Originally appeared at
From Camp Swampy to Camp Bondsteel!
by Stella L. Jatras
A friend asked the following question: "James Rubin admits that the US considered the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Bosnian Muslims allies . . . Why? What motive does the US have for picking these bums as pals?" A review of authoritative sources on this subject makes the answer quite obvious.
At the beginning of the Balkan conflict, Acting Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger made it clear that a US goal in Bosnia was to mollify the Muslim world. In a MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour interview on 6 October 1992, Eagleburger characterized the US governments pro-Muslim position in Bosnia as a counter to the Muslim Worlds perception of an anti-Muslim position regarding Iraq.
Dr. Ron Hatchett, Director, Center for International Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, commented on the essay "The Third American Empire," in The New York Times, 2 Jan 96:
"In a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind of the New Republic editorial staff argue that the American commitment to the Islamic connection is so strong that the US design is to make the Islamic world part of a new American empire and that American support of the Bosnian Muslims is part of the implementation of this plan."
Dr. Hatchett continues:
"General George Joulwan the American Commander in Chief of NATO told the Washington Post . . . that NATOs actions in Bosnia are not about the future of Bosnia but the future of Europe. I think this is true. Bosnia is a test case for the new American designed security architecture for Europe. If it achieves all American goals here at little or no cost [to us], then it will be applied elsewhere and it doesnt take much imagination to predict where." [The Caspian, maybe? The Middle-East? Colombia?]
In a Washington Times commentary of 4 Feb. 1996, Congressman Duncan Hunter wrote, "Under Clintons policy, Bosnia will continue to be our responsibility for the rest of the century and beyond. This is a much broader and deeper commitment than what the American people realize. It runs far beyond mere peacekeeping. ... Administration officials have looked far and wide for somewhere to implement these notions [total, systematic restructuring of a society]. Bosnia is their new laboratory, providing a larger scope for experimentation than either Somalia or Haiti." Let me repeat that. The "Administration officials have looked far and wide for somewhere to implement these notions. Bosnia is their new laboratory."
Yohanan Ramati, Chairman of the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense, wrote in his "The Cold War is Back!" (June 1996):
"The strategic goal is to turn Bosnia-Herzegovina into the main American military base in Europe and transfer the U.S. forces now stationed in Germany there. The confirmed contract (value $1.3 billion!) To build military barracks and latrines at Tuzla in the Moslem part of Bosnia is far too big to relate to the 20,000 American troops presently in Bosnia and supposed to be evacuated from there in early 1997. Nor is it likely that so much American money is being invested to build barracks for German or other European forces. So the transfer of U.S. ground forces now stationed in Germany to Bosnia is by far the most reasonable assumption - especially since Germany has been pressing for their evacuation, regarding them as an unwelcome reminder of its defeat and occupation in World War II." Yohanan Ramatis accurate prediction that the buildup in Tuzla foretold the transfer of the major American bases from Germany to the Balkan region has been reinforced by the buildup in Kosovo.
SO, MOVE OVER CAMP SWAMPY AND MAKE ROOM FOR CAMP BONDSTEEL! Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo is becoming the Mother of all Camps. "About 4,860 US troops, or roughly 77 percent of Americans deployed in Kosovo, are based here in what is, in effect, a 775-acre city being built at a cost of $32 million among the hills near the town of Urosevac." (The Times of London, 6 Oct 1999).
"It is an obvious sign that the Americans are making a major commitment to the Balkan region and plan to stay, said a senior British officer." (The Washington Post, 5 Oct. 1999). Camp Bondsteel, complete with a library, a chapel, a hospital, and three recreation centers, was named after an American officer who performed bravely in Vietnam. A fitness center and a Burger King food court rivaling those in American shopping malls offer cheap sweets and soft drinks. (The Times of London, 6 Oct 1999).
At a CATO Institute panel discussion, I asked Col. Harry Summers why predictions of our GIs coming back in body bags never materialized? He said that it was because (to paraphrase), "GIs are virtual prisoners and never allowed to leave the base because the leaders know that if they did, they would be prime targets." After all, who would want to go after a "peacekeeper" from Turkey, or from Nigeria? "They have dubbed the base Disneyland and suggest the concentration of so many soldiers in a single, isolated location will hinder their ability to perform peacekeeping tasks. This was a wheat field, said Maj. Jimmie Kenan, the hospitals chief nurse. Now, its a metropolis." (WP 5 Oct 99)
During a Congressional hearing, General John Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, testified that the Bosnia deployment could complete its mission in a year. When testifying before Congress, Skalikashvili was obligated to tell the truth, not just support administration policy. He was either lying or he was incompetent. In either case, he should have resigned or have been fired.
The bottom line is that C-A-M-P B-O-N-D-S-T-E-E-L spells a lot of $$$$ dished out by American taxpayers, (from whom we will hear little protest), and our GIs spending a lot of time separated from their families in order to implement Clintons New World Order. It also spells lucrative contracts and confiscation of Kosovos rich mining wealth for multi-national contractors and arms dealers, not to mention control of Caspian Sea oil pipelines. "With the Middle-East increasingly fragile, we will need bases and fly-over rights in the Balkans to protect Caspian Sea oil." (WP, 28 Feb 99)
Seen from this perspective, the reasons for the Kosovo War, based on exaggerated and often false claims of "humanitarian" crises, take on a different light. There is an old saying that goes, "When you cant understanding why something is being done, follow the money."
As a career military officer's wife, Stella Jatras has traveled widely and has lived in many foreign countries where she not only learned about other cultures but became very knowledgeable regarding world affairs and world politics. Stella Jatras lived in Moscow for two years where her husband, George, was the Senior Air Attache), and while there, worked in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy. Stella has also lived in Germany, Greece and Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to over twenty countries. She is the author of the 'Open Letter to General Michael Short', which antiwar.com carried on 11/3/99.
Originally appeared at http://www.antiwar.com/orig/jatras2.html