BY DAVID H. HACKWORTH
11 July 2000
"WILL THE COWBOY FROM HOPE GET THE POKEY?"
In 1992, American warriors were sent to Somalia to feed the poor.
A few months later, "Wild Bill" Clinton took charge
and changed the rules of the game from feeding to fighting. By
1993, American policy had become "shoot first, ask questions
Folks around the globe are wondering: Has the United States returned
to its Wild West past where trouble was too often resolved from
the mean end of a gun or a rope?
The world has plenty of reasons to ask. Since our aborted Somalian
misadventure, U.S. bombs were dropped in Bosnia and Croatia and
continue nonstop over what's become our permanent bombing range,
Then there was the futile "peaceful" invasion of Haiti,
followed by the 1994, near-nuclear high-noon in Korea. I was at
ground zero there at the time and almost witnessed my first atomic
fireball. No wonder the two Korean presidents are as much into
unification as squirrels are into acorns -- togetherness beats
glowing for 250,000 years.
And, of course, there's the aspirin factory in Sudan that missiles
disappeared by mistake. And the Afghan camp built to train CIA-sponsored
Freedom Fighters that went up in smoke -- from missiles that missed
their intended terrorist target, Osama bin Laden.
For a former peacenik, "Wild Bill" has slapped a powerful
lot of leather during the past eight years. Apparently, there's
nothing more dangerous than a former flower child with his hand
on the trigger of the world's most awesome military arsenal.
His record also proves that "Wild Bill" and his ABC
gang -- war-hawk sidekicks Albright, Berger and Cohen -- share
a much different opinion about the military solution than they
did 30 years ago, when they were young, idealistic and oh-so anti-war.
Now, Amnesty International wants to sock Clinton, Tony Blair,
Gerhard Schroeder and the rest of NATO's leaders into the slammer
for war crimes committed during last year's 78-day NATO bombing
campaign of Serbia.
Amnesty wants to do unto "Wild Bill" and fellow gunslingers
like Nuremberg did unto Hitler's shooters.
They rightly say that churches, hospitals, bridges and roads packed
with civilians, and TV stations, are not military targets. And
that using CBUs -- baseball-sized bomblets that have a high dud
rate and cause horrible casualties to civilians, especially children
who pick them up thinking they're a toy -- constitutes a war crime.
For sure, a trial would tell present and future world leaders
that the military solution used recklessly isn't morally OK even
if they see themselves as good folks with the purest of intentions.
A Nuremberg-type trial for the world to witness would also send
the lesson to world leaders -- present and future -- that the
military solution no longer works. Not only does the military
hammer seldom resolve conflict anymore, it's gotten too destructive.
Once long ago, circa year 1000, wars were mainly fought on sunny
hills and open plains, between the principal combatants. Warriors
slashed and hacked away until one side won. But then gunpowder
and industry came along, causing war to move from intermittent,
contained mayhem to more frequent, and bigger, worldwide violence.
But a thousand years after the Magyars raided Constantinople,
huge cities such as London, Berlin and Tokyo -- filled with civilians
-- had become the battlefield. During World War II, whole countries
were being reduced to rubble.
Following that global holocaust, conflict between the Soviets
and the West morphed into MAD -- Mutually Assured Destruction.
MAD was as mad as it gets -- total insanity. At the end of the
day, it wasn't supposed to matter that nobody less the cockroaches
would be around to watch the victory parade.
Today, with silos bristling with enough weapons to destroy this
planet a hundred times over, highly educated and supposedly civilized
scientists and engineers are busy making even more apocalyptic
weapons. Smart horror devices to lase, spray, fire or release
destruction capable of zapping more human beings in an hour than
have been killed in all the world's wars put together.
Even though war has proven very profitable for big business and
just peachy keen for certain American politicians, we need another
way to resolve conflict. Because these days after a fight, there
are no longer any winners.
So let the trial begin. It might just keep planet Earth around
for another hundred years.