June 26th 2008 03:57:52 AM
Just wanted to let readers know that yesterday the Atlas Shrugs blog posted the first of a series of rebuttals I will be doing to the otherwise reputable blogger Michael Totten, who has gone full-force pro-”Kosova”, thinking he has found signs of pro-American life in the universe. The introduction is new, but the post that follows it appeared last month on JihadWatch.com.
Totten, who has only just now tuned in to Kosovo along with the rest of the world, has since filed two more blogs based on his uninformed observations from Serbia (including Kosovo), and I will try to address these when I can. Although it’s not my habit to respond to every parroted idiocy out there about the Albanian-Serbian conflict, it’s important that I do respond to Totten’s, since he is a respected and well-known blogger.
This seems to be turning into a July 4th-era pattern. Here’s a short reminder of what I was forced to write last July 4th:
One thing that comes with researching and trying to talk about the Balkans for eight years, and something that’s important for this readership to understand, is that people we otherwise respect — people who seem to “get it” on every other vital issue of the day, including Islam — are utterly clueless on the Balkans — and, alternately, agenda-laden. The Balkans are every respectable commentator’s blind spot. Notice that in their daily opining on the war on terror since 9/11, our best minds don’t touch on the Balkans, a key region in the fight for civilization. In trying to engage people — including the conservative intelligentsia that went along with the peaceniks on our 1990s “humanitarian” wars — I find that people are confused, confounded, overwhelmed and bored by the subject.
Name your favorite conservative pundit, your most trusted jihadwatcher, and in deconstructing the war on terror and the danger of Islam and jihad, there is always, always one exception that he or she will make: the Balkans. That’s where we give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt, where world trends don’t apply, where Muslims don’t stage atrocities or provoke military responses or use Western dupes; the area is suspended in its own context, immune to the tactic of nationalism followed by separatism — which we buy and then Americans die as that separatism morphs into Islamism.
This is nothing personal against anyone who has attacked me in these pages, but a simple statement of fact that I and the handful of other Balkans observers out there have noticed over the better part of a decade: The Balkans make smart people stupid. And that includes people and publications we conservatives generally respect, such as the Wall St. Journal, National Review, Weekly Standard, and so on.
As well, it is a favorite vocation of conservatives who want to earn their “I’m not anti-Muslim” stripes — to pile even more on those most expendable of whities, the Serbs. The Balkans are the bone we toss to the Islamic world in its perpetual but elsewhere transparent imaginings of genocides, massacres and hate crimes against them. At the policy level, attempting to win over the Muslim world by giving them Serbian territory and all the interventions that this included was a clearly stated goal — not only by Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Robert Wexler (D-FL) in April, but early on by Lawrence Eagleburger who, as Dr. Srdja Trifkovic wrote in his book Defeating Jihad, “said that a goal in Bosnia was to mollify the Muslim world and to counter any perception of an anti-Muslim bias regarding American policies in Iraq in the period leading up to Gulf War I.” Added Trifkovic, “The result of years of policies thus inspired is a terrorist base in the heart of Europe, a moral debacle, and the absence of any positive payoff to the United States.”
What is it about the Balkans that makes it such an exception? What is it about the Serbs that makes “Serbian propaganda” which is consistent with our own intelligence less preferable than Muslim propaganda? At the same time, what is it about the Serbs and the Balkans that makes George W. Bush indistinguishable from William Jefferson Clinton; Henry Hyde indistinguishable from Tom Lantos; John McCain indistinguishable from Joe Biden; Condoleezza Rice indistinguishable from Madeleine Albright; Joe Lieberman indistinguishable from Eliot Engel; and Wesley Clark from Bob Dole?
This confusion has found its way to the pages of American Thinker. As we finally, finally are confronted on our own shores with the direct consequences of our actions, as Americans pay the price of their leaders’ still unadmitted foreign policy disasters, some opinion makers — without following the direction the region has taken and without reading even a shred of Hague transcripts or articles based on those transcripts — have the gall to come out of the woodwork and do their piece to keep the Balkans chapter closed.