NATO's Cavalry May Be Too Late

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NATO voted Monday to send in the cavalry -- 24 Apache ground attack helicopters -- but it'll take up to 10 days to deploy them in Kosovo. And the Serb forces can do a lot of rampaging in that time. NATO commander General Wesley Clark admitted in an interview Tuesday that air strikes could not stop Serb atrocities, but vowed to keep on bombing until President Milosevic's campaign ended. "The problem here is that NATO is winning its war, but that's not the same war that Milosevic is fighting," says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "Systematically degrading his military from the air hasn't stopped Milosevic from achieving his objectives on the ground in Kosovo."

Milosevic's lightning campaign of "ethnic cleansing" has changed NATO's objective from stopping the Serb offensive to reversing it. "We're now trying to take back Kosovo for its people, and that's plainly extremely difficult, particularly without ground troops," says Thompson. So once deployed, the cavalry will make a difference, but recapturing Kosovo for the Kosovars looks like a job for the infantry. And if the infantry can't be sent, the mission may eventually fall, once again, to the diplomatic corps.

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