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Brutal Measures

By ThinkProgress

"Brutal Measures"

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As someone who favored the Kosovo War, I sure am glad Bill Clinton didn’t Take Tom Friedman’s advice (April 23, 1999) and bomb Serbia into the 14th century:

Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation (the Serbs certainly think so), and the stakes have to be very clear: Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set back your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too.

The actual policy was, obviously, not without deleterious consequences on the lives of ordinary Serbians, but certainly much less harsh than the Friedman “send a war criminal to catch a war criminal” collective punishment approach would have been. And it more-or-less succeeded in getting Milosevic to back down. It’s amazing what war fever and a desire to prove one’s masculinity by demanding that other people kill additional other people can do to someone. In Friedman’s defense, the actual point of the column was to argue against those calling for an immediate ground invasion, so perhaps he felt the need to cover his left flank with that little bloody-minded reverie.

Photo by Flickr user Charles Haynes used under a Creative Commons license

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