Wednesday, February 21, 2024

So you want to be an editor?

 The following text is an article on U.S. involvement in Kosovo during the Clinton administration, compiled by an editor at The Baltimore Sun from the Associated Press, Reuters, and The New York Times, that was sent to the copy desk, in this form as God is my witness, for publication. I used it for some years in The Sun's brutal applicant test for copy editors. See what you can make of it in the comments. 

LONDON — NATO allies endorsed a last-ditch U.S. effort Friday to end the violence in Kosovo peacefully, even as Secretary of  State Madeleine K. Albright warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that “time is all but gone” for him to avoid airstrikes.

Albright declared that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was united and ready to authorize the bombing. “There was an attempt to divide us, and that has failed,” she said.

In Washington, President Clinton told senior senators in a letter what they could expect if force is used. He described a powerful first thrust, followed by a progressive expansion of intensity.

“There will be no ‘pinprick’ strikes,” he said.

As to NATO options that would involve U.S. and allied ground forces in hostile action, “I can assure you the United States would not support these options, and there currently is no sentiment in NATO for such a mission,” Clinton said. 

Albright met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, trying to shore up support for airstrikes. “If he was looking for rescue from any member of the Contact Group, he did not get it tonight,” British Foreign Minister Robin Cook said.

She also met with the foreign ministers of the other five nations that make up the Contact Group on former Yugoslavia: Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, but failed to gain Moscow’s support for airtrikes against the Milosevic’s security forces.

“If he was looking for rescue from any member of the Contact Group, he did not get it tonight,” British Foreign Minister Robin Cook said.

But there was no word from Italy and Germany as to whether their disquiet over the threatened military operations had been eased. A statement issued by the foreign ministers called on Milosevic to meet conditions of U.N. resolutions and made no mention of military action.

Albright accused Milosevic of “cosmetic gestures” to meet international demands on Kosovo and said he has “but a few days” to reverse course and avoid NATO military action.

“One of the keys of good diplomacy is knowing when diplomacy has reached its limits. And we are rapidly reaching that point now,” she warned.

Albright said earlier yesterday that Richard C. Holbrooke, the U.S. mediator for the Balkans, would return to Belgrade for a fourth round of talks this week with Milosevic. The foreign ministers endorsed Holbrook’s mission to the Yugoslav capital. 

Albright declined to say categorically that Holbrooke’s visit would be the last peace mission before NATO airstrikes, but a British official, briefing reporters after the meeting, said, “Holbrooke’s trip is the last attempt.”

Despite the arguments, Russia did not relent its opposition to the use of force. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who chaired the Contact Group meeting, said Russia was not being “invited” to participate in NATO’s decisions.

Albright met with the foreign ministers of the Contact Group in London after conferring in Brussels, Belgium, with Holbrooke, Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO’s supreme commander, and NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana.