Letters to the Editor


War in Kosovo

To the Editor:

American intellectuals are naive to think that they must denounce the NATO campaign because it involves violence, evokes images of Vietnam, kills innocent civilians, or is led by a president they don't trust (the latter point puts them in bed with the likes of Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, and J. C. Watt). If their formula had prevailed in 1939, there would be no TIKKUN today and no Jewish community in Western Europe or perhaps in the United States, more millions would have been killed than died in World War II, and the world might have seen a violent crisis in the 1970s over the succession to Adolf Hitler. If Chomsky's logic had prevailed in 1939, the West would not have lifted a finger against Hitler because, after all, he hadn't (yet) killed that many people. Besides, resistance by the British and French might have been misinterpreted as being in pursuit of crass material national interest. What errant nonsense that man spews out!

Keep up the good work!

FRANK TACHAU

Chicago, IL

To the Editor:

It is very clear to me and many others who oppose the current bombing campaign in Serbia that what the Clinton administration is really doing is, to use a term in imminent danger of overuse, "wagging the dog." Given the sex scandal, Whitewater, the campaign financing scandal, and the security issues with China, Clinton's legacy is clearly threatened. Herein lies the selfinterest you say does not exist in this case.

As someone who was opposed to the impeachment, I must say that my opposition never evolved into wholesale endorsement of the Clinton presidency. In fact, I have been comforted in holding to my views by the fact that TIKKUN and other progressive voices have risked being critical of Clinton and his policies. So am I being cynical, or have I come to my conclusion about Clinton's self-interest after watching him be guided by self-interest time and time again, continually abandoning the quest for a politics of meaning which he seemed to believe in when he first ran for the presidency? You yourself have made these very same observations in the pages of TIKKUN.

What I see happening on the part of many is an irrational, emotional response to the Serbian treatment of the Kosovar majority. The Holocaust haunts us and makes it very difficult to think rationally about what the correct response is to potential or ongoing genocidal or "ethnic cleansing" activities.

I do not presume to have an easy answer and feel that my inability to formulate one perfectly illustrates my point. The closest I have come up with is similar to one you offhandedly refer to in your editorial: "If hundreds of thousands of pacifists were willing to go to the Balkans to serve as agents of nonviolent witness and to protect the victims of Serbian violence, such an action could have a profound effect on building the world in which we all believe."

However, to fall back on the argument that in the "real world," right now, this will not happen, reeks to me of surplus powerlessness. What I have learned from you, Rabbi Lerner, and from my involvement in re-evaluation counseling, is that the "real world" is, in actuality, a "pseudo reality," the result of accumulated distresses which prevent us from forming rational relationships, communities, societies, policies, and governments rooted firmly in the belief of a benign reality; that we humans were created in the image of God; and that the natural state of human interaction is one of love, respect, cooperation, and harmony.

At the very least, the NATO air campaign is a cowardly failure in that it suggests that NATO is concerned more with reducing our losses than with the ethnic Albanians. Naturally, ground troops are distasteful to many and certainly Clinton knew this as he tried to rally public and political support for intervention. However, isn't this distaste rooted in our own self-interest, the result of too many years of being bombarded with the propaganda of the "look out for number one" mentality? …

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