An atrocity is defined as “An act of cruelty and violence inflicted by an enemy-armed force upon civilians or prisoners.” Some believe this war in Kosovo is about politics. However, upon examination of the specifics of this conflict it is apparent that this is about religion. People must then decide whom, if anyone is committing these atrocities. Should the United States be involved in the dispute, and is it truly in the best interest of the American people?
In the area once covered by the country of Yugoslavia, there has been a series of struggles for independence during the 1990’s. These confrontations started in 1990 in Slovenia, 1991 in Croatia, and 1992 in Bosnia Herzegovina. Each of these conflicts has often been described as an “ethnic conflict.” In reality, the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes and Muslims in those countries share a common Slavic ethnic origin. They view themselves today as distinct peoples, largely because of their distinct religious heritages. In contrast, people in North America consider religion mainly as part of their personal/family identity. Because of the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment, and the separation of church and state, Americans don’t have a single faith group associated with their national feelings. Unlike the former Yugoslavia, the Kosovo conflict has both ethnic and religious components.
The Kosovo conflict is fueled by ethnic and religious differences. Ethnicity is the cause between the Serbs, of Slavic origin, and ethnic Albanians. Religion has also been a conflict between Serbs, who are almost entirely followers of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and non-Serbs, who are overwhelmingly followers of Islam and Roman Catholicism.
From the beginning NATO stated that this conflict would accelerate if NATO did not step in to help the Kosovo’s in their rebellion. If this conflict is like all of the rest why did America not step into other conflicts when there was a military force committing a larger genocide? These small civil conflicts are just like our civil war. Why did Britain not step in to help one side or the other? The British were intelligent, they knew that if American had a small army then they could come and take what they believed was theirs. The United States has nothing to gain by going into this conflict.
Like all of the conflicts American has not gotten involved unless there was some type of gain. The gain is not something that we can see or touch, but more of respect from an organization to which the United States does not belong. When NATO was established, the United States was one of the original groups that started the organization; however the president at the time did not believe that we would need to belong to an organization that created peace instead of war. Over the years the United States has become one of the largest peace organization built. So now whenever NATO ask the United States to intervene in a conflict America must accept, otherwise suffer the consequence of looking bad in the eyes of the world and NATO.
The issue is should the United States get involved? To the American people, this is another civil conflict that will waste American tax dollars. How can President Clinton explain to the American citizens that this war is anything but a political gain to his presidency? When President Clinton said that American soldiers would be going to Kosovo, people thought that they would be going to stop the killing of innocent civilians. All that we have seen in this conflict is the killing of civilians. So when will all of the killing stop? People have been asking this question for a very long time. The only answer that we continue to get from NATO is that there is no killing of civilians going on in Kosovo or Yugoslavian. Media correspondents and human rights investigators who are mainly located near the borders of Kosovo have collected massive amounts of data. They show that the “Geneva Conventions” concerning civilians are being ignored and that the Militaries are carrying out extremely serious war crimes on both sides of the sword.
A war is being conducted in Kosovo and the rest of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The main players are the government, army and militias of Yugoslavia, NATO, and the Kosovo Liberation Army. The main victims are the people of Kosovo, and the civilians of Yugoslavian. At its core, the conflict is largely a religious one. As the majority of the United States sees this conflict unravel on their television screen, they are thinking that the United States has two options. The Soldiers can either stay and keep killing innocent individuals; or, the American people can demand that the soldiers get out while they still look good. If you were to ask the opinion of most Americans they would say these serviceman need to get out while they can still hold their heads above water.