Airstrikes will not solve any problems

NATO’s decision to conduct airstrikes against Serbia was a foolish one. The reasons given by NATO leaders do not adequately justify the consequences of their actions.
There has been no real explanation of how the bombings will eliminate the sources of the conflict, for which there are several causes. First, Kosovo is a holy city for the Serbians. They are unlikely to stop caring about it just because NATO kills some Serbians and destroys some military hardware. Second, ethnic Albanians had been grossly mistreated by the Serbs even before ethnic cleansing began. Kosovo was run under an apartheid-like system for a number of years, creating widespread animosity between the Serbs and the Albanians. Third, the Kosovo Liberation Army initiated the violence, although the Serbs ultimately used more extreme methods and with greater success.
Bombing the Serbs might stop the ethnic cleansing for a short while, but it will certainly not create feelings of goodwill between the two sides. It will only serve to make them hate each other more. Even if NATO succeeds in its mission, peace will only last as long as troops remain. Stopping the war for a year or two is not a real solution.
What is also disturbing is that NATO’s biggest reason for initiating the bombing is a fear of losing face. This is a horrible motivation for military action, similar to the kind of reasoning that led to World War I. Our actions tell the world that threats should always be carried out, regardless of the situation. Not wanting to look weak does not come close to justifying the killings of human beings.
Another problem with the strikes is that not one NATO member supports Albanian independence. At most they support limited self-governance, but with Kosovo still being part of Serbia. Even if the airstrikes succeed in limiting Serbian aggression, they will not stop the struggle for independence by the KLA, which is the fundamental cause of the current conflict.
Even the Senate, usually a staunch supporter of military actions, gave lukewarm support to the airstrikes, passing the resolution 58-41. By comparison the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which committed the United States to Vietnam, passed 88-2. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) gave his reasons for voting against the resolution saying, “I do not believe the president has fully articulated what policy the airstrikes are intended to support, nor has he developed a long-term strategy to deal with the problems in Kosovo.”
Some argue against the bombings by saying the United States has not intervened in similar conflicts such as those in Turkey or Tibet. While this is true, ignoring one injustice is not a reason to ignore another. The Serbian’s actions are labeled as atrocities for a reason. We should take actions that work to prevent further crimes from being committed. Committing atrocities of our own will not solve anything.
Dropping bombs on Serbia will not convince the Serbs that Kosovo is no longer a holy city. It will not prevent the KLA from fighting for independence. What it will do and has done is anger Russia, foster anti-Western feelings in Serbia, and further entrench nationalistic feelings. Ignoring this conflict would be wrong, but escalating the war is not the solution.