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A Time to Back Down?

By Mary Fan & Chris Jackson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 12, 1999
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By Mary Fan

There should be a hush over the Balkans today.

There should have been a hush yesterday.

A space for Serbs to stop and scratch consciences that should be ragged with the continuing futility and folly of it all. A time for Serbs and NATO forces alike to resurrect values other than aggression, other than vengeance.

But on Orthodox Easter yesterday, the bombs continued to whistle over Yugoslavia, and media accounts of that dim day showed only defiance, and no dawning.

The first media account in weeks to break from a disturbing tendency to seek out the most polar portrayals of Serbians as wholly evil butchers, served up instead another unconscious propaganda: Serbs denouncing the air strikes and braving them to attend mass in a community show of determination.

The picture is damning on many levels. Most critically, it shows a NATO apparently fulfilling every ugly expectation that its critics, most notably Russia, have believed.

The Serbs say they have shut down their war machine in Kosovo and pulled on home. But the massive NATO machine keeps churning, buffeting a body that has apparently stopped flailing.

Now there is talk of foreign troops entering Kosovo and every wrong hackle is raised among the Serbians, and the Russians. These opponents believe their great fear that NATO is using the age-old Balkan conflict as a pretext for penetrating and occupying the region is being realized.

This continuing polarization is excruciating for a region that is crying for a hush. It promises that once again, superpower patronage will not allow old hatreds to die.

And this makes any hope of reinjecting Kosovar Albanians back into a secure home to live autonomously - from NATO nations, as well as Serb rule - a foolish and futile one.

What a waste. What a waste of blood spilled precisely because of this continuing pattern of renewal of hatred, amplification of hatred on the strength of unceasing superpower intervention.

The deaths, the great historic injustices of Albanian against Serbian and now, terribly, Serbian against Albanian has bought nothing. Not even a momentary hush.

The Serbs still hate the Albanians, Albanians still hate the Serbs, Russia again trains her nuclear weapons on the U.S.and the foolishness and futility of it all is obscured in the continuing babble of aggression and counterhatred.

By Chris Jackson

When NATO began bombing Yugoslavia two weeks ago, a line had been crossed. Now it's time to cross another line, if the Clinton administration ever grows a backbone.

Despite criticism over NATO's decision to keep bombing Yugoslavia during yesterday's celebration of Orthodox Easter, it is not enough.

The fighting did not stop in Kosovo, even though President Slobodan Milosevic declared a cease fire on the ground. It is true that it might have been the KLA attacking the

Serb army and the Serbs merely defending themselves, but time and time again Milosevic has not kept his word.

He is a dictator in the same vein as Saddam Hussein, and unlike how it dealt with Hussein, the United States must do the right thing this time.

NATO must invade Kosovo with ground troops, secure the province, and then march on Belgrade and remove Milosevic by force.

But President Clinton and his advisers are too busy watching polls and worrying about what effect all of this is going to have on Vice President Al Gore's chances in 2000. If Clinton had listened to his NATO allies and to the men in the Pentagon ground troops would already be in position to strike.

Without any sort of ground presence, Milosevic shocked the international community and launched a massive purge of the Kosovar Albanians that has resulted in over 500,000 people being expelled from the province. NATO's air attacks did exactly the opposite of what Clinton had anticipated. Yugoslavia lashed out like a wounded animal instead of backing away and biding its time like Iraq did.

The bombing campaign has failed in stopping the human exodus from Kosovo, and it will not stop the fighting or force Milosevic to capitulate. Talks between Milosevic and his pseudo-international contacts, Cyprus and Russia, have gone nowhere.

Diplomacy has been exhausted. The bombing campaign cannot stop the ethnic cleansing. After all, for every tank and bunker destroyed, all it takes is three guys, some AK-47s and a jeep to force an unarmed Kosovo family out of its house.

NATO has painted itself into a corner. If it withdraws, it will lose face and quite possibly disintegrate, and the human slaughter will continue and likely spread across the borders into Macedonia and Albania.

It's time to invade Kosovo, and then to oust Milosevic. Otherwise it's all for nothing.