By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
The arguments for opposing the bombing in Yugoslavia are not about running away from "radical evil," which, in this instance, Slobodan Milosevic and his regime do represent, but rather about directly confronting that "radical evil" in a civilized, peaceful, cultured and humane way.
Milosevic is absolutely an evil leader, and he has absolutely violated human rights in Yugoslavia. He must be removed from power. But as President Clinton said regarding the Columbine High School shootings, "We must teach our children to settle their differences through words and not weapons."
Interestingly enough, we don't have to look beyond the Kosovo crisis to find someone who has understood this lesson and put it into action. For nine long years, one Kosovar Albanian, Ibrahim Rugova, led a nonviolent democratic resistance to the Milosevic regime. And for nine long years, the United Nations, the United States and NATO have all but ignored that movement. Not until the KLA took up arms and partook in what the U.N. called terrorist activities, did the peace movement fall apart and the world take notice. And then all the U.S., Europe and NATO did was issue ultimatums.
When Meyerson writes that "the calls for stopping the bombing and renewing negotiations without preconditions read as if it were the absence of opportunities that made Milosevic take up the sword," he must remember that it was in fact NATO that took up the sword on March 24, an action which only escalated the "radical evil" of ethnic cleansing, then added the predictable evils of "collateral damage" and "friendly fire" (NATO's mistaken bombing and killing of Albanian refugees). Yes, Milosevic was acting horribly before the negotiations, but why must NATO, the U.S. and Europe act horribly, too?
If we truly have a desire to create peace and equality in the world, truly want to teach our children that a lasting and meaningful peace can never be achieved through violence, and truly believe that the ends can never justify the means, then we must resist leaders who, for any reason, opt for violence and warfare to solve problems. Honest negotiations and nonviolent-resistance movements do take time and hard work. But as any mature, civilized and sensitive adult knows, in life there are no easy ways out.
It was truly refreshing to read Harold Meyerson's column supporting NATO's action in Kosovo from a progressive viewpoint. I am continually dismayed to witness so many on the left who champion the cause of human rights in America but who, in turn, are willing to neglect the atrocities in Kosovo. The sad fact is that nearly a year of negotiations and peacemaking failed to alleviate this crisis, leaving us with few options beyond military force to prevent destabilization of the Central European region, as well as further human-rights abuses. So many on the left seem to forget the lessons of World War II and the Holocaust, that failing to act in the name of pacifism or isolationism can have truly horrible consequences.
While our objectives are not easily fulfilled, progressives should be pleased with the role which NATO has defined for itself. What a desirable foreign policy to lead us into the next century: a true coalition of democracies acting in unison, taking a firm stance versus ruthless dictators, and standing up for basic human rights.
I read with dismay Marc B. Haefele's article "Alatorre Takes the Fifth -- 108 Times" [April 2329]. I say "dismay" because, by my count, Haefele uses the term "self-incrimination" when referring to the Fifth Amendment a total of three times in his article, which I find remarkable, because this is three more times than it appears in the U.S. Constitution. For the record, the relevant part of the Fifth Amendment reads as follows: "No person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness . . . against himself . . ."
So what is the difference? you ask. It is the prosecution's burden to prove a defendant's guilt, not the defendant's burden to prove his or her innocence. If you were to testify against yourself -- even though not guilty -- a clever prosecutor could easily twist your innocent words and use them against you.
I guess I should not be surprised that your reporter erred. In the very same article, he quotes Louis Cohen -- an attorney, no less -- who refers to Alatorre's "privilege against self-incrimination." The Fifth Amendment is not a privilege -- it is a right. That is why the first 10 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are collectively known as the "Bill of Rights," not the "Bill of Privileges."
Like the bumper sticker says, "If you don't know what your rights are, you haven't got any."
ROPE A POPE
I was edified to see the positive write-up Dave Shulman gave the pope's CD [Sitegeist, April 2329]. But why is it beyond our media to write about the Holy Father without being tasteless -- as with Shulman's comment about "definitely not getting laid"?