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Raymond K. Kent
An Open Letter to General Wesley Clark

Raymond K. Kent
Emeritus, UC Berkeley

January 14, 2001

FOREWORD: General Wesley Clark is expressing now regrets for having bombed
Serbia into the 19th Century and proclaims himself entirely legal in using
and engendering all sorts of toxins which will manifest themselves sooner or
later in both Serb and Kosovo Albanian genes as these mutate. But, No, No,
General. You must be congratulated for becoming a Legend in Your Own Time,
as Madeleine Albright and Mr. Rubin described you at Rambouillet.  So,
herewith is the much deserved accolade.


You have recently just about destroyed a country in scant 78 days without
losing a single pilot and while complaining about not being able to do much
more. There are several admirable aspects of this achievement. Your
systematic and calibrated targeting will enter into the annals of air war as
a model  of --to coin a term--military deconstruction. By limiting
collateral damage from the skies you have shown great compassion for the
Serbs. Your great concern even for the Serb sub-humans surpasses the acutely
humane feelings for them in the bosom of Madeleine Albright, our most
talented Secretary of State.  

Waging an air war by Immaculate Conception has depleted our supplies of
Tomahawks and Cruise missiles. As you know, one defect of the tomahawks is
that if they stay too long in storage, they become errant, causing
regrettable damage to civilian life. Thanks to you, there is going to be a
new order for this magnificent long-range weapon, creating jobs at home and
keeping the unemployment down, along with targeting errors. You have even
managed to immerse our parachuted mines into the mine fields prepared by the
Serbs at Kosovo. No less astute, you have used the Kosovo Liberation Army as
ground troops to flush out the Serb units so that our B-52s could pulverize
them in the kind of combat predicated on great courage by their crews.  And,
in loaning of our Airforce to the K.L.A at an airfield near Rambouillet you
have prevented the loss of life among our ground troops in NATO. Yet, all of
this pales against the legacy of your glorious Command.

As one of your Spanish NATO pilots --Captain Marrtin de la Hoz-- put it with
obvious admiration, your Command was engaged in Yugoslavia, "bombing it with
novel weapons, toxic nerve gases, surface mines dropped with parachute,
projectiles containing Depleted Uranium (which is a mutant with unknown
limits soon to come back into news), black napalm, sterilization chemicals,
spraying to poison the crops and weapons of which even we still do not know
anything." You were clearly promoting technological advances in inflicting
maximum  pain on the "designated targets" and thus make the pleasures of
survival more intense. Your ordnance shattered 81 civilian industrial
enterprises, according to a preliminary U.N. report, hitting also oil
refineries and  chemical fertilizer plants. As a result "polychlorbiophenyl,
chloride ethylene, phosogene, nitrogen oxides, heavy metal particles and a
wide range of other chemical substances were ejected .... into the air,
water and soil creating a serious threat to human lives and to ecological
systems both on the spot and on broad areas of the Balkans and in Europe as
a whole. Hundreds of tons of petroleum have leaked into the Danube as a
result of NATO air raids and practically every Serbian river is dramatically
polluted and will affect the neighboring countries as some 70,000 residents
of the Serb city of Pancevo are in grave danger."  

We all know that only the Serbs commit war crimes and crimes against
humanity. So you hit them in the genes. Moreover, your (and Madeleine's)
Virtuous Air War took a million Kosovars out of the Serb clutches within
Kosovo thanks to your timely intervention which elevated a minor civil war
into a major military undertaking by the "West." You must not be too modest
and hide your military genius. After all, a U.S. General must be allowed to
make things pretty bad in order to make them worse. Perks like that come
with Super-Power territory. Too bad you were not allowed to arrest 200
Russians at Pristina as well or at least mow them down with 32-caliber
machine guns over Sir Michael Jackson's fear for a Third World War.  

Many are accusing you of war crimes and crimes against humanity but we,
red-blooded Americans, are all proud of you General. You saved NATO.

Raymond K. Kent
History Department,
University of California,
Berkeley, Ca. 94720

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