- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2000

One year after the end of the NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo, the international "peacekeeping" effort still has no exit strategy, and ethnic cleansing has continued to displace thousands of men, women and children. Of the 40,000 Serbs in the capital city of Pristina before the war, only 400 remain, according to a CATO Institute report released this month. American taxpayers are supplying the inept effort with as much as $2.5 billion a year, and may be doing that for decades to come, the report said.

Interestingly, the evidence indicates the same rebel corps that the United Nations and the United States adopted as the guerrilla force of choice is largely responsible for the cleansing, according to a report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Through executions, torture and house burnings members of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and other armed Albanian groups are ensuring that Kosovo becomes part of a "Greater Albania."

Appalling at best, the U.N.-sponsored rebels, now sporting the name Kosovo Peace Corps, still won praise for their progress in ethnic reconciliation from President Clinton, the report said. The honorable deed? Posting a call for the end of violence on the KLA's Web site. Too bad the majority of the Kosovar population had neither Web access nor a fluent understanding of English, the language rebel leader Hashim Thaci chose for the declaration.

NATO's peacekeeping thus turns out to be as successful as its military efforts. A suppressed Air Force report obtained by Newsweek last month showed how NATO pilots were duped many times. According to the report, which top NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark and Washington did not want to accept, only 14 tanks were destroyed, not 120 as originally claimed; 18 armored personnel carriers rather than 220 and 20 artillery pieces rather than 450; and only 58 of 744 air strikes could be confirmed.

The Air Force team investigating the numbers, a group called the Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team (MEAT), said NATO bombers repeatedly bombed a fake bridge the Serbs had built from polyethylene. That wasn't the only mistaken target either. Serbs built a fake aircraft made from the metal liner used to make European milk cartons and made artillery from logs and truck wheels. These are the kinds of prestigious targets NATO bombed to "victory."

Whom does NATO think it's fooling? Not Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who is riding high on a construction and power kick in his new and improved Yugoslavia. Not the Kosovars, of whom tens of thousands are displaced. One hopes NATO will no longer continue to deceive the American public, which was asked to give the commander in chief and NATO its trust when they said they were defending U.S. interests in Kosovo last year.

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