Friday, August 30, 2013

Learning from History....

In 1991 Bosnia fell into bloody Civil War. That counties ethnic factions began fighting and killing each other. 

The United States had just finished fighting the first Gulf War. The US economy was falling into recession. The US National debt was a record breaking 4 trillion dollars. 

There was no interest at all in getting involved in solving the Bosnia situation. “It was none of our business”. “We cannot stop another countries civil war”. “It is impossible and should just stay out of it”. “Let them fight it out, and resolve it for themselves”. 

So in 1991 the US did nothing. In 1992 The US did nothing. 

Meanwhile the pictures on the evening news got worse and worse. Scenes that looked like they were from the Nazi Holocaust were broadcast worldwide. The world was appalled but nobody was willing to do a thing to change it.

Then in April of 1993 President Clinton attended the opening of the National Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. He listened to many speeches about how the world said NEVER AGAIN after the end of World War II. The world would never again sit idly by as atrocities took place in the world. Then Eli Weasel got up and spoke. Elie Wiesel personally survived the horrors of the Holocaust and at the end of his speech he stared at President Clinton and said the following…. 

“What have we learned? We have learned some lessons, minor lessons, perhaps, that we are all responsible, and indifference is a sin and a punishment. And we have learned that when people suffer we cannot remain indifferent.

And, Mr. President, I cannot not tell you something. I have been in the former Yugoslavia last fall. I cannot sleep since for what I have seen. As a Jew I am saying that we must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country! People fight each other and children die. Why? Something, anything must be done.

And President Clinton stared at Elie and listened carefully. From that day on President Clinton and his administration had a renewed focus to help solve the Bosnian Civil War. 

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t quick but in 1995 the Dayton Peace Accords (In Dayton Ohio) were signed and the Civil War ended. 

Despite the nay sayers stating it couldn’t be done, The United States did it anyway. The United States played a central role in ending another countries Civil War. Amazing I know.

A few years later in Neighboring Kosovo a new Civil War broke out and it was the same thing all over again. Ethnic killings, Genocide, and unspeakable war crimes were taking place. President Clinton unable to broker a peace deal turned to the military option. 

The nay Sayers all lined up to say it would never work. “You can’t bomb your way to peace”. “US airpower alone would never do the job”. On and on it went.

So without the United Nations support the United States (and NATO) proceeded to bomb anyway. When it was all said and done Slobadan Milosovic was in Jail and the Civil War was over. 

For the second time in 5 years the United States Played a Central Role in stopping two Civil Wars. One through diplomacy and one through the Military. The result was millions of people were saved. The nay Sayers were all proven wrong.

It is always easy to find people who will say you can’t do something. That it won’t work. “You are only wasting your time”. “You should just look the other way and mind your business”. 

Those people are almost always wrong. Ignoring a problem does not make it go away.

The United States is a powerful country with lots of ways to effect change. People can say all they want that it will not work. I have listened to it a million times. I have also seen that it does work. You just have to do it.

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