18 March 2011


Gary Brecher or The War Nerd made famous by The Exile strikes again this time over at The American Conservative.

I like Brecher (Dolan) as a writer, he has a way with words and is very enjoyable to read. But I’d have my head examined if I let what he writes greatly shape my opinion on the real world out there.

He mixes a few common sense points with copious amounts of pure fantasy. With the matter-of-fact tone he employs and the random bits of information he throws out there it is easy to come to think he know just about all there is to know about the various obscure conflicts he mentions in his pieces.

But if his knowledge of the Balkans is an indication of the rest of it, this is not so much real knowledge as it is a mix of the absolute crudest form of stereotyping, misheard tidbits of information and literary inventions thrown in for their effect.

In the context of the Kosovo War the article speaks of a "Serb militia" fighting alongside the police, "the gullible Beltway pundit crowd" falling for an Albanian trick and KLA's "connections with al-Qaeda". In reality the KLA was given battle by the Priština Corps of the 3rd Army (Armija) of the Army (Vojska) of Yugoslavia, not militiamen. The Westerners were not "duped" by the Račak 'massacre', they helped with the performance. And the KLA is many things, but pro-Al Quada is not one of them.

Then there are the sweeping statements about the nature of warfare in the Balkans. Apparently it can all be subsumed under "tribes" running around massacring each other since times immemorial. How unusual, a Westerner letting his imagination run loose in the Balkans.

Lastly, regardless of Brecher's flair for the outrageous he is unable to challenge the official wisdom regarding the Serbs without inserting a qualifying statement first: "Now, I have no trouble with the Serbs as fairly bad guys when provoked..." Brecher has in the past sang unqualified praises of Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the Tutsis and the Turks. But tackling the Balkans without a qualifying statement about the Serbs is out of his comfort zone.

Brecher puts creating literature above writing punditry. He is best read that way too.

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