Veterans of Foreign Wars
VFW Opposes U.S. Troops in Kosovo
Washington, D.C., February 8, 1999 - Veterans of Foreign U.S. ground troops might be deployed as part of an international peace-keeping force that would administer a political settlement in the violence-torn Serbian province of Kosovo. Futhermore, the VFW warned that if U.S. ground troops are deployed to Kosovo as part of a NATO peace-keeping force (already being referred to as (KFOR), it would strongly oppose placing U.S. troops under a foreign commander.
VFW Commander in Chief, Thomas A. Pouliot, Helena, Mont. said, "While deploying a NATO peace-keeping ground force to Kosovo may be necessary to stop the killing and keep the conflict from spreading in the region, the VFW opposes the commitment of U.S. ground troops as a part of this NATO force, because we believe it will result in another long term obligation of U.S. manpower and resources to Yugoslavia - again with no exit strategy.
"With over $20 billion of U.S. resources already spent in Yugoslavia and 6,900 U.S. troops deployed to Bosnia, we need to be careful about making any additional commitments that will cause additional strain on combat readiness and worsen the quality of life problems for our troops.
"The last thing we need is another open-ended commitment that ties down additional U.S. forces and resources in the Balkan region. Our armed forces are undermanned as it is."
Pouliot also commented that the "VFW has opposed and continues to oppose the deployment of U.S. troops to the former Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, because of the open-ended nature of the Administration's commitment and the fact no U.S. interests are at stake in Yugoslavia. We believe that the Administration and Congress need to identify and evaluate vital U.S. interests in the region."
The VFW adopted a resolution at last year's VFW National Convention calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the former Yugoslavia as soon as possible further endangerment to U.S. troops.
"We support the view that unless unforeseen circumstances arise, the U.S. forces assigned to Operation Joint Forge, should be gradually withdrawn from the Yugoslavia while transferring remaining responsibilities to other NATO members," Pouliot stated.
A second VFW resolution adopted at last year's VFW National Convention opposes U.S. forces under foreign command. "By permitting U.S. forces to operate under the orders of any international organization, these forces could find themselves executing military operations that may not be in the national interest of the United States. If we are going to put U.S. troops into harm's way, we believe that they need to be under a U.S. commander and not under a foreign commander." Pouliot said.