Before we engage the Serbs in a limited guerilla war over Kosovo, it
would be wise to review the experiences of the 22 German divisions that
were committed to stamping out Serb resistance between 1941 and 1945.
Though the Germans also had the help of 200,000 Croatian, Slovenian and
Bosnian Moslem volunteer auxiliaries, they still could not do the job —
and with a combined army of over 700,000 men willing to commit
atrocities that the U.S. and her allies would never contemplate in this
“civilized” day and age.

In the end, and without direct Allied help, the Serbs succeeded —
through extreme human sacrifice and one of the bloodiest partisan wars
ever fought in history — in recapturing over half their country by the
time the war had ended on all the other fronts.

Army Group E surrendered to the Serbs and was subsequently
force-marched the length and width of Serbia without food until every
German soldier had dropped dead by the wayside.

The fate of the Croatian Slovenians and Moslems who had helped the
Germans was mass murder; all prisoners were taken shot and clubbed or
tortured to death and dumped in mass graves. Over 1/2 million soldiers
and their families were thus exterminated by the Serbs — over 1 million
murdered if one counts the victims of the German Army Group E.

After the war the Serbs under Marshal Tito were determined that no
outside aggressor would ever enjoy an advantage in occupying any part of
Serbia ever again. Thereafter, for the next 40 years, a massive system
of underground defenses were constructed deep under the mountains —
atomic bomb-proof and capable of maintaining a million-man army
underground for several years while guerrilla warfare would rage against
any future aggressors. These underground facilities contain massive
quantities of munitions, field hospitals, food-stocks, fuel and consist
of thousands of miles of tunnels which can enable a guerilla force to
strike and vanish to safety during bombings and artillery strikes.

Believe me, if the Germans who utilized the most brutal tactics could
not subdue the Serbs in five years when they did not possess such a
defensive infrastructure, how much harder is it going to be now that
they have spent 50 years preparing for the next invaders? What Clinton
is doing is totally insane; a limited war against Serbia cannot be won,
period — any more than one could effectively subdue the Viet Cong with
10 years of bombing and 50,000 American dead. So long as we did not
invade the northern Vietnamese sanctuary, we ultimately failed.

Likewise, so long as we think we can dislodge the Serbs from their
ancestral homeland and the sites of their most sacred shrines and
monuments and merely contain them outside the confines of Kosovo, we
shall fail again. The lives of Americans will have been lost in vain …
again. The Serb is a patriot and will fight endlessly and as fiercely as
would any American whose land was threatened.

And of course there is much more to this historical analogy.
Actually, there were Italians helping the Germans, too. After his own
invasion got bogged down in the face of Serb resistance, Hitler went in
to save Mussolini’s skin, and lost his own in the end. Mussolini’s army
was never worth anything to begin with. It cost him the war.

You could say it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needle than for anyone to take out Serbia. There are not enough cruise
missiles to get them all. They can’t even get Eric Rudolph — the
abortion bomber hiding in the woods in North Carolina — with half the

And so it’s just expensive fireworks for now. Eventually some poor
blokes will have to walk in there on the ground if they think they
really want to own it. Then we’ll be equal. The land will belong to the
man in the forest with the sniper scope.

Ultimately, this is not about democracy vs. totalitarianism. It’s
about attacking the root soul of a people.

Joel Ruth,
MA in history, formerly resided
in Central Europe for 13 years.

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