Monday, July 17, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" part iii

Having laid out her anti-globalization credentials in the first paragraph (the better to shroud her ultranationalist colors in academic garb), she uses the second to introduce the first of many strawmen. Allow me to quote:

"Apparantly, many people on the left, who would normally defend peace and justice, were fooled or confused by the claim that the "Kosovo War" was waged for purely humanitarian reasons."

Unless you get all of your news from network news broadcasts, it would hard for any real leftist to claim that he or she did not realize there were other factors--such as the legitimacy of NATO--at play in the Clinton Administrations actions. For that matter, even someone who only received their information from mainstream broadcasters (forget even the depth of analysis that a 3-page TIME Magazine article might provide) surely was aware that there were concerns being voiced about stability in the Balkans. And after four years of war in Croatia and Bosnia, the general public--let alone your run-of-the-mill leftist, who might be presumed (just like a self-described 'rightist' or liberal, or conservative, or anyone else who goes to the trouble of professing a political alignment)--could be forgiven for concluding that engaging in yet another round of negotiations and empty threats against Milosevic would be a waste of time.

That was the first of two sentences in this second paragraph. Where do you think Johnstone is going with this? Well, hold tight--she's got a whopper:

"The altruistic pretentions of NATO's Kosovo war served to gain public acceptance of war as the appropriate instrument of policy."

Yeah, I don't know where she gets this, either. Johnstone might be the only person in the entire known universe who believes that the Kosovo War--which enjoyed lukewarm support at best--signaled a significant shift in the US public's attitude toward the use of force. Running for President in 2000, George W. Bush didn't decry "nation-building" because it had been an important issue in his years as Texas Governor. He did it because he knew the public didn't like the idea of being "the World's Policeman." Whatever else you want to say about the man, I'm guessing Karl Rove reads the American public a little better than Johnstone does.

Maybe there were subliminal messages in the war we mere mortals aren't aware of? Notice she says "the" appropriate instrument. Notice that she doesn't specify any particular kind of policy. Where she gets this hyperbolic bit of insight, I have no idea.

But that second sentence was merely the set-up. Here's the real head-turner:

"This opened the way for the United States, in the wake of 11 September, 2001, to attack Afghanistan as the opening phase of a new, long-term "war against terrorism."

It's not clear whether or not Johnstone considers the Kosovo war a deliberate prelude to later military actions (two years before 9/11), or whether she thinks she's explaining a process that led, inevitably, to the decision to invade Afghanistan. She does believe they were linked, however. She will later explain this connection as best she can--better, anyway, than her non-attempt to explain why the American public, in the wake of Taliban support for Al Qaeda, would not have supported the invasion of Afghanistan without the Kosovo war having first innoculated them.

People, we're still on page one. There are 269 pages of this lunacy.


Owen said...

I suspect that in the UK and Europe awareness of the extensively reported impact of the NATO bombing of Belgrade made the general public rather more anxious about supporting the war in Afghanistan than they might have been otherwise.

Kirk Johnson said...

That's a good point--if anything, the Kosovo War might have made the public less receptive to military action.

Anonymous said...

kmScA6 write more, thanks.