ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
US

Clinton thanks B-2 crews for war effort

Clinton
Clinton greets troops at the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri

RELATED VIDEO
President Clinton speaks about the end to the conflict in Yugoslavia
Windows Media 28K 80K
 MILITARY PLAN:
Peace Plan Interactive Guide
Timetable for Kosovo transition

Map:
Serb troop withdrawal

Map:
Proposed NATO troop sectors
 ALSO:

U.S. won't help reconstruct Yugoslavia until Milosevic out of power, Clinton said Thursday

Russia says relations with NATO 'frozen'

NATO peacekeepers told to delay entry into Kosovo

 MESSAGE BOARD:

Crisis in Kosovo

What's next?
The first wave of U.S. peacekeepers is to be replaced in the next 30 days by 7,000 Army troops based in Germany. The U.S. contingent is part of an international peacekeeping force set to number about 50,000 troops.
 

Peacekeepers poised to enter Kosovo

June 11, 1999
Web posted at: 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT)


In this story:

Clinton: B-2s helped reverse atrocities

'The horrors you are going to see'

'There are land mines'

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Missouri (CNN) -- President Clinton thanked pilots and support crews Friday for their role in NATO's Yugoslavia bombing campaign as an international peacekeeping force, including U.S. troops, prepared to enter Kosovo.

As the president spoke to pilots and support personnel at Whiteman Air Force Base, about 4,000 U.S. Marines and Army soldiers were in Macedonia, awaiting NATO orders to move into the American peacekeeping sector in eastern Kosovo.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, meanwhile, assured ethnic Albanian refugees packed in a sweltering camp in Macedonia that NATO peacekeepers would help them return home "to live a decent, normal life."

Clinton: B-2s helped reverse atrocities

In a hangar at Whiteman -- home of the B-2 Stealth bombers that flew from Missouri to Yugoslavia to hit Serb command bunkers and air defenses -- Clinton spoke with one of the bat-winged aircraft as a backdrop.

He accused Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic of exploiting ethnic and religious differences in the Balkans over the years, particularly the recent "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovars of Albanian descent.

"He wasn't just calling people names," the president said. "This exploitation involved mass murder, mass rape, mass burning, mass destruction of religious and cultural institutions and personal property records -- an attempt to erase the very presence of a people from their land and to get rid of them dead or alive."

"It was that which the B-2s from Whiteman flew to reverse," Clinton said.

Milosevic accepted NATO's conditions for ending the 79-day air campaign because "you made him do it," the president told hundreds of Whiteman personnel, reservists and their families.

The B-2s -- which made 30-hour, round-trip, nonstop missions to Yugoslavia -- were a staple in NATO's bombing arsenal. Using its stealth technology, the plane can evade enemy radar and deliver bombs with precision.

Air Force officials estimated the bomber flew just 3 percent of all NATO sorties but accounted for 20 percent of all targets hit -- with little or no collateral damage.

Brig. Gen. Leroy Barnidge, who commands the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman, presented Clinton with a cap showing the wing's official emblem.

"When people see you (wearing that hat)," Barnidge joked to the president, "people will think you drive a B-2 to work."

'The horrors you are going to see'

The U.S. peacekeepers were gathered in northern Macedonia, near the Kosovo border, at a staging area called Camp Able Sentry.

They make up an initial U.S. "enabling" force that will set up a headquarters, clear land mines and escort ethnic Albanian refugees home.

Albright visited the makeshift military camp Friday during a one-day visit to Macedonia.

"I can't tell you how proud we all are of what you have done and what you are going to do," Albright told the U.S. peacekeepers. "The people you are going to be seeing and the country you are going to be freeing has gone through some dreadful times."

"In fact," she said, "I don't even know all the horrors you are going to see."

'There are land mines'

Later, Albright was cheered as she spoke to Kosovars living at the Stenkovic refugee camp, a tent city that is home to about 25,000 ethnic Albanians, many of them children.

Albright counseled against vengeance when they return home, and said NATO's goal was a multi-ethnic democracy in Kosovo. But she also acknowledged the task was awesome and said many of the refugees may not be able to get home before the onset of winter.

In a statement to hundreds of refugees crowded behind a rope, Albright said, "We want you to rebuild. We want you to go home. But be very careful. There are land mines."

"All the world knows about your suffering, they know you want to go home and have a normal life," Albright said. "You will go home and be able to live a decent normal life and do it your way."

Correspondents John King and David Ensor contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Clinton: 'Victory for a safer world'
June 10, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Related to this story:
  • U.S. State Department
    • Secretary of State Madeline Albright
    • Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott
  • The White House
    • Vice President Al Gore
  • Whiteman Air Force Base
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. Army

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
  • Kosovo

Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis


Relief:
  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International
  • UNHCR


Media:
  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

Other:
  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.