McCain resolution urges use of 'all necessary force' in Yugoslavia
April 20, 1999
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 20) -- A bipartisan resolution was introduced on the Senate floor Tuesday that would give President Bill Clinton congressional authorization to "use all necessary force and other means," including U.S. ground troops, to win the current battle in Yugoslavia.
"I do not recommend lightly the course I have called on the president to pursue," said Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who is leading the charge as the resolution's principal sponsor. "I know, as should anyone who votes for this resolution, that if Americans die in a land war with Serbia we will bear a considerable share of the blame for their loss."
The administration did not request this authorization from Congress.
McCain, a candidate for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination, was one of the earliest voices to say that the U.S. must win this military action at all costs and to call on the Clinton Administration to prepare for the possibility of deploying ground troops.
Because of the likelihood that American lives would be lost during such a ground war, McCain acknowledged that the position is politically risky. But as a former prisoner of war for five years in Vietnam, McCain said he could not stake out "an ambiguous political position to seek shelter behind."
With U. S. forces involved in NATO airstrikes on Serbian targets in Yugoslavia and Kosovo, many Republicans have grudgingly given their support to the Clinton Administration. But some senators still oppose the action and want the U.S. to withdraw from the conflict in Yugoslavia. Others don't want to see ground troops used.
Either way, lawmakers should be on the record McCain said: "Congress, no less than the administration, must show the resolve and confidence of a superpower who's cause is just and imperative."
"Let us all -- president, senator alike -- show the courage of our convictions in this critical hour. Let us declare us ourselves in support of or in opposition to this war and the many sacrifices it will entail. Our duty demands it," McCain said.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Sens. Joe Biden (D-Delaware), Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut), Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Richard Lugar (R-Indiana).
The senators say that no options for achieving U.S. objectives in the region should not be ruled out because the cost of losing this war is too great.
The White House has so far said that no plans are being made by NATO to send in ground troops but all of the co-sponsors urged the administration to prepare for the possibility of such a move.
"In the case of ground forces, which will take weeks to deploy should they be necessary, we should begin now to plan for the logistics of such a mission and to ensure that appropriate personnel are adequately trained," said Lieberman.
It is unclear when the resolution will be debated.
Biden encouraged his colleagues to avoid using the debate to rehash the question of whether the U.S. should have entered into this military action in the Balkans with NATO.
Tuesday, April 20, 1999
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