An American Castle in Kosovo
By James T. Phillips
14 June 2001
On 28 June 1991, the Yugoslavian Federation
fell off the wall. The Humpty-Dumpty of nations shattered
and years of civil war and domestic conflict blighted the
now-independent countries of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia.
As the decade of the 1990's waned, the Americans and their
NATO allies helped in the continued destruction of Yugoslavia
by assisting an ethnic Albanian minority to claim land
and independence from what remained of Tito's Cold War creation.
almost two years, ever since the war between NATO and Yugoslavia
ended in 1999, Serbs (and Roma) in Kosovo have
been killed and cleansed by ethnic Albanians. NATO soldiers
deployed in Kosovo have been ineffective at peacekeeping,
and have ignored many instances of injustice. The borders
between Kosovo and Serbia, and Kosovo and Macedonia, are
the newest killing grounds in the Balkans.
by their "victory" in Kosovo,
are now attempting to forcibly take more land from Serbia
and new land Macedonia. The Kosovo Liberation Army (the small
group of disaffected rebels from the hills of Drenica that
initiated the conflict in 1997) has established a new entity,
an independent Kosovo that is destined to expand. The KLA,
once incapable of fending off the Serbian military in a small
area of Kosovo, has grown into a formidable political and
military force with the assistance of NATO.
This new Balkan
scenario is one that would be familiar to the people who
lived in the Levant during the Crusades. The
various factions and religions of the Levant fought and
feuded amongst themselves for centuries. Power and turf were
exchanged, and the lives of Jews, Christians and Muslims
ebbed and flowed during the good times and the bad times.
ugly times arrived along with the Christian Crusaders from
Western Europe. The land, and the life that sprang from
its rocky soil, did not interest the Crusaders. They would
ride into an area of the Levant, subdue the inhabitants,
kill the defenders, and then build huge castles where they
could hide from the fury and revenge of the survivors.
The moral superiority and power of the Crusaders allowed
to stay safe behind the walls of their fortresses, looting
the surrounding countryside at will.
In Kosovo, in the year
2001, the modern-day Crusaders of NATO have built another
castle. It is named Camp Bondsteel,
a tough-sounding name for a not-so-tough military operation.
It is located in southern Kosovo, only a few miles from
the borders with Macedonia and Serbia where Albanians are
continuing their war of aggression against Serbs and Macedonians
under the watchful (and nearby) eyes of NATO.
Camp Bondsteel is an American military base. It was created
in the image of small town America, and features bowling
alleys and fast food restaurants where young soldiers go
to relax after a hard day of observing the killing of innocents.
And, although its perimeter is made of steel, and not the
stones of the Levant, it is as secure against the wrath
of the people as were the castles of the Crusaders.
would eventually tire of maintaining the castles spread
out through the Levant. They grew weary of being the
enemy of all the people, and withdrew after satiating themselves
on the blood and fortune of their many foes. The Europeans
would continue building castles, and they would go on to
fight each other for centuries. However, they did not leave
a lasting peace when they left the Levant.
Camp Bondsteel might not last as long as some of the Crusader
castles that remain standing in the Levant, and its historical
value will be dubious. But, the result will be the same:
the occupying outsiders will leave and the people who live
on the land (not behind walls) will continue with their
lives. They will fight and they will love. They will kill
will heal. They will eventually create a lasting and honorable
peace. The killing and cleansing will stop.
The broken pieces
of a Humpty-Dumpty nation will only be a fading memory. The
people of the southeastern Europe will
sort out their own problems, and the United States, Britain
and all the other King's horses and men of NATO will not
be the ones to put Yugoslavia back together again.
News Insider 2001James T. Phillips is a freelance journalist
who has reported on the conflicts in Iraq, Croatia, Bosnia
and Kosovo. Currently, Phillips edits the web publication
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