Clark Papers Talk Politics And War
General Cites Pressure From Clinton Aides Over Kosovo Conflict
By R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 7, 2004; Page A01
Wesley Clark is not going to win the Democratic nomination – but I sure am glad that he entered this race. The Washington Post is reporting an amazing breakout story this weekend, releasing the General’s comments to an official NATO historian regarding the political pressure from the White House to end the Kosovo campaign prematurely for political reasons. The Al Gore presidential campaign was scheduled to kick off, and the administration wanted a hurried up offensive in the Balkans, so not to interfere with more important issues (which of course, is retaining power). If this story gets some legs (which I am sure Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and the like will be loath to give it), this could be the most important story of the year. This is the ultimate bookend to the notion that Kosovo conflict was entirely a political creation – born out of the Clinton’s desire to deflect scrutiny during his impeachment days.
'There were those in the White House who said, 'Hey, look, you gotta finish the bombing before the Fourth of July weekend. That's the start of the next presidential campaign season, so stop it. It doesn't matter what you do, just turn it off. You don't have to win this thing, let it lie...' – Clark on White House pressure to end the conflict at any cost
"That's the flavor of it. 'It's not like this is a really serious problem.' It's like, 'Hey, let's jerk this guy's [Milosevic's] chain.' [Then,] 'Okay, we can't stand [it] anymore, it's too embarrassing politically,'”- Clark on his perceived notion of then National Security Adviser Sandy Berger’s opinion
There are tons of observations that need to be expounded upon – but I will merely summarize for respect of space and time.
1) When we heard the first headlines coming out of Kosovo, we were alerted to an “ethnic cleansing” lead by a dangerous despotic figure named Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia. Nearly 500,000 ethinic Albanians were killed in this “genocide,” and Clinton recognizing that this was not a threat to the United States, justified a devastating bombing campaign on Kosovo and Serbian forces as a humanitarian effort. Agree or disagree with the Iraq war, at least it was argued in terms of national defense.
2) Although never appropriately reported by the major western news media, independent research by a variety of countries and even the United Nations showed that after all was said and done (and thousands of innocents were killed and maimed by NATO bombing efforts), the half-a-million bodies never showed up – the “cleansing” amounted to less than 3,000 dead Albanians and zero mass graves. A civil war? Maybe. Ethnic cleansing? Not a chance. Clinton’s justification for action was entirely fabricated.
3) Millions of people worldwide have organized in loud protest to the U.S. action in Iraq against the regime of Saddam Hussein, a proven mass murderer. Yes, there were a handful of protestors crying foul over Kosovo (most prominently Amnesty International) – but the voice against the Kosovo bombing is akin to a cup of water in the Atlantic Ocean when compared to the furor over Iraq. To say this is hypocritical of the protestors is certainly fair – but more importantly, it exposes a twisted motive – you just have to identify their premises first.
4) If any self-respecting individual, fully aware of all the facts over Kosovo can defend Clinton’s actions as just – please make me aware of them.
5) Lastly, US General Wesley Clark, the NATO Commander of charge of the NATO bombing should scare the living hell out of anyone. If anyone should have been aware of the falsity of the charges of genocide, it should have been Clark – but instead of advocating a cease-fire (for Clinton-Gore political reasons or not), Clark was begging for ground troops and a massive occupation on the scale of Iraq. Dr. Strangelove, anyone?
My next blog entry will discuss the Bush administration’s public relations failure over Iraq.