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Sen. Edwards Speaks Out on Kosovo Crisis

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N.C. Senator John Edwards said he voted in favor of air strikes in Yugoslavia and that he was still open on supporting ground troops in Kosovo.(WRAL-TV5 News)
SOUTHERN PINES — For the first time since he was sworn into the office of the United States Senate, Sen. John Edwards returned to his hometown in Moore County Friday, where he spoke out about the events in Yugoslavia.

He came home to rededicate the building of the newspaper he read as a child, and to talk to a hometown crowd about his first responsibilities in office during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.

Now he expresses worry about America's newest crisis.

"We have a mad man -- a killer in my opinion -- in Milosevic," said Edwards.

Edwards said it was a painful decision, but he voted in favor of the air strikes in Yugoslavia.

"Any time you choose to put American men and women's lives at risk in the military, it's a bad choice," said Edwards. "So I think we chose the best of a series of bad choices."

He said America does have responsibility to NATO, but after listening in on confidential security briefings, he has concerns about those responsibilities.

Until now, he said, he has not heard a successful case to support ground troops, but he's willing to listen.

"I will support anything that will thoughtfully deal with the situation with our three soldiers that have been captured," said Edwards. "I mean it just makes you hurt to see their faces on television."

Edwards also had some critical words for President Clinton. He said he wishes Clinton would have educated Americans a little earlier on about the crisis in Kosovo. He also said he wishes Clinton would have informed people earlier about the airstrikes, and that he should be taking more time to talk about an exit strategy.