Political groups argue merits of NATO mission

GW’s student political organizations disputed the merits of NATO’s military intervention in Kosovo at the International Affairs Society’s debate Tuesday.

The debate included representatives of the College Democrats, College Republicans, College Libertarians and the International Socialist Organization. They disagreed on several points, but all the representatives said the conflict needs to end soon.

ISO representative Michele Bollinger said although both the Democrats and Republicans claim to want an end to the conflict as soon as possible, the two political parties have no strong commitment to ending the war.

She said NATO is involved because it has both economic and strategic interests in the area. She said she opposes any military intervention in the political affairs in Kosovo.

“The United States and NATO have unleashed a brutal nightmare upon the Balkans,” Bollinger said.

CR member Alissa Price said she would like to see the war end as soon as possible. But she said Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must not be allowed to remove native Kosovars from their homes. She said the only way to force the Serbs to stop the oppression of Kosovars is to increase military presence in the area. She said there must be a “quick and ferocious war” carried out against the Serbs.

CD member Keith O’Neil said basic morality forces NATO to act in the Balkans. He said the war between the Kosovars and the Serbs began when Milosevic came to power in 1989 and NATO should have acted sooner.

O’Neil said the conflict has killed 100,000 people and forced 2 million people to flee the country as refugees.

“We have a moral imperative to do this,” he said.

P.J. Doland, speaking for the College Libertarians, said any government-funded action in the area violates the rights of American citizens. He said he does not oppose actions by privately funded organizations or private citizens. But the government had other options to explore first, he said.

Doland said a private organization could offer a large amount of money to have a group assassinate Milosevic. He said encouraging internal overthrow of the oppressive government was the only way the United States should be involved in Serbian affairs.

He said paying for such actions with government funds is wrong because individuals cannot refuse to pay their taxes. Every individual should have the freedom to offer support to Kosovo in his or her own way, he said.

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