News Release

Colorado and Kosovo: What is NATO Teaching Our Children?

President Clinton on the school shootings: “We must do more to reach out to our children and teach them to express their anger and to resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons.”

MARY JOAN PARK
A peace educator and director of Little Friends for Peace, a peace camp for young people, Park contrasted Clinton’s statement on the Colorado shootings with his bombing of Yugoslavia. When Clinton said children should “resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons,” Park’s son asked: “Why doesn’t he do it?” Park said today: “Violence unleashes more violence. Yes, Mr. Clinton, let’s talk about it, not fight about it. Let’s spend more money on peace education programs, not weapon making. Let’s stand for children and let’s live by our values. We’re devastated by the students being killed. Why is it we’re not devastated by those killed by our bombs?”

SIMONA SHARONI
Professor at American University and director of its Peace and Conflict Resolution Semester Program, Sharoni said: “Students in my peace and conflict resolution seminar found Clinton’s response to the Colorado shooting ironic. It’s hypocritical to expect adolescents to explore alternative solutions to violence while their leaders are so quick to pull the trigger. The glorification of violence in the media and in the political arena coupled with the availability of guns no doubt contribute to the likelihood of frustrated teenagers resorting to quick, violent solutions. The solution is not to put more metal detectors in schools or build fences around them, but to critically and courageously look at the underlying social and political conditions that condone violence as a legitimate way of dealing with conflict.”

STEPHEN ZUNES
An associate professor of politics and chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said: “There was something incongruous on the evening news about seeing President Clinton condemn the violence in Colorado followed immediately by scenes of NATO’s devastation in Yugoslavia overlayed with the tired old rationalizations for it. Unable to show any political gains from the bombing, such as an end to Serbian atrocities, many are wondering if the bombing campaign may be just as senseless as the high school shootings… The one good thing that may come out of this tragic bombing is the realization that archaic military alliances like NATO and bloated military budgets are not the best means to insure peace and security in Europe — or anywhere else.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167