Losing The War Games? ...
By William Westmiller
NATO's military assault on Serbia has been a total failure. Within a matter of days, the Clinton Administration will change the rules of engagement and declare victory. Nearly every domestic and foreign politician will gleefully fall into line, applauding the next phase of the continuing intervention in Kosovo.
The President's brief announcement will be cheered by Democrats and Republicans alike:
"My fellow Americans. A very painful phase of our efforts to end the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo has been completed. Our commitment to degrade and debilitate Serbia's military capacity to commit genocide has been an unqualified success. Now, we must begin the healing and provide for the welfare of all those victims who have fled their homeland for neighboring countries. Today, we are implementing the largest humanitarian relief measure in the history of our great nation. With the assistance and support of NATO and the United Nations, we will begin an airlift of food, clothing, shelter and medical provisions to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who have fled to Montenegro, Macedonia and other havens. Our hearts go out to all those who have suffered the loss of homes, friends and family. We will take care of them during this brief period of displacement."
"Our objective has always been a humanitarian end to the suffering of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Now, we must undertake the humanitarian relief of those victims of Slobodan Milosevic in their new, temporary residence. Our resolve and commitment to restore them to their homeland will not be abandoned. NATO will allow a brief suspension of the bombing to facilitate the evacuation of Kosovo immigrants. We call on Milosevic to accept this opportunity to stop the bloodshed and return to the negotiating table. Today, we must all unite in this important task by affirming, once again, our devotion to helping all those in need, everywhere in the world. God bless the United States of America."
At a press conference shortly after the announcement, Press Secretary Joe Lockhart will announce details of the humanitarian airlift of relief supplies from Italy, Greece and Turkey. The questioning will be considerate and thoughtful:
Q: "Have we lost the war?"
Mr. Lockhart: "We have accomplished all of our stated military objectives. We have degraded and debilitated Serbia's military capacity in a successful demonstration of Allied strength and resolve. We must now complete our primary humanitarian objective, to relieve the suffering of ethnic Albanians."
Q: "Wasn't the bombing intended to stop the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo?"
Mr. Lockhart: "We will support a War Crimes Tribunal to investigate and punish the atrocities that Slobodan Milosevic has committed in Kosovo. NATO has given him an opportunity to end the slaughter in the province of Kosovo. We hope he will take advantage of that opportunity."
Q: "Was this the Exit Strategy the Administration had planned from the beginning?"
Mr. Lockhart: "From the beginning, we were open to a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Balkans. We're pleased that we can now provide support and assistance to the 250 thousand displaced refugees who need our help."
Q: "What effect will this change in course have on the credibility of NATO?"
Mr. Lockhart: "NATO has maintained a strong consensus throughout this tragedy. The military commanders of every member nation are ready to resume bombing if Serbia refuses to end its assault on the Kosovars."
Q: "Joe, are the Kosovars better off?"
Mr. Lockhart: "Well, you have to look at this with some perspective. Milosevic waged an aggressive war, punctuated with atrocities, until tough diplomacy, backed by strategic bombing, lead to this new phase of engagement. We hope the discussions at Rambouillet will resume and that the Kosovars can return to their homes shortly."
Q: "Will ground troops be used to protect the Kosovars in these neighboring countries?"
Mr. Lockhart: "A large contingent of humanitarian workers, under the direction of the United Nations, will provide whatever security is required to ensure that the humanitarian airlift is completed successfully."
Q: "Are you concerned that the bombing has strained US relations with Russia?"
Mr. Lockhart: "The Russians have been constructive partners with us in the peace talks. We welcome any influence they may have in Belgrade to ensure that the relief phase of our engagement is left unfettered. Thank you very much."
William Jefferson Clinton learned long ago that politics and diplomacy are wars of words. Obfuscation, diversion, and evasion are just ordinary weapons employed in the course of battle. Winning is purely a matter of shaping the rules of engagement. Lead with your heart and most of the American people will follow. Principles and ethics are for losers.
©1999, William Westmiller
California Coordinator of the Republican Liberty Caucus
Past Candidate for the Republican Nomination for (24 CA) Congress
Former National Secretary, California Chairman, Libertarian Party
wargame.c42 ~770 Words
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