Self-Serbin' Clinton

Former President Clinton in an interview with Dan Rather considers his "efforts to help the residents of Kosovo and rid the world of a dictator", among his best as President. Clinton says, “The day that Kosovar war ended and I knew Milosevic's days were numbered was a great day. I had a lot of great days,".

Anyone from our American Library Association wish to second President Clinton’s sentiments here while concurrently condemning President Bush’s similar efforts to rid the world of a dictator?


As I watched all the Reagan tributes last week, a clips of speeches, I was again reminded that Clinton was actually a better speaker than Reagan. So if I were a Kerry supporter, I'd be a bit unhappy that he is launching his book tour, deflecting attention to himself and his presidential hopeful wife. He didn't help Gore, and it looks like he'll do the same with Kerry. Clinton can make both Kerry and Bush look wooden and lack luster.

I'm not sure what you mean by not "letting go of the politics here."What I don't plan to let go of is my criticism of our SELECTIVE use of human rights rationales. We use them when they help us and ignore them when they do not. Our double standards are what make me, yes, furious. If we consistently came to the aid of oppressed peoples (and maintained the needed force to do so) WHILE they were suffering the most, I'd have no problems.Take Iraq for instance. Most of the 300,000 or so killed were killed in 1980s, particularly the Kurds and Iranians by chemical weapons. Our government knew as early as 1983 that Saddam was using gas on both the iranians and on Kurds. Our response was to block UN condemnation of Iraq for chemicals weapons use in Spring 1984. We also made no move to lessen support for Iraq then or after 1988, when tens of thousands of Kurds were gassed. Only Saddam's brazen invasion of Kuwait FINALLY got us to change our policy. He could have kept killing his own people till doomsday and I doubt we would have lifted a finger.Other examples of our tolerance or outright support for butchery and repression can be found in Afghanistan under the Taliban (where we paid them to stop growing opium) and Turkmenistan, where the President for life suppresses all dissent, disappears his enemies and is busy naming the calendar after himself and his mother. Turkmenistan is considered a valuable ally in the war on terror and we're building new bases there.Is it so evil to wish our country to consistently work against mass murderers? Is it too much to ask that action on human rights be channelled into stopping current geocides like the one in Sudan, then using old mass murders as simply being one excuse among many others?

Daniel I'm sorry you won't let go of the politics here. I have. I'm also sorry you consider my remarks berating. I'm simply being candid here.

As for Somalia, Uganda and the Congo. I agree with you. And do support "regime change" in all three. (Preferably through covert channels though I believe this type of business, effective as it was, is now illegal.)

That said, your reasoning here sounds a bit spiteful. Yes it is a nasty world. And yes there are other monsters to kill. But why is it so hard for some to simply thank God that many Iraqi's of this generation will simply survive? That's all.

Oh well.

Tomeboy,You might wait to hear Blake's explanation of "Apples and Oranges" before you suggest that he "demeans human life." As I said up front, my posting is my own words and not Blake's.You write:"I can’t speak for you, or Blake for that matter, regarding your own personal rationale for genocidal intervention. But I will say this. Criteria concerning “cash� and “expenses�, for me, demean the value of innocent human life. As for the "tidiness" of air campaigns, I suppose this is all relative to where one may be standing (or ducking for that matter)."If slaughter was the only, or even leading issue, the President would have never taken us to war. As circumstantial evidence I offer these broken and bleading trouble spots:Democratic Republic of Congo - 3 million dead over past several decades.Sudan - 2 million dead over 20 years.Somalia - 1 million dead since 1991. Clinton fled country after 17 gruesome American deaths.Uganda - Unknown number of dead, but rebel group "Lord's Resistance Army" is known for "mutilating victims and kidnapping children to become fighters or sex slaves".All body counts taken from the BBC program web site for: This World: One Day of War ne_day_of_war/default.stmSomalia, Sudan, and the Congo have body counts that make Saddam's work look like chump change. The evildoers in Uganda have made a devil of the lawgiving God. With the exception of Somalia, not ONE of them has caused so much as whisper in favor invading that country and stopping the killing from either party in this country. With Somalia, we sent so few people with such a riduculously limited mission, that it was bound to fail.If you want to continue to berate me for opposing the Iraq war because I don't think we needed to bleed our army and treasury dry to deal with a non-threat, fine. But don't make an idol of either President Bush OR President Clinton, because both of them have failed the sickest, sadest part of the world.Aside from the increasingly obvious fact that our military is dangerously overstretched, do you favor sending American forces back to Somalia to put the warlords out of business for good, into Uganda to rescue the children being sexually abused in the name of God, and into Congo and Sudan to put an end to the killing?If not, why not? Are some lives more valuable than others?

Daniel, one expense you forgot to factor here with your list. The 290,000 Iraqi civilians murdered (Human Rights Watch) in the last two decades by Saddam Hussein. Milsosevic is on trial for slaughtering 170,000 (Center for Human Rights).

I can’t speak for you, or Blake for that matter, regarding your own personal rationale for genocidal intervention. But I will say this. Criteria concerning “cash� and “expenses�, for me, demean the value of innocent human life. As for the "tidiness" of air campaigns, I suppose this is all relative to where one may be standing (or ducking for that matter).

From this U.S. taxpayer’s perspective, Clinton and Bush both did mankind a favor. Politics be damned.

One other little point: we bankrolled the Ba'athist Party from 1963 (during the regime of Smilin' Jack Kennedy) until the invasion of Kuwait (when Donald Rumsfeld's old buddy Saddam got a little too greedy). Just a little reminder.

I won't put words into Blake's mouth, but here's my take:Serbia
  - President was overthrown by his own people, not by US forces.
  - US part of operation was entirely air driven. No use of US ground troops at all.
  - IF MEMORY SERVES - "Regime Change" was not a explictly stated goal, an end to Kossovo ethnic cleansing was.
  - Met stated war goals of ending Serbian cleansing of muslims.
  - No US casulties and very low enemy and civillian casualities.
  - Justification for Serbia never couched in terms of "essential to our national security."
  - Relatively inexpensive in terms of cash.Iraq
  - Presented as grave and growing threat to National Security, if not national survival.
  - Proof of alleged grave threat still not available after a full year of occupation.
  - Continously shifting justifications for war - WMD, al-Qaeda, democracy in middle-east.
  - Open ended commitment of over 100,000 ground troops.
  - Thousands of dead and wounded on all sides, including significant loss of civilian life.
  - Financial cost at $120 Billion and still counting.
  - Apparent failed war aim of securing and destroying pre-war stocks of WMD.
  - Apparent failed war aim of providing significant harm to al-qaeda.
  - Uncertain future of war aim of providing democracy to Iraq and Middle East.That sounds like a good start on the apples and oranges to me.

I'm listening....

You're comparing 2 events that are quite different (though, I suppose, somewhat similar), the motivations, methods, and history are completely different.


Anyone makes Bush look wooden and lack luster.

In my last posting, I realize that I didn't answer your question of:"But why is it so hard for some to simply thank God that many Iraqi's of this generation will simply survive? That's all."Speaking strictly for myself here, my cheering is muted because Iraq wasn't on the current top five of either genocides/mass murders IN PROGRESS or of threats to the United States.As a result of our invasion of Iraq, we're now in less of a position to fight more major threats like al-Qaeda or North Korea. We also won't be able to convince our fellow citizens to march forth and stop the ONGOING mass killings in Africa and elsewhere. Finally, we're still willing to support tyrants from Cairo to the capital of Turkmenistan.

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