tervention, an estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians were killed and 800,000 forced to flee Kosovo, many of their homes and businesses looted, bombed, or burned. Despite a month of bombing, Milosevich apparently achieved his objectives, and the death and destruction that NATO had sought to prevent occurred rapidly and on a massive scale. How did this tragedy come about? First, President Bill Clinton was the primary decision-maker. Like most presidents, he is essentially a domestic politician, relatively inexperienced in international issues. And the Kosovo crisis came at precisely the wrong time. Clinton was besieged first by L’Affaire Lewinsky and then, almost immediately, by his impeachment trial in the Senate. When he finally faced the Kosovo problem, his advisors let him down. The intelligence community, headed by the Central Intelligence Agency, once again provided conflicting reports, and military advisors, who had opposed the deployment of peacekeeping forces . in Bosnia in 1995, were again reluctant to recommend intervention. It was Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, neither one a military strategist, who advised threatening Milosevich with aerial bombardment. \(Contrary to popular belief, in the post-W.W.II era, military action has much more often been recommended by civilian adfailed to persuade Milosevich, Albright and others thought that a few bombs and cruise missiles would do the trick; if the threat of few raids now should cause him to cooperate. As so often happens, weapons that are readily available dictate the strategy, rather than a carefully designed strategy dictating the weapons. This off-the-cuff strategy was not without its appeal. Operation Desert Storm, the war against Iraq in 1991, had generated significant support from the American people and those of other coalition countries. Over a forty-four-day period, air power largely American air power had gained control of Iraqi airspace, destroyed air defenses, isolated the battlefield by destroying transportation and communication facilities, and severely damaged and demoralized the Iraqi army before coalition ground forces entered the battle. The result was a “turkey shoot,” a quick military victory with almost no casualties for the victors. In 1999, no one wanted to invade Yugoslavia with ground forces, yet there was widespread skepticism that NATO could achieve its objectives through the air. \(The more cynical critics of air power described it as “immaculate coercion,” or claimed that “air power is like the failure to use ground forces was clearly a mistake militarily, the much more serious error was violating the principle of war known as “Mass.” NATO began hostilities against Serbia with only a handful of aircraft and cruise missiles. If NATO had followed the example of the U.N. coalition in Desert Storm and massed all of its weapons prior to the attack, during the Rambouillet negotiations, much of the death and destruction in Kosovo would have been avoided. Despite this tragic ineptitude, NATO occupies the moral high ground. The knee-jerk liberal/progressive/pacifist reaction of STOP THE BOMBING! to NATO’s intervention is simplistic, inadequate, even counter-productive, when dealing with the Saddam Husseins and Slobodan Miloseviches of this world. They welcome this reac A Near Ferizaj, Kosovo. Tom Francis, of the Dallas Center for Survivors of Torture, with Romany children tion it suits their immoral purposes perfectly. Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy of non-violent resistance worked well against the British Viceroy in India, but it is worse than useless against a Milosevich or a Hussein. What those of us of the liberal/progressive/pacifist persuasion must never forget is that these isms are not ends in themselves but means to a much greater end. That end is democracy: a society based on the principles of individual freedom, equality and the rule of law; a society free of violence, in which all individuals have the opportunity to reach their maximum potential. Ironically and this is of crucial importance there are times when we must use undemocratic means, even violent means, to achieve democracy. Ideally, we could deal with a Milosevich through a body of international law that is comprehensive, just, and enforceable. But no such law exists, and the world moves toward this ideal very slowly. It was part of Thomas Jefferson’s genius to perceive and accept this, and his response in 1776 was to write the most influential political document in human history, the Declaration of Independence. This is what the Declaration is all ‘about. It is a justification for the use of extra-legal and ultimately violent means to throw off tyranny and establish a democratic society. And the tyranny of George III was mild indeed compared to that of a Slobodan Milosevich or a Saddam Hussein. A contemporary of Jefferson’s expressed a similar conviction. Paraphrasing Edmund Burke \(a name rarely found in the pages of the “All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.” Jefferson’ s approach is more compelling today than ever, because in the second half of the twentieth century, the nature of warfare has changed. Instead of state-against-state, warfare is increasingly state-against-its-own-people: Idi Amin against his own people in Uganda; Pol Pot in Cambodia; and in the nineties, Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in Iraq, Franjo Tudjman against Serbs in Croatia, Rwanda against the Tutsis, and Milosevich against the Muslim Albanians in Serbia. Should the U.N. and NATO simply ignore this barbarity? Would the Holocaust have been acceptable if Adolph Hitler had merely reserved the gas chambers at Buchenwald and Belsen for those Jews, gypsies, and others who were citizens of the Third Reich? Cliff Pearson THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19 OCTOBER 15, 1999
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