Thursday, April 22, 1999 by Dave Winer.
The first thing I noticed on coming back from my two week hiatus is that the world survived! Of course that's what I always worry about, will they survive without me? It's both relaxing and a relief to know that everything keeps on moving even when I'm body surfing.
Now I'm ready to take on the world's problems again. What to do about gunfights in high schools? Easy. Stop making guns so easily available to teenagers. Get guns out of the homes, get them off the airwaves, and repeal the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. A new slogan. Guns don't kill people, high school students in suburban Denver do.
We've put up with metal detectors at airports, and no one seems to consider it unreasonably invasive. I'm in favor of making guns totally illegal in the US. Metal detectors everywhere. Everyone disarms now. That's the strong medicine that we need to take to get rid of disasters like the massacre in Littleton. In the future we're going to want to know where all the guns are. Let's start cleaning up now.
And what to do about the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia? End it now. It isn't going to work. Offer the Kosovans new homes elsewhere, and generous and humane treatment so the young people of Kosovo don't grow up with huge axes to grind.
And if anyone is passionate about solving the problems in Yugoslavia, let's move there and help them rebuild. Instead of sending ground troops, let's send our politicians, reporters and business leaders. Tony Blair and Al Gore, Ted Koppel and Wolf Blitzer. I'd like to see interviews with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton at the airport in Tirana. If we aren't willing to make a personal committment to peace, then let's stop kidding ourselves about our will to stop despotism. War is serious shit.
And let's stop kidding ourselves that bombing other countries is a solution to any problem we have. All we're doing is creating new generations of people outside the US that hate us, and rightly so. Long after Clinton is gone we'll be explaining to the rest of the world why we stood by while our country turned to massive violence over intelligence.
Further, the country to be worried about is Russia, not Yugoslavia. We've humiliated them, they adopted our economic system, trusted us, and now we've abandonded them. If we work out a political solution with Moscow, Milosovic and the Serb private militia will not be able to stand up to us. NATO is a fine alliance, but a US-Russian alliance would be truly powerful.
Remember, they still have all the nukes they ever did. There's a lot of power there. We must respect it. Study history. Milosovic isn't the next Hitler, he isn't that powerful, Yugoslavia is a tiny country, and he doesn't control it. There are dozens of armies in Yugoslavia. More likely, the next world-class despot is going to be Yeltsin's successor. We'll pay attention then. Better sooner than later.
Watching Al Gore on Larry King last night I believe more and more that we need TNN, True Network News. King tosses softballs and Gore responds with bedtime stories. They switch so easily to extremist hyperbole about the monsters of Belgrade and the monsters of Littleton. How to prevent one? How to prevent the other? Gore says we have to get images of violence off TV. Good point. Now, who's putting most of the violent images on TV? Bombs falling on Belgrade. That's mass-scale violence, and it's real violence, not imaginary stuff. Lots more people are dying in Belgrade than in Colorado. King fails to ask the obvious question. What kind of example are you setting for your high school students?
Gore and Clinton preach love, understanding and healing, while they bomb and kill people in Yugoslavia. We must be stupid to fall for this crap over and over. Here's what we go for. The idea that we're innocent. We're not. In the last few years we've bombed four countries, Afghanistan, The Sudan, Iraq, and Yugoslavia and maintain an occupation force in Saudia Arabia. I warn you now, it's going to come home to roost. I believe that what goes around comes around, you reap what you sow. Soon we'll be expressing horror at bombings in US cities. It'll be harder to think clearly then.
If there's a god orchestrating this he or she must be apalled at our stupidity. How do we solve problems? We taught those kids so well. Bomb your enemies and then point the gun at your head and pull the trigger.
It doesn't work. You end up with a bunch of dead people and the problems are still there, only they're worse.
Bombing Yugoslavia is the cowardly thing to do. Stay focused on the goal. Let's save the Albanians from ethnic cleansing. Get them out of there as fast as possible, and then build a wall around Yugoslavia in cooperation with Russia. Use our alliance to be unified, not to drive down the road to contradiction. There is no point fighting a major conventional war in in Yugoslavia, that will just kill a lot of the people we claim to want to protect and puts us at odds with Russia. For what purpose?