by Justin Raimondo
THIS IS IT
After weeks of pounding by Tony Blair, John McCain, the Albanian lobby, Susan Sontag, and the sandals-and-beads crowd, Bill Clinton has experienced what the London Times describes as a "dramatic conversion." The die is cast, the troops are committed, and the ground war is barely three weeks away. The Times reports that "President Clinton is now ready to consider full-scale land war against Serb forces in Kosovo, sending up to 90,000 combat troops from America, if no peace settlement emerges within the next three weeks." That the White House and its NATO allies are planning for a full-scale invasion of Yugoslavia is indicated by talk in Washington and London that the "official" (i.e. fictitious) figure of 50,000-60,000 "peacekeeping' troops must be tripled as the alliance prepares for D-Day. About 90,000 of those troops will be Americans. The war-happy Brits will pitch in to the tune of around 19,000. While denying it all the way, and playing the role of the reluctant warrior to the last, President Clinton is about to unleash an all-out ground and air assault on Yugoslavia.
THE CALL OF GREATNESS
Partially fulfilling the terms of the War Powers Act, Clinton today gave official notice in a letter to Congress that the troops are on the way: In response to a request by the sinister Gen. Wesley Clark, he avers, "I have directed deployment of additional aircraft and forces to support NATO's ongoing efforts, including several thousand additional US Armed Forces personnel to Albania in support of the deep strike task force located there." We are all put on notice: without a vote of the people or their representatives, and in defiance of both, this President is taking us down a path that can only end in Belgrade and then it will just be beginning. As Clinton puts it, "As I mentioned in my April 7 letter, it is not possible to predict how long these operations will last." You don't have to be Nostradamus to see that they will last for generations, that there will be no end to it until we have exhausted ourselves with world-saving and empire-building. The military occupation of Yugoslavia, a decades-long struggle against Serbian guerrillas, and the destabilization of the entire region: this is what we have to look forward to and for what? A Greater Albania? A Greater NATO? A Greater Clinton is more like it.
GOP TO WJC: NO WAR, NO WAY
The White House has indulged in a veritable frenzy of letter-writing of late, including one addressed to House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. This peevish missive complains bitterly that the recent vote of the House Armed Services Committee prohibiting the expenditure of FY 2000 funds for the Kosovo operation. "is simply unacceptable." He is threatening to veto the entire Department of Defense Authorization bill, which would effectively shut down the US military. Last time the Republicans shut down the government, they took a lot of heat for it but in fact they were doing what the radical antiwar movement of the sixties tried in vain to do, which was to shut down the Leviathan State. Now they are threatening to bring down the Pentagon. Who knows, they may succeed in smashing the New World Order war machine even before Y2K sets in. Gee, it looks like the House Republicans have come up with a really good way to end this war now, don't you wish you had thought of that?
ALL IS PERMITTED
Notice how there is no more talk of only allowing NATO "peacekeepers" to enter Kosovo in a "permissive" environment, i.e., a Kosovo no longer occupied by Serbian troops. This soon gave way to talk of a "semi-permissive" environment being okay, as long as we didn't suffer too many casualties. Now the war hysteria is sufficiently ratcheted up or so the NATO-crats apparently believe and it is possible for them to dispense with the "permissive" routine, and strike out into the realm of the impermissible.
THOSE LOVABLE BRITS
Brit warlord George Robertson said today that the troops that are now pouring into the war zone will likely face a "hostile environment." The British are so understated, don't you think? Who else but a British cabinet minister would describe a bloody fight for every mountain, every forest, every Greek Orthodox holy place in Kosovo in such coldly euphemistic terms?
PUT UP OR SHUT UP
The eager beaver Brits, who have been howling the loudest for Serb blood, are not prepared, however, to announce how many men in arms they are willing to commit. "Britain will be making a major contribution to this stronger force," Robertson added, but declined to give any details, reserving that to a future report to Parliament. Those Brits are a crafty bunch: Every world war they lured us into two and counting was fought and won with American blood and treasure. Funny how that works, isn't it?
The apologies, the explanations, the toneless "regrets" expressed each time the NATO-crats make another "mistake" and hit a civilian target: the look on Jamie Shea's face as he dutifully repeated the formulaic ritual merely confirmed what everyone knew to begin with that the US is engaged in a systematic attempt to break the morale of the Yugoslav civilian population. Now the US military is openly admitting it. In an interview with the Washington Post last weekend, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, the man in charge of the air campaign, declaimed that "if you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your stove and the bridge you take to work is down and will be lying in the Danube for the next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, 'Hey, Slobo, what's this all about? How much more of this do we have to withstand?' and at some point, you make the transition from applauding Serb machismo against the world to thinking what your country is going to look like if this continues." While the President intones that the Serbian people are not our enemies, and that Milosevic, the latest incarnation of Hitler, is the real problem, his generals are openly proclaiming that they are deliberately targeting Serbian civilians
A MOMENT OF TRUTH
For debunking the myth of accidental "collateral damage," Antiwar.com hereby nominates the bloody-minded Lt. Gen. Short for the Moment of Truth award for this week, anyway. The award is given to those who blurt out an inconvenient truth at a most inopportune moment; who, through a slip of the tongue or some other indiscretion, reveals the inner rot at the center of the American Leviathan, the moral decay of a republic-turned-empire. Since truth is nearly always inconvenient during wartime, this prize is likely to be won by many. To send in your nominations, click here.
THE WAR FOR PUBLIC OPINION
A new Gallup poll shows that Americans are rapidly and decisively turning against this war: support has fallen to just 49 percent, with 47 percent opposed, a statistical dead heat. A few weeks ago it was a ten-point spread, with supporters in the majority. The President's popularity is plummeting even more precipitously: after two months of war, his approval rating is 53 percent, down from 73 percent at the height of the impeachment proceedings. A few more months of this and the Republicans should be able to reintroduce the motion to impeach, with new charges of course and support from more than a few Democrats.
PORTRAIT OF THE WAR PARTY: THE DEFECTORS
Matt Drudge is reporting that "at least" 17 Democratic members of Congress who voted to give war a chance now say that the war has had its chance: "Now is the time for the U.S. to open the door to a peace settlement." Like rats deserting a sinking ship, the Democratic defectors will become more numerous and vocal as the ship of state begins to capsize and shows signs of actually sinking. What a sight it will be to watch them leaping into the water and trying with all their might to make it to dry ground. If there is any justice in the world, however and perhaps there is still some left they will all go down into political oblivion. If the GOP has any smarts left a subject about which there is considerable debate these drowned rats will be replaced by antiwar Republicans riding into office on a wave of popular fury at Clinton's Balkan folly.
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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 US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and 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).