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Kosovo Conundrum

Photos by Peter L. Rosenberg

Is the NATO bombing of Serbia yet another instance of aggressive American imperialism? Or is our intervention crucial to stopping genocide? We invited a group of local academics and others with a strong interest in the issue to talk about the war and our involvement in it. The following was excerpted from that discussion. Roundtable participants included:

Peter Antonijevic, a Serbian film director once jailed by the Milosevic regime

Bekim Hasani, an Albanian born in Macedonia, now involved in Kosovo relief efforts

The Rev. James Lawson, pastor of Holman United Metho dist Church

Harold Meyerson, executive editor, L.A. Weekly

Vera MijojliC, a Bosnian Serb who was active in the Serbian peace movement and now works for a relief agency in Los Angeles

Ronald Steel, a professor of international relations at USC and contributing editor to The New Republic

Marla Stone, an associate professor of history at Occidental College and co-founder of Jews Against Genocide

Jon Wiener, a professor of American history at UC Irvine and a contributing editor to The Nation.

L.A. WEEKLY: As we suggested when inviting you all to this discussion, the U.S. action in Kosovo is something on which thinking people can strongly disagree. I’d like to start by trying to get a sense of where each of you stands on whether or not the U.S. should have intervened militarily on behalf of the people of Kosovo.

PETER ANTONIJEVIC: Whenever I look at the options, it seems to me that it’s not choosing anymore between the good and bad, it’s just choosing between bad and worse. I do not think that this military action in Yugoslavia will produce the results which are expected. The longer the war continues, the greater the suffering and human losses, and the greater the price tag of any eventual resolution. I would like to see Milosevic go, but not 2 million people along with him. That’s my moral dilemma.

JON WIENER: I think we should stipulate here that what Milosevic has done to the Albanian Kosovars is wrong. The question that we have to address is whether the badness of Milosevic makes what we are doing good. I don’t think it does. I think the bombing has been counterproductive, and I don’t see ground troops as contributing anything toward a solution either. So I’m in favor of stopping the bombing and exploring diplomatic resolutions.

HAROLD MEYERSON: Everyone is certainly right that there are no good options in this war. But I find myself thinking that, as when Vietnam invaded Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and Tanzania invaded Idi Amin’s Uganda, there are times when one nation’s intervention in the affairs of a neighboring nation can serve very commendable ends, both morally and strategically. I wish that the Balkans were such a place, where a neighboring state could do this. I wish Europe was not so under the NATO umbrella, that this was a matter that they themselves could undertake. Unfortunately, in today’s world, Europe has basically punted its military capacity — and we have urged them to punt it — to a U.S.-dominated NATO, and so I think that the only plausible intervention that could happen in Kosovo is a NATO intervention. That said, I wish it were happening in Kosovo and not in Serbia. We seem to be fighting a strategic war, bombing everything we can in Serbia and having very little effect on what’s going on in Kosovo. I would support action that is strategically different from what we are doing right now, but I do think the proper course is to intervene.

THE REV. JAMES LAWSON: It seems to me that we always need intervention with one another. That is, intervention of cooperation and support for issues of human rights and justice and nonviolence, but I think that the intervention of the superpowers in the 20th century has long outlived its usefulness.

So my posture is that the war must end. That military intervention is wrong. It’s wrong on several counts. First, it’s wrong because America has become largely a military state. The number-one federal budget item is military funding. We have been engaged in war for some 50 years. We have demonized far too many people.

The war is also wrong because it breaks international laws. NATO was organized primarily as a military alliance — a defensive military alliance — and when we expanded NATO recently, we promised Russia that it would not initiate military offensives. That expansion was already a touchy affair with Russia. Now we have broken another major promise to Russia — and Russia has some 8,000 nuclear weapons that are available and that are poised for use. This intervention could trigger, accidentally or otherwise, nuclear war, which is still a great danger for the nation.

My final reason for saying that this intervention is wrong is that violence and militarization — torture, it seems to me — are forces of spiritual wickedness, forces that run on their own power and momentum. Somehow, we’ve got to break the back of that power, of these forces, if we’re going to have a different kind of world. So my posture is unequivocal that this is an extension of Vietnam and Cambodia; it’s an extension of our putting land mines in Mozambique, and dropping napalm on Angola in the early 1960s; it’s an extension of the superpower and the military state continuing to try to force its will upon the rest of the world.

VERA MIJOJLIC: I don’t truly believe that anybody’s fighting this war for humanitarian reasons. Everybody is fighting for the moral high ground, and everybody’s using that in this war, which I think is very immoral. Because nobody really cares. And I think that the bombing has precipitated the very disaster that NATO said it would prevent. It’s very immoral to say that it’s not so. My 35 ã mother lives in downtown Belgrade, and I don’t see many people sympathizing with civilians who are being bombed and killed. We have to remember that there are a lot of people in Serbia who have nothing to do with this war. And my heart goes out to them, and my heart goes out to the Albanians.

BEKIM HASANI: I’m Albanian, born in Macedonia. So if anybody feels for the victims over there, it would be me. My immediate family’s okay, they’re in Macedonia, but I have relatives on the other side of the border killed and missing: complete families with children and women and old men.

I feel for the Serbs who get killed accidentally by the NATO bombs, but I also want to remind you that what we went after is a killing machine, one which has proven itself by killing 300,000 people in Bosnia; by killing tens of thousands of people in Croatia and tens of thousands by now inside Kosovo.

I know a lot of Americans think of this as a Vietnam, but they are not parallel situations. In Kosovo, more than 90 percent of the people welcome intervention. I see this more as Kuwait, where we went in, we rolled this guy back, and we liberated Kuwait. I want democracy to work in the Balkans. The only obstacle to this democracy is, of course, Slobodan Milosevic.

WEEKLY: What about the parallels to Vietnam? Even more broadly, are there parallels to any other intervention?

STEEL: I’m not a Balkans expert, and I certainly don’t want to pretend to be one. But I’d like to address how I think this fits into the general framework of American foreign policy and what the United States is trying to do. Clearly, as has been expressed at this table and elsewhere, this is an issue that divides people who normally agree. And some people who are normally anti-interventionist want to intervene. I think that the basic reason for this is the ethnic element. Americans are superconscious about ethnicities, and we also have all kinds of Holocaust memories, and so, I think, we tend to see this as a primary factor in this case. I’m not convinced it is. I think it’s obviously an important one, but not, at least as policymakers see it, the primary one.

This war is a classic colonial war. It seems to me that the Serbs are doing something very similar to what the French were doing in Algeria. They want to retain a province with it. There’s an ethnic majority which has very different traditions and does not want to be a part of the Yugoslav state. And there has been a low-scale war going on there for some time. Both sides have committed acts of violence, and this is perfectly normal in a liberation war. What the Serbs seem to have been doing before the bombing began seems rather similar to what the French were doing in Algeria, for example. They were trying to break the back of the resistance through intimidation and terror. It wasn’t annihilation and it wasn’t mass expulsion. These things took place after the bombing, and have added, clearly, a new element. But I think this is a classic colonial war, and should be treated as such in terms of our response to it.

Now, on the response. Why did the United States choose to intervene in this war in the way that it did? Why make this a NATO issue? I think it’s because the primary concern was, precisely, NATO. I think that this is the dominant issue in American relations with Europe these days. NATO has been expanded in order that it can maintain its position as the key means by which the United States is involved in Europe. It’s obviously fulfilled its original mission, and it needs a new mission. So, as in the case of Bosnia, the United States has discouraged the Europeans from taking initiative on this. The primary concern, frankly, was not the welfare of the Kosovar Albanians but the cohesion of NATO. If the primary concern was the welfare of the Kosovar Albanians, then the greatest effort would be made in putting a ground force in Kosovo. The method chosen — to bomb sites in Serbia — is several steps removed from dealing with the problem in Kosovo. The bombing, meanwhile, has had negative effects: It’s unified, apparently, the Serbian people around Milosevic. To my mind, that just reinforces the notion that the primary concern was to show that NATO could act and the United States could lead NATO.

MEYERSON: This may be a colonial war, with all the hatreds that involves, but outside powers have been known to intervene in colonial wars. If France hadn’t intervened in a colonial war between Britain and its colony, the United States would not be the United States.

MARLA STONE: I’d like to make a point in favor of the intervention. The United States is a signatory to the genocide convention. That is a strong argument for intervention.

WIENER: But I would challenge the idea that there’s genocide. What we have is a mass forced expulsion. I think it’s very important to distinguish that from genocide. The very fact that, when the trains arrive in Macedonia, there are people on them who are alive argues against mass genocide.

STONE: Let’s talk about exactly what goes on in these villages. They have this down to an art form, where they go into a village, call the people in the village into the center of the town, divide the men and the women, and then shoot, in many cases, the military-aged men. They expel the women — you are correct, they don’t kill everyone; they put some women in rape camps. There are indicted war criminals from Bosnia who are now in Kosovo doing it again. So we now have itinerant perpetrators of what I call genocide. You disagree with me. But it is something extremely close to genocide whether or not some people get out alive. There is a plan to depopulate Kosovo, to destroy it culturally. We saw this in Bosnia. And now we are seeing it in Kosovo.

HASANI: This is not exactly what happened to Jews under Hitler. But it is definitely genocide. I have a list from the Internet of 50 people, two families, all massacred — from children to pregnant women — and these were intentionally massacred. That’s genocide.

I believe that if we stop Milosevic, we will stop a lot of potential Hitlers. If this guy prevails, in any way, you will see a future Hitler, from a much stronger country, utilizing the same tactics that Milosevic has.

WIENER: I’m happy to stipulate that Milosevic is bad. But I would point out that none of this forced expulsion began until the NATO bombing.

STONE: That’s wrong. Pristina was cleaned out in four days after the NATO bombing began. You do not remove 300,000 people from their homes unless you have a plan, unless you have the security forces, and the police stationed there with lists of "In this apartment building are this many Albanians and they’re going to be forced to go." So it’s absurd to blame ourselves for this. The perpetrators are on the ground.

It’s been hotly debated: Is this a genocide? Is this not a genocide? It certainly is a provocation that people of moral standing should respond to, because the idea of Greater Serbia, the idea that has motivated all of the wars of the former Yugoslavia, is the idea of ethnic purity. The idea that the body politic will not be healthy until it’s purified of ethnic minorities. And as Americans who believe in multiethnicity and who believe in diversity, we have to take a stand against this.

And also the fact that we all use the term "ethnic cleansing": I think we should be ashamed of it. There’s nothing clean about this. I mean, if you look at the pictures of the people fleeing Kosovo, they are traumatized — those who are left alive. This is about burning villages, about expelling people. We should call it "depopulation," something like that.

HASANI: I would just like to add that ever since 1986 or 1987, there has been consistent expulsion of Albanians from Kosovo. A lot of young people left because there was no life left for Albanians, no schools, no opportunity. Close to 200,000 people left.

MIJOJLIC: For me, even 50,000 Albanians separated from their families — even if they are not killed, for me, it’s a tragedy to have parents separated from their children, women separated from their husbands, that’s tragedy enough. So let’s not make comparisons with this situation or that.

LAWSON: The American interest in the Balkans will not prove to be altruistic and will not prove to settle the war or create a different and better future for the people there.

STEEL: Just one historical reference, if I may, that the expulsion of ethnic minorities is the pattern of European politics in the 20th century; and, indeed, it was taken in 1945, when Poland expelled 6 million Germans, when Czechoslovakia expelled 3 million Germans, all with the approval and support of the victorious Western allies. It’s taken place all throughout Europe — and as recently as 1995 in Croatia when the Croatian army, reportedly with U.S. approval, expelled at least 200,000 ethnic Serbs from their ancestral homes in the Krajina region without a peep of protest from Washington or NATO. So expulsion is nothing new.

MEYERSON: To you, as a historian, that may seem relatively recent. But to many of us in 1999, 1945 doesn’t seem all that recent. In many ways, Milosevic seems a throwback to the dark middle of the century. I think a lot of people in Europe have a sense that this was the old way. But it wasn’t the way in Tito’s Yugoslavia for about 30 years there. Tito, whose stock is rising steadily every day, managed to take what we continually hear about as millennium-old hostilities and blood hatreds, and suppress them. Not as a model democrat, to be sure, and not perfectly. But it shows it is possible.

WEEKLY: Given that Tito is dead, what are the prospects for resolution?

ANTONIJEVIC: I think we can’t dwell too much in the past. Because when you say that Albanians have been expelled by the Serbs, you can also point to a time when Serbs were being expelled by Albanians. You can just keep going back further and further to try to answer who came to the region first. There are no perfect and logical borders which will meet all needs.

What happened in the past, happened, but we’ve all become sort of enslaved by that past and our histories.

I think in the end we will need to come to some division of Kosovo, some re-drawing of borders. No one will be entirely happy, as the Serbs believe that Kosovo contains many of their most sacred sites, and the Albanians definitely want more than just autonomy. In the end, NATO troops may have to sit in the land that will go to the Albanians, and Russian troops in the portion that goes to Serbia.

I also believe that discussions of genocide are counterproductive. I would say that, yes, there is mass murder taking place. But it’s more like civil war than genocide.

WIENER: I hope we can all agree that the bombing has been counterproductive. It has not helped all the things we think are problems. The only person the bombing has helped is Milosevic, by rallying the Serb opposition to his side. Therefore, the bombing should stop.

My other worry is that the American military is capable of great damage. In Vietnam, not so long ago, we killed at least a million Vietnamese people, maybe 2 million. I would like to prevent the kind of escalation that comes in this situation. In Vietnam, we never had this moment — we never had the moment before ground troops were about to be sent when this was discussed. I think this is an extremely important moment, and this kind of discussion is exactly what we need to prevent that kind of murderous escalation and find other solutions that would result in some kind of partition.

HASANI: Regarding the bombing and the effect it’s having, I absolutely disagree with you. I think that the bombing is having the right effect. This military machine that was built within Yugoslavia — Milosevic took it over, somehow — that’s history. But he has used it to cause a lot of damage. I think it’s very simple when the president says, "We are out to destroy his military machine." Think about it. What we are doing is destroying his capability of waging future war. This guy is willing, as soon as this thing is over, if he stays in power, to do the same thing in Montenegro and Macedonia. I am 100 percent sure that the bombing is doing the right thing.

STONE: I think the bombing could work, and, I think, we have to remember that part of the decision-making process for NATO was based on Bosnia, and in Bosnia, after three days of bombing Bosnian Serb military positions, everybody went to the bargaining table. So let’s keep that precedent in mind. And let’s remember that we did first try negotiation. The Clinton administration had been negotiating with the Milosevic regime consistently since 1995.

LAWSON: I disagree absolutely. I think that Clinton never used his strong tools for negotiation. Among other things, it seems to me that he could, long ago, have gone himself to Belgrade to have conversations there, directly. He could have, long ago, seen to it that Yeltsin, or someone high up in the Russian government, joined with him to go there. So I don’t think the negotiation options have been used at all. I think that they’ve been very secondary. I further feel that it is typical of white-male power structures that you make the women and the children do the major suffering, and then you pretend you have altruistic ends. This conflict has destroyed hundreds of thousands of people, and that is too high a price. We are destroying the future, not creating the possibility of a new future.

HASANI: Reverend, with all due respect, I think you should know Milosevic a little bit better. Just read a little about him, you will see, this is not a guy you can simply negotiate with.

LAWSON: I think Milosevic is a terrible man. But I do not think he’s any worse than some other people in the whole scene who also have their own purposes in mind.

WEEKLY: What about the notion that the bombing is having the desired effect?

STEEL: The bombing has not been effective. We’ve been bombing Iraq for eight years with no effect ã whatsoever on Saddam Hussein. I think it’s a cowardly policy designed, not to end the war in Kosovo, but to demonstrate American leadership of NATO and NATO solidarity. The Europeans go along with it because they don’t want to defy the United States, but they’re unwilling to do more. If we’re interested in some kind of solution that’s going to aid the people on the ground, then we should probably suspend the bombing of Serbia. If there’s going to be bombing anywhere, it should be in Kosovo. This is where the Serb forces are doing things we don’t like. To bomb sites in Serbia and kill Serbian civilians, which simply increases the support for Milosevic is a totally false and deceptive and irrelevant policy.

Ultimately, these people are going to have to live together in some way. They cannot live under a permanent international police force. They’ve lived together in various ways and with considerable violence, sometimes, and intermarriage, other times, for centuries. They have to find a way of living together. We can help them find this, but I don’t think that we have a solution for it. All we can do is perhaps try to separate the contending forces until some kind of accommodation is fashioned. Just as the French and the Algerians ultimately reached an accommodation based upon mutual interests, this will happen here.

STONE: This is not about the abilities of people to live together. It’s not about civil wars or millennial hatreds. It’s about a political regime in Belgrade that uses hypernationalism, xenophobia and war to hold power. This war serves Milosevic and his political elite. And, I think, the responsibility has to be put at his feet.

WEEKLY: Should the proper goal of the war be to remove Milosevic?

STONE: There will be no democracy and civility in the region . . .

HASANI: Until Milosevic is dead.

WIENER: Two years ago, there were more than 100,000 Serbs demonstrating against Milosevic in downtown Belgrade. Those people have now fallen silent, and are supporting their nation, which they see being attacked by a great foreign power. What we are doing is counterproductive. There was a democratic opposition to Milosevic. We’ve killed that.

MIJOJLIC: Semidemocratic opposition. Let me make it clear that, if I’m against the bombing, I am not pro-Milosevic. Because of that man, I had to leave my country. I just don’t believe that killing civilians will help other civilians.

WEEKLY: I’d be curious to hear also from Peter about whether your friends in Serbia who used to oppose Milosevic are now rallying behind him.

ANTONIJEVIC: Many of my friends were people who were against the war in Bosnia. They were all on the streets rallying against Milosevic at one point. Now, though, with bombs falling, they are all behind him, because — right or wrong — they all feel that he’s defending them against United States aggression. That’s a fact. It’s become increasingly difficult for anyone over there with different thoughts about how to resolve the problem to speak openly. Not only would that person be forbidden to speak, but that person, waking up in the morning after a night of bombing, may have second thoughts.

Serbs feel cornered now because of the Rambouillet ultimatum, which offered no leeway to the Serbs. It did not offer any kind of a carrot, only a stick — you sign this or we bomb you. And, of course, that’s the ideal situation for totalitarian rulers like Milosevic. People stick behind them because the alternative is impossible. ã

WEEKLY: What would the carrot be?

ANTONIJEVIC: You have to hold out to the Serbs the possibility that Kosovo will not leave Serbia, or, at least, that they will retain a portion of Kosovo. At least the throne of the Orthodox Church would have to stay on the Serbian side.

WEEKLY: How much of Kosovo would that be?

ANTONIJEVIC: Well, this is an amateurish estimate, but say you gave the Serbs a quarter of Kosovo in the northwest that included a couple of those holy sites. There would also need to be the promise of money to rebuild the country. And they should cut the deal with someone who is not Milosevic.

HASANI: We keep talking of the bombing of Serb civilians. NATO and the U.S. did not go in to bomb civilians. We don’t have these perfect bombs; sometimes they go astray, they hit civilians. Everyone hates that.

ANTONIJEVIC: May I ask a question, just a very practical question? What happens, in your opinion, to those 800,000 Albanians who are still in Kosovo if there is a ground assault by NATO? If we are talking about how to stop human suffering, what’s going to happen to these people?

HASANI: They will be on the side of NATO, very simple.

ANTONIJEVIC: Some of them are, let’s say, men of fighting age. Most of them are elderly women and children. Are they going to be better off or will they be worse?

HASANI: Eventually, they will be better off.

STONE: Right now, the Albanians are hiding in the ravines, in the ditches, in the forest. They don’t have any food. They’re already in critical condition.

ANTONIJEVIC: I know, but that’s why I’m saying, stop the war. Then you can start doing some good things for these people.

WIENER: I think the point is that the bombing is making everything worse, not better.

HASANI: I don’t think it’s making it worse.

STONE: I think that progressive people on the left are in a very bizarre and difficult spot. Here is the U.S. military and NATO, which has consistently had very problematic interventions in the last 30 years, and now it seems to be a case where intervention could possibly be for good. Certainly the Clinton administration has strategic and NATO credibility interests, but I take seriously the moral and humanitarian impetus driving Bill Clinton. I think Clinton does not want to go down as the president who oversaw three genocides. Bosnia was on his watch, Rwanda was on his watch, and now we have Kosovo. I think that he is driven by this idea of "never again."

There are a lot of historical analogies being tossed about. Everybody in this conflict sees it as somehow rehashing World War II. Milosevic sees NATO as the Nazis. The Serbs talk about themselves as the "Jews of the Balkans." Our side talks about Milosevic as "a new Hitler," as this being a new Nazi regime. And the Vietnam analogy gets bounced around. I think we’re sort of awash in analogies. There’s only one that I would say is applicable, and that’s the appeasement analogy. I think it’s very obvious that appeasing Milosevic has led to increasing violence and increasing war, and this will not end until we use force against the Milosevic regime.

WEEKLY: Reverend Lawson, as a pacifist, how do you deal with a situation like this in which there is clearly a great moral wrong being inflicted on a group of people? How do you solve the problem without using force? ã

LAWSON: Well, I want to say that I’ve heard here a great deal of implied confidence in the combined motives of America’s National Security Agency, Pentagon, CIA and State Department, agencies with horrible past records with regard to acting altruistically. Those who’ve decided to trust in these power structures for the moment are, I think, quite mistaken. American intervention forces have been rooted deeply in elitism, domination and white privilege. They are not trustworthy, they have never been.

So how, as a person of nonviolence, do I see the scene? I think that when you have great moral evil going on, you try, first of all, simply to stop the main thrust of the evil. And the main thrust of the evil is that women and children largely do the suffering of the Balkans for the policy decisions of the United States and NATO. So I’d say the first step is to stop it.

War is kind of a macho, manly affair, but we make the women and children pay for it — this was true in Vietnam, this was true in Southern Africa, it was true in El Salvador, in Guatemala, right straight across the thing. I mean, we have these high-sounding concerns, but our decisions make ordinary people bear the brunt of the pain and the hurt. Meanwhile, the Henry Kissingers just get wealthier and wealthier out of the whole business.

WEEKLY: Leaving the moral questions aside for a moment, what about pragmatically? Can a war bring the prospect of long-term peace to this area of the Balkans?

LAWSON: No.

MEYERSON: The kind of war we’re fighting will not solve this. The war we’re fighting is an oddly misconceived war. It seems that NATO has concluded that Albanians are worth killing for but they are not worth dying for. I think that that is a morally and strategically deficient position. There is something obscene about conducting a war which has as its tacit strategy that none of "our boys" will be put in harm’s way. That is obscene. It also doesn’t work.

WEEKLY: Does it bother you at all that the people who would be going in on the ground — the people who would be dying for this war — would be disproportionately our country’s poorest people?

LAWSON: And people of color.

MEYERSON: Sure, but at this point in time any intervention, even one that we would all support, would still be fought by such an army. That’s who is in our Army.

WEEKLY: And what about solutions?

WIENER: A couple of propositions. We have not really tried to get the Russians involved. In fact, we’ve kind of blown off and insulted the Russian attempts, and we’ve not tried to get the U.N. in. It seems to me both of those are possibilities that the Serbs would be more open to accepting than they would NATO.

There are many terrible injustices in the world today. The largest ethnic group that’s been denied its own nation is the Kurds. And it’s the Turks, our allies in NATO, in bombing Serbia, who are denying the Kurds and repressing the Kurds in many of the same ways that Milosevic was repressing the Kosovar Albanians before this war started. The largest group of refugees in the world today, I read, is from Afghanistan. The United States cannot use military force to solve all the problems of terrible injustice in the world today, and I fear that our use of military force up to this point has only made things worse. I am, unfortunately, confident that increasing our military engagement in Yugoslavia will make it much worse, and, therefore, we need to find some other ways of resolving these injustices.

MEYERSON: The foreign policy of the Clinton administration has been marked by contradictory tendencies. On the one hand, they do a totally dumb-ass, gratuitously alienating, strategically questionable move like expanding NATO eastward, which only makes the Russians more insecure without making Europe more secure. On the other hand, there have been interventions for which the word humanitarian actually fits. Haiti is one.

Do I wish that Europe had the sort of wherewithal, both militarily, spiritually and whatever, to have intervened on its own against Milosevic? I do. But that said, this isn’t a unilateral intervention. It’s backed by German Greens, French leftists, French Gaullists — who hate America more than French leftists do — and a lot of other forces which aren’t particularly interested in expanding the American empire. It is an imbalanced coalition, but it is a coalition. I would like it if the U.N. were a more effective body for intervening when necessary. But sometimes it’s not. When Vietnam invaded Cambodia and got rid of Pol Pot, you couldn’t do that through the U.N., because China would be able to veto any such move. Preferably, you go through the U.N., but it shouldn’t be a prescription for paralysis if that doesn’t work out.

MIJOJLIC: One thing that saddens me, Bekim, is that I see you being very militant, taking the position that lets us go into this no matter what the cost and then see what the settlement is. My position is, let’s not go there — that militant way — and let’s not kill so many people. Let’s first sit down and talk. Let’s do that before too many people are killed.

HASANI: My contention is that sometimes you have to use force to stop force. Hitler was stopped by a war, after all.

LAWSON: Well, I agree that you have to use force, but you can use — you can use creative, nonviolent force to stop force too. And, above all, you cannot overcome evil with more evil. You must stop evil by somehow trying to build the good larger and stopping it in that fashion.