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The realization is beginning to seep into the consciousness of a
majority of Americans that the United States is engaged in something
senseless and tragic.

A new USA Today/CNN Gallup Poll finds that 57 percent of those
surveyed oppose the use of U.S. ground troops in Kosovo as part of a
NATO invasion force. A resounding 82 percent support a bombing pause to
help bring about negotiations for peace. However, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, speaking for the president, says we will not
negotiate. In effect, Yugoslavia must agree to our demands or be bombed
out of existence, period.

The visible idea is to punish millions of the Serbian people, hoping
that if they and their children are deprived of water, food, electricity
and hospital services, they will revolt. If their lives become a living
hell of falling bombs and screaming babies, maybe they will insist on
surrender.

The arrogant and bullying mindset of Albright reflects the attitude
of the Clinton administration. One wishes that she and the commander in
chief would find some other way of proving their manhood. In an article
published in The New York Times, former President Jimmy Carter made a
scathing attack on our actions in Yugoslavia. He noted that recently our
approach to solving international problems is to “present an ultimatum
to recalcitrant parties and then take punitive action against the entire
nation to force compliance.”

Carter deplored the “damage to hospitals, offices and residences of a
half-dozen ambassadors and the killing of hundreds of innocent
civilians. …” He was especially critical of the use of anti-personnel
bombs: “The United States’ insistence on the use of cluster bombs,
designed to kill or maim humans, is condemned almost universally and
brings discredit on our nation. …”

Gulf War hero General Norman Schwarzkopf has also gone public with
his displeasure. In a recent speech delivered in Australia to an
audience of 5,000, he noted that character is the most important
ingredient of leadership. He said, “Proper leadership could have
prevented the war … in Kosovo.”

On May 28, the San Jose Mercury News published a blistering editorial
under the heading “Losing the Moral War.” The editorial began with this
condemnation: “Admittedly the line separating the justifiable from the
inexcusable in NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia is not clear. But wherever
it is, we crossed it this week. We got into this nasty little war to
save innocent civilians in Kosovo. Now we are punishing innocent
civilians in Serbia.”

The Mercury News editors cited the death of an 8-year-old boy and his
5-year-old sister when a bomb hit their home in a Belgrade suburb. They
wrote that such deaths as these “occur in the context of a cynical,
calculated campaign by NATO to victimize the entire civilian population.
…”

They had this to say about the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic as a
war criminal: “whatever impact that might have had on Serb civilians is
overwhelmed by their conviction that NATO is committing war crimes
against them.”

The idea that NATO is committing war crimes is widespread. An article
in The Irish Times reports that in a poll of 1000 Greeks conducted by
the ICAP Institute, 69.7 percent want President Bill Clinton tried for
war crimes for his role in the air war against Yugoslavia. Greece is a
member of NATO.

On May 25, the Chicago Tribune published an article by ex-Nuremberg
prosecutor Walter J. Rockler, who accuses the United States and its NATO
allies of “a war of aggression” that meets the standard of international
law as a “supreme international crime.” Rockler contends, “The rationale
that we are simply enforcing international morality … does not lessen
the culpability of the authors of this aggression.”

In the meanwhile, 26 members of Congress, led by constitutional
scholar Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Calif., have filed a lawsuit in federal
court against Clinton for violating the War Powers Act as well as the
U.S. Constitution. For all practical purposes, Clinton has unilaterally
taken the United States into war without the approval of Congress. The
lawsuit challenges his authority to do that.

James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution,” speaks to
us across the years on this issue. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson,
dated April 2, 1798, he wrote, “The Constitution supposes what the
history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the
branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has
accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the
legislature.” Madison went on to say that if a president is successful
in bypassing the Congress in committing the nation to war, “it is
evident that the people are cheated out of the best ingredients in the
government, the safeguards of peace which is the greatest of their
blessings.”

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