Monday, November 21, 2005


Ken sent me this amazing piece today. The article contains quotes from various members of the GOP, including W., criticizing Clinton on the war in Kosovo. After watching and listening to the GOP’s vitriolic and self-righteous grand standing against the Democrats in Congress last night, on the war in Iraq, let the GOP hypocrites choke on their words. I find it interesting that CNN, or maybe it was MSNBC, (I was multi-tasking at the time), featured a program on the state of Kosovo today, 10 years after the war. The Clinton Administration very successfully achieved a political instead of a military solution to the problem. The goons in the Bush wing of the GOP are incapable of any kind of political compromise or diplomacy. In their world, it’s their way or the highway. Morons. LS

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." -Governor George W. Bush (R-TX) on President Clinton's war in Kosovo.

Yes, friends, now that the GOP is once again resorting to questioning the patriotism of anyone who questions the war, so it's time to remind you just what the sleazy, slimy, opportunistic creeps who run the White House and Congress shouted in public to undermine Clinton's war in Kosovo.

Recall, as you read this that 1) We won the war in Kosovo, 2) Quickly and 3) No Americans were killed. Zip. Nada. -K

GOP attacks on U.S. military actions during Clinton Presidency (Updated)
by GlennGreenwald
Daily Kos
Sat Nov 19, 2005 at 10:56:45 AM PDT

In light of the increasingly reprehensible assaults by the GOP on the patriotism of anyone who questions the Administration's war effort in Iraq, it is worth remembering what the Republicans were doing and saying when the U.S. military was deployed during the Clinton Presidency.

An examination of what the GOP said and did throughout the 1990s with regard to President Clinton's military actions conclusively reveals this fact: throughout the Clinton Presidency, the GOP not only vocally opposed our country's military actions, but continuously questioned Clinton's motives and impugned his integrity with regard to why the troops were being deployed and with regard to the national security value of those deployments. Put another way, these GOP uber-patriots, again and again, engaged in precisely the behavior during the Clinton Presidency which they are now trying to claim -- when engaged in by Democrats against the Iraq War -- is dangerous, immoral and unpatriotic.

Listening to the Republicans and their pundit-defenders now, one would think that the GOP always steadfastly supports U.S. military action, always refrains from questioning the integrity or motives of the Commander-in-Chief with regard to deployment of troops, and always favors a strong military response to bad regimes and bad actors around the world. But with regard to virtually every military action ordered by President Clinton - including the numerous times that he put troops "in harms' way" - the GOP was there to oppose these efforts, to call into question the purpose and value of these deployments, and to make all sorts of scurrilous accusations against the President with regard to his motives for making the military decisions he made.

These same Republicans even went so far as to overtly accuse Clinton of "wagging the dog" by ordering a bombing campaign against Saddam Hussein, and separately against Osama bin Laden, without any real military purpose and solely in order to distract attention away from his domestic scandals. Plainly, Republicans tried to impede Clinton's military actions against both Saddam and bin Laden by opposing Clinton's use of the military and attacking his motives and integrity in ordering these actions.

Isn't it about time that these GOP officials and pundits -- who now so shamelessly wield the toxic patriotism weapon against anyone who has come to oppose the Iraq war -- be confronted with their behavior through the decade of the 1990s? 

Also forced to confront and explain away these obstructionist attacks on the Commander-in-Chief and his integrity throughout the military actions of 1990s should be some of the most stridently pro-war, pro-Bush voices in the blogosphere, who have taken recently to expressly proclaiming that anyone who attacks the motives and integrity of Bush with respect to the Iraq war is "unpatriotic."

Every time they appear on television or are interviewed and they impugn the patriotism of anyone who questions the Administration's conduct of this war, the following quotes -- reflecting GOP opposition to and attacks on every one of America's military actions during Clinton's Presidency -- should be shown to them and they should be forced to confront and explain them.

A stroll down memory lane:

Rep. Dick Armey, GOP Majority Leader

"The suspicion some people have about the president's motives in this attack [on Iraq] is itself a powerful argument for impeachment," Armey said in a statement. "After months of lies, the president has given millions of people around the world reason to doubt that he has sent Americans into battle for the right reasons."

Rep. Gerald Solomon (R - NY)

"It is obvious that they're (the Clinton White House) doing everything they can to postpone the vote on this impeachment in order to try to get whatever kind of leverage they can, and the American people ought to be as outraged as I am about it," Solomon said in an interview with CNN. Asked if he was accusing Clinton of playing with American lives for political expediency, Solomon said, "Whether he knows it or not, that's exactly what he's doing."

Sen. Dan Coats (R - IN)

Coats, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement, "While there is clearly much more we need to learn about this attack [on Osama bin Laden] and why it was ordered today, given the president's personal difficulties this week, it is legitimate to question the timing of this action."

Sen. Larry Craig, U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee

The foregoing review of the Clinton Administration's prevarications on Kosovo would not be complete without a brief look at one other possible factor in the deepening morass. Consider the following fictional situation: A president embroiled in a sex scandal that threatens to bring down his administration. He sees the only way out in distracting the nation and the world with a foreign military adventure. So, he orders his spin-doctors and media wizards to get to work. They survey the options, push a few buttons, and decide upon a suitable locale: Albania.

The foregoing, the premise of the recent film Wag the Dog, might once have seemed farfetched. Yet it can hardly escape comment that on the very day, August 17, that President Bill Clinton is scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury to explain his possibly criminal behavior, Commander-in-Chief Bill Clinton has ordered U.S. Marines and air crews to commence several days of ground and air exercises in, yes, Albania as a warning of possible NATO intervention in next-door Kosovo. . . .

Not too many years ago, it would not have entered the mind of even the worst of cynics to speculate whether any American president, whatever his political difficulties, would even consider sending U.S. military personnel into harm's way to serve his own, personal needs. But in an era when pundits openly weigh the question of whether President Clinton will (or should) tell the truth under oath not because he has a simple obligation to do so but because of the possible impact on his political "viability" -- is it self-evident that military decisions are not affected by similar considerations? Under the circumstances, it is fair to ask to what extent the Clinton Administration has forfeited the benefit of the doubt as to the motives behind its actions.

GOP Activist Paul Weyrich

Paul Weyrich, a leading conservative activist, said Clinton's decision to bomb on the eve of the impeachment vote "is more of an impeachable offense than anything he is being charged with in Congress."

Wall St. Journal Editorial Board

"It is dangerous for an American president to launch a military strike, however justified, at a time when many will conclude he acted only out of narrow self-interest to forestall or postpone his own impeachment"

Sen. Trent Lott, GOP Majority Leader

"I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time," Lott said in a statement. "Both the timing and the policy are subject to question."

Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-NY)

"Never underestimate a desperate president," said a furious House Rules Committee Chairman Gerald B.H. Solomon (R-N.Y.). "What option is left for getting impeachment off the front page and maybe even postponed? And how else to explain the sudden appearance of a backbone that has been invisible up to now?"

Rep. Tillie Folwer (R-Fla)

"It [the bombing of Iraq] is certainly rather suspicious timing," said Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-Florida). "I think the president is shameless in what he would do to stay in office."

Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum

First, it [intervention in Kosovo] is a "wag the dog" public relations ploy to involve us in a war in order to divert attention from his personal scandals (only a few of which were addressed in the Senate trial). He is again following the scenario of the "life is truer than fiction" movie Wag the Dog. The very day after his acquittal, Clinton moved quickly to "move on" from the subject of impeachment by announcing threats to bomb and to send U.S. ground troops into the civil war in Kosovo between Serbian authorities and ethnic Albanians fighting for independence. He scheduled Americans to be part of a NATO force under non-American command.

Jim Hoagland, Washington Post

"President Clinton has indelibly associated a justified military response ... with his own wrongdoing. ... Clinton has now injected the impeachment process against him into foreign policy, and vice versa"

Byron York, National Review

Instead of striking a strong blow against terrorism, the action [launching cruise missles at bin Laden] set off a howling debate about Clinton's motives. The president ordered the action three days after appearing before the grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair, and Clinton's critics accused him of using military action to change the subject from the sex-and-perjury scandal -- the so-called "wag the dog" strategy.

Wall St. Journal editorial

"Perceptions that the American president is less interested in the global consequences than in taking any action that will enable him to hold onto power [are] a further demonstration that he has dangerously compromised himself in conducting the nation's affairs, and should be impeached"


Are all of those GOP political leaders and media pundits "unpatriotic" - or "cowards" - for questioning the veracity of Clinton's grounds for these military decisions and for questioning his motives in choosing them? Or was it OK to do that then but it's just not OK any longer?


UPDATE: John Campanelli in Comments has posted a list from Crooks and Liars of many other statements from GOP officials and pundits attacking U.S. military actions during the Clinton Presidency. It is unfathomable that they are permitted to get away with yelling "unpatriotic" and "coward" at war critics now in light of their never-ending assault on Clinton as Commander-in-Chief. Here is a sample of those self-proclaimed patriots attacking and attempting to undermine Clinton's military deployments:

"President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/5/99

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."
-Tony Snow, Fox News 3/24/99

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

Here's what Republicans said about Clinton and Kosovo
Why did they second-guess our commitment to freedom from genocide and demand that we cut and run?

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
-Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate George W. Bush

Why did they demoralize our brave men and women in uniform?
"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning...I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."

-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years"

-Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"I'm on the Senate Intelligence Committee, so you can trust me and believe me when I say we're running out of cruise missles. I can't tell you exactly how many we have left, for security reasons, but we're almost out of cruise missles."
-Senator Inhofe (R-OK )

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarifiedrules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
"I don't know that Milosevic will ever raise a white flag"
-Senator Don Nickles (R-OK)
"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

Why didn't they support our president in a time of war?

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
-Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

"This is President Clinton's war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem."
-Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)
"The two powers that have ICBMs that can reach the United States are Russia and China. Here we go in. We're taking on not just Milosevic. We can't just say, 'that little guy, we can whip him.' We have these two other powers that have missiles that can reach us, and we have zero defense thanks to this president."

-Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

"You can support the troops but not the president"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"My job as majority leader is be supportive of our troops, try to have input as decisions are made and to look at those decisions after they're made ... not to march in lock step with everything the president decides to do."
-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

For us to call this a victory and to commend the President of the United States as the Commander in Chief showing great leadership in Operation Allied Force is a farce"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

Why did they blame America first?

"Once the bombing commenced, I think then Milosevic unleashed his forces, and then that's when the slaughtering and the massive ethnic cleansing really started"
-Senator Don Nickles (R-OK)
Clinton's bombing campaign has caused all of these problems to explode"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"America has no vital interest in whose flag flies over Kosovo's capital, and no right to attack and kill Serb soldiers fighting on their own soil to preserve the territorial integrity of their own country"
-Pat Buchanan (R)

"These international war criminals were led by Gen. Wesley Clark ..who clicked his shiny heels for the commander-in-grief, Bill Clinton."
-Michael Savage

"This has been an unmitigated disaster ... Ask the Chinese embassy. Ask all the people in Belgrade that we've killed. Ask the refugees that we've killed. Ask the people in nursing homes. Ask the people in hospitals."

-Representative Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"It is a remarkable spectacle to see the Clinton Administration and NATO taking over from the Soviet Union the role of sponsoring "wars of national liberation."
-Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID)

"America has no vital interest in whose flag flies over Kosovo's capital, and no right to attack and kill Serb soldiers fighting on their own soil to preserve the territorial integrity of their own country"
-Pat Buchanan (R )

"By the order to launch air strikes against Serbia, NATO and President Clinton have entered uncharted territory in mankind's history. Not even Hitler's grab of the Sudetenland in the 1930s, which eventually led to WW II, ranks as a comparable travesty. For, there are no American interests whatsoever that the NATO bombing will either help, or protect; only needless risks to which it exposes the American soldiers and assets, not to mention the victims on the ground in Serbia."
-Bob Djurdjevic, founder of Truth in Media

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