L. Neil Smith's

Number 7, April 1996

And It's One, Two, Three,
What Are We Fighting For?

By Victor Milan

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         I presume everybody connected with The Libertarian Enterprise will be writing reactions to the US' headfirst dive into the Balkan sewer. Therefore I should refrain, because a) I'm perverse, even for an anarchist; and b) Yiing and Neil aren't going to want to put out a publication with nothing but gripes about Bosnia in it.
         Well, I can't refrain. This is too damned outrageous.
         It's difficult to know where to start; the strategic and political, not to mention moral and intellectual, idiocy of this decision is staggering.
         Let's try this: not fifteen minutes ago on Headline News I watched William Perry offer "comfort" to families of soldiers being sent to the Balkans with that peculiarly self-satisfied little smirk of his. If their sons and daughters were called on to make sacrifices, his message ran, it was to prevent the US from having to make far greater sacrifices down the line.
         This is flat nuts. The US has no national interest in the Balkans. They have no strategic value to us. The former Yugoslavia isn't the sole producer of anything we need except Yugos, and the Serbs, in one of their few humanitarian acts, blew up the factory years ago. And if we allow the neo-Nazi Croats, the Ayatollah hand-puppet Bosnians, and the commie bastard Serbs to butcher each other until they're too tired to lift a hand to continue the atrocities -- what consequence will that have for us? Is some Serb Hitler going to rise up and conquer the world, which is the implicit argument behind the cries of "appeasement" we hear every time we suggest allowing people in other countries to settle their own God-damned differences? Absurd. [And of course, whatever the chance is the Serbs might get up to some manner of world-threatening mischief -- something that can reach out and touch us back in the USA -- the chance is precisely as great that the Croats or our friends the Bosnians will do it.]
         Of course, if you raise this argument, you are promptly accused of being smug, or heartless, or whatever -- don't you care what's going on in the Balkans? Don't you care about all those people being shelled and shot and starved? Don't you care -- Bill Clinton's big gun coming -- about the children?
         Well, how about if I care about the people we're going to shoot, bomb, and starve in order to make the world safe for whatever it is we're trying to make the world safe for over there? We are sending 60,000 combat troops from NATO -- an organization whose entire reason for existence, the USSR, itself quit existing almost exactly three years ago -- into Bosnia, a country of 19,741 square miles. What do we expect them to do there? Well, killing people must form a large part of it, 'cause they're going in with an Almighty lot of guns, planes, and tanks.
         And just what the hell makes anybody think we can keep, or even create, the peace -- "force the peace," in one of those beautifully, unwittingly self-revelatory phrases I heard a Pentagon spokesman use last night -- in Bosnia? We did such a swell job in Somalia. More people starve to death now than before the intervention, and the populace lies more than ever at the mercy of the warlords and their factions, since the US and UN occupiers assiduously disarmed all the law-abiding folks they could catch. We did a swell job in Haiti: we threw out one gang of thugs -- well, no, that's wrong, Slick Willie bought them out, with our tax dollars -- to reinstall a frothing Stalinist nutcase who won election because his followers hung a burning tire around the neck of anyone who opposed him. The Aristide regime is busy murdering its political opponents in broad daylight, but it still finds energy to complain because the US didn't disarm its common people. One presumes too many necklace vendors are getting ventilated by the people whose heads they intend to burn. I fucking weep.
         But why wander so far afield? Can we keep the peace in East LA? Case closed.
         Oh -- don't look for American involvement to be over in a year. No way that happens. How do I know? First, the Balkans have traditional been the Tar-Baby of Europe: easy to grab, not so easy to let go of.
         But the real reason I know is that President Clinton gave his word US troops would be out in a year.
         Case closed.

Prometheus Award-winner Victor Milan is the author of over 70 novels, including the just-released CLD from AvoNova and War in Tethyr from TSR.

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