New York Daily News -- April 6, 1999

A WAR FOR NATO'S SAKE ONLY

By Sidney Zion

NATO, this war's for you. Not for the Kosovar Albanians. Not for peace in Europe. It's a war being fought for your own credibility, NATO, and that's the trouble. Now that we're in, we must win. Even those who opposed the bombing - Henry Kissinger, Sen. John McCain - have adopted that as their mantra. The fact that our bombs have made things geometrically worse for the Kosovar Albanians only makes us want to escalate the war. It's too late to save the people. So now let's save NATO.

Unless we destroy the tin-horn dictator Slobodan Milosevic, NATO will lose its "credibility." And if that happens, no bombs will prevent the sky from falling on the free world. When did we hear that before? Vietnam, of course. It's the "domino theory," resurrected today by Bill Clinton, who spent the Vietnam War in Oxford and marched against it together with many of the people in his administration. Today Clinton sees Kosovo as Jack Kennedy saw Vietnam. Ironies iron out, but first I wish to ask just what the hell NATO is doing in Belgrade? Indeed, why is NATO necessary? It was set up to protect Europe against the Soviet Union. With the demise of the Soviets, logic dictated that it would be honorably retired. Instead, Clinton expanded it to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. And this was only the first stage in the proposed enlargement of NATO.

Why and wherefore? The answer is clear: The Clinton administration wants to do exactly what it claims it doesn't want to do - police the world, run a "forward foreign policy" that can take America anywhere it deems proper to go for whatever reason. But never to go it alone, for that will appear to be "imperialism." The United Nations is the best bet to approve our policies, but in this war we did not go to the Security Council, because Russia would have vetoed the attack on Serbia. So we went directly to NATO. In the Gulf War, we had the United Nations, but here we have NATO - and the funny thing is that NATO can only go to war against states who attack other NATO states.

Yugoslavia is not a NATO state, and Kosovo is part of Yugoslavia, of Serbia. This is a civil war outside of NATO authority. But forget legalisms. The fact is that Milosevic is committing terrible crimes against the Albanian Kosovars. Are we to ignore this, are we to do nothing? It is a horror, for sure, and as a Jew I am the last to say that America should shrug its shoulders. But those who make this a replay of the Holocaust have got it wrong, that's for sure, too. The Jews of Europe had no little Jerusalem to repair to, just for starters.

The Albanian Muslims of Kosovo have Albania and Macedonia. It's not great, but it ain't Auschwitz. Nor did the Jews of Europe have a liberation army. There happens to be a Kosovo Liberation Army, which had plenty to do with provoking the Serbs through guerrilla warfare. The KLA is armed by Iran and Hezbollah, they are the Islamic warriors who want to set up a Muslim state inside Serbia. The Clintonites and NATO support them on the grounds of "self-determination" of peoples. What this means to the cynics in the State Department and the United Nations is the right to be ruled by a dictator of your own ethnicity.

It doesn't mean that we ought to sit back and relax when ethnic cleansing goes on in our face. On the other hand, we ought to acknowledge that this is also going on in other parts of the world where we don't want to see it - in Lebanon, for instance, where Syria destroys the Christian Maronites. Anyway, let's not send in our soldiers simply to defend the credibility of peacemakers who failed to bring peace.

NATO über alles cannot be our flag.



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