|LET DIPLOMACY TAKE ITS OWN COURSE
Editor - Regarding the Kosovo crisis, it is ironic that in order to promote
peace we wage war; and to save innocent lives, we do not mind taking more innocent lives.
And at the end of all the killings and collateral killings, comes up[ a peace accord in
which the will of the more powerful prevail...
This was the beginning of the letter that San Francisco Chronicle printed on April 7th
1999. The author is Tilak Rishai from Milbrae. On the same page there's a letter from
Lester Schonbrun, from Oakland who writes: "Supporting NATO illegal war, letter
writer Steve Juniper says: 'If the community of nations had acted when action was called
for about ten years ago... The present mess... could have been avoided.'
They did. In October 1990, Congress cut off aid to Yugoslavia, largely because it didn't
like that government's pace toward a free market. The European Community followed our
lead. A New York Times editorial (Oct. 31,1990) said that cutting off aid 'would
exacerbate Yugoslavia's economic distress - and national passions.' At the time.
Yugoslavia was whole, and at peace."
And only a little bit down, on the same page, Ann Fagan Ginger, Executive Director of the
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute writes: "I am writing this letter as a lawyer
and the daughter of a newspaperman about the U.S. and NATO bombings in Yugoslavia and your
coverage of the bombings. We learned from World War II that you cannot solve any problem
by air strikes alone. Since then we have learned over and over that there is no such thing
as a "surgical strike' that doesn't touch civilians or their lives. I learned in U.S.
and world history that you cannot stop horrible violations of human rights by ordering
soldiers to push neat buttons on powerful weapons.
And I learned the Constitution: only Congress has the power to declare war in this
country. This means both houses of Congress must have serious discussions about precisely
who is the enemy, why should we go to war with them, and what is our goal. Without that
kind of debate we have a government of men and not of laws.
I learned that a treaty is part of the supreme law of the land under our Constitution. The
U.N. Charter is a treaty. When the Senate voted to ratify the charter in 1945, they
committed the U.S. not to use force or threat of force in the settlement of disputed and
to settle disputes with other nations by regional negotiations which concerned countries
and through organs of the U.N.
I have not found any of these relevant facts reported in The Chronicle coverage of events
in Yugoslavia. Nor have I read any analysis of the role of peacekeeping forces provided by
the U.N. or conflict management effort by governments in the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe.
The anguish we all feel when we see or read about refugees and other horrible events in
the former Yugoslavia requires us to think about what we should do as U.S. citizens, to
affect the policy of our government. We must tell our government leaders not to try to
answer the problems of Kosovo by ourselves or with NATO but through discussions in the
U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Economic and social Council, the Security Council, the
World Court, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Just listen to them! As an example to others who may attempt to write similar letters in
the future, or to otherwise express similar views, these three should be sent to Belgrade
on a first plane. We do not need anybody telling us about our own Constitution and our own
International Law, and the treaties. And as for diplomacy, we are letting diplomacy take
its own course, we call it "gun diplomacy." I mean, you had James Rubin and
William Cohen talk for hours on CNN and you still didn't get it! We don't care for
Constitutions, treaties, laws and all that stuffing because we are HUMANITARIANS, we are
the moral leader of the world, we can't let those things get in the way of us making this
world safe for democracy. And free trade. And free flow of our arms. The Dow went over
10.000 and stayed there for a while. If that's not a sign from above that we are doing
things right, what is?