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PostThe War as Seen from Serbia (Ronald Hilton, USA, 03/27/99 2:50 am)
Jaqui White sends this report from a friend whose family still lives in a town near Belgrade:
"She has spoken with them five times during the last 24 hours. The borders are all closed, the stores are all closed and boarded, there is no gas, food nor anything. Her father has gone to his country home, where she hopes he will be safe. She worries because there is a huge power facility on the outskirts of his town which conceivably might be a target. Her sister is furious with her because she (my friend) lives in this country with her American husband, and the US is, of course, part of NATO and part of the bombing force. There is much talk of a third World War. Although my friend is only 29, she is told that the situation began when after World War II the land which had been Serbia for eons were forced into accepting Albanians. The Albanians multiplied rapidly and wished to take over that part of Serbia, to which Serbia will NEVER acquiesce. Palestine becoming Israel comes to mind. She says the Serbs and the Albanians have been fighting for twenty years over this, and since Yugoslavia is so mountainous in that area no one can win. She further says that everyone is equating this with Vietnam - it is a lose lose situation and bombing will do no good whatsoever.
As my friend was speaking to her father, he stated that it probably was just alarmist warnings, and at that moment the sirens and air raid alerts sounded. My friend, who was watching CNN, told him to dash to the basement, because SHE could see the planes taking off from Italy!"
My comment: There is a Serb viewpoint, but the Serbs do not understand the international picture. Jaqui mentions Israel. I thought of the Mexican mass immigration into the United States. I refer simply to the chemistry of the situation, not to rights and wrongs.
As expected, the Kosovo situation has aroused strong but diverse feelings among WAISers. Dwight Peterson shows no sympathy for the Serbs and compares their acts in Kosovo with the Holocaust. Milosevich is a monster who must be stopped and punished. But, Dwight concludes, the Europèans should take action, and the U.S. should have stayed out.
My comment: Ideally, Dwight is right, but in fact without the U.S., NATO would have lacked the necessary cohesion. I view NATO as the main source of stability in the world today, and I hope the present enterprise will make it "a more perfect union." If it fails, there will be at best a stalemate as in Iraq or at worst something like chaos.
Ronald Hilton - 03/26/99
Some responible and well-informed people think the bombing of Kosovo is a mistake resulting from our failure to make a hard assessment of the Albanians and the implications of our actions. Robert Gard writes:
"While I'm no supporter of Milosovich, I do believe too little attention has been paid to the provocations of the KLA in ambushing Serbian police and kidnapping and killing Serb civilians. The KLA can then melt back into the villages. This isn't to excuse indiscriminate attacks on villages, but rather to point out that it's difficult to try to cope with a hit and run guerrilla force under these circumstances."