In this otherwise retarded March 25th National Post article regurgitating all the old NATO propaganda and cheering the targeting of civilian infrastructure in 1999 — plus advocating help to the Libyan rebels who he admits are Qaeda-connected — writer Lorne Gunter easily makes an admission that our political elite still won’t. Indicating that more people know this than are letting on:

There’s yet another parallel with Kosovo: The rebels we are defending may yet turn out to be our enemies.

In 1999, the Kosovo Liberation Army was our ally against the Serbs, but they were also al-Qaeda’s drug mules for opium from Afghanistan into central and Western Europe. The very people we were fighting to liberate had been criminals whom Western police agencies were attempting to drive out of business.

There’s a potential for the same in Libya. At the very least, the rebels in the eastern half of the country are said to have al-Qaeda ties. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t; but until it had a falling out with Gaddafi in the 1990s, al-Qaeda did much of its training in eastern Libya, so claims of al-Qaeda connections for the rebels are plausible.

All this is what comes from being late to the fight. Had the West intervened a week earlier, when the rebels had the upper hand, we might now not be contemplating stepping up our involvement. Back then, the rebels had the manpower and momentum to move on Gaddafi’s strongholds without Western support.

But dithering by the United States, NATO and the United Nations cost the rebels their advantage…

Huh? One wonders if he read the preceding part of his article before writing the last part.

At least God made Peter Worthington, to straighten the man out, and in the same newspaper:

Peter Worthington: Why Libya is not the new Kosovo (March 29)

Lorne Gunter, one of the wiser columnists in the media [oh shit!], opines in the National Post that there are a lot of parallels between the war in Libya and the 1999 NATO war against Serbia in Kosovo.

While there are some parallels in the air war, that’s where the comparison ends.

Kosovo was a phony war orchestrated by the U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, on the fabricated grounds that Slobodan Milosevic was waging genocide in Kosovo…Forensic people poured into “liberated” Kosovo to document genocide and exhume mass graves.

They found evidence of atrocities – both by Serbs and by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) — but no mass graves…Last week marked the 12th anniversary of the air attack on Belgrade and select [sic] Serbian targets, yet in that 12 year period, no mass graves have been found.

Investigations showed that prior to the air war, atrocities abounded in Kosovo on roughly a 50% basis – half by Kosovars, half by Serbs.

NOTE: The investigators put it that way because they were striving for parity. In fact, even Lord Robertson admitted that before the NATO bombing, the majority of deaths were caused by the KLA; a British parliamentary inquiry concluded that until January 1999 most of the crimes were the KLA’s; according to confidential minutes of the North Atlantic Council (NAC), even William “Massacre at Racak!” Walker admitted the KLA was

“the main initiator of the violence…It has launched what appears to be a deliberate campaign of provocation”. This is how William walker himself reported the situation then, in private.

Ambassador Walker stated in the NAC that the majority of violations was caused by the KLA.

Walker didn’t admit that in public at the time. He still doesn’t.

Back to Worthington:

One of the prime reasons for the war was a so-called massacre of 45 Kosovar civilians by Serbs at the town of Racak…Thanks largely to French journalists and forensic investigators from Finland, it became more likely (depending on one’s objectivity) that the Racak victims had been killed during fighting between Serbs and the KLA, and the bodies moved and arranged to appear that they’d been massacred.

Examination showed most had been killed from a distance — little evidence to indicate executions. Nonetheless, the cursory walk-through by William Walker led to charges of massacre against Milosevic which, had he not died before his trial was completed, might have been a huge embarrassment to NATO and the International Court.

The air war over Kosovo was not the U.S.’s or NATO’s finest hour. […]

After Worthington’s gentle chiding of Gunter, a slightly adjusted version of the Gunter article appeared in The Edmonton Journal. It’s only a little less stupid than the first, lamenting toward the end that the West wasn’t serious about “bringing Serbia to its knees.” Bringing Serbia to its knees? “On behalf of whom?” asks Liz, who circulated the item today. “Muslims? Why ‘target’ Serbia at all, an ally in two world wars?”

Because most people aren’t even as smart as this guy. Yikes.

Libyan conflict Kosovo war all over again

Militarily, NATO’s campaign in Libya reminds me of its 1999 war in Kosovo.

Then, as now, there was a great rush to enter the conflict, largely because of media-driven claims of human rights abuses. A dozen years ago, the allegation was ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians by bloodthirsty Serbs. In Libya today, it is threats by Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to annihilate his enemies, live, as the world watches on CNN.

In Kosovo, claims of genocide proved false. After the war had ended, several attempts were made to find the mass graves of innocent Kosovars that the Serbs had purportedly filled with corpses. Nothing was ever found on the scale described prewar, when Western voters were being sold on the need to intervene.

Investigators from the European Union in particular scoured Kosovo’s countryside in vain for years. United Nations prosecutors told their forensic investigators again and again to dip more, to find the bodies they were sure were there. But none showed up. In all, about 5,000 people were killed in the three-month war, but about equal numbers were killed by both sides.

I suspect something similar will be found in Libya years from now when the din of war permits sober analysis: Col. Gadhafi, as evil and cruel as he has been to stay in power for 41 years, was mostly engaging in bravado when he threatened to “wipe out” the rebels opposing his regime. The threat that prompted NATO’s air war against Gadhafi and his forces was no more real than Kosovarian claims [there it is! and check out “Kosovoians” here] of crimes against humanity inflicted on them by Belgrade’s forces.

But the greatest parallel between Kosovo and Libya is the feckless (and, therefore, largely useless) air campaign that is the strategic centrepiece of either war.

…I’ll admit I was rooting for those Libyans seeking to free themselves from the clutches of a brutal strongman. Who doesn’t cheer the freedom-seeking [sic: sharia-seeking] underdog? But I forgot that many on the left have no clue how to run a war once they’ve begun one.

And as we’ve seen by now, neither do those on the right. Then Gunter again goes into lamenting that we didn’t do more damage to civilians in 1999, and advocates for more Western testosterone in Libya:

In the spring of 1999, NATO spent 79 days blowing up stuff in Kosovo and Serbia on the premise that enough big, loud explosions would frighten Serbia strongman Slobodan Milosevic into capitulating to Western demands that he free Kosovo.

For at least 69 of those 79 days, the bombing was ineffectual. This was mostly due to the NATO belief it was wrong to destroy land and public works during a war and the hopeless and arrogant prediction Milosevic would be persuaded to give up power by the mere awesomeness of NATO air power…[F]or much of the war, the West was bombing barns, tractors and cattle…Milosevic and his cronies quickly figured out we weren’t serious. They then correctly calculated that if they were prepared to sustain some damage - or, more correctly, let their people sustain the damage - they could retain power more or less indefinitely.

This is what Gadhafi has figured out, too: The West is a toothless tiger in this war.

We are not always unprepared to fight seriously. We are fighting very real wars in Afghanistan and Iraq [Not!]. And part of us - the French - are fighting an actual war in Ivory Coast while at the same time helping with the phoney war in Libya. Yet occasionally, when we don’t want to look like Imperialists or bullies or Crusaders, we pull our punches in the hope our gleaming military might will win the day for us and we won’t have to resort to total war.

There is a scene from the Kosovo campaign that more than any other typified what I came to believe about that war. On day 44 or 45, ordinary Serbs demonstrated in support of the Serbian president on a bridge over the Danube at night. The remarkable features - at least from a military point of view - were that the bridge was intact six weeks into a “war” and it was well illuminated by street lights that, obviously, were still drawing reliable electrical power.

The West wasn’t serious about bringing Serbia to its knees. It was only in the air campaign’s last 10 days that NATO began targeting power stations, refineries, rail lines, bridges and water treatment plants - facilities whose destruction would squeeze the Serbians and their government.

And the war was not won until NATO inserted troops on the ground. [What? It did? Or is he talking about the peacekeeping mission that “won the war” by helping the Albanians ethnically purify the province?]

If the West is now not prepared to blow up targets that matter to Col. Gadhafi and it is not prepared to send troops, then it is not serious enough to have rattled its sabre in the first place.