Letter to the Honorable Barbara Boxer
by Mac Lawrence

Dear Senator Boxer:

I urge you to do everything you can to stop the bombing in Yugoslavia. I am appalled by the violence against the Kosovars, but equally appalled by our own violence. Do two wrongs make a right? Why do we take sides in this feud between the Albanians and the Serbs, both of whom have historically committed unspeakable crimes against each other? Why do we take such glory in destroying bridges, power plants, factories, water systems, refineriescrippling a nation and making life hell for a whole people? Why do we think American or German or French or British lives are more important than the lives of the innocent citizens in Yugoslavia who die from our errant bombing, or what Trent Lott calls "those little boo-boos?"

Is our only answer always to resort to the force of arms just because we are the world's superpower and no one can threaten us? Where is the creativity of our leaders in a situation like Kosovo?

It must be based on the realities. In the case of Kosovo, the problem existed before Milosevic; the Serbs consider Kosovo sacred and will never give it all up; the demands made at Rambouillet were unacceptable to any sovereign nation; the UN would never accede to the bombing so we use NATO because it will do what we want; our bombing has escalated the forcing out of the Kosovars, now including those who can no longer find food and must leave on their own volition; we hope the Russians will bail us out, but have yet to consider their efforts seriously and would hate to give them any credit; the KLA contributed to this mess, and its continued existence means the continuance of civil war in Kosovo, making Kosovo a hazardous place to return to.

There will surely be other cases of ethnic unrest in countries with arbitrary borders whose governments treat them brutally, so the world must come up with ways to resolve these crises without violence, bloodshed, and bombs.

Published May 30, 1999
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