Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, March 30, 1999
By Smokey Briggs
"You've got to know
Life is a consequence. It is a consequence of the thousands of little and
big decisions we make every hour of every day.
when to hold `em."
No one can anticipate every possible consequence to every minor decision.
However, for the big decisions, the foreseeable consequences need to be
weighed against the foreseeable gains.
Sometimes the possible gains just aren't good enough to justify the
If you read my column last week you know that I think our military involvement
in Kosovo is a foolish waste, among other things. If you didn't read last
week's column, that pretty much sums it up.
So far we've been pretty lucky. I haven't heard of any American casualties.
We can only hope that this trend will continue, but the numbers are against
Even without casualties, however, there have been consequences. Only
a prophet could tell us what some of these consequences are.
Others may not be so difficult. One obvious consequence is that we have
probably handed Russia and the rest of the old Soviet Union at least some
of the technology that makes our "stealth" aircraft one of our best military
To date, the United States is the only country in the world with this
technology. And it is amazing technology. The aircraft are supposed to
be nearly invisible both to radar and heat -based tracking systems.
All that probably changed last week when we crashed an F-117A stealth
fighter in the Kosovo region. The Serbs claim to have shot it down. Our
own officials aren't saying what brought the aircraft down. Thankfully,
the pilot wasn't badly injured and a quick rescue operation brought him
But the wreckage of his secret jet remains in Kosovo — a country we
have declared war on, and a country with very close ties to Russia.
The Russians may have had their share of economic troubles these last
years, but they are not stupid. They are not slow to recognize a potential
I would bet my eye teeth that there were Russian teams standing by in
Serbia or nearby, just in case we lost a stealth aircraft.
Of course, I'm assuming that the stealth technology really is a secret
and the Russians haven't already figured it out.
Since they haven't fielded a stealth aircraft of their own, it seems
likely that they haven't figured out what makes a stealth aircraft so stealthy.
I don't know what information could have been gleaned from the wreckage
of the aircraft. I do know that with modern scientific techniques, an incredible
amount of knowledge can be milked from seemingly destroyed objects.
At best, we have probably given the Russians important clues to the
secrets of stealth technology.
At worst, the Russian Economic Development Corporation announced the
grand opening of a new aircraft factory this week.
Either consequence is a poor result.
Considering — the risks involved, the proximity and relation of Serbia
to Russia, the terrain and abilities of the Serbians, not to mention the
political "objectives" of the war — risking the stealth technology may
not have been worth the potential gain.
The long-term consequence of all of this is that we may have sacrificed
one of our best hole cards on a penny-ante game.
History promises that one day, the stakes will be higher than they are
in Serbia. When that day comes, me may regret that we already played our
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesday. He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com
College opportunity is good for Pecos
Pecos scored an important victory last week when the board of directors
for Odessa College voted to bring a satellite campus to Pecos.
In the economic development battle this was a key victory for Pecos
With this campus, Pecosans will have easy access to quality educational
opportunities that can open the doors to better employment.
Local businesses will also feel the impact as residents improve their
job skills through courses offered at the campus.
For continuing economic development, the campus is an ace in the hole.
The presence of the campus will be an important selling point as prospective
businesses look Pecos over.
Unfortunately, a Pecos campus isn't a reality yet. Although Dr. Norman
Harris has donated the old White's building for the site, money still has
to be raised to renovate the building.
Finding the money for this project should be a priority for all levels
of local government, and for all citizens of Pecos and Reeves County.
In the mean-time, congratulations are due to everyone whose efforts
have contributed to this project.
Kosovo air-strikes raise many questions
It would seem as though our president’s standard of unguided knee-jerk
reaction foreign policy has once again led us into yet another ill-defined
As has become the Clinton Regime standard response to not getting his
way with other world leaders he has once again pulled out his Aerial Campaign
With an initial attack by 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles closely followed
by 400 attack aircraft, all aimed at the standard target package of air
defense facilities, barracks, factories and communication sites, we will
bomb another country into submission.
I wonder how these attacks are hampering the 45,000 Serbian troops deployed
on the Kosovo and Macedonia borders? What will happen if even a portion
of those troops initiate offense operations against our limited number
of troops in Macedonia? What will the ramifications be if Serbian
supporters in Bosnia begin guerilla operations against our ground forces
on peace keeping duty?
Although Serbia’s military has a limited number of M-84 (T-72) tanks,
somewhere around 250 of them, those tanks are a formidable force in the
region. They could inflict serious casualties on our forces before they
How long will the bordering nations allow hundreds of thousands of
refugees to cross their borders, adding more stress to the neighboring
populations already coping with weak economies and ethnic problems of their
The Yugoslavs are a proud people and as history has shown may not roll
over easily. What action will we take if the bombing
campaign fails to bring about compliance with NATO demands? Although
Russia has said they will take no military action to aid the Serbians
at this point how many times will the Russians allow us to disregard their
opinions and wishes in dealing with problems so near their borders.
If Boris Yeltsin is defeated by the rising nationalist hard-liner will
the Russian Bear still remain silent?
If ever Clinton’s foreign policy has landed us in the Briar Patch, this
is it. In the event of any prolonged operation in the Balkan region
a massive amount of our air power and logistical support is tied up.
If Sadam should take this opportunity to create a little mischief we would
be instantly faced with a two front conflict. Add to that a little
China-Tiawan conflict and the situation would be completely beyond control.
In the days of our ever shrinking military, and ever increasing deployments,
could this turn into the straw that broke the Eagles back? Once again
we have entered into another campaign of hostile action without a clear
objective but merely a goal — hoping the other side will bend to pressure
and meet our terms.
Will this be another campaign where we declare victory by saying we
have sufficiently downgraded another countries offensive capabilities and
really accomplished nothing or will ground forces be committed? NATO
is already preparing a 23,000 man force for a ground contingency.
In an already unstable region filled with ethnic and religious conflict,
how much outside intervention can be taken before the whole region burst
into flames. A push here and a shove there, followed by the dispersion
of assets needed to protect the peace could provide a weakened force that
might tempt any of the groups to initiate new hostilities.
If any of these possible scenarios come about, America will feel first-hand
the effects of this ill-thought campaign.
Submitted by an active duty officer in the United States Army - name
witheld on request.
Former resident enjoys gab page, web site
Have really enjoyed reading the paper and all the info in the Exes section
since I found it a few weeks ago. My mother, who lives here in San Angelo
now, usually gets a big batch of papers about 2 or 3 months after the fact,
from Judy Weinacht, who gets them from some other friend.
By the time they get to me, they are well read! Since I found the Web
site, I read most of the news daily, and print up part of it to take to
her. I especially enjoy the Exes section, even tho most of the writeins
are of a much later graduation date than we are.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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