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Some of the same Whiz Kids who helped put our country into the
Serbian frying pan are continuing to spin out harebrained schemes,
trying to improve on their burnt offering. Sources say these Ivy
college airheads are now chewing on the idea that the United States
should quietly train, arm and equip the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Arming the KLA would be like providing Special Forces demolition
training to any remaining members of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh’s
terrorist gang.

In February 1998, Robert Gelbard, Clinton’s envoy for Kosovo, said
that the KLA “is, without any questions, a terrorist group.”

Intelligence folks say Gelbard’s assessment is dead on the money.
The KLA’s leadership and ranks are filled with radicals, Islamic crazies
and heavy haters who are as responsible as Milosevic’s worst thugs for
the catastrophe visited on the tormented people of Yugoslavia.

International cops say the KLA includes global drug dealers and arms
smugglers who’ve been in bed with the Albanian Mafia for years. The
lawmen report that profits from these shady deals armed the KLA and
financed their guerrilla attacks on the Serbian police, military and the
residents of Kosovo — terrorist assaults that along with Serbian
brutality certainly helped trigger the shootout in Yugoslavia in the
first place.

Intelligence reports that some KLA members were trained by
international bomber Osama bin Laden’s outfit and that radical members
of the KLA, which is now trying to pose as a legitimate army, have sworn
they’ll go down shooting rather than give up their guns.

Recently, Croatian General Agim Ceku became the head of the KLA.
While with the Croatian Army, his killing skills were spiffed up by the
U.S. mercenary group Military Professional Resources Inc. — a
rent-an-American-soldier enterprise led by a cash-starved retired U.S.
Army four-star general.

In 1995, Gen. Ceku was a player in Operation Storm, a covert
Clinton-backed and MPRI-trained Croatian military operation that
ethnically cleansed 200,000 Serbs from their homes in Croatia, killing
thousands of civilians.

Since taking over the KLA, Ceku has purged all of its moderates. If
a KLA member was a supporter of Ibrahim Rugova, the exiled “president”
of Kosovo who for the past decade has pursued a Gandhi-like nonviolence
policy in the troubled province, he was toast. Rugova’s peaceful
approach is not welcomed by a KLA that’s into violently overthrowing the
Serbia regime in Kosovo.

On the Kosovo battlefield, the KLA has been clobbered by the more
heavily armed Serbs in every major fight — even though NATO functioned
as its dedicated air force.

During the latter phase of the war, the KLA’s operations have been
reduced to small teams operating as snipers, conducting ambushes and
spotting for NATO bombers. These fumbling greenhorns aren’t capable of
more complex tasks because the KLA is more of a mob than a trained
fighting unit. While they have a lot of warm bodies, perhaps as many as
17,000, they have few savvy leaders and their ranks are filled mainly
with recruits.

Untrained recruits augmented with cutthroats don’t make an army.
Only well-led, well- trained, well-equipped and well-disciplined
soldiers can be molded into effective fighting teams. And this is not
done with a wave of a magic wand. It takes about ten years of sweat and
hard work to organize, train and field an effective army from the
get-go.

Contrary to the Whiz Kids’ schemes and dreams, there’s no such thing
as an instant army.

Short-term solutions frequently backfire. U.S. Marines and U.S. Army
soldiers who’ll walk the dangerous peacekeeping beat in Kosovo shouldn’t
have American-trained-and-armed terrorists attacking them from the
shadows.

Once again, as with the 1990s Afghanistan War, we may find ourselves
relearning the hard lesson that yesterday’s freedom fighters can easily
become tomorrow’s terrorists. America has a long history of training
and arming the Manuel Noriegas and Saddam Husseins only to have their
soldiers kill ours when they’re no longer our favorite thugs.

So the civilian laptop commandos must stop playing Oliver North and
give up on the wrongheaded idea of supporting the KLA on the sly.

Secret armies composed of wild-eyed thugs and idealistic kids don’t
work. The KLA must be disarmed, or American peacekeepers will pay a
price in the minefields of Kosovo.

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