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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Opinion

Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Smokey Briggs

Sage
Views

By Smokey Briggs

American blood can't

fix Kosovo problem

Our boys in uniform better strap on their flak jackets.

That daring duo of foreign policy, Madeleine "The Mad Bomber" Albright and Bill "The Draft Dodger" Clinton, seem to be ready to toss them into harm's way again.

This time the target for our daring duo's selective peace keeping appears to be the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Kosovo is a small province in what used to be Yugoslavia. It lies due east of Italy across the Adriatic Sea, just north of Albania, and in the southern part of Serbia.

It is generally agreed that the Serbs moved into the area first around the beginning of the 7th Century. The Serbs are Christians.

The Albanians migrated into the region during the 14th and 15th centuries after the Serbs had been conquered by the Turks. The Albanians are Muslims.

In Kosovo, the Albanians are a huge majority. In all of Serbia, they are a minority.

For more than 500 years these two ethnic/religious/political groups have been fighting over this chunk of land.

The only person who ever managed to unite these two groups was Hitler. He did this by invading Yugoslavia and running panzers through the villages.

Then, for about five years, both groups united under Tito to fight the Germans.

Tito, and the regime he organized after World War II, managed to keep these two groups from each others' throats for about 50 years with the iron fist of totalitarian communism.

After Yugoslavia came apart in the early 90's the old provinces regained their sovereignty. And the old feuds were revived.

Kosovo is legally a province of Serbia. Of course, the Albanian majority in Kosovo doesn't want to live under a Serbian dominated government.

On the other hand, Serbia is about as interested in granting Kosovo independence as the United States was when the Confederacy decided to withdraw from the Union.

Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a just answer to the problem.

Which makes the contemplated action of committing U.S. troops to the area even more questionable.

Nothing about this makes sense.

The United States has no security interest threatened by the current situation. We have no financial interest in this region.

Worse, we have no solution. Like a teacher on the playground, our "plan" to solve the problem is to tell everybody to be nice or we will paddle the aggressors. Anybody that ever played on a playground knows that the minute the teacher leaves, all bets are off and blood is going to flow. All the teacher managed to do was postpone the inevitable.

Of course, in Kosovo, the teacher's actions may get Americans killed in the process. But, in the end, all we can possibly do is postpone the inevitable.

Much like we have been doing in Bosnia for how many years past the date the Dodger promised us the troops would come home?

There are two possible solutions to the Kosovo situation.

One, we can leave them alone. The Serbs and Albanians will continue to fight, as they have done for 500 years.

Two, we can interfere. The only way interfering can produce peace between the Serbs and Albanians is by unifying them against a common enemy as Hitler managed.

No matter what, if we do interfere, we very possibly will be fighting the Serbs. If this comes to pass, the Serbs will resort to guerrilla warfare the only option when one faces an overwhelmingly superior foe.

Before the Dodger and the Bomber commit our troops to combat against these people they would do well to review the German experience in this area during World War II.

Germany committed some of her best combat divisions to the Yugoslavian arena battle-hardened panzer units, paratroopers and infantry, backed up with the best air support the German Luftwaffe could provide.

Against these forces Tito mustered a rag-tag army of guerrillas armed with rifles.

And Germany lost. In the process they suffered terrible casualties.

The Germans lost because conventional units directed by conventional thinking cannot win a war against guerrillas.

This is the situation that our troops are likely to find themselves in. One might hope that America learned this lesson during Viet Nam.

But the Dodger never went to Viet Nam, and the Bomber's policy decisions suggest that she has never contemplated the beginnings of either of the World Wars, much less the tactics of guerrilla warfare.

The combination points to another peace keeping disaster paid for in American blood.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of hte Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesday. He can be e-mailed at: smokey@pecos.net.

Our View

Lack of candidates is bad omen

The day has passed for prospective candidates to sign up for the coming local elections.

Only this year, there won't be any elections in Pecos.

There won't be any elections because there aren't any contested races.

Similar scenarios are playing out across the Trans-Pecos region.

This year's election day, when the polls aren't operating, should mark a sad day for a town nestled in the heart of the greatest democracy ever created.

Of course, rather than a sign of general apathy, one could take the lack of candidates as a sign that everyone is happy with the way the schools, hospitals and local governments are run.

That explanation seems pretty doubtful though.

In a town the size of Pecos, there ought to be at least two different views on how these organizations are run. Surely somebody disagrees with the status quo.

Most likely, this is a sign that nobody cares enough to run.

That is a bad omen for a democracy.

The right to vote doesn't mean much when there are no candidates to vote for.

Your View

Low-level flights will pose problems

This is another reminder to folks to plan on attending the public hearing for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative. The Pecos meeting will be held on Friday, April 9, at 5 p.m. to 9 pm. at the Pecos High School Cafeteria.

This proposal is the latest in an attempt by the military to trespass on the private property air space in West Texas. Under the guise that it will save the military money, they want to fly these B-1 and B-52 bombers as low as 200 feet over the human environment in the Trans-Pecos in three of their alternatives.

If you do not know much about this issue - it is because the military has purposefully tried to keep everyone in the dark about how this will actually affect you. Over and over they flagrantly violate the National Environmental Policy Act and send us charming, affable public relations personnel and publications to talk only of their "mission" and try to convince us that very low-level realistic combat training flights are good for you.

We urge everyone to get informed about these issues which will change West Texas forever. Attend this meeting, voice your opinions and send in written comments during the comment period to become part of the Final EIS document. Documented opinions are very important to future litigation. The NEPA process REQUIRES PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. If you do not comment at this time - you will be forced to live with the results.

For more information, contact the Trans-Pecos Protection Group at 915-364-2323.

KAY KELLEY
Alpine, Tx. 79831

Fifth grade students information on Texas

We are fifth grade students from St. Isidore School in Columbus, Nebraska.

We are doing a report on the state of Texas and would like help from your readers. We would like them to send us letters, post cards, pictures and other material about the state of Texas. Please send them to: Trish Ott and Shayla Christiansen, St. Isidore School, 3821 20 Street, Columbus, NE 68601.

Thank you for your help!

Sincerely,
TRISHA OTT
SHAYLA CHRISTIANSEN
Columbus, Nebraska

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