Re: Bombs Away.

Ian Andrew Bell (
Thu, 25 Mar 1999 14:06:09 -0800

I must admit to not following the current attacks on the Serbs by NATO
from stem to gudgeon here, however in my observation the real reason the
US is bombing the Serbs is because they're afraid to do what really has
to be done to stop the killing. NATO, if they sincerely want to stop
this, has to go in with tanks and trucks and helicopters and essentially
run the country. And they have to go in in a big way. Tactical bombing
will not prevent the killings -- it will only encourage them.

Let's face it -- the Balkans have never stopped being a hotbed of racist
and territorial dispute. Kosovo is to the Serbs what Jerusalem is to
the Isrealis, and for centuries they have attempted to regain control of
the region despite the Albanians having been the predominant residents.
There is also a religious component to the conflict. With the Ottoman
invasions of the Balkans in the fourteenth century, the majority of
Albanians converted to Islam. The Serbs did not and have since viewed
their state as a bulwark against Muslim influence. For this they have
always been punished as second class citizens,

Interference by Woodrow Wilson after World War I and Stalin after WWII
placed the Serbs firmly in control of the region, despite promises
having been made by both that Albanian support would lead to the
self-determination of peoples. The period between the two wars looked
much like today. Under Tito, during the 70s, Albanians actually were
allowed to practise their religion again and gained some power, however
with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of Slobodan Milosevic
after Tito's death the Albanians were once again stomped into

The parties (I think) were kept at bay largely through the authoritative
governmental style and the intimidating personality of Tito and his
Soviet backers. He managed to maintain a fairly complex societal
structure through fear and brute force, and a relative peace concealed
the underlying itterness and hatred.

The same thing happened in Northern Ireland. The British, after bearing
witness to 400 years of in-fighting between Protestants and Catholics
decided to step up their military presence after World War II in order
to essentially stop the violence. But they made themselves the targets
and in recent years that policy has been fairly ineffective due to
terrorism, but also due to wavering commitment on behalf of the British

In Crete, where there hasn't been open violence for decades, Canadian
soldiers still patrol the separated sections with heavy armament under a
long-standing UN peacekeeping mission. Most people aren't even aware of

Anyway, the lessons learned in the peacekeeping game are well learned.
If you wanna stop the violence you can't stand on the other side of the
river and throw rocks at the bad guys. If you want to prevent the
killing, you've got to be willing to put your own body right smack dab
between the good guys and the bad guys and treat them equally. This
requires the kind of stomach that the US government just does not have,
with an election approaching; and with recent "successes" in synthetic
"painless" wars. This also places you, as the peacekeeper, in the
position of being a target, and you've got to be prepared to fight back
and fight back hard against anyone who trespasses your authority.

You've got to be an iron fist under a velvet glove, and turn a deaf ear
to criticism -- that's why NATO (USA) is a bad choice for this operation
and that's supposed to be the role of the UN's Peacekeeping force. The
fact that they're impotent in this case is a testimonial to the UN's
complete inability to commit to decisive action and to put their money
where their mouth is, now that the US is withdrawing support.

So this incident is exhibiting the further decline of the UN. The
REALLY interesting shell game that I think is going on WRT this conflict
is that the US, via NATO, is using the conflict to further their role as
an international SWAT team, despite the fact that they'll probably
reveal themselves to be more on the competence level of Tonya Harding's