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Jewish World Review June 8, 1999 /24 Sivan, 5759

Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg
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Hail to the chief? --
He'll fold, you know. That's what a little voice in the back of my mind has been saying every day since this air war began. He'll fold and leave you in the lurch, you and everybody else who supports this war. Not that it much matters what happens to us armchair generals and the rest of the second-guessers safe at home. All we'd lose would be a little pride if Bill Clinton caved.

It would be the survivors -- the refugees, the Kosovars still in the hills and those who took up arms, the armed forces of the United States .... They would all have been let down if this president and commander-in-chief had folded. Not to mention the next victims of this tinpot Hitler as the stability and security of Europe crumbled again. As it yet may unless the allies show as much resolve in peace as they have in war.

Well, Bill Clinton didn't fold, not this time, thank G-d. It seems Slobodan Milosevic has folded, with the emphasis on seems. It's no time to celebrate, not yet, but it may be time to get ready to celebrate.

But now comes the hard part: holding this wily little menace to the terms of the agreement he's signed.

Those terms may be a little too vague for comfort, and some of us wouldn't have agreed to allow a single armed Serb back into Kosovo, not even as an honor guard around a shrine or two, not after what was done there. Any more than we would have stood for a small honor guard of Nazis at Wagner's birthplace. But for now the important thing is that the killers leave Kosovo, and that its people return to live in peace and safety.

Slobodan Milosevic must not only lose this war, but be seen to lose it. The future of NATO, and with it the peace and security of Europe well into the next century, depend on it. The lesson must be clear: Beastliness does not pay. That's why those who negotiate this peace must show at least as much resolve as those who fought this war.

None dare call it victory, not yet, but Slobodan Milosevic's acceptance of the allies' terms gives the West an opportunity for victory. And for that, those of us who doubted Bill Clinton's resolve need to salute him.

No, it wasn't exactly MacArthur at Inchon or Patton's Third Army turning on a dime to break through the Bulge, but at least he didn't fold this time. If this campaign has been a textbook example -- of mistakes to avoid -- let it be said of this commander-in-chief that he never made the one fatal mistake. He never lost his will.

For 71 days, despite all their wavering, the Western allies maintained their resolve. Despite the dangers, the fears, the casualties innocent and not so innocent, the leaders of the West understood that peace was worth it, that justice must be done. And on the 72nd day, Slobodan Milosevic finally got the message.

And now a word for the most stalwart of the allies: Throughout these 71 days, and 71 nights, the British proved the most resolute of the Western powers, urging the deployment of overwhelming force from the beginning, including ground troops. Their prime minister, Tony Blair, didn't turn out be a Clinton clone after all, but a leader who stiffened the spines of the Bill Clintons and Gerhard Schroeders.

Now the endgame begins, and it won't be easy to checkmate the black king in this deadly contest. His strategy will be obvious: to win at the negotiating table what he has lost in the field. He will delay, obfuscate, and find every reason to hold on in Kosovo, or partition it. America may win another war but lose another peace. It's an American tradition by now. It must not be allowed to happen again.

Lest we forget, every time this finally indicted war criminal has been thwarted -- in Croatia, in Bosnia, and now in Kosovo -- he has turned his attention to a new, weaker victim. (Will Montenegro be next?) This time he must be stopped and stopped definitively. The worldwide warrants out for his arrest already confine him to his ever shrinking country; now the world must confine his wicked ambition as well.


06/02/99: In praise of failure
05/26/99: Betrayal in the making: let's not make a deal
05/20/99: Israel's big switch: new era or just a mood swing?
05/18/99: Free our kids: revive the land of opportunity
05/13/99: This war will end --- or spread
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