Yugoslavia: Get Out Already!

There is something supremely obscene about bombing an entire country on the pretext that you are trying to save one group of civilians and then you end up killing some of the very ones you are trying to save.

By the time NATO has completed its mission, it will have left in ruins a great number of cities in Yugoslavia, demolished much of the infrastructure, many industries will be gone, thousands will be left homeless and unemployed, innocent people throughout the land will have been killed, and hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians will be roaming around trying to figure out where they belong. All the while, President Milosevic will be going strong like the “Energizer Bunny”.

And when it’s all over, The United States, a few token countries and perhaps some corporations will shoulder the costs of rebuilding. The effort will be enormous and it will take a very long time, which means we’ve now sent Yugoslavia back in time fifty or so years.

Countries around Yugoslavia will have been destabilized as a result of the massive exodus of refugees. They can’t cope with them. No country can. This isn’t the 1950’s anymore. Overpopulation already exists in most countries and resources, monetary and environmental, are stretched thin.

Albania is considered the poorest country in Europe. Does anyone really think it would be able to absorb the Kosovars? Macedonia doesn’t want them and frankly I doubt any other nation would readily want to accept them if not for their consciences and a certain sense of moral responsibility.

NATO has taken great care to avoid civilian losses but admits that its ‘smart bombs’ aren’t all that smart and casualties will result. And they have. Dead Serbs, dead Kosovo Albanians, dead Chinese. The latest is another 53 Kosovars killed in a nighttime air raid at what was described as a “military camp and command post”. That means, according to NATO, that they weren’t supposed to be there. Well they probably weren’t supposed to have been in that bus, or on that train or driving along that road when they got bombed too. But the number of dead is adding up. That’s what war is all about. It will never be as clean as modern militarists would like.

American soldiers have been captured; American planes have crashed. We’ve lost a few men. Something tells me that if we were fighting against African Pygmies who only sported spears, the results would be the same. We’re not doing so well. Maybe we ought to throw in the towel.

There is, of course, no excuse for Milosevic. Most agree that he needs to be obliterated, but just like Saddam, he’s still around as everything falls around him. Tyrants do not give up their palaces that easily. You can’t bomb them out of existence and you can’t reason with them.

Where are all those elite covert operatives you read about in the spy novels? Can’t they simply do these guys in when no one’s looking? In the past, there were revolutions to rid oppressors. Now, everyone seems to just roll over and die. The point is it should never have come to this. Our military and political leaders need to rethink the formula for war and peace. Because the answer they’ve come up with just isn’t working and the cost to all is way too high.

It is monstrous that the Kosovo Albanians are being killed by Milosovic’s Serb forces and driven from their homes. It is equally monstrous that NATO can’t stop the onslaught after so many weeks. If it isn’t working, don’t do more of the same, try a different tack! (original post  May, 1999)


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