U.S. Loads the Guns in Kosovo

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON: The U.S.'s finger is on the trigger. With the Saturday deadline for Kosovo peace talks fast coming due, Pentagon chief William Cohen has ordered 51 more U.S. warplanes into Europe as "a precautionary measure to assure that NATO has the capability to conduct operations should that prove necessary." That's in addition to the porcupine of 80 U.S. cruise missiles already pointed at the region. Subtitle for Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic: Don't make us use them.

Special Report Milosevic still won't accept the 30,000 NATO peacekeepers (led by 2,200 U.S. Marines) on his soil, and the ethnic Albanian KLA rebels still won't disarm and let NATO hold the guns for a while. The standoff has Pentagon officials arguing that a limited strike on the Serbs - big enough to show Milosevic that NATO means business, but not so big as to crater the talks completely (or encourage the KLA forces to get ambitious) - might be the way to get things moving again. State Department spokesman James Foley called Saturday "a real deadline, and time is of the essence, and President Milosevic has just a few days to see the light." He may need to see a few explosions first.