Clinton Brushed Aside Experts' Advice on Bombings

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WASHINGTON: Now that everyone seems to be saying Western officials should have known that the brutal cleansing of Kosovo would accelerate with the rain of bombs, it turns out plenty of them did. According to Washington Post, CIA director George Tenet warned the President about this bloody outcome weeks ago. U.S. military leaders agreed, and the New York Times says even a Yugoslav general predicted as much when meeting with two NATO generals six months ago. "In the Pentagon, in this building, we were not surprised by what Milosevic has done," the Pentagon spokesman, Kenneth H. Bacon, said Wednesday. "I think there is historical amnesia here if anyone says they are surprised by this campaign."

It is a sorry commentary on Bill Clinton's idea of foreign policy that knowing the catastrophic end of this road didn't change his mind. But the President hadn't left himself any alternative. "Clinton was determined to act, and determined not to use any ground troops," says TIME foreign correspondent William Dowell. "He had declared himself. He showed Milosevic all his cards, and when the bombs started falling, all it accomplished was to speed up the timetable for Milosevic to finish the purge he had already begun." Which left NATO striking from the air and hoping, illogically, for the best. What they got on the ground was the worst.

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