Jewish World Review April 19, 1999 /3 Iyar 5759
NATO would have favored
(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
TO JUSTIFY MR. CLINTON'S MERRY
LITTLE WAR, Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic -- who's unlikely to be mistaken for
Father Christmas -- is depicted as a monster to
rival the century's most notorious ideological
killers. ("The Face of Evil,'' shrills the cover story
in the April 19 Newsweek.)
Of what does Milosevic stand accused? Adopting
brutal tactics to deal with a rebellion? Abraham
Lincoln did as much.
Milosevic is fighting the Kosovo Liberation Army
to keep his nation intact. Lincoln went to war with
secessionists to preserve the Union, which was
then less than 100 years old. Kosovo has been
Serbian since the 12th century.
Lincoln didn't just make war on the Army of
Northern Virginia. The Union Navy's blockade of
Southern ports destroyed its trade and resulted in
shortages and suffering.
If C-SPAN had broadcast from the South 135
years ago, it would have shown civilians in full
flight, troops burning houses and crops, and
William Tecumseh Sherman said, "War is cruelty,
and you cannot refine it,'' then proceeded to prove his maxim. The Union
general captured and burned Atlanta and Columbia, S.C., the latter out
of pure spite.
On his march to the sea, Sherman cut a swath 60 miles wide. Fields were
stripped clean, houses were pillaged, almost every structure was burned
to the ground. Thousands were driven from their homes.
These terror tactics were designed to demoralize the Confederate home
front and hasten the war's end.
The devastation wasn't confined to Sherman's march. The beautiful
Shenandoah Valley, breadbasket of the Confederacy, was turned into a
wasteland. Ulysses Grant boasted that the valley would be picked so
clean that "crows flying over it for the balance of the season will have to
carry their provender with them.''
By the war's end, Southern
agriculture and industry were in
ruins. It's estimated the South lost
two-thirds of its total wealth.
Milosevic is said to be a tyrant who
brutally suppresses dissent in
Yugoslavia. Lincoln threw men into
jail for voicing their opinions.
As Lincoln historian David Herbert Donald explains, Lincoln "suspended
the privilege of the writ of habeus corpus throughout the country and
authorized the arbitrary arrest of any person 'guilty of any disloyal
practice, affording aid and comfort to the rebels against the authority of
the United States.'"
This led to the imprisonment, without trial, of hundreds of Southern
sympathizers and anti-war activists, including newspaper editors and, in
one case, an ex-congressman. Our 16th president believed these
extraordinary measures were necessary to deal with an unparalleled
Lincoln insisted on unconditional surrender of the Confederacy and
spurned foreign offers to arbitrate. (No Rambouillet for him.) He knew
Britain and France would sacrifice American unity for peace and trade.
Just as the Serbs could give up Kosovo, Lincoln could have let the South
go its way. Instead, he plunged the nation into the bloodiest conflict in our
history. On both sides, 620,000 soldiers were killed.
Throughout the South, 4 percent of the population (soldiers and civilians,
free as well as slaves) died as a result of the war.
The analogy between the Civil War and the war in Kosovo breaks
down, as analogies must. There were no mass graves in Dixie. Then
again, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis weren't drug-smuggling
The foregoing is meant neither as an indictment of the Great Emancipator
nor an exoneration of Milosevic. Lincoln did what was necessary to
preserve the Union. America, the greatest force for good in this century,
would have been reduced to a basket case if the rebellion had
Milosevic is unlikely to be mistaken for the man who urged "malice
toward none and charity for all.''
Still, the Serbs are fighting what amounts to a secessionist movement.
Assuming Milosevic is guilty of war crimes, his conduct doesn't negate
the Serbs' right to territory that constitutes 10 percent of their country
and contains one-third of its energy reserves.
Had NATO been around in the middle of the last century, to promote
stability in the Western hemisphere, Lincoln would have been forced to
grant the rebellious states autonomy for three years. Thereafter,
Southerners would have been free to determine their future.
Instead, the Land of Cotton Liberation Army was defeated. But Dixie
had its revenge. It gave us Clinton.