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Perhaps.

We went into it, with eighteen allies, hoping to stop what seems like another Holocaust, the ethnic cleansing of a European country by driving out hundreds of thousands of people, after raping the young women and murdering the young men.

If that was happening to you, you would expect the civilized world to try to save your *ss.

We tried.

We are trying.

We'd be perfect sh*ts if we didn't.

Here we are sitting in relative safety and luxury, and we're going to sit by and watch the slaughter, without lifting a finger, because there's risk attached to trying to stop it?
Is that what we're made of?

We didn't get where we are by sitting around and watching.
We certainly cannot continue to enjoy the benefits of power, economy, and leadership without putting out the necessary effort.

In a dog-eat-dog world, we are, momentarily, at least, the top dog. Dogs can't always lie around wagging their tails, friendly fashion.

You know what dogs do. They growl, they bark, and they bite. And sometimes they get into dogfights.

Which they had better either win or inflict enough damage to prevent the next dog from taking the lead.

Which dog would you like to see us kowtow to? France? Britain? Germany? Italy? Belgium? Greece? Turkey?

I didn't think so.

I'm not looking for empire, but I do think it's necessary to see what others did to enhance, or at least to protect, the status they achieved in the world. Britain ruled an empire for close to a hundred-fifty years by keeping troops all over, and using them, at considerable expense in treasure and lives. So did Rome. And when Rome, and Britain, could no longer pay the price, or would not, they suffered mightily.

You may not have specifically asked to be put in this role, but circumstances have placed you, and me, and us, in it.
The only question, then, is what we're going to do about it.

Are we going to say the game is over, we won, and pick up our football and leave? This ain't football. It's life in the real world. We weren't given the choice of living in some Nirvana where we don't have to sacrifice, at least some of the time.

We can't pick up and leave, and I don't mean just in the Balkans. We're in contention with the other nations of the world. As soon as we show weakness or lack of resolve, the tide starts going out on us, just as it did for Britain, and the Former Soviet Union. Any time you want to be like them, walking away is a good start down that road.

I know, this is what got us into Vietnam. We'll have to think it through carefully.

I agree the Balkan war hasn't gone the way I'd hoped. Milosevic wins his war on the ground while we win ours, NATO's, in the air. There seems to be a disconnect as ours doesn't seem to be having much effect on his.

But we're not very far into the process either, are we. Do we have any right to expect every armed conflict to resolve painlessly in 48, or a hundred hours, like the Gulf War?

We spent eight months setting up our attack in the Gulf War with preparations called Desert Shield.

There was no NATO will to go in on the ground in Yugoslavia, so we're limited to air. We go after Milosevic's infrastructure, the bridges, refineries, power plants, military, political, and propaganda headquarters, trying to destroy his ability to command and control his troops. This part seems to be proceeding effectively.

How is it that we express impatience the air war isn't going faster or producing the desired effect sooner. Impatience can be more destructive than enemy missiles in destroying resolve. Maybe a few enemy missiles would increase our resolve, as that seems to be one of the main effects when we use ours.

It strikes me as absolutely correct that Clinton has failed to use his "bully pulpit" to rally the American people sufficiently to get behind the effort he has led us into. It may be that he doesn't want to fan the flames too brightly yet. Why? Because he's handcuffed on the ground war issue. Even if we want to follow the Colin Powell doctrine that says, if I have it right, that we don't go in except with the whole country behind us, in full force, with an attainable goal and a plan to exit when done, we can't quite do that, because NATO, our allied countries, hasn't agreed to do this. NATO was able only to agree on a limited, air war. So that's what we're stuck with for the moment. I don't necessarily expect it to stay this way forever.

I don't look forward to a ground war at all. I would like to see a diplomatic solution. I'm aware the Russian Diplomat, Chernomyrdin, is practicing a little shuttle diplomacy, but I think he's not only producing too little, he's apt to be more interested in driving a wedge into the NATO alliance, which shouldn't be too difficult. That's been his job for much of his career.

The only thing worse than Chernomyrdin, in my view, is Jesse Jackson. Who elected him? Count on him to show up whenever he gets a chance to appear on TV as the major fixer. If I were Clinton and knew which hotel this guy was staying in during his Belgrade visit, I'd feed the coordinates into NATO's targeting operation ASAP.

Whaddya think?

-rs



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