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  • Balkans Special Report

  • Voices on Kosovo: A Look Back

    Monday, June 14, 1999; Page A19

    Last Wednesday, Yugoslav military commanders signed an agreement to withdraw from Kosovo beginning the next day, yielding to the 11 weeks of bombing by NATO forces. It might be interesting to revisit what the Washington punditocracy, Republican lawmakers, historians and others predicted for the NATO campaign promoted by President Clinton:

    "Now they're saying that we've got to be in there to win to save face. Well, they have been proven wrong every day, and even the bombing has not made much difference other than weaken Milosevic's ability to defend his nation. But they have strengthened the resolve of the Serbian people."

    Rep. Tom Delay (R-Tex.) on "Meet the Press," May 16

    "You are aware that there has been a congressional delegation meeting with some Russians, and that they're working on the outline of what could lead to a settlement, where the bombing would stop and the Kosovars could go back in. I think, as Jesse Jackson would say, give peace a chance here."

    Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) on CNN's "Late Edition," May 2

    "If I have spoken out strongly about Kosovo, it's because first and foremost our strategy and tactics for the conflict were so badly misconceived that they have made a tragic and dangerous situation even worse. Moreover, I believe Kosovo is yet another failure in what I believe has been the generally inept foreign policy of the Clinton administration, a foreign policy that has badly injured our nation's stature and influence abroad."

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at news conference, May 20

    "The bombing campaign appears to be counterproductive to various others of its announced goals as well. It is doing nothing to enhance the credibility of NATO. Nothing. It is destabilizing rather than enhancing the stability of neighboring countries in the Balkan region."

    Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii.), House Committee on International Relations, May 13

    "In these early days of the campaign, [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic has clearly established a lead. The prospect of NATO making up the ground by the use of air power alone, and without its commitment of ground troops, is presently very much in doubt."

    John Keegan, military historian and defense editor, in London's Daily Telegraph, March 29

    "The challenge of just using air power is that you leave it in the hands of your adversary to decide when he's been punished enough. ... So the initiative will remain with President Milosevic."

    Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to reporters, April 4

    "The president thinks that he can push Milosevic over some threshold of pain. ... But he's not suffering pain. They [Serbian ground forces] don't need new fuel supplies. They don't need new food supplies. The bombing is having no military effect."

    Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) in the Chicago Tribune, April 18

    "It seems that U.S., NATO, they're not willing to hear much of anything except bomb, bomb, bomb. And while bombing has changed the landscape, bombing has not stopped the ethnic expulsion ... We thought it would be a one-week war. It's now eight weeks and growing."

    Jesse L. Jackson on Fox News Network, May 27

    "After nearly a month of war, no less obvious is the reality that NATO's strategy is failing. ... Accounting for this failure is not difficult. There is a disconnect between the means and end of policy. The military force being used is simply inadequate to the task. Time weeks or even months of more bombing is unlikely to resolve the problem."

    Richard N. Haass, director of foreign policy studies, Brookings Institution, in The Washington Post, April 19

    "Bombing won't return them any more than bombing kept from expelling them. I think it's a mistake to send ground troops, but the logic, if we say we're going to return them, unless Milosevic cries uncle, he shows no desire to do that, is that we'll have to use ground troops. I think it's lamentable."

    Sam Donaldson on ABC's "This Week," April 4

    "The bombing tends to unify the Serbs and put them right behind the leader, a leader that would probably be tipped out if they didn't have the bombing. ... I think enough bombs have fallen. I think that we should give peace a chance ... who are being punished now are the Kosovars and the Serbian people. Stop it and let the people take care of that war criminal, that butcher ... Milosevic."

    David Hackworth, retired Army colonel and author on CNBC's "Rivera Live," April 9

    "The way the air war has been designed suggests it was a very bureaucratized, compartmentalized and not a very competent approach. ... The target list has clearly not been designed to have a systematic impact on the Serb forces. ... This is very unprofessional on the part of the various political authorities"

    John Warden, retired Air Force colonel, in The Washington Post, May 16

    "If the objective was to stop Milosevic's 40,000 forces in Kosovo, I would have liked to have seen a tougher, harder air attack in the first few days against those targets that would have helped us achieve it. ... We needed to target those troops sooner rather than later."

    George Joulwan, retired general, formerly NATO's top military commander, in The Washington Post, April 2

    "Now they're saying that we've got to be in there to win to save face. Well, they have been proven wrong every day, and even the bombing has not made much difference other than weaken Milosevic's ability to defend his nation. But they have strengthened the resolve of the Serbian people."

    Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), on "Meet the Press," May 16

    "You are aware that there has been a congressional delegation meeting with some Russians and that they're working on the outline of what could lead to a settlement, where the bombing would stop and the Kosovars could go back in. I think, as Jesse Jackson would say, give peace a chance here."

    Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), on CNN's "Late Edition," May 2

    "The bombing campaign appears to be counterpro-ductive to various others of its announced goals as well. It is doing nothing to enhance the credibility of NATO. Nothing. It is destabilizing rather than enhancing the stability of neighboring countries in the Balkan region."

    Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), House Committee on International Relations, May 13

    "In these early days of the campaign, [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic has clearly established a lead. The prospect of NATO making up the ground by the use of air power alone, and without its commitment of ground troops, is presently very much in doubt."

    John Keegan, military historian and defense editor, in London's Daily Telegraph, March 29

    "The president thinks that he can push Milosevic over some threshold of pain. ... But he's not suffering pain. They [Serbian ground forces] don't need new fuel supplies. They don't need new food supplies. The bombing is having no military effect."

    Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), in the Chicago Tribune, April 18

    "It seems that U.S., NATO, they're not willing to hear much of anything except bomb, bomb, bomb. And while bombing has changed the landscape, bombing has not stopped the ethnic expulsion ... We thought it would be a one-week war. It's now eight weeks and growing."

    Jesse L. Jackson, on Fox News Network, May 27

    "After nearly a month of war, no less obvious is the reality that NATO's strategy is failing. ... Accounting for this failure is not difficult. There is a disconnect between the means and end of policy. The military force being used is simply inadequate to the task. Time weeks or even months of more bombing is unlikely to resolve the problem."

    Richard N. Haass, director of foreign policy studies, Brookings Institution, in The Washington Post, April 19

    "Bombing won't return them any more than bombing kept from expelling them. I think it's a mistake to send ground troops, but the logic, if we say we're going to return them, unless Milosevic cries uncle, he shows no desire to do that, is that we'll have to use ground troops. I think it's lamentable."

    Sam Donaldson, on ABC's "This Week," April 4

    © 1999 The Washington Post Company

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