I saw this article on Politico.com, and just couldn’t let it go. It highlights how liberals (read: Marxists) in this country are still suffering from Bush-derangement long after the man has retired.
The post in question, titled “Bush’s error on run-up to Iraq war”, concerns pointing out an “error” in citing the Kosovo campaign in pushing out Saddam from Iraq:
Bush was, of course, controversial for his willingness to launch the Iraq invasion without a second U.N. Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing the action. (Truth in advertising: I did not strongly criticize him for it at the time, though I was worried about the lack of proper military planning — and did say so throughout 2001-03.)
But in explaining why this U.N. resolution was not needed, Bush states on page 237: “From a legal standpoint, a resolution was unnecessary. Three years earlier, President Clinton and our NATO allies had removed the dictator Slobodan Milosevic from power in Serbia without an explicit U.N. resolution.”
This is completely false.
In fact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization waged an air war in 1999 designed for the narrow purpose of driving Serbia out of Kosovo. That campaign was ultimately successful, and we negotiated a deal with Milosevic’s government that required Serb forces to leave Kosovo and allow a U.N. force to enter.
NATO did not have a U.N. resolution for its air war. But the air war was not designed to drive Milosevic from power — and it did not do so. Moreover, the coalition countries waging war did have formal NATO blessing for their effort, providing at least some partial substitution for the lack of U.N. approval.
Only in 2000, with offensive operations long over, did Milosevic leave power. He was arrested in 2001 by his own countrymen, and later transferred to The Hague for trial. He died there in 2006.
Some may consider this a minor oversight on Bush’s part. I disagree.
The Kosovo war was a major campaign and occurred while Bush was running for president. He can hardly be excused for failing to understand such a crucial dimension of the conflict.
Ok, let’s break up the allegations into two distinct pieces: there was a U.N. resolution to attack the Serbians, and that the air campaign wasn’t designed to drive Milosevic out of power.
The first part is pretty frickin’ clear, and the author has to admit it outright:
NATO did not have a U.N. resolution for its air war.
So, the first part of the allegation made against Bush is patently untrue. There was no U.N. resolution to justify Clinton’s bombing campaign. Period. End of discussion. Whether any U.N. resolution was sought as justification is really irrelevant because Clinton went in regardless.
Plus, the author makes the following laughable comment:
Moreover, the coalition countries waging war did have formal NATO blessing for their effort, providing at least some partial substitution for the lack of U.N. approval.
Man, talk about the lengths liberal apologists will go to defend the guy who rammed a cigar up a vagina of a White House intern! “Partial substitution” for the lack of U.N. approval? Does this idiot know exactly why NATO was formed? It was to counter the Warsaw Pact military forces – or, for brevity, the conscripted Soviet satellite army – and protect Europe against outright Soviet Marxist/imperialist aggression.
How does NATO differ from the U.N.? You mean, besides the fact that the Soviet Union was a founding member, and a veto-holder within the United Nations, alongside England, and the U.S., and NATO was formed to COUNTER the Soviet Union? I guess we should just ignore all of that for the sake of some inane nitpicking by a liberal “intellectual.”
Now, on to the next stupid justification: the Kosovo campaign was designed to drive the Serbs out of that region. Consider the following letter from Bill Clinton at the time of the air campaign:
WHY THE ALLIES MUST FIGHT ON
By President Bill Clinton
Today in the Balkans, forces from the United States, the United Kingdom and our NATO allies are standing strong against ethnic cleansing, working to end the atrocities, save lives and restore hope to Kosovo. We are determined to prevail. And we are determined to strengthen the foundation for a Europe that is ever more integrated, democratic, prosperous and at peace.
The NATO allies did everything possible to obtain a peaceful solution in Kosovo. Slobodan Milosevic chose conflict instead, escalating the violence, moving towards fulfillment of his brutal design: to rid the land of its inhabitants, once and for all. We could not stand aside and let history forget the Kosovo Albanians. And we could not turn our backs on the danger of conflict spreading, igniting ethnic tensions and threatening stability in the region.
Today, many nations in Europe’s east are trying to realize the very vision of multi-ethnic democracy that Mr. Milosevic is trying to kill. Under communist rule, such nations projected a picture of stability, but it was a false stability imposed by rulers whose answer to ethnic tensions was to suppress and deny them. When communist repression lifted, the tensions rose to the surface, to be resolved by cooperation or exploited by demagoguery. We are in Kosovo because Europe’s worst demagogue has once again moved from angry words to unspeakable violence.
Day by day, the air campaign waged by our allied forces is grinding down Mr. Milosevic’s war machine. We have weakened his air defenses, command and control, and capacity to produce fuel and ammunition. We are striking at his tanks, artillery and aircraft. Now we are taking our campaign to the next level, with more aircraft in the region and HMS Invincible joining American and French carriers in the area.
Meanwhile, our allied humanitarian effort is providing food and shelter for the refugees, restoring their strength and hope in preparation for the day when they can return to their land in peace. And we are seeking the means to aid those Kosovars trapped within their own country by Serbian forces.
They are hungry, living outside, afraid to return to their villages. Mr. Milosevic apparently wants to use them as hostages and human shields. As Prime Minister Blair has said, Mr. Milosevic is responsible for the welfare of those people — and we will hold him responsible.
Our alliance wants to end the crisis, to end the suffering of the Kosovars, to end the trials of a Serbian people forced into struggle by a cynical leader who has no regard for their welfare, who conceals from them the truth about what he is doing in Kosovo. Mr. Milosevic can end the crisis today — by withdrawing his forces from Kosovo, permitting an international security force and allowing the unconditional return of all of the displaced, with the security and self-government to which they are entitled.
But if he will not do that, our campaign will continue, shifting the balance of power against him until we succeed. Our timetable will be determined by our goals, not the other way around. Ultimately, Mr. Milosevic must either cut his mounting losses or lose his ability to maintain his grip on Kosovo.
As we persist, we will also plan for the future. I continue to believe that the best answer for Kosovo is autonomy, not independence. Kosovo lacks the resources and infrastructure to thrive on its own. Instead, its independence could actually spur more instability.
Moreover, I do not believe the solution to hatred in the Balkans is even greater Balkanisation. Once we start redrawing maps, the disputes and displacement of people would be hard to stop. The best solution is not the endless shifting of Europe’s borders along ethnic lines, but greater integration among European states that work together to make a virtue, not a blood feud, out of diversity.
Realistically, the realization of this vision will require a democratic transition in Serbia itself, for the region cannot be secure with a belligerent tyrant in its midst.
Kosovo’s tragedy should and must spur the efforts of NATO nations, ongoing for some time, to support deeper democracy, ethnic and religious tolerance and integration among nations of southeastern Europe. These nations are now under strain from Kosovo’s conflict, from the flood of refugees and turmoil in the region.
We must work together with the European Union, the OSCE and other political and economic institutions to assist them in this crisis and, for the long term, to accelerate their political and economic reforms and support multi-ethnic societies that can build better lives.
We must engage Russia in this process whenever possible, for even if we cannot agree now on the crisis in Kosovo, we have common goals and aspirations. Our alliance’s goal for southeastern Europe is the same as we had for western Europe after the second world war and for central Europe after the cold war — integration into a true community of nations, committed to freedom and human rights, living together in peace as part of a Europe whole and free.
This week, the leaders of more than 40 countries will gather in Washington for NATO’s 50th anniversary summit. Our alliance has never been more united. Our partnerships with other European nations have never been stronger. Kosovo has demonstrated beyond doubt the continued importance of our alliance and the need to keep adapting it to new challenges — to strengthen the capabilities and responsibilities of our European allies within the alliance; to enhance our capacity to address regional conflicts near our borders; to protect our citizens against weapons of mass destruction; to strengthen partnerships across the continent; and to help aspiring members, including those in southeastern Europe, enter through NATO’s open door.
In our own countries, we work hard to build respect for religious, ethnic and cultural differences and to find strength in our diversity. We must now bring that strength to bear against forces of organized ethnic hatred who are committing atrocities in NATO’s own neighborhood.
If we want the 21st century to be different for our children, we must not end this century with a victory of tyranny over democracy, hatred over tolerance, bloodshed over community. We must do what is necessary to turn back the forces of racial violence and build a peaceful future.
So, let us think this through, shall we? There was no intention to make Kosovo independent. There was no intention of keeping a “tyrant” (Clinton’s words, not mine) in control of Kosovo, and there is a stated desire to make a “democratic transition” in Serbia. Funny, most tyrants with genocide on their minds tend to not allow that silly little “democratic process” thingie get in the way of their ambitions (see “Hitler” for more information on that subject).
Sounds a lot like “regime change” to me. So, you can say buh-bye to the whole “the air campaign was only to drive out the Serbians” logic, as Bill Clinton himself says otherwise. Thus, we can say Bush was indeed correct: the whole point of the Bosnian air war was to drive Milosevic from power; pure and simple.
As for the author, here’s the byline of the article in question:
Michael O’Hanlon is senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author, with Ivo Daalder, of “Winning Ugly: NATO’s War to Save Kosovo.”
The Brookings Institution is a left-wing “think tank” (an oxymoron as left-wingers and liberals don’t think), and a anti-Bush consortium. So, once more, we have a liberal sucking up to Bill Clinton for bombing the crap out of Serbians, and condemning Bush for freeing millions of Iraqis from the oppression of a murderous dictator.
I guess ending genocide is more chic when a Democrat is in the White House. Go figure.