Richard Reeves on Kosovo - POWERFUL Editorialgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
The piece speaks for itself...
The NATO mission is deceptive, costly, dangerous and wrong
------------------------------------------------------------------------ If we still had a draft -- if our reluctant children's lives were on the line -- this would not be happening. ------------------------------------------------------------------------
By RICHARD REEVES Universal Press Syndicate
Commentary on the latest American effort to bomb people into doing what we want them to do begins, of course, with the obligatory disclaimer that we all support our boys and girls and the goal of their mission. I don't.
Frankly, the whole thing makes me sick. And these are the reasons:
I am against the repeated pattern of demonizing one big, bad man -- Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Manual Noriega, warlords in Africa -- and then letting loose the dogs of war to try to rip that bad man apart in the public square. This is another attempt at regime change, assassination by armada.
This particular mission of death from on high is a mystery to the American people. In an amazing national poll result, published last Friday by the Los Angeles Times, only 47 percent of respondents correctly identified which groups were fighting each other in Kosovo.
We are invaders. Kosovo is not a country; it is a province of Yugoslavia, the equivalent of South Carolina. We have, once again, inserted ourselves into a civil war that began hundreds of years before Columbus got to the New World.
This is costing a fortune.
History is being distorted and manipulated to persuade the Americans paying attention (and the bills) that execution and murder in Yugoslavia are a threat to world peace. It is absurd to argue that this is 1914 and the world is about to be plunged into war.
Common sense is offended by statements that the United States itself is threatened by a despicable tinhorn like Milosevic. If any countries are threatened, it is our European allies. And you do not have to be von Clausewitz to know that Great Britain and the rest would not be attacking Yugoslavia without American leadership and our bankroll.
Who exactly are we trying to help here? The Kosovo Liberation Army is a bunch of thugs, though perhaps not quite as experienced as the Serbian rulers. And the Kosovars, referred to as ``Albanians,'' do not want to be part of Albania, because Albania is a much poorer country than Yugoslavia. What the KLA wants is its own country, an American protectorate.
Truth is the first casualty in war. I do not believe what I hear from various military spokesmen. They are morale officers. But, sadly, we will not know that the Patriot missiles or something else did not work the way we were told they worked until it is too late to do anything about it.
I do not believe that air power can change the military situation on the ground -- and, politically, it could rally Serbs around their leader. Yes, it is possible that millions of tons of explosives can force Milosevic and the Serbs to back down, but we will have to stay there, on the ground, to keep them down. They will hate us, and the minute we leave, the killing will resume.
``Collateral damage.'' No matter how good our satellites, gyroscopes and spokesmen are, we are firing from far away into a crowd, and most of the people in that crowd are civilians.
We are a great power, but that does not mean we can use that power to get what we want at any historical moment. There is something incredibly foolish about the way we are personalizing world politics and warfare. By targeting one man, as a propaganda device, we are throwing away our great advantage. The United States is secured against all-out war from anywhere, but if we reduce conflicts to personal duels, with a single bullet or a homemade bomb as the weapon of choice, we are no more powerful than Yugoslavia or Iraq. And because our society is more open, our duelist, the president, is more vulnerable than any individual enemy.
Finally, what the events of the past few years have shown me, at least, is that the core of our problems as self-appointed world policeman and arbiter of world morality is the fact that we now have a voluntary military. Our troops and weaponry are far and away the best the world has ever seen. But that level of skill and capability tempts political leadership to use our men and women as high-tech hitmen.
In simple words: If we still had a draft -- if our reluctant children's lives were on the line -- this would not be happening. We have unthinkingly turned over our power as free citizens to professionals, politicians and soldiers. So they are doing whatever they want to do, anywhere they want to do it -- and we are not complaining. If the polls are anywhere near accurate, we don't know and we don't care what is happening over there. It's not in my back yard.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ Richard Reeves is a syndicated columnist and author. Write him c/o Universal Press Syndicate, 4520 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111-7701.
-- Roland (email@example.com), April 02, 1999
Two thumbs up.
-- Roger Ebert (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 02, 1999.
Does someone actually pay Richard Reeves for this ignorant krapp?
-- dave (email@example.com), April 02, 1999.
What is this crap? What is he talking about? I guess he'd just prefer to sit back from a safe distance and watch the slaughter for another 5 years from BBC TV?? Or just ignore it, right??
I suppose he would have been ok with Hitler(et al)- as long as it was kept inside Germany???????
Why do we *have* a MILITARY for heaven's sake?
Of cource the military choices are not perfect. They are messy, difficult, terribly complicated & yes: Always the lesser of +which+ evils...
But innocent civilians tortured/excecuted...stripped of everything they own even their identity, women, elderly, children??? so many breaches of international (geneva conference) rules... etcetc... for many years now...
SOMEONE HAS TO DO SOMETHING!! Is the USA just going to play "practice runs" with the military and never USE IT for worthy reasons, like: trying to prevent more innocents from being murdered??... arrrrrrgh!
Get these selfish (armchair 'intellectual') cowards out of my face.
-- Diane Beatty (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 02, 1999.
Clinton has grossly miscalculated the response of Milosvec. He has dragged in a bunch of countries to fight his liberal war. The result of this escapade will be felt for years.
The bottom line is that the invasion was illegal according to international law. For example, millions of people in Africa are suffering a fate similar to what is happening in Kosovo, and yet Nato doesn't do anything about the despots committing ethnic cleansing there. Such double standards!
Get out of Kosovo.
-- b lambie (email@example.com), April 02, 1999.
Dave and Dianne B. typify how woefully ignorant and stupid their arguments are, and how dense American people have become.
Either that or they're die-hard Clintonistas and they will go to their deaths defending this President.
The Nazis supported Hitler with the same kind of fervor as the Clintonistas support Slick.
To all our peril folks.
-- INVAR (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 02, 1999.
While I agree with Richard that the US (and NATO) shouldn't be in Kosovo, he's wrong about the draft.
Can you say "Vietnam"? We had a draft, "reluctant" fighters, and we were stuck in Southeast Asia for YEARS.
Fact is, our military is NOT able to get enough recruits to allow us to keep intervening everywhere. This is an accurate reflection of national sentiment. Young people don't want to go to Somalia, or Saudi Arabia, or Korea, or Kosovo - so they're not joining up.
In case you haven't heard, there's been talk lately of reinstituting the draft. WHY? Because we're not getting enough recruits. WHY? Because they don't want to fight in conflicts that do not affect America.
If the draft was back, we'd be in MORE wars, not less.
-- Jollyprez (email@example.com), April 02, 1999.
We're not in Kosovo for humanitarian reasons. If you believe that, you're a sap. This is all strategic. America is no longer a republic. It's an oligarchy, an empire, it's strings pulled by hidden elites. You are being jerked off by the media so you'll support cold blooded murder for profit. Remember: if international troops can violate the sovereignty of Serbia today, they might do the same on U.S. soil tomorrow. The noose is tightening. You are utter fools - and for your gullibility you are as much to blame as the architects of America's demise.
-- Prepared (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 02, 1999.
It's all too easy for people to sit back and say "Let's use our army" Especially when it's not YOU, or your children, or your husband. If you don't believe me, Just ask Clinton. He wouldn't serve in a war he didn't believe in, But now that he is safe from the battle, He's all for sending our army into a battle that WE don't believe in. So until I see you IN the army, IN the mud, AT RISK of loosing your loved ones for no good reason. Shut up. Or enlist. Then you can spout your drivel all you want to.
-- Paladin (HaveGun@Will.Travel), April 02, 1999.
Hell Diane, join up if you feel so strongly that SOMEONE HAS TO DO SOMETHING. They're even trying to get women to be allowed in combat. I'm sure they would love a tiger like you. Here's the litmus test for any conflict. Are you willing to send a loved one to die for the cause, or to die yourself? If not, don't be so eager to send someone elses loved ones. Since you asked, the military is supposed to be for defense. Not in awhile though.
-- RB (R@AR.list), April 02, 1999.
Reeves writes "...if our reluctant children's lives were on the line "
He seems to be saying that the American troops now in the Balkan theater are orphans, every one. Is there any independent verification of this claim? I've never seen it mentioned before.
-- Tom Carey (email@example.com), April 02, 1999.
No, Tom, he's saying there are no *reluctant* children there; they are there voluntarily.
And to Jolly: I think the point is that if draftees, rather than volunteers were fighting , there would be more protest and outrage over these sortees into other countries' conflicts.
-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), April 02, 1999.
Clinton: if you are so interested in human rights, let's see you fire up the Patriots to reclaim Tibet. Oops, then that nasty word 'CH**A' might crop up in the headlines ...
-- Blue Himalayan (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 02, 1999.
"War is not healthy for children and other living things." or " What if they gave a war and knowbody came?" Remember?
-- Justin Case (justin case@Aloha.com), April 02, 1999.
Diane, get your tired, dumb ass over there and do something.
-- KoFE (your@town.USA), April 02, 1999.
I find I have such a wide range of anger about the Kosovo situation. It is difficult to even put them down for discussion. But, let me give this a shot and get some of it off my chest.
My first experience with this kind of situation began in June 1968 6 months following the Tet Offensive. I spent a year in the Central Highlands going between two vacation locations Plekiu and Ahn Khe. I was at the end of a command chain with no fixed goal, little US support and assholes like Jane Fonda (BTW Jane, sit on any gun platforms in Serbia lately) pointing out our folly. Strangely, I supported ( and still do ) our efforts in Viet Nam. I do this for one reason, we gave our word to a civilian population, to protect them. Right or Wrong, the US word must mean something. I have heard all the arguments on whether we should have been involved or not, but once we were in, we should have finished it. I hear little said about the hundreds of thousands that were executed or re-educated when we left. I still see the faces of friends I had there who are more than likely long dead.
Now, we are doing the same thing in Kosovo. Clinton, and his big- dick mentality began bombing without a complete plan, without support in place, without aid in place for the refuges, and with the ridiculous thought that bombing would cause the Serbs to cave. (Have you ever heard of Rolling Thunder??) And, we have placed hundreds of thousands of Albanians at risk.
Another questions. How does one man take us to war without a public debate??? If you recall the Gulf War there was a lengthy debate and then a vote on whether to proceed. Where is that debate now??
That said, how can we turn our back on this disaster that we have created?? I feel very uncomfortable abandoning these people. In the same light, I have no confidence in the administration to pull this off. Here is my offer for what it is worth.
1: Formally declare war on Serbia. 2: Transport a force of at least 500,000 troops to the region. 3: Fully involve our NATO allies in this so they have a stake in making it work. 4: Once everything is in place, grant a 48 hour period for the Serbs to determine the direction they wish to take. 5: Enter into a total war with Serbia until they are broken. 6: Rebuild the houses of Kosovo and the destruction that we create in Serbia. 7: Turn Kosovo into a protectorate to protect the Albanians once they return.
What is the moral of this path?? DO NOT ENTER A CONFLICT WITHOUT A PLAN, WITHOUT PROPER FORCE, AND WITHOUT A DEFINED END. THINK BEFORE YOU SHOOT FOR GODS SAKE!!!!
While we are at it, lets add number 8, remove Clinton from office for an illegal use of military power without the approval of the American people. (God he is such an asshole!!!)
My thoughts. I pray for the folks in the military everyday. Been there, done that, have the T Shirt, have the medals, have the friends of the Wall - it sucks!!!
-- Bill Keller (Lt. Col, USAF-ANG, Ret.) (email@example.com), April 02, 1999.
War is the health of the state.
-- A (A@AisA.com), April 02, 1999.
Diane the clueless and Col. Keller the compounder of errors.
Lessee, how about if a bunch of Mexicans got elected to high government office in Texas, brought 30 million Mexican nationals over the border, gave them all American citizenship documents, then started a war with the U.S. to secede. When the U.S. governement stripped the illegals of their documents and sent them packing, the rest of the world bombs America because we were commiting "genocide" on the "Texicans". Hope you like that, because THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S HAPPENING IN KOSOVO.
It's like my grandfather said: "S**t will do for brains, if you're lucky."
-- sparks (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 02, 1999.