Let's Bomb Turkey 


Monday, April 5, 1999 

OUR LEADERS say we must keep on bombing Kosovo to save
the Kosovars from being killed by the Serbs instead. People of
good will can't help but applaud our humanitarian efforts, but I
think we should stop bombing Kosovo and start bombing

The Serbs may have been kicking the Kosovars around lately, but
Turkey has been oppressing the Kurds for nigh on 80 years.
True, the Turks may not have slaughtered as many innocent
citizens in recent weeks as the Serbs have, but over the years the
Turks have built up a pretty darned impressive record of executing
dissidents, burning villages and driving peasants into exile. Some
will say that we can't stand idly by while 2 million Kosovars are
being hounded by the evil Serbs. Nonsense, we are very good at
standing idly by. Look how idly we stood by when the Hutus
were hacking to death 800,000 Rwandans. Of course the
Rwandans were not only black, but had no oil fields to speak of. 

Instead of bombing Kosovo in the humanitarian spirit, I say we
should make diplomatic protests to Belgrade. Diplomatic protests
worked just as well in punishing oppressors in China, South
Africa and Latin America as did our bombs in Vietnam, Libya and
Iraq. From all accounts, all our bombs have accomplished so far
in Kosovo is to drive the Serbians into committing more and more

But if we must bomb someone to save our national honor, I say
we should bomb Turkey. First of all, great big Turkey is easier to
hit than tiny little Kosovo. Second, there are 25 million Kurds to
save with our bombs -- more than ten times the number of
persecuted Kosovars. 

To be sure, there are a few obstacles to bombing Turkey. For one
thing, she's our staunch NATO ally. That means the Kurds who
are fighting for freedom are not freedom fighters. Our State
Department has officially labeled them as terrorists and rightly so.
As you know, a freedom fighter is fighting for independence from
someone we don't like; a terrorist is fighting for independence
from someone we do. 

So the Kurds are official terrorists, and we certainly can't engage
in a humanitarian bombing campaign in favor of terrorists. 

What about China? China is no friend of ours. Therefore, those
fighting for freedom in China are freedom fighters, not terrorists.
But China is awfully big, and it has nuclear missiles, too. There's
no sense getting carried away by our humanitarian feelings. 

Then we have East Timor. The inhabitants declared the
Democratic Republic of East Timor in 1975, and the Indonesians
have been kicking them around ever since. As I recall, though, the
Indonesians are our pals these days, so the East Timorians may
well be terrorists. Anyway, ``Democratic Republic'' sounds
vaguely communistic, and we certainly don't want to waste our
vast arsenal of humanitarianism on a bunch of commies. 

Sri Lanka's a likely candidate. The Sri Lankans have been
butchering the rebel Tamil Tigers for years. Unfortunately, I'm
not sure who's on our side. But what about the Congo? Or
Burkina Faso? Or maybe . . . 

Anyway, there are oppressed people all over the world who
deserve our humanitarian bombs. So what have the Kosovars
done to merit our magnanimous concern? 

Arthur Hoppe's column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and
Fridays. It is also available at sfgate.com. E-mail:
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