A fun story about a hero's welcome for President Bush in Albania has been making the rounds the past couple of days. We are being told that Albania is another one of those former Soviet countries that has a special appreciation for the freedom America represents. Even more than that, we learn, Albanians are especially grateful to America for its aid in the Balkan wars. However, the story of the Balkans, and of Albania, is a great deal more complicated than the standard narrative would have you believe.
Did you know, for example, that ethnic Albanians are overwhelmingly Muslim? Do you remember that the recent Fort Dix terrorist plotters were ethnic Albanians? Did you know about Al Qaeda's longstanding presence in Albania? Islamic fundamentalism in Albania was almost entirely ignored during America's military intervention there, since it was years before 9/11. Today, however, I think it may be time to reconsider our involvement.
Here is a must-read article from a Canadian general who commanded UN troops in the Balkans, who argues that we fought for the wrong side. Key excerpt:
The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and
indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and
independent Kosovo.We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the
violence in the early '90s and we continue to portray them as the designated
victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary. When they achieve
independence with the help of our tax dollars combined with those of bin Laden
and al-Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other
terrorist-supported independence movements around the world.
Julia Gorin has also written at length about the myths of Kosovo. This article ends with links to all her other articles on the subject. As she puts it, "we mistook for Nazis people who were fighting the Nazis' real heirs."
I frankly do not know what to make of all this, at least not with any certainty. All I am saying is that we should be careful about this outpouring of Albanian friendship, and President Bush should be very careful before declaring, as he has, that he supports Kosovo's independence (I was reminded of de Gaulle's infamous cry, "Vive le Quebec libre!").
There may be more here than meets the eye.
UPDATE: So it begins. HotAir has the video; I told you they couldn't be trusted!