No. Julia Gorin has been on the Kosovo issue since the 1999 NATO Bombing, as a matter of conscience. She didn't even know any Serbs when she got involved, and like me, it is about America's involvement to her, not really about Serbia.
Totten has jumped on this bandwagon out of nowhere. (His knowledge and experience was the Middle East, not the Balkans) But all of a sudden he's "promoting Kosovo independence" with the zeal of a two-dollar whore. Something's wrong with this picture.
We are members of the Army National Guard currently deployed to the province of Kosovo with Multi-National Task Force (East), or MNTF (E). Our task force is made up not only of the National Guard, but the Army Reserve, the active Army and the Air Force. We come from various parts of the United States, including Virginia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and 23 other states. We are what is called boots on the ground Soldiers. We are here. We are witnesses to what is happening in Kosovo, so what was published in the American Legion magazine in July of 2007 created the need for us to reply to the inaccuracies.
The American Legion Magazine ran an opinion piece in the July issue by a New York comedienne named Julia Gorin, whose writings have been published in a number of conservative publications, including Front Page Magazine and National Review Online. She is also a contributing editor to the Jewish World Review. Ms. Gorin may be a funny lady, but her commentary is filled with wild accusations, inaccuracies, distortions and downright lies that serve only to hurt our peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and shed a negative light on the Soldiers who are carrying out said mission.
Ms. Gorins accusations include, but are not limited to:
A Serb a day is killed in Kosovo.
Kosovo Serbs live inside barbed-wire, NATO-guarded perimeters, beyond which they dare not venture.
When shot by Albanians, NATO troops are directed to flee rather than fight back.
Serbian nuns continue to be killed.
Serbian churches and monasteries are destroyed.
Albanians call U.N. and NATO occupiers and want them to get out.
I can initially tell you that a Serb being killed a day is not just a ghastly exaggeration, but an erroneous allegation, says Sgt. Tara Vayda, an intelligence analyst at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. According to Vayda, the worst ethnically-motivated violence that has occurred here during our stay in Kosovo has been Kosovo-Albanian teens throwing rocks at Kosovo-Serbian-associated busses or a Serbian elderly couple.
While throwing rocks at people or busses is not an activity one would call desirable behavior on the part of the Albanian teens, it certainly does not constitute the murder of a Serb every day. Ms. Gorins claim is exactly what she denies it to be an exaggeration at best and a downright lie at worst.
Our mission in Kosovo is to maintain a safe and secure environment in our area of responsibility in order to provide the stability that allows local governmental institutions to address and resolve the issues of self-governance and service to their residents, and to allow those residents to live their lives free of the fear of past conflicts, says Col. Steven Scott, the Deputy Commander of Civil Military Operations for MNTF (E).
We do this with a boots on the ground presence everywhere in our sector; young Soldiers building and maintaining relationships with local leaders, shop owners, teachers and students, and folks going about their daily routines. We do this by engaging civil leadership and assisting them in their attempts at solving the vast problems they face every day. We do this through humanitarian assistance, whether improving infrastructure, or distributing the many, many donated goods we receive from our families and friends.
According to Col. Scott, the Soldiers work to provide reassurance to the people of Kosovo that bad things won't happen to them, and they work very hard to keep that commitment.
That's why the accusations hurled by Ms. Gorin in her article are so appalling and insulting to our Soldiers. Her implication that 200 Serbs have died on our watch is absurd.
Members of the Joint Implementation Commission in Kosovo have a special mission. They work with the Serbian Armed Forces to enforce compliance of the Military Technical Agreement and UN Security Council Resolution 1244. They operate along the Administrative Boundary Line between Kosovo and Serbia proper (or Uza Serbia, as the Serbs call it).
Their mission takes them throughout the Multi National Task Force (East)s area of operations, and they encounter people from all walks of life. They have been guests at the homes of both Serbian and Albanian citizens of Kosovo. Not one member of the JIC team has ever seen Serbian enclaves surrounded by barbed-wire, NATO-guarded perimeters.
In most of the province, Kosovo Serbians are free to leave their enclaves, drive to their destinations, take vacations and walks. As a matter of fact, part of KFORs mission here in Kosovo is to ensure freedom of movement of all people who live here.
Orthodox Chaplain, 1st. Lt. Michael Wikstrom has traveled throughout Kosovo and has developed relationships with the religious leaders of the Serbian Orthodox community. He concurs that in the MNTF (E) area of operations, no concentration camp-like conditions exist. He says the vast majority of the province is perfectly safe for Kosovo Serbs to live and travel. He does see some areas of Kosovo where Serbian Orthodox priests and nuns could not travel alone....
It is difficult to say where Ms. Gorin is getting her erroneous information, or whether shes simply using her rather fertile imagination as a substitute for checking facts. However, her claims of what, in essence, are NATO-run concentration camps are simply untrue.
...and it goes on and on.
American soliders in Kosovo are calling Julia Gorin an out and out liar.
“Akin to how Julia Gorin does it for the Serbs?”
No. Julia Gorin has been on the Kosovo issue since the 1999 NATO Bombing, as a matter of conscience. She didn’t even know any Serbs when she got involved, and like me, it is about America’s involvement to her, not really about Serbia.
Totten has jumped on this bandwagon out of nowhere. (His knowledge and experience was the Middle East, not the Balkans) But all of a sudden he’s “promoting Kosovo independence” with the zeal of a two-dollar whore. Something’s wrong with this picture.
An Israeli In Kosove
Marc: One can be a practicing, non drinking, praying five times a day, fasting for Ramadan non sleeping around Muslim, and still be “one of the good guys”.
Yes, Marc, I know. Iraqi Kurdistan is full of people like that. The Arab parts of Iraq are becoming more like that now than they were.
Kosovo is European, so it’s different. You probably don’t know it, but cranks like Julia Gorin and Andrew Bostom are attacking me because they are certain Kosovo is a “jihad state” like Gaza even though they have never been there and will never go and have no sense of what Albanians are actually like in the real world.
I draw attention to the non-fundamentalist people in Muslim societies because many Westerners assume they do not exist, that every Muslim country on Earth is like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan. Those three countries hog so much media attention and are assumed to be standard, but they aren’t. A huge number of people I casually know still think alcohol is banned in the places I visit and that women wear “burkhas.” It’s ridiculous.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 4, 2008 10:08 AM
Well said Michael!!!!