As we speak, the Serbs are cleansing Kosovo. We know they are deporting people en masse. There are reports of burning villages and blowing up buildings to say NATO bombed them. And we suspect worse. Some try to minimize this by saying "only 2,000" (in a population of what, 2 million?) have been killed there this year. Imagine what the self-annointed anti-imperialists would say if the NYPD had killed 10,000 people in NYC over the past year.
The on-going 'cleansing' to me signals that no sequenced diplomatic wind-down of hostilities is going to prevent the eradication of Kosovo. Diplomacy only becomes feasible when the Serbs begin to withdraw, which they are in no likelihood of doing right now. Otherwise diplomacy simply affords the parties some opportunity to save face while ratifying the basic outcome.
The capture of the U.S. servicemen, their evident mistreatment, and threats of trial will inflame the U.S. public and provide a blank check for bombing just about anything in Serbia, effectiveness and safety of Kosovari notwithstanding. Then we're in an Iraqi situation. At that point, I'm off the bus, though the vast majority of the public will be on it.
Outrage over Milo's handling of P.O.W.'s may give Willy enough juice to send in troops, but I doubt it. More likely voters here will blame the Administration for screwing up royally.
I said this could cost the Dems the election, though obviously that is not the worst of the multiple outcomes of this. But this isn't so easy for the Republicans either. Their best candidates -- Bush Jr. and Madam Dole -- are caught between the isolationist voter base of the G.O.P. and the interests of U.S. Internationalism/Imperialism. Pandering to the former affronts the latter. This may reveal or change who is really in charge over there. There is McCain, who is aggressively pro-escalation, and Buchanan/Smith, who are propounding a clear isolationist line. It looks to be a politically volatile situation on both sides.
A minor digression: as a general cautionary note, I don't think it is helpful to stigmatize the KLA by reference to Osama Bin Ladin and fundamentalist Islam, as one cross-post did yesterday. Inflating the latter does as much to promote wayward U.S. aggression as anything else.