Stop the Bombing; End the War


A statement from Members of ECAAR’s Board and Associates, May 7, 1999.

We, members of the Board and Associates of Economists Allied for Arms Reduction, call on President Clinton to order an immediate halt to the bombing of Yugoslavia.

Militarily, the bombing does not work. It has failed to halt Serb military operations in Kosovo, failed even to impede effectively the flow of supplies and fuel to Serb forces.

Politically, bombs have forced no changes in Yugoslav policy; the psychological reaction to bombing is, as always, stronger and stiffer resistance.

To a great extent, the bombs have been aimed at the civilian economy of Yugoslavia, and so at the political and social destruction of that country. We condemn all human rights abuses in Kosovo. But this is a strategy that brutalizes a nation for the crimes of its leadership, without effectively punishing those crimes.

The bombing is a diplomatic disaster. It has undermined the UN Security Council, the Helsinki Final Act, and European security. We believe that it is illegal under the UN Charter.

The bombs have no humanitarian rationale. They have not slowed the eviction of the Kosovar people, the many murders that have been reported, nor the destruction of Kosovar homes. And to those casualties, the bombs add hundreds of innocent Kosovar and Serb civilians, who are dying in entirely predictable accidents every day. 

Here at home, the bombing serves as a pretext for those who wish Congress to provide vast new funds for military expansion, without debate. Only a ceasefire can prevent this economic folly.

We call on President Clinton to stop the bombing immediately. 

The United States should return to the bargaining table, to seek a diplomatic solution with the aid of our friends in Greece, Italy, Russia and elsewhere. We support every diplomatic initiative to bring this crisis to an end and every measure to bring relief to the refugees and to civilians inside Kosovo, and we welcome the diplomatic progress that seemed apparent on May 6th.

Finally, the American people must confront the deep contradiction in our position in the world, laid bare by the past month’s military, diplomatic, and human disaster:

-- If we wish to remain the world’s policeman, we must be prepared to maintain a large Army and even larger reserves, to invest in air-lift and sea-lift, and we must be prepared to spill American blood on the ground in many distant conflicts, including this one.

-- The alternative, which we favor, is to build stronger and more effective international institutions, especially the United Nations, its agencies, and other multilateral institutions that work through law and mediation to promote peace and sustainable economic development. These agencies deserve our strong political and full financial support.

In either case, there is no justification for maintaining the strategic air power we now possess in its present form. Those forces were built for fighting the Third World War. They are not suited to our real security needs in the post-Cold War world. 


Ecaar Board Members: James K. Galbraith (Chair), Barbara Bergmann, Jurgen Brauer, Lloyd J. Dumas, Robert Heilbroner, Michael D. Intriligator, Lawrence R. Klein, John Tepper Marlin, Franco Modigliani, Robert J. Schwartz, Dorrie Weiss.

Ecaar Associates: Gar Alperovitz, Norman Birnbaum, Robert L. Borosage, William A. Darity, jr., Richard F. Kaufman, Leslie Spira Lopez, Jeffrey G. Madrick, Josephine D. Martin, Wayne Merry, Richard Parker, Dimitri Papadimitriou, William Raiford, Marcus Raskin.