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PEACE: Foreign Policy & Terrorism | September 18, 2003




An E-Mail to a Democratic Peace Activist

This was one of my published replies to one of several responses generated by my e-mail published in an influential Democratic newsgroup about General Wesley Clark as a newly announced Presidential candidate.

It is important that we discuss General Clark fully, particularly since he's such a late entry into the race:  Although I liked what I read in his site and have heard him say on TV, I am of course very concerned about the issues you raised [by forwarding the article "Was Gen. Clark Also 'Unprepared' for the Postwar?"].  I hate war; although unlike some of our Green Party friends, I think that sometimes war is a necessary evil.

Your comparison of Iraq and Yugoslavia is interesting (Someone please correct me if my history is wrong):  Both nations were artificial compositions, carved out of old empires (the Ottoman, for Iraq; the Austro-Hungarian, for Yugoslavia) and composed of historically antagonistic ethnic groups, which had been held together only under the grip of an authoritarian strongman -- Hussein in Iraq; Tito in Yugoslavia, with Milosevic later trying to extend Serbian dominance over the Croats, Bosnians, and Kosovars.

Being no expert on the particulars of Operation Allied Force, in Kosovo, I read carefully the article you sent; then I went to the internet to read General Clark's comments on the subject and also an analysis from some other source I would respect.  Let me share with you and, with Garry's permission, with the group what I found.  We can each make of it all what we think best.

From General Clark's FAQ...


...comes this...

"None knows better than the military leaders themselves the dangers of war; consequently, they are usually the last to advocate it.

"…Political leaders will always be circumspect in risking their governments and NATO on a military operation. But in other ways, the success of Operation Allied Force [in Kosovo in 1999] does open the door for its repetition elsewhere. In the first instance, there is now historical precedent for the use of force to intervene for the purposes of humanitarian relief. Further, Western publics have seen that such operations can succeed if properly executed."

From the website of the Federation of American Scientists (which is a leader in the field of arms control and has a reputation for rational analysis, as by its Nobel Laureates), there is this extremely detailed analysis (with numerous respected sources cited) of Operation Allied Force...


That analysis (excerpted below [in the original e-mail]) seems to back up my memory of our involvement in Kosovo:  Milosevic had the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on his hands, in one of the most volatile regions of the world (where the First World War began); and our operations in Kosovo, though imperfect (as any military action is), were the only thing to stop him.  Although the Balkans continue to be a dangerous region, from which it would be irresponsible for us to withdraw, the massacres have stopped.  And far different from the current situation in Iraq, the U.S. acted in coordination with its allies in Europe and with the ultimate authorization of the U.N.

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