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Diary of an Uncivil War:
The Violent Aftermath of the Kosovo Conflict.

Scott Taylor. Esprit de Corps Books, Ottawa, Canada. 2002.

SCOTT TAYLOR has done it again. For much of the 1990s his hard-hitting magazine Esprit de Corps, along with his books, exposed crime and corruption within the Canadian military. Then his book Inat gave us the other side of the NATO air war over Serbia. Now Scott has produced another first-hand account which continues where Inat left off. Uncivil War further reveals the folly of Western quasi-imperialist intervention.

While the international media left the Balkans after the 1999 war, Taylor has maintained a strong and passionate interest in the region, and he especially has become concerned about the unreported plight of the Serbian people. Uncivil War is a diary of Taylor’s return visits to Serbia and Kosovo, along with visits to Macedonia in 2000. As the diary entries would indicate, the Serbian-Albanian conflict has not ended! Supposedly the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA or UCK) “disarmed”, but in reality this was a token gesture. The KLA still dreams of a greater Albania, and Taylor provides the maps. KLA units have continued to secretly train, smuggle and store weapons, and then inflict terror and intimidation on the Kosovo Serbs. Also the KLA has carried their struggle into Macedonia. The NATO “peacekeepers” have not solved the problems, and appear to have been only intent on keeping “an acceptable level of violence.”

Yet, there is a major irony in this conflict given the current attention on the Middle East. Taylor documents the links which the Albanians and the Bosnian Muslims have with Osama bin Laden’s al-Quaeda network! What does western intervention do for these conflicts abroad? Your “friend” in one war just might be your “enemy” in the next. NATO’s war against Christian Serbia has not earned the West, and the United States in particular, any brownie points with Osama and company.

Ulster readers should find the Kosovo scenario as being all to familiar. First, slanted media reporting about a guerrilla/terrorist ethnic conflict leads to external meddling. When the outsiders take up their positions to deliver “reconciliation”, one side simply uses the outsider presence as a smokescreen to continue the war by other means. Atrocities committed by that side rarely get media attention because the ‘do-gooder’ reporters have moved on elsewhere. It should be no surprise that the term “uncivil war” has also graced the title of a book on the Ulster troubles.

Like his other works Uncivil War is easy to read. Taylor has run up many miles in travelling, and he has certainly rubbed shoulders with the locals. The only weakness is that sometimes he takes the line from the Serbian state media at face value without some critical analysis. Our memories may be short, but the former Yugoslavia was a Communist country for about five decades, and the old party attitudes of disinformation do die hard. (One has to remember this when hearing the claims of any the sides in the Balkan conflict.) Also in his exposure of the American involvement he should mentioned those American isolationists who have opposed intervention. (Pat Buchanan, three times a Presidential candidate, said on CNN that there was NO American interest at all in the region.) Nonetheless Scott Taylor has produced another classic for the anti-imperialist library.

Alex Greer

For websites of interest on Balkan matters check the Serbian Unity Congress, a Serbian American group, and also check the archives of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.




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