Background of Kosovo:
-The Balkans have been a very unstable region for hundreds of years. The reason for contention is because of ethnic origin and disputes of which race owns which land.. That is the reason for the dispute over Kosovo is because of the same thing. This is a very complicated situation, that I don’t really know everything about. I just kind of know the basics. Back in the 1500 hundreds, the Serbs conquered the Kosovo area, slowly and gradually over the years the Ethnic Albanians started occupying the territory, until before the bombing began, Kosovo consisted of 90% Ethnic Albanians. Well, the Serbs didn’t like this, especially Milosevic who is the ruler over Serbia. Since Kosovo has many historical ties to the Serbs, and the Serbs conquered that territory back in the 1500 hundreds, Milosevic wanted to reclaim their rightful territory. And his method to do this was through ethnic cleansing Kosovo.
-Milosevic has been doing this subtlety for years, and as of last fall has increased his killing of ethnic Albainians. To date, there are now 200,00 people dead as a result of Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing. That is probably a very low figure. 100,000 Kosovar men are now missing, which might be the reason for the mass graves that have been pictured. Nearly one half a million people have been expelled from their homes, many forced out at gunpoint, while the Serbian troops destroyed their identity papers, making them unable to return to their homes. This flood of refugees have overwhelmed neighboring countries, who are economically weak, and are unable to take in all the refugees. 600,000 Kosovars are surviving off the land in mountains nearby.
-You might wonder what business the U.S. has in a country on the other side of the world, where it seems to be no political interest whatsoever. That is a big controversery of whether or not NATO should be involved. At first I was against NATO involvement for just those reasons, why should NATO get involved where there would be no benefit to us, because this was more of a humanitarian issue. But as I researched this and read more about it, I am in favor of NATO involvement. I believe that we should do everything possible to help stop Tyrants from killing innocent people. Which is what was and is occuring in Kosovo.
-But I am against NATO in who, why and how NATO is handling this conflict.
-NATO is very hypocritical by saying they got involved in this situation purely because of humanitarian reasons. There have been many occasions where the U.S. looked the other way on bigger humanitarian disasters. In West Africa, there was a similar ethnic cleansing situation where the U.S. did not get involved.
-In the begging, where NATO was on the verge of bombing Kosovo, Clinton spoke in a public meeting about why we were getting involved. He said, trying to get public approval, that the reason the U.S. is getting involved is largely an economical reason. He said that this war would help the U.S. financially. By getting involved, we would become partners with Europe, thus increasing a trade relationship. That is what I am against. I am against the U.S./Clinton thinking more about how much money we can get, rather than saving innocent lives from being brutally murdered.
-After the bombing had dragged on for longer than expected, which was only about a week in some people’s opinion, the objectives were stated as follows: To stop ethnic cleansing, stop flood of refugees into nieghboring countries, stop NATO from splitting, prevent Milosevic from strengthening his grip on the Balkan region. And, after over 2 months of involvement, NATO has not been able to meet those objectives.
-Bob Bennet said that the current bombing has been no help to the Albanians and Macedonians, who have seen hundreds of thousands of refugees flood across the borders into their ill-equipped countries. It has been of no help to NATO, an alliance that has seen its military stocks drawn down to dangerously low levels, with no effects on the atrocities going on in the killing fields.
-One speculated reason to get involved was because of the military stategic point in the Balkans. After NATO wins, the U.S. would put troops in the area to secure it. That was one reason why Russia is against U.S. involvement.
This is my biggest controversy to NATO’s actions. NATO’s strategy to stop Milosevic from killing innocent people, was to bomb him into submission. Military officials predicted this war would last less than two weeks. NATO underestimated milosevics tolerance. (VIETNAM CARTOON) Many people compare this war to vietnam. The U.S. underestimated what Vietnamise were willing to take. Also, both sides did not fully explore the possiblity of a peaceful negotiation. After the Vietnam war, there was a study on the conflict where a group of researchers tried to find out if there was a better way of handling the conflict. They talked with both U.S. government and the vietnamese government, they found that both sides were much more open to negotiations than previously thought. The U.S. just assumed that there was no peaceful solution, and thought bombing would solve all problems. Which in the end, made things much worse. That is the question being raised in this conflict, could there have been a peaceful negotiation?
-quote from New York Times-This century has been the bloodiest in history. Over 160 million human beings have been killed in various conflicts, and that number rises each day. It is a dark history, but unless we look at it and seek to learn from it, it will only get darker. It was once famously said that the United States did not have 10 years of experience n Vietnam, but one year of experience 10 times over. Will we say the same about the Balkans?
-This is a quote from a military spokesman, NATO strikes continue to cause serious damage to the Serb military and will further degrade their capability to commit atrocities against the Kosovo Albanian population We are also seeing increased evidence of ethnic cleansing-Same spokesman, same briefing, same day, one minute later. This is also a characteristic of Vietnam, where there was very questionable news being sent back to the public. There is very vague reports of what NATO bombed, and how bad the damage was. It doesn’t seem as though we are getting all the information. There has been much use of double speak in the news. The death of innocent men, women and children from bombs and missiles launched by over a thousand warplanes are labeled as Unintentional collateral damage. Bakeries and water pumping stations blown to pieces by NATO’s barrage are dual-use facilities because soldiers, like civilians, eat and drink. And, of course, deliberate terror bombing is a humanitarian war.
-Another big controversy of this war is whether or not to bring in ground troops. The U.S. did not even consider ground troops before the war began; they didn’t even have the threat of using them. This gave Milosivic the advantage. Without even the threat of ground troops coming in, Milosevic had all the freedom he wanted to ethnically cleanse Kosovo. Milosevic was allready killing ethnic albanians before the bombing began, but not to the degree he was after bombing started. NATO bombing gave the serbs a good reason to start kicking all the Ethnic Albanians out. So, you could argue that NATO involvement has only worstened the situation in Kosovo.
– The reason why NATO picked air raids as there strategy to win was because they did not want to lose allied lives. As in Somalia, the U.S. was involved as long as no U.S. soldiers lives were not lost. Then in one day, when 15 soldiers died, the U.S. backed out of Somalia. The single most remarkable fact about this war is this: Not one allied soldier engaged in combat has even been seriously injured in 2 months of the campaign. Has there ever been such a war anywhere?
-It seems as though NATO’s biggest objective in this war is to make sure that no allied lives are lost, not to save the thousands of Kosovars that are dying and millions that are going homeless. This is by far my biggest objection to this war. If the U.S. is going to get involved in a war, then I believe that we should do whatever is necessary to accomplish the objectives. In this case, to save the ethnic albanians.
-A recent pole showed that 63% of the American people think that NATO is right in getting involved. When asked about sending in ground troops this dropped to only 41% thinking that ground troops should be used. This means that the majority of people are allright with being involve in a conflict, just as long as no allied soldier’s lives are lost. And this is exactly how Clinton is going about this war. Clinton, I believe, is too concern with public opinion. In general, the average american citizen is not going to have an in-depth knowledge of the Kosovo situation, and what strategy would be the best to use to save the most amount of lives.
-NATO is not even willing to air drop desperately needed food and medicine to the tens of thousands of Albanians still trapped inside Kosovo. The reason for this is because the planes would have to fly low and they might be shot down. I guess this didn’t apply to the f-117 stealth fighter pilot who was shot down over enemy territory. NATO actually got together an entire rescue team, flew over enemy territory in a helicopter, much more vulnerable than a plane, and rescue the single pilot taking an incredible risk of being shot down. Is this supposed to mean that a single allied life is worth more than thousands of albanian lives?
-I think that the U.S. should use the Powell strategy used in Desert Storm. To use as much force as possible to overwhelm the opposition. I believe that a human life is worth the same no matter where that person is from. I believe that if the President is not willing to sacrifice allied lives to achieve military objectives, then we have no business ?