WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S.-led military strike on Yugoslavia is an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation, a potential Vietnam-style morass for American ground troops, and a dangerous expansion of the U.S. government's "perpetual war for perpetual peace" foreign policy, the Libertarian Party said today.
"This is not our war," said the party's national chairman, David Bergland. "No matter how tragic the civil war in Yugoslavia is, the security of the United States is not at stake. We should not be involved in this conflict."
On Wednesday, American-led NATO forces attacked Yugoslavia with B-2 Stealth bombers, Cruise missiles, warships, and submarines. The stated goal: To "degrade" Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic's ability to wage a civil war against the breakaway Kosovo province.
In justifying the attack, the Clinton Administration said that President Milosevic was behaving like Adolf Hitler, and was committing genocide and "ethnic cleansing" against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
But the Libertarian Party said that ending a foreign civil war -- however noble the rhetoric justifying it -- is no excuse for getting the United States involved in another distant conflict.
"The job of our military is to protect the United States; not play kingmaker or nation-builder to the world," said Bergland. "There is no legitimate reason why we should be involved in military operations in the Balkans -- a region notorious for bloody ethnic, religious, and territorial squabbles for over 600 years.
"Yes, the war in the Balkans is a tragedy. But that does not justify spilling one drop of American blood or spending one dollar of American taxpayers' money."
In addition, the military strike is dangerous and alarming because it opens the floodgates to unlimited foreign intervention by the U.S. government, said Bergland.
"Aside from a few token claims that our security is at stake, the Clinton Administration is primarily justifying this attack on moral grounds -- arguing that we have a moral obligation to stop one particular group of foreigners from killing another group of foreigners. However, that argument writes a blank check on our military, and on the American taxpayers who fund it."
For example, noted Bergland, Kosovo is just one of a dozen internal conflicts raging around the world.
"More than 37,000 Kurds have been killed in Turkey over the past decade in that civil war. Russia just finished a bloody military action against rebels in Chechnya. Sri Lanka continues to battle Tamil secessionists. More than 4,000 people have died in the last month in the Sierra Leone civil war. A low-intensity civil conflict has been raging in Northern Ireland for most of the past 30 years. India is busy suppressing supporters of Kashmir independence," he said.
"Given the endless number of conflicts around the globe -- all of which involve innocent people tragically being killed -- where do we stop? Will the United States move into an eternal war footing, fighting a perpetual war for an increasingly elusive peace?"
Even worse, the military strike against Yugoslavia represents an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation by NATO -- and marks the "end of NATO's innocence" as a defensive force, said Bergland.
"Separate from the debate about whether NATO was genuinely needed for the defense of the United States, you must grant that NATO has an impressive 50-year track record as a purely defensive alliance," he said.
"That's all over now. With the attack on Yugoslavia, NATO has launched its first unprovoked military aggression against a sovereign nation. The transition of NATO from peace-keeper to war-maker is complete."
The attack on Yugoslavia is also unconstitutional, since it is a blatant act of war against a sovereign nation without formal Congressional authorization, said Bergland.
"Even the Clinton Administration acknowledges that bombing a sovereign nation qualifies as an act of war, which should, according to the U.S Constitution, require a declaration of war by Congress," he said. "However, the U.S. government justifies its action because genocide is allegedly occurring, and because no declaration of war was required for U.S. military intervention in Bosnia, Somalia, or Iraq.
"So, past foreign intervention is used as a justification for current foreign intervention -- with the definition of 'war' becoming ever more murky, and the Constitution slipping into irrelevance. That's a tragedy, because a government unfettered by any Constitutional limitations poses a greater danger to Americans than a civil war in an obscure Balkan province."
Finally, the attack on Yugoslavia has no "end game" -- no clearly articulated plan for the United States to disengage from the conflict, said Bergland.
"This conflict could very easily turn into a Balkan Vietnam," he said. "Whether or not we intervene, the Kosovo conflict could spiral into a regional war. How long is the U.S. government willing to stay involved in a Balkan war? How much money is it willing to spend? How many American lives it is willing to waste?
"Just look at Bosnia: Our one-year peacekeeping mission has turned into a three-year nation-building mission, with no end in sight. The cost has ballooned to $20 billion, with no end in sight. Look at Haiti: Four years later, American peace-keeping troops are still in that nation, with no end in sight. Or look at Iraq: Eight years later, we're still fighting that war, with no end in sight.
"Now, President Clinton is prepared to deploy another 4,000 American troops to Kosovo, with no end in sight.
"We should stop this foolishness. We don't need another Bosnia. We don't need another Haiti. We don't need another Iraq. And we certainly don't need another Vietnam. That's why the Libertarian Party urges: End the attack on Yugoslavia. Bring our troops home," he said.
"Americans deserve peace. And we're not going to achieve that goal by recklessly intervening in every conflict around the globe, with the goal of bombing our way to peace."
Return to B>Quest article about NATO.
The above is a news release of the
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.lp.org/
Released: March 25, 1999
For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222