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PostMilosevic's Final Solution (Ronald Hilton, USA, 04/02/99 2:48 am)
WAISers hold strong opinions about Kosovo. This comes from Lukas Haynes, who has had direct experience and who is writing a book on the military role of the U.N:
"Even if one were to entertain the argument from Milosevic's propaganda machine that the Kosovo Liberation Army's murders of Serb police officers justified a major military crackdown and the complete pacification of Kosovo, the Serb autocrat's political goals have always been clear to anyone who has walked the streets of Pristina and catalogued the discrimination of the past 10 years (myself included as a human rights analyst for Oxfam).
Unfortunately, with the help of eyewitness testimony from hundreds of thousands of refugees there is no way for Milosevic to mask his 'final solution' campaign for the complete cleansing of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
As we exchange emails and safely debate the 'evolution' of international standards, Serb police officers, civil servants, paramilitary volunteers, and released inmates line the streets of Kosovo cities herding hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians and religious muslims onto trains, detaining, torturing, and murdering fighting age men, and looting the private property and family heirlooms of an entire nation of people. As Suzana Krusnigi described Kosovo's capital, once populated by several hundred thousand Kosovars: "All Pristina is empty today. No Albanians. Only Serbs with guns, they all have guns. Can the world see what they are doing?"
As I once wrote about the diabolical purge of Krajina Serbs by Croatia's autocrat and American negotiating partner Tudjman, Balkan 'ethnic cleansing' is evil-- no worse than what was visited upon the refugees of former Zaire-- but somehow more difficult for me to accept because Americans have never pretended to learn lessons from African history. The Balkans, however, are just a short flight from the concentration camps that American GI's liberated from Mussolini and Hitler. "Never again," our leaders have said but, because our policymakers are chronically paralyzed by a fear of GI body bags, they hem and they haw, they negotiate with murderous dictators, they define more and more limited, military objectives, and they assuage their guilt or cowardice by declaring that "we will continue to carry out our mission with determination and resolve...[Clinton at Norfolk Naval Air Station, 1 April 1999]."
What exactly is that mission, Mr. President? And will anyone at NATO admit that raining bombs and missiles will not save a single life? Will Clinton, Solana, General Clark admit that the resolute allies of NATO will have failed in every possible way to prevent a two-bit Serbian thug from rearranging the populations of Bosnia and Kosovo and even animating Russian nationalists who are itching to use the Russian nuclear arsenal to blackmail the West?
Perhaps it was not NATO's responsibility, nor ours (if you believe Pat Buchanan), to protect a single Kosovar. Perhaps it is best left to build a multibillion dollar establishment to fight non-existent enemies. If that is the position of our government, it should say so rather than pretending NATO is a force for stability in Europe and then intervening with one hand tied behind its back."
My comment: Lukas is quite right that it is absurd to build the horribly expensive U.S. war machine and then not to use it because we don't want to put our troops in harm's way. However, even the Pentagon is scared of a Vietnam-like backlash. This was clear when Colin Powell was chief of staff. Where are we? Wilson, at the beginning of World War I, and Roosevelt, at the beginning of World War II. vowed to keep us out of the war, but wars have their own dynamics.