by Justin Raimondo
Bill Clinton's practically unbeatable political strategy in prosecuting this war might be called passive-aggressive. By engaging in a policy of incremental escalation, tying the hands of the military and subordinating the will of his generals to the whims of flighty Europeans, he hopes to provoke the GOP into demanding all-out measures to "win" thus making his own reckless adventurism look moderate and reasonable. John McCain has fulfilled the President's fondest hopes, but, aside from the usual suspects, such as Senator Richard Lugar, not many are falling for the bait. Today's congressional debate is likely to be framed by Rep. Tom Campbell's twin resolutions, calling for either a declaration of war or a withdrawal of our forces. But in the end, neither is remotely likely to pass the House. What will pass, hopefully, is a bill by Rep. William Goodling, a Republican, that would require the President to come before Congress before committing more ground troops. Of course, this President and every President since Truman has taken the position that the consent of Congress is not required, and that the foreign policy of the United States is the chief executive's imperial prerogative, like the divine right of kings or the droit de seigneur. GOP Majority Whip Dick Armey says that if Clinton does not accept the "invitation" to come back to Congress before committing more ground troops, then lawmakers would "probably cut off funds." This, and not the largely ritualistic debate over Campbell's resolutions, will be the really decisive vote in Congress on this issue. In the meantime, now is the time to contact your representatives in Congress, in both the House and the Senate, and let them know your views on this matter. You can send an email to your reps by clicking here, but a snail-mail letter has special cachet, and it is well-worth the effort. If you are out to impress a politician that you mean business, nothing beats a flurry of letters with postmarks that show they originated in his district or home state. We must stiffen Dick Armey's spine, and hold him to his promise: when Clinton ignores Congress and starts the war on the ground, Congress must vote to cut off all funding, and demand a negotiated settlement.
IS A SETTLEMENT IN THE WORKS?
The sudden appearance of Vuk Draskovic as a new and volatile factor in all this was probably inevitable, given his novelists' flair for the dramatic. Yet State Department officials and NATO analysts who have seized on his rhetorical flights of fancy as signs of a serious split in the Yugoslav leadership are missing the point. Rather than a sign of weakness, either political or military, the effort by Drascovic to broker a deal through the Russians and the United Nations is an indication of the fact that the Yugoslavs are negotiating from a position of strength. In spite of the show of solidarity put on in Washington the other day, the NATO allies are badly split over this war, with Germany, Greece, and Italy particularly eager to settle, and Tony Blair isolated as the militant advocate of a war to the death. The seriously destabilizing effects of the war on the entire region are too apparent to be denied. If Montenegro and Macedonia are sliding into chaos, can Bosnia can be far behind? The German plan, a pause in the bombing following the withdrawal of a substantial number of Serbian forces from Kosovo, was once rejected outright by the United States, Britain, and France, but is now back on the table. The sticking point is who will act first: the Russians are backing up Belgrade in insisting that the bombing must be halted before there is any withdrawal of Serbian forces. There is an implicit concession by the Allies, however, in the numerous hints that the composition and organizational allegiance of the peacekeeping forces is negotiable. Although the window to a possible settlement is rapidly closing, it is not yet disappeared and the next few days will see this aspect of the story play itself out. While the prospects for peace had no sooner appeared to brighten in the morning, then they darkened considerably as the evening progressed: "As if sensing weakness in its opponent, NATO last night vowed an even more ferocious aerial campaign," said the London Independent, and this bloody promise was kept, with a number of purely civilian targets being hit tonight. Scores are dead. This is NATO's answer to the Serbian peace overtures calculated cruelty and gleeful speculation that the Serbians will soon come crawling before their conquerors.
JESSE IN BELGRADE
The inevitability of Jesse Jackson's trip to Belgrade could be written off as the reflexive response of an inveterate publicity-hound, but no one should mistake his mission as being one of peace. With several religious leaders in tow, the effect of Jackson's latest stunt will be to refocus attention on the three American soldiers captured on Serbian soil: "We'll make a moral appeal, a humanitarian appeal, for their release." Has Jackson made a similar "humanitarian" appeal to the U.S. government for the release of the half-dozen or so Yugoslav soldiers who have been kidnapped in their own country by KLA thugs and delivered into the hands of NATO? Jesse's role as the Great Peacemaker in this context is highly doubtful: who can forget him berating Ollie North on MSNBC's Equal Time for "not supporting our troops"? Jackson claims to represent a "third force" that "can provide an honorable way back to the negotiating table with dignity," but last week he was on American television calling for the administration to put ground troops "on the table." Jackson had better get his tables straight, or at least come up with a consistent story. The naive and, by this time, somewhat desperate Yugos are glad he is coming, however, and will let him and his delegation meet with the American captives. "My government is convinced that the visit and the talks that you will have in Yugoslavia will be mutually useful," said Vladislav Jovanovich, the quietly dignified Serbian charge d'affaires of the Yugoslav mission to the United Nations. Useful to Jackson, no doubt; and perhaps useful to Washington, for propaganda purposes, but the only use Jackson is likely to be to the Serbs is if he comes face-to-face with a cruise missile aimed, of course, at yet another "military" target. While the Serbs have granted him safe passage through the war zone, the Americans refuse to make any such guarantee. If Jackson is the first American casualty, blown to bits by his own government, it would be a bizarre and more than slightly ironical end to a grotesquely surreal and morally indefensible war. Surely the Reverend Jackson, being such a great humanitarian and all, wouldn't mind making this little sacrifice.
Truth is the first casualty of wartime, and this war has truly brought out the veracity of this old aphorism. The multi-leveled and years-long propaganda campaign leading up to the systematic destruction of Yugoslavia has few equals in modern times. As we pointed out here yesterday and the day before, even the gay press is getting into the act, with a recent spate of stories emanating from an interview by gay activist John Aravosis with a Serbian gay man, Dusan Maljkovic, who alleges that the Yugo government media is labeling "Western leaders" gay in an attempt to "demonize" gays in general. A San Francisco gay newspaper, the Bay Area Reporter, quoted from the interview without crediting Aravosis, however, and attributing the story to a reporter for the Melbourne Times-Observer, an Australian gay newspaper. The story, entitled "Serbs Demonize Gays," makes it seem as if the quoted Yugo gay activist is for the bombing and supports NATO. But in the original interview, it turns out that Maljkovic opposes the bombing, and that the excerpts published in the Bay Area Reporter are taken completely out of context. The very first sentence of Aravosis' piece, as published on Advocate.com [April 12, 1999], unambiguously declares that Maljkovic "thinks NATO's attack on his country is 'madness.'" Aravosis continues: " The first time we chatted, we couldn't have disagreed more. . . . He would accuse us of attacking civilians and I would remind him of the 2 million Kosovars under siege." None of this is mentioned in the Bay Area Reporter. Of course, what kind of journalistic integrity can one expect from a newspaper that runs sex ads in its back pages advertising and advocating every unsafe activity known to man, and editorials in the front section demanding more money for AIDS research. People who show such little concern for their readers and fellow gays, and are even willing to profit from such reckless behavior, can hardly be expected to be concerned about the fate of Maljkovic: the Bay Area Reporter posted its story on the Internet, thus endangering Maljkovic by making it appear as if he is supporting the enemies of his country and openly engaging in sedition.
The attempt to provoke and justify the attack on Serb TV as the virtual embodiment of "hate thought" and thus worthy of utter destruction was exemplified in a recent article in the New Republic. Along with such obvious hate crimes as patriotic music videos and insisting that the word "criminal" always precede the word "NATO," the article showed how the Serbs really crossed the line when they started to "discredit and belittle the enemy." Condemning Milosevic as a war criminal is, of course, not in the least attempting to discredit him, nor is the implied threat of hanging him from the highest available tree meant to belittle him or any Serbian. But what is really proof that Serb TV is an instrument of "hate" such as Rush Limbaugh and the talk radio crowd can only dream of is when they started down the path tread by Ken Starr exposing the private lives of their enemies. (Of course, this is something the White House would never even think of doing). Bill Clinton was called "a sax player and a killer" by the Serbian media -- a description that the White House has perhaps mistaken for a musical critique. The bloodthirsty Tony Blair has been reportedly called "the little man with complexes" surely a much milder rebuke than he deserves. Now we get to a real breach of political correctness on the part of the Serbs, for which many in the West will want to make sure they pay dearly: "As a group, they were referred to as 'the sexually frustrated Clinton, his lesbian wife, Hillary, who is best friends with the wife of Tony Blair, the head of a homosexual government where the only non-queer is the well-known alcoholic Robin Cook." Was this sort of thing the real reason for the vicious assault on Serb media outlets, that resulted in 9 civilian deaths, including a make-up woman and a night watchman?
RUMORS OF WAR
As for the accuracy of these comments: who can deny that the number and visibility of homosexuals in Tony Blair's government is extremely high when they keep outing each other (and themselves) with monotonous regularity? The rumors about Hillary Clinton are nothing new, but are accepted as fact not only by Clinton-haters but by a number of gays whose "gay radar" goes on red alert whenever she strides into the limelight. And, yes, poor old Robin Cook, he does seem to have a bit of a problem I mean, look at the bags under those eyes, and that puffy face. We know a hangover when we see it.
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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).