The NATO war on Serbia is, in the end, the lesser of N+1 evils; the flaw is in our reluctance to acknowledge that we are really going to war, and to commit to doing this well.
Because, in the end, systematic rape, torture, and murder, are unacceptable. It's that simple. This can't be allowed. If we let this happen, twenty years from now, we'll be looking back talking about how sad it was that nothing was done.
Would the world be a richer place if this had happened before? Yes. If people had intervened sooner (or at all) in previous ethnic cleansing efforts, we would have a richer, better, world.
We need to make it absolutely clear, for all time, that ethnic cleansing doesn't happen anymore. It looks like a bloody and unattainable goal now - but I believe that, if we're determined enough, we'll eventually get the message across.
A lot of people are horrified by the story of Kitty Genovese (summary for those who haven't heard it: She was raped and killed while 38 witnesses never quite got around to calling the police, or for that matter, to coming to rescue her). What if it were a thousand people? Ten thousand?
Yes, we need to intervene.
Why don't the people in Europe deal with this on their own? Why should the U.S. be involved? These are tough questions. They're especially tough when a draft-dodger is the person ordering our troops out.
But they are answerable questions. Us, because we have the most advanced technology; we have the best chance to control casualties, on both sides. We have a large, relatively healthy economy. We have the resources. In the end, us, because we can, and if not us, who else?
It's no great hardship to defend the poor. It's been a part of our cultural heritage for a long time; we like to think of ourselves as a particularly good and noble nation. Most of the time, that's just so much hot air - all the better reason to live up to that image when it matters.
The first mistake we made (well, Clinton made) was stating, right up front, that there would be no ground troops. In essence, he promised the Serbian military that, while there might be eventual retaliation, that for at least a few days, they had open license to go looting, killing, and rounding up Albanian people. No retaliation, at least, nothing close enough to stop them. That, combined with the guarantee of a war they are very likely to lose, probably helped create the idea that they might as well kill as many Albanian civilians as they can before they're stopped. Bad idea.
We need to work with the Russians better. I believe that, if we want to involve them in this, we can, and we can do so productively. Better that than anger a nuclear power. The Russians aren't morons; they will eventually come to agree that ethnic cleansing is unacceptable, and that nothing but force will stop it in this case.
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