THE WIND AND THE LION II



The Kosovo crisis has brought about the dispatch of Teddy Roosevelt and Apaches to the Mediterranean. That is, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), and Apache helicopters. Well, with a bit of a change, it could have been . . .

Prishtina, Kossovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire, April 4, 1904 American President Theodore Roosevelt arrived here today to inspect the multi-national peacekeeping force deployed to the troubled Ottoman province. International concern over the conflict between Servian militiamen and the Albanian inhabitants of the territory has led to the dispatch of the force, which includes a battalion of U.S. Marines, along with British, French, German, and Italian troops.

Servian warlord Slobodan Milosevitch, interviewed in his mountain stronghold by British reporter Edward D. Malone, indicated that his proud tribesmen would continue their struggle. "Five hundred years ago, after our glorious defeat at Kossovo, the Mohammedan enemies of Christianity placed Servia under their iron heel. Though overcome, we have not yet been conquered, and will fight to the last man against the Mohammedans and their Western Janizaries!"

Interviewed in Belgrade, Servian King Peter refused to officially disavow the militias or to acknowledge them as official soldiers of the Karageorgevitch monarchy. The King is reported to be still in search of support, having come to the throne only last year after the murder of the Obrenovitch monarch King Alexander, which may explain why he has not taken a harder line with warlords such as Milosevitch.

The President will review the Marine contingent today and dine with the force commander, German General Paul von Benckendorff und von Hindenburg. His schedule for the next few days includes meetings with German Kaiser Wilhelm II at his summer home on Corfu and with Italian King Victor Emmanuel III in Naples.

When asked about potential responses to continued Servian aggression, the President said, "If necessary, I will dispatch Apaches to Kossovo. A few Servian scalps lifted should show them who's civilized!

"I'd like to see this Slobodan face to face; just me, him, and a couple of rifles. We'd shake hands, have a drink, and then settle this man to man. What a bully little war we have here!"

The international peacekeeping force was formed after local efforts to resolve the crisis failed, with offers of Austrian intervention rejected by King Peter and Russian efforts rebuffed by the Sublime Porte. It is reported that a Russian fleet under Admiral Rozhdestvensky has departed Kronstadt with the aim of patrolling the Adriatic coast in order to safeguard the interests of the Servians, and that the Dual Monarchy has reinforced General Potiorek's forces occupying Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Sanjak of Novi-Bazar.

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