in Yugoslavia coverage
June 14, 1999:
Charles Krause reports on the
situation in Pristina
June 11, 1999:
Newsmaker interview with President
June 10, 1999:
Milosevic addresses his nation
June 10, 1999:
Clinton responds to NATO's bombing pause
June 10, 1999:
Secretary- General Kofi Annan
June 10, 1999:
announces the bombing pause
June 9, 1999:
Security Adviser Samuel Berger.
June 9, 1999:
and NATO come to terms on a Serb withdrawal.
June 8, 1999:
British Ambassador to the UN discusses the G8 peace deal.
June 8, 1999:
role in the peace process.
June 7, 1999:
June 3, 1999:
Secretary Cohen discusses the peace deal.
June 3, 1999:
policy experts react to the peace deal.
May 27, 1999:
Security Adviser Berger on the Milosevic indictment.
Complete NewsHour coverage of Europe
FARNSWORTH, NewsHour Correspondent: It's good to see you all again,
thanks for being with us. Eric Duran, on this program last week, Secretary
of State Albright said, "Americans should be proud of achieving
the peace in Kosovo." Are you proud?
ERIC DURAN, Democrat: I'm extremely proud of what happened in Kosovo.
I mean what we're talking about is a situation where the Americans or
the United States didn't have, you know, a vital economic interest and
we were just taking a stance on what was morally right and what is morally
correct. And the President did a good job of bringing NATO together
for the first time -- to utilize its force to bring peace about in Kosovo
without sustaining any real military losses, and the U.S. achieved all
of its objectives. So I'm proud of what our country's done there.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Are you proud, Chris?
GOODWIN, Independent: Not in the least. I think this policy was a big
mistake from the very beginning and it's turned into a disaster. Over
800,000 refugees, probably more to come, the destruction of Yugoslavia,
devastation in Kosovo. I think this was another case of American foreign
policy really being a military policy, one of shoot first and ask questions
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: And you're not proud of NATO basically using all
its force on behalf of refugees and on behalf of human rights here.
CHRIS GOODWIN, Independent: No, I don't. I have a lot of questions about
what the real motives were behind this whole policy. I think it had
as much to do with trying to justify the existence of NATO as anything
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Dee, how do you feel about it?
DEE CISNEROS, Democrat: I felt that it was the right reason to go in,
it was the right way it was handled militarily, and I thought that everything
was done the right way. Just exactly what they should have done.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: So you're proud, as an American, you're proud?
DEE CISNEROS, Democrat: I'm very proud, yes, I'm very proud. I think
we, we saved those people from genocide -- it's better for refugees
than to have them wiped out. And no body bags. That was a big improvement
over other wars. And I was happy that the ground troops did not go in.
I think if air wars are the new thing, I think we should we go along
|ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Linda Stahnke, how do you see this
STAHNKE, Republican: I don't agree. I think there are lots of bodies that
are unaccounted for. There's a whole generation, maybe two generations
of Albanian men who are missing. We don't know where they are. And I don't
think our actions really served the refugees. I think Milosevic got what
he wanted. And how it turns out from here, we'll have to see. I think
justice is the most important thing, not a matter of a military victory,
but if there is justice for Milosevic and for the paramilitary troops
and whoever else is responsible for those who had to flee, those whose
homes were taken away from them, whoever's burning homes as they're leaving
now, and, I think that's much more the issue than some kind of a military
triumph that we can claim. We should have blockaded in the beginning.
We should have had sanctions. There were other things we could have done
before we brought out the biggest hammer.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: How about you, Robert Taylor, how do you feel about
ROBERT TAYLOR, Democrat: I'm very proud of the actions we've taken. I
think looking for a war, any kind of military action, with no damages,
structurally or casualties is like looking for a toy that doesn't break
after Christmas. It's unreasonable. There's always going to be casualties,
there's always going to be death and destruction, and I'm very proud of
the President. I think that if there's a role to be assumed by the United
States and in future military actions, it should be that of keeping peace.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Brent Neiser, do you see it as a victory for the
U.S. and NATO?
NEISER, Republican: I think it's an air power success initially, but this
is just act one of a very long three act play we're going to be in. The
inciting incident was Milosevic going in with ethnic cleansing, which
I deplore, and I'm glad NATO and others stood up to do something about
it. But act two now is trying to achieve some stability, a peace. This
is the Balkans, I mean this is a long history, but we have some other
actors in here now because of some of our actions. China, who is not involved
directly, but that's going to include some of our actions and Russia is
a wild card we have to play with a lot and that's act two. We've got to
work all that out. And the big costs, the big money issues associated
with this. And act three is how does this play into the precedent we set
as a nation and as NATO, this idea of a bully NATO kind of invading another
country. It's never really happened before. We sort of skirted past the
U.N. There's some big international laws, some long term issues as well
as our military posture as well. And it's going to take a long time to
sort those out. We need to think what we're doing very carefully.
CHRIS GOODWIN, Independent: There's some serious questions about our own
law too. The President conducted a war that I think was in violation of
the Constitution and in violation of the War Powers Act itself. The long
term effects of that I think are very serious. Is that going to continue?
Is the President of the United States now free to conduct war on any country
he wants without approval of the Congress? That's a very dangerous precedent.
RABBI STEPHEN FOSTER, Democrat: Does the President of the United States
determine for the rest of the world how far one individual could go? If
we in the United States had taken that step in the 1930s -- in the early
1940s -- perhaps we would not have had to face what we had to face when
this was all over. This is not the first time ethnic cleansing has taken
place in the Balkans and in Europe. I wish that President Roosevelt had
taken the step in 1940, 1941 just to bomb rail heads going into concentration
camps. I think that our President did the right thing.
of ethnic cleansing.
CHRIS GOODWIN, Independent: I agree with that, but I think comparing
what happened, what happened in Kosovo to the Nazi Holocaust -- to the
Holocaust committed against the Jews in World War II -- is ridiculous,
it's not the same thing.
RABBI STEPHEN FOSTER, Democrat: It's not the same thing, it's not the
same thing to you. It certainly is the same thing to those people who
are being ethnically cleansed.
CHRIS GOODWIN: Those people were refugees, they were not, they were
refugees, they'd been thrown out of their homes. It's a terrible civil
war. It should not have happened, but they were not herded into extermination
camps and killed.
LOPEZ, Independent: How can anybody sit back and allow atrocities to
take place where hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people are slaughtered
and, and we don't do a thing about it, you know? We're part of NATO.
It was our responsibility to jump in the middle of this and try to resolve
it. I just can't understand how anyone can say that there were not atrocities
occurring over there, that those civilian, defenseless civilians, were
being slaughtered and we were standing by and we weren't going to do
it? I think that's ridiculous.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Dennis Coughlin, does the President deserve a
lot of credit here? Let me just give a quote. The President was interviewed
by Jim Lehrer on Friday and he said, "I'm confident that I did
the right thing in the right way." Do you agree with that?
DENNIS COUGHLIN, Republican: I think he did the exact right thing, but
I think the tough part is to come. I think that the easy part, not necessarily
politically, but the easy part was the war. The tough part will be the
peace. And that's when Americans can truly be happy and truly be proud
of what we've done if we are successful in negotiating a long term peace
there. But what he did, Elizabeth, I think was absolutely right.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Anybody concerned about this kind of warfare,
ERIC DURAN, Democrat: I think the one thing that does concern me is
that now American people's expectations or the U.S. expectations, might
be a little bit unrealistic. We fought a war in Iraq and we had few
casualties and we now push the Serbians out of Kosovo without any casualties
at all and, and so now I think our, our threshold of, our tolerance
of pain is much, much lower and I think we have greater expectations
of our military.
CHRIS GOODWIN, Indepedent: I think any time there is a military power
who can exercise the kind of power we can exercise almost with impunity,
the kind of technology we can use, I think that's a very dangerous situation.
I think it breeds a certain amount of arrogance on the part of this
country or any other country that possesses that kind of power. And
that's real dangerous precedent.
RABBI STEPHEN FOSTER: I'm not sure that we can even talk about winning
a war, and I'm not sure that this was a war. This was one-sided, really.
I'm not sure this was a war, but we've allowed Milosevic to escape any
kind of responsibility for what caused this and we allowed Saddam Hussein
to escape ten years ago.
DENNIS COUGHLIN, Independent: I would not want to have victory or defeat
depended upon whether we killed or assassinated or removed from power
one individual. I don't think that's where we should judge our victory
or defeat. I think we really...
still in power.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: It doesn't bother you that Milosevic is still
DENNIS COUGHLIN: No, I mean, obviously we would rather him not be involved.
RABBI STEPHEN FOSTER, Democrat: You don't think that we're going to
--we're going to be responding to him again?
DENNIS COUGHLIN: Well perhaps we will, or perhaps we won't, but I don't
think that this particular conflict should be judged on whether he is
or is not in power as I don't think that Saddam Hussein, whether he
is or is not in power should be the, the measure by whether we win or
lose. I think really what we will do is, can we maintain peace there?
Are we and those people in a more secure position? Did we establish
some kind of moral authority that the United States and NATO and the
other 13 countries are not going to allow ethnic cleansing?
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Okay, that's what I want to pursue. Is this a
new era that we're in?
LINDA STAHNKE, Republican: I'm concerned about the principle here. It
seems like we've reacted emotionally to the circumstances of the ethnic
cleansing, but we've really picked and chosen because this has happened
elsewhere. This is not a one time, one shot thing. You know, we had,
we claimed you know we were helping the Kurds when it was Iraq and,
and now there's this one. But there are other things going on in the
world similarly, so are we establishing a principle whereby the United
States always jumps in? Or do we jump in every other time, or do we
jump in only on the times where we feel like we have some sort of an
interest or we have allies that we are obligated to help? And are we
the leader or are we the support for the neighboring countries? I think
we should be the support for those neighboring countries, not the leading
edge all around the world.
DURAN, Democrat: Well I, I disagree with that. I think you have to pick
and choose your battles. We can't go into China and go to war with China
because of what they did in Tiananmen Square. But we can act prudently
and properly when we see a smaller country that we think we can use
our military effectively to implement and protect people for their human
rights. We can't have one broad generalization policy because that will
lead to world war. But I think when we see a smaller country that's
being abusive and committing atrocities, then we do have to take a more,
CHRIS GOODWIN: And the small countries cant defend themselves
against the U.S. military.
ERIC DURAN: Who are doing ethnic cleansing -- absolutely...
CHRIS GOODWIN: And the larger countries who commit human rights violations
get trade deals and arm sales to the--
ERIC DURAN: That's the unfortunate reality of the world unless you're
CHRIS GOODWIN: Well it's a reality that needs to change. It's not something
we accept and make part of our policy.
ERIC DURAN: Well we, we're trying to change it but we can't declare
war on China.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Just one second, Rabbi Foster, the Russian standoff
that is occurring at the Pristina airport right now. How worried are
you about Russia right now?
STEPHEN FOSTER: I'm not worried about Russia. I'm more worried about
China to be honest with you. I think the Chinese are the ones that have
lost something here and that was very emotional for the Chinese. I'm
not sure that the Chinese are just going to sit back and say, well we've
accepted the apology of the United States or of NATO and everything
will be okay. I'm not quite sure exactly what's going to happen, nor
do I think that any of us here know exactly what's going to happen.
LOU LOPEZ: I would hope that we're not looking at another East Berlin
type situation where the Russians all of a sudden declare and build
a wall and here we go again. You know we're looking at another....
DENNIS COUGHLIN: Lou, I think that Russia is a very different country
today. They've got an awful lot of internal problems. I just don't think
that they are a major threat and therefore I am saying I think a lot
of this is just posturing. I think the more people, the more nations
that they can bring to the table and to be part of the peace process,
the better chance the peace process has of working. So I'm, I'm all
in favor of having the Russians in there. I don't think that's a negative.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Okay, thank you all very much for being with us,
it's good to see you again, as always.