F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
September 24, 2000
U.S. Should Come Home from Kosovo



F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

We never should have gotten involved in Kosovo in the first place -- and the sooner we get out, the better.


"In 1999, peacekeeping troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and officials from the United Nations arrived in Kosovo to attempt to reconstruct the war-ravaged, ethnically divided Serbian province," recalls John Hulsman of the Heritage Foundation. "Despite their efforts," he laments, "peace has not come to Kosovo. The strain on the alliance forces is beginning to show," Hulsman reports. "Today, the 5900 U.S. troops that President Bill Clinton committed to the mission are in harm's way, trying to separate the warring factions while acting as social workers and performing other civic duties, with no end to the deployment in sight."

Hulsman calls for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. "Unrest in Kosovo prevailed before, during, and after the air war, and the peacekeeping mission has not brought the Kosovars closer to multiethnic harmony," he observes. "Ethnic and religious tensions have persisted in the area for hundreds of years and are likely to continue with or without the U.S. presence."

Hulsman emphasizes that "the United States has no history of extensive trading ties or historical or cultural kinship with the area that would lead to its classification as a vital U.S. interest." He chastises the Clinton Administration for accepting "an open-ended nation-building commitment in Kosovo that far exceeds the province's strategic importance to America." Hulsman warns that continued participation "in the no-win situation in Kosovo will expose the United States to unanticipated costs and increased risks, threatening U.S. military readiness and America's ability to support its alliances around the world. The United States should select its engagements based on national interest calculations, determining in each case how important an intervention is to America's core values and how urgently it must be acted upon," he advises. "Stability in Kosovo is not a vital American interest," Hulsman asserts. "America's global credi- bility does not rest on the outcome of the Kosovo mission. There has been little progress toward nationbuilding in Kosovo," he concludes, "and the allies have not contributed equitably to the effort."

You don't have to persuade me, Mr. Hulsman. I'm already convinced that our involvement in Kosovo is "threatening U.S. military readiness." In fact, I'm inclined to believe that that's the whole idea. Why? Because that's the only explanation that makes any sense -- and because it fits a pattern that began forming at the very beginning of the Clinton Administration and extends to this day. What exactly is the purpose of feminizing the military if not to undermine morale and fighting ability? Why commit our troops to every parochial disturbance across the globe unless to remove them from more vital areas? Why dump enormous amounts of munitions on a population that poses no threat to us unless to deplete our reserves (and generate an abiding hatred for our own people)? Why forgo necessary upgrades in military hardware and refuse to implement a missile defense system that is workable, affordable, and desperately needed? Why make our most secret military technology available to the enemy? I wish there were some other explanation.


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