Jewish World Review Aug. 9, 1999 /27 Av, 5759
So, in the name of consistency, shouldn’t we be bombing the Albanians?
Since such tactics seem to be our method of choice for uniting populations, no one should mind too much. Certainly not the usually principled peaceniks who in Kosovo found occasion for the first time ever to demand a war—on principle.
But what if, just as we’re wiping out the Albanians, Kosovo’s displaced gypsies start an uprising of their own?
I mean really—the poor Roma! Innocent bystanders caught in the middle and kicked out of their homes (or their yards, at least) by Albanians and forced over the Serbian border along with the ousted Serbs—without so much as a Gypsy Embassy to turn to. It’s enough to drive a gypsy back over the border to start a pogrom against that bullying Albanian majority.
So then we’d have to bomb the Roma, too. But that could prove the most challenging military action yet: Given the scattered and wandering nature of this group, from a 20,000-foot range NATO might accidentally hit their chickens instead. What to do then? Do we try to save face by claiming that we destroyed 200 chickens when really we hit only seven?
No. To deal with this group we’d have to stop the bluffing and finally commit those ground forces (oh yeah—they’re already there).
Once we’ve cleared the area of Serbs, Albanians and avenging gypsies, and there’s no one left to bomb, we will have cleansed the place of everybody altogether. (This wouldn’t be counted as ethnic cleansing, though, since we’ d be equal opportunity cleansers.)
Everyone except for the three or so Jewish families Kosovo’s always had--and about 100,000 peacekeepers. If my own relatives are any indication, these troops could come in handy even then.
Using consistent logic, then, with the Jews being the majority population of Kosovo, we’d have to help them claim it from Yugoslavia. That done, if we could convince all the Jews of Israel to relocate to Kosovo, it could help solve the Middle East crisis!
Naturally, it would be best for the Jewish people to cooperate with this transfer. And if there’s any terrorist-style encouragement from the likes of Hamas, the Israeli government had best not try to quell the situation by weeding the terrorists out from the general Palestinian population. Because an innocent civilian might get hurt, and then NATO would have to bomb Israel and declare it a terrorist state.
And why not? This is, after all, the year of pinning the tail on the war, taking sides in ethnic rivalries, and favoring rebels over allies.
None of this would really come to pass, of course. Not because observing our policymaking elite is any different from watching the Theater of the Absurd, but because bombing anyone in Yugoslavia besides the Serbs would mean admitting that our involvement there was wrong to begin with. And usually 10 or so years have to pass before our well-intentioned population can judge an event objectively. For now, as we watch Kosovo’s Albanian majority complete its decades-old cleansing and terrorizing of the non-Albanian minority, we just say, "Well, you can imagine how angry they must feel."
To our sensibilities, ethnic cleansing is ethnic cleansing only when it’s carried out by governments—those concrete, easily identifiable, official baddies. It would be far more taxing on the brain to have to discern "evil" among individuals or amorphous guerilla groups, and react to population-sponsored cleansing.
That’s why we went after the Serbs. The visible rival, the easier target.
And why not? It was either that or flipping a
07/30/99: Why I'm eating so much chocolate