were gauged out of several of the frescoes by the invading Turks, but the frescoes still stand much as they were in the 14th Century.

Let’s keep in mind who in the Balkans did well under the Ottomans and wants a return to “pre-1912″ borders uniting all “Albanian lands”. Back to Brad:

We were guided by one of the Monks who specializes in wood carving for the Monastery, creating wood products which will be used in Orthdox churches everywhere. The craftsmanship used on these pieces is second to none…The Monastery is not just a Kosovo or Serbian treasure, it is a treasure of the world, being listed in 2004 on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see what I consider to be one of the surviving wonders of the world. And yes, I would defend this and other historical buildings like it with my life because I consider it to be that important. I only hope that someday the situation will be present in Kosovo wherein people can travel to the Decani Monastery in order to see it themselves.

Pardon? You mean people can’t travel to the monastery? HOW COME?! And how big was Brad’s military escort for this excursion? Not that any American would need a military escort in a den of “pro-American” Albanians.

Before that can happen [people traveling by themselves to the monastery], there needs to be a large mind-set change on the parts of the Albanians and the Serbians.

You mean Serbs also aren’t letting people travel to the monasteries? Now I’m confused.

I don’t care if you don’t appreciate the other’s religious beliefs, there is room for ALL beliefs in this world without violence from either side.

Violence from either side? Considering that we’re up to two million Albanians and down to 100,000 Serbs in Kosovo (with only about 70 in the capital, down from 40,000), this statement can only mean that Serbs are as guilty as Albanians in anti-Serb violence.