Nato’s Kosovo campaign was just

Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote about “The disaster of Kosovo . . . ” in this week’s issue of the Week magazine. His moralist op-ed laments Kosovo’s economic woes.

But he is absolutely wrong in arguing against humanitarian interventions. Kosovo’s current troubles are the result of other factors, including the Milošević regime. They cannot — and the author avoids making this claim directly — be attributed to the Nato bombings in 1999.

Dougherty is openly anti-Albanian and is biased in his presentation (or perhaps ignorant) of the facts:

(1) Those whom Jablanović called “savages” were mothers whose children are still missing from the war. Kosovars protested against Jablanović also because he denied that war crimes against Albanians had taken place during the last conflict. Dougherty now does what Serb politicians do best: portray the Serbs as victims rather than perpetrators of genocide.

(2) Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić visited not northern Kosova, but a Serb-inhabited municipality in what is considered “the south” (with a lowercase ‘s’). And he was not the first Serbian leader to do so. A somewhat trivial, nondispositive fact, but an important indication of the author’s superficial knowledge of the Kosova reality.

(3) He contends that the bombings led to increased atrocities against the people in Kosova. While it is true that violence intensified, Nato was in no way a proximate cause of the human suffering. Realizing that time was running out, Serbia rushed to carry out its carefully elaborated plans for genocide. The Serbian state has been contemplating cleansing Kosova of ethnic Albanians since the mid-19th century. Key documents include the 1844 Načertanije (Draft) of Foreign Minister Garašanin, the 1938 Čubrilović Expulsion of the Albanians, and the 1986 Memorandum of the Serbian Academy.

(4) And finally, Dougherty is wrong to assume that post-bellum “ethnic violence” is the cause of Kosova’s current problems. The root of the problems is the Serbian occupation during the 1990s, followed by a corrupt international administration after the war. Sure, the locals perpetuated bad governance, but that doesn’t support Dougherty’s point here.

So please don’t take this guy seriously — not unless you believe that Kosova should have been left to the mercy of Milošević.

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