WASHINGTON, DC—In a bold move leaders hope will resolve the long-running conflict between the Serbs and ethnic Albanians, President Clinton deployed Marine Sgt. Brent Fitzsimmons to the 14th century Monday to assassinate Ottoman Sultan Murâd I.
"Regrettably, all diplomatic efforts to end this crisis have failed," Clinton said. "At this point, we have no choice but to send a highly trained member of the U.S. Marine Corps back in time 600 years to take out the emperor at the root of this strife."
Addressing reporters at a Pentagon press conference, Defense Secretary William Cohen said Murâd I's unchecked aggression in the Balkans is to blame for much of the current situation.
"Sultan Murâd's 1389 victory at the Battle of Kosovo was the start of five centuries of Ottoman Turk rule in Serbia. In 1692, Serbs gradually began migrating from the province of Kosovo, polarizing the two ethnicities. When Ottoman rule finally ended in the early 1900s, Kosovo reverted to Serbian rule based on historical claims," Cohen said. "If we can just prevent the Sultan from launching his late-14th-century assault on Kosovo, there's an outside chance that Serbia and Kosovo will, over the centuries, evolve into fully autonomous, peacefully co-existing regions."
Added Cohen: "It's a long shot, but it's our best shot."
Fitzsimmons, 35, a Lincoln, NE, native and decorated Gulf War veteran, said he will do everything in his power to create an alternate historical universe in which Serbs and ethnic Albanians get along.
"NATO is counting on me. My country is counting on me. The people of Kosovo are counting on me," said Fitzsimmons, holding a flash-suppressed Heckler & Koch PSG-1 sniper rifle with night-vision scope, moments before being transported to the Ottoman Era in a top-secret U.S. military time machine. "I will not let them down."
Despite expressing full confidence in the current mission, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke conceded that the establishment of "a true, lasting peace" in the Balkans may require the elimination of other individuals, as well. Among those cited by Holbrooke: Bayezid II, Suleyman The Magnificent, Osmân II, Mehmed VI, Tito, Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic, as well as anyone else who has ever lived in the region.