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Jewish World Review May 13, 1999 /27 Iyar, 5759

Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg
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This war will end --- or spread

(JWR) ---- (
AT LAST THE POWERS that cunning be in Communist China have found a mass protest they can not only permit but even promote: the march of mobs on the American embassy in Beijing, and on Western consulates in general.

The reason, or at least the occasion, for this sudden but scarcely spontaneous outburst is the bloody bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. That attack, it seems, was both highly accurate and highly accidental. What should have been a warehouse full of arms turned out to be the Embassy of the People's Republic of China. Some days the term Military Intelligence heads our list of oxymorons.

Rather than let the Chinese people know of American regrets and apologies, Beijing has orchestrated a series of popular eruptions against the round-eyed barbarians, evil imperialists etc. When Goethe said there was nothing so frightening as ignorance in action, he overlooked the spectacle of ignorance carefully maintained, nurtured with righteous indignation and then whipped into a frenzy for political purposes. Result: Both the cause in Belgrade and the effects in Beijing can now be televised on the hour by CNN. Think of it as the Boxer Rebellion plus electronic coverage.

Here was a chance for China's illegitimate regime to lay hold of a legitimate grievance and ally itself with popular fervor. And the commissars didn't miss it. They've also suspended military contacts with the United States. Somehow we don't think this means they'll stop stealing our military secrets. Nor is Beijing about to give up its most-favored-nation status when it comes to doing business with this country and raking in a huge trade surplus.

Meanwhile, Washington continues to press for the admission of Communist China (but not the Republic of China on Taiwan) to the World Trade Organization, while soft-pedaling revelations of Chinese espionage in this country, not to mention all those illegal campaign contributions. War is war, propaganda is propaganda, but business is business.

It's not exactly news: Governments maneuver and people suffer. But only some suffering is preserved on film, like that of the Chinese diplomats grieving over their dead in Belgrade. There are no CNN camera crews to record the massacres that continue even now in Kosovo. Only the outline of mass graves from 15,000 feet offer a clue to the fate of thousands and the horrendous destruction of a whole people.

The Albanians of Kosovo have become unpersons. Their decimation and dispersion proceeds even now as the West plugs away at this halfway war, or maybe quarter-way war, unable to conceive and execute one clear decision: victory.

If there is a moral to this mix of real terror and media manipulation, it may be General Sherman's: War is hell. Which should be all the more reason not to prolong it. Where are the ground troops? Where is the overwhelming array of force-on land, on sea, in the air -- that remains the only way to put an end to this carnage? Still offstage. What's more, Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic is repeatedly assured that's the way it will stay. Of course the atrocities continue.

The greater the force deployed in this war that Our Leaders still will not call a war, the less likely those troops will have to be used, or if used, the fewer their casualties and the quicker this fire can be put out. Instead, Washington holds back, NATO dithers, and those screams you hear are from the ``collateral damage,'' which turns out to be flesh and blood.

There are two possibilities at this juncture: This war will be ended, or it will spread. That is the nature of wars.

If Slobodan Milosevic is not stopped at last, and stopped definitively, the widening circle of violence will eventually draw in other provinces, like Montenegro, and other nations, like Macedonia, and other great powers, like Communist China. Either deliberately or accidentally.

Halfway measures will only increase the suffering, and the danger of an even greater conflagration. Once again, MacArthur's Law applies: In war there is no substitute for victory.


05/11/99: South Sider comes through
05/07/99: There is no substitute for victory
05/05/99: A Tale of two colonels
05/03/99: It's the culture, stupid
04/30/99: Bumpers' 'B.S.'
04/27/99: An American tragedy: the fall of Kenneth Starr
04/23/99: Presidents and the press
04/14/99: A revealing moment
04/14/99: War Day by day
04/12/99: Just a few questions
04/06/99: The problem with the Left
04/05/99: The problem with the Right
03/30/99: But can he convince himself?
03/26/99: Short bursts
03/24/99: Once more into the quagmire
03/17/99: Big time in Little Rock
03/15/99: Our own Roger Taney
03/09/99: A different ‘Waterfront’
03/05/99: Law and disorder
2/26/99: King Richard's revenge
2/25/99: Open season on the fetus, and a good word for the pagans
2/23/99: It never ends: Here comes the judge
2/19/99: After the storm: Going through the debris
2/17/99: Where's the closure?
2/12/99: Hussein the Hashemite: The wiliest player on the board
2/09/99: The social security game
2/04/99: Our own Inspector Clouseau
2/01/99: Night scene, night thoughts
1/28/99: The decay of the art of lying
1/26/99: Impeachment: Short subjects
1/22/99: Bounce, glitz and tedium: The State of the Disunion
1/20/99: Destructive engagement: How to encourage tyranny
1/18/99: Martin Luther King: The radical as conservative?
1/11/99: Why America is apathetic about Bill's date with destiny
1/06/99:The year of Moronica
1/04/99: Clinton’s janitorial crew of two
12/29/98:The Senate will be on trial, too
12/29/98:A look down the avenue
12/22/98: The surreal impeachment
12/17/98: Another moment of truth approaches
12/15/98: The President's defenders: witnesses for the prosecution
12/10/98:The latest miracle cure: CensurePlus
12/03/98: Sentences at an airport Sentences at an airport
12/03/98: Games lawyers play
12/01/98: Ms. Magoo strikes again, or: Janet Reno and the law
11/26/98: The most American holiday
11/23/98: Same game, another round
11/18/98: Guide to the perplexed
11/09/98: A vote for apathy
11/03/98: Global village goes Clintonesque
11/02/98: Farewell to all that
10/30/98: New budget, same swollen government
10/26/98: Of life on the old plantation -- and death in the Middle East
10/22/98: Starr Wars (CONT'D)
10/19/98:Another retreat: weakness invites aggression
10/16/98: Profile in courage
10/14/98: A new voice out of Arkansas
10/09/98: Gerald Ford, Mr. Fix-It?
10/07/98: Impeachment Journal: Dept. of Doublespeak
10/01/98: The new tradition
9/25/98: Mr. President, PLEASE don't resign
9/23/98: The demolition of meaning
9/18/98: So help us G-d; The nature of the crisis
9/17/98: First impressions: on reading the Starr Report
9/15/98: George Wallace: All the South in one man
9/10/98: Here comes the judge
9/07/98: Toward impeachment
9/03/98: The politics of impeachment
9/01/98: The eagle can still soar
8/28/98: Boris Yeltsin's mind: a riddle pickled in an enigma
8/26/98: Clinton agonistes, or: Twisting in the wind
8/25/98: The rise of the English murder
8/24/98: Confess and attack: Slick comes semi-clean
8/19/98: Little Rock perspectives
8/14/98: Department of deja vu
8/12/98: The French would understand
8/10/98: A fable: The Rat in the Corner
8/07/98: Welcome to the roaring 90s
8/06/98: No surprises dept. -- promotion denied
8/03/98: Quotes of and for the week: take your pick
7/29/98: A subpoena for the president:
so what else is new?
7/27/98: Forget about Bubba, it's time to investigate Reno
7/23/98: Ghosts on the roof, 1998
7/21/98: The new elegance
7/16/98: In defense of manners
7/13/98: Another day, another delay: what's missing from the scandal news
7/9/98:The language-wars continue
7/7/98:The new Detente
7/2/98: Bubba in Beijing: history does occur twice
6/30/98: Hurry back, Mr. President -- to freedom
6/24/98: When Clinton follows Quayle's lead
6/22/98: Independence Day, 2002
6/18/98: Adventures in poli-speke

©1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate