How the War in Kosovo Helped Central America

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WASHINGTON: Forget collateral damage for just a moment -- the war in Kosovo can cause collateral goodies too, thanks to the war-within-a-war over Kosovo on Capitol Hill. Republicans are in such a hurry to embarrass their draft-dodging President next week by approving $13 billion in military spending when Clinton asked for only $6 billion, they're ready to settle up another tab: $2.4 billion, mostly aid to Central America for the victims of Hurricane Mitch.

That bill has been languishing in congressional limbo for months, a victim of squabbles over tobacco settlement money and help for the steel, oil and mining industries, among others. Not any more. "We really don't have time" to consider the Yugoslavia spending legislation separately, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said Tuesday. So by the end of next week, Clinton should get that $13 billion poke in the eye -- and Central Americans should get the help they need. Only six months late.

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