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NATO has bombed Yugoslavia for 52 straight days. When the bombing
started, Clinton asked us to give it time. Clinton said that once
Milosevic realized how much damage he was going to suffer, he would back
down. Clinton stressed that it took weeks of bombing before the ground
war started in the Gulf. Now, 52 days later, the message has changed.

According to the Associated Press, Army Gen. Henry Shelton, Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while the NATO bombing has hit
hard at armored forces, attack aircraft, communications and air defenses
in and around Kosovo, it can’t eliminate the small arms that Yugoslav
forces have been using for months to expel hundreds of thousands of
ethnic Albanians from their homes.

Gen. Shelton also said that “the effective tool that Milosevic’s
forces have used have been rifles and pistols that they’ve shot people
through the head with, which gets down to the individual thug that is
… in fact doing the ethnic cleansing. Those can be effective until
such time as he (Milosevic) calls them off.”

Translation: Unless we invade Kosovo with ground troops, the air war
will never ever stop the ethnic cleansing and killing in Kosovo. Never
will, never could.

NATO’s top air commander, Lt. Gen. Michael Short said, “I also need
to strike at the leadership and the people around Milosevic to compel
them to change their behavior in Kosovo and accept the terms NATO has on
the table.”

Translation: Unless we bomb the hell out of downtown Belgrade,
Milosevic will continue to thumb his nose at us. If I kill more innocent
Serb civilians and hit more foreign embassies, well, I’m sorry, but
these things happen in war.

My friends, Bill and Madeleine told us that if we killed enough
Serbs, we could protect the Kosovar Albanians. In fact, the bombing gave
Milosevic the opportunity to “cleanse” Kosovo faster and more thoroughly
than would have been possible without the bombing.

Bill and Madeleine told us that if we killed enough Serbs, we could
degrade and destroy Slobodan’s war machine so that he couldn’t kill
anymore. Gen. Shelton says that it is and has always been impossible to
stop armed thugs with jets.

Bill and Madeleine told us that if we killed enough Serbs, we would
undermine support for Milosevic and his government would fall. NATO’s
bombing has had the exact opposite impact.

Independent newspapers and radio stations have been closed. They have
expelled or severely censored the Western press. Patriotic Serbs, seeing
bombs raining down on their heads day after day, have rallied around
their country, even if they still think that Milosevic is a murderer. In
a word, the biggest casualty of NATO’s bombing has been the development
of democracy in Serbia.

Bill and Madeleine told us that if we killed enough Serbs, we would
protect Europe’s flanks and stabilize the Balkans. However, I don’t
understand how killing Chinese diplomats and giving Russia a chance to
reassert its power stabilizes the Balkans and helps Europe. I don’t
understand how destroying the civilian infrastructure of Serbia and
Kosovo and dislocating millions of Serbs and Albanians protects Europe’s
interests.

The last time the American government told us a bright shining lie
about a war was during Vietnam. I came of age during Vietnam. I lost
good friends in Nam and others were broken by what happened to them in
that war. Although I enlisted in Army ROTC, I opposed the Vietnam War
because I did not want my comrades to die fighting to preserve a corrupt
South Vietnamese government.

During Vietnam, politically well-connected young men like Bill
Clinton ducked and ran, while patriotic or poor white, black, Latino and
Asian soldiers died in a war the politicians wouldn’t let the military
win. Twenty-five years later, Bill Clinton is committing the same sin as
LBJ and Nixon. Sadly, instead of admitting that the bombing never could
work and was a mistake, LBJ — I mean Clinton — is calling up
reservists and escalating the war.

NATO has failed to accomplish any of its announced objectives.
Milosevic is stronger than ever. Millions of Yugoslavs are suffering and
thousands have died. The Kosovar Albanians are now homeless.

It is time to stop the bombing and the killing on both sides. Every
NATO bomb kills people and creates damage that Clinton will ask you and
me to repair. We can rebuild bridges and buildings, but we cannot
breathe life back into the shattered bodies that litter the Yugoslav
landscape. It is time to stop this tragedy, negotiate a settlement, and
start healing and rebuilding Yugoslavia.

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