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From REG Issue #12

An Editorial:

US & NATO Troops Out of Bosnia NOW!

Out Now! That slogan definitely has a ring of familiarity! US troops out of anywhere seems to be a cry heard consistently for the past 40 years. For someone like myself, who spent many years marching in the streets against the Vietnam War and working for peace, the presence of US troops once again massing on a foreign shore poses ominous and foreboding repercussions.

While the basic premise for the presence of NATO troops is perhaps admirable, this policy is likely to explode in the faces of those who believe that the only way to peace is with Weapons, Armies, and Reaction (WAR).

A cop who interferes in a domestic dispute ultimately always finds himself under attack by both husband and wife. An unspoken truce may even exist, where both sides stop fighting one another, and begin fighting a common foe, who dares to interfere in the couples business. When the policeman is gone, the couple can then resume their squabble without outside interference.

The same thing inevitably happens during a civil war where one country tries to play policeman. At first the more powerful country (the policeman) may quiet the dispute and bring about a temporary peace. Inevitably, however, the two sides end up fighting the policeman who is trying to stop them from fighting each other. Trying to force our will upon the Serbs, Bosnians, and Croats (who feel their cause is just -- AND PRIVATE) will produce only more death on ALL sides.

Unless engaged in an all out war, force of arms cannot win peace; as Einstein stated, "You cannot simultaneously prepare for war and ensure peace." It has been tried many times before. President Kennedy had only the highest moral aims when he sent US troops into Vietnam to act as "Advisors". These "Advisors" were only to help teach the South Vietnamese military to fight off the aggressive North. President Kennedy, had he lived, may have pulled the troops out before the US became mired in the complexities of the conflict that evolved into a full-scale war. This "military acton" became an illegal war in which one million Vietnamese and 58,000+ Americans were killed! Like President Kennedy, President Clinton will likely not be in power to stop or curb an escalation of an armed conflict with it's constant outbreaks and uprisings.

There was an even smaller chance that the US role would escalate in Vietnam as compared to Bosnia. The Bosnian conflict, with the US and NATO presence there, has the potential to mushroom into a full blown world war. It's interesting to think of the old maxim that "if you do not learn from history, then you are doomed to repeat it." Also interesting that the Fist World War began with conflicts in Bosnia and Serbia. Ironic, is it not?

I can only hope that I am wrong about what the future may hold because of this military action. I hope that the presence of NATO troops does indeed bring about a peaceful settlement and an end to the war and the killing. But I believe that the way to peace is instead won through communication, understanding, and cooperation, rather than by the threat of military action.

The United States has become the sole SuperPower in the world today. The role of the United States Armed Forces should not be that of the world's policeman. This would be an ominous and dangerous precedent. Where power corrupts absolutely, the power of the US military (having no comparable opponent) could become uncontrollable and unstoppable.

And how can we in the United States speak for those in other countries? How can we ask our young soldiers who have pledged to fight for their own country to die for the country of another? It is not right. If the US wants to put military personnel upon foreign soil, then let them hire mercenaries who are prepared to give their lives for the money or the cause. We should not send some American 18 year old to fight for a foreign country's freedoms only to have him become hamburger in some mine field 4,000 miles from his home. Instead, let's send the powers that be, since it is they who are making the decisions to play world policeman.

Soon, I fear, the death tolls and body counts of US casualties will begin again. Soon, I fear, we will again have many sons, husbands, friends and fathers, who will never return from an illegal war. Soon, I fear, it will be time to again take to the streets!!!

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