U.S. Loses Its First Troops in Kosovo

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What’s remarkable is how few Americans have died in the Kosovo conflict. Two U.S. soldiers died and three were slightly injured when their armored personnel carrier overturned Sunday, a spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping operation KFOR said Monday. That brought the number of U.S. personnel killed in accidents during the entire Kosovo campaign to five, following the earlier deaths of two Apache helicopter crewmen in a training accident in Albania and of a U.S. soldier in a traffic accident in Macedonia. "On average someone dies almost every day in accidents in the military," says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "The military trains rigorously, and its personnel are controlling extremely heavy machinery at high speeds, often in poor conditions or at night, up to 24 hours a day, with no margin for error. That’s the price of maintaining a lean, mean fighting machine. Despite this tragic accident, the military has every reason to be proud of the fact that it hasn’t lost a single soldier in combat over Kosovo."

In Belgrade, key opposition leader Vuk Draskovic has ruffled the feathers of some of his rivals by proposing amnesty on war crimes charges for Slobodan Milosevic as a means of coaxing him out of power. "A lot of Serbs are afraid that if Milosevic has no way out, he’ll cling to power at all costs," says TIME Central Europe bureau reporter Dejan Anastasijevic. "And all those paramilitaries who committed the atrocities in Kosovo are now back in Belgrade, willing to kill anybody they’re ordered to. But there’s no reason to believe that Milosevic would surrender power even if he were offered amnesty — the opposition is engaged in this highly theoretical debate when it should be uniting around a concrete plan of action to topple Milosevic."