'AMERICAN' IS THIS CENTURY?
the American Century as the era of "Roosevelt [Franklin
Delano], Eisenhower, [Gen. George C.] Marshall," the
Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King, Dr. Jonas Salk, and Eleanor
Roosevelt deftly touching virtually all his ethno-gender-interest
group bases the President offers "a few reflections
of what these 100 years mean for you and for the United States."
While ritually genuflecting in the direction of science, and
hailing Dr. Salk, our President insists that war, and not
science or commerce, is the defining achievement of American
civilization: "But if you ask who has been most
responsible for making this the American century, one answer
would be at the top of anyone's list after two World Wars
and a long Cold War. That answer would be America's servicemen
and women." No one doubts the bravery and nobility of
those who have served their country honorably in war, conscripts
and volunteers alike. But to elevate the armed forces to such
a central place in our hierarchy of national values is dangerous
and profoundly un-American: is the soldier really the one
"most responsible for making this the American
century," more so than the scientist, the entrepreneur,
the great thinkers and inventors? The Founders would have
been horrified by such an alien idea: they who (rightly) feared
the dangers of a standing army. Like Sparta, or imperial Athens,
post-republican America exalts the military virtues above
all else, mythologizes the fallen, and worships at the altar
of the war god, whose temple is the Clinton White House. It
is, in a way, overcompensation on the part of a President
whose relations with the military have been rocky, to say
the least. But Clinton really means it especially when
he lies, as in the following:
as we celebrate your centennial anniversary, we must never
forget that tens, even hundreds of millions of people, in
the United States and all around the world sleep in peace
because hundreds of thousands of Americans rest in peace in
graves marked and unmarked, all across the world fallen
veterans of foreign wars."
Mary McCarthy once said of Lillian Hellman, every word he
utters is a lie, "including 'that,' 'this,' and 'the.'"
The world's millions have never slept so fitfully, and certainly
all those untold millions who died to "make the world
safe for democracy" must be rolling over in their graves.
Far from ushering in an era of peace, their sacrifices have
resulted in a world in which the threat of war has never been
greater. From the Balkans to Central Asia to the Straits of
Taiwan, the flashpoints of global conflict have multiplied
since the supposed "end" of the Cold War. In South
America. Africa, and the Indian subcontinent, the explosive
mix of ethnic, religious, and class warfare could erupt at
a moment's notice. If this is what it means to rest in peace
in Clinton-ese then peace, like war, is hell.
is almost unbelievable what whoppers Clinton can utter with
a completely straight face. Whether he is getting pointers
in the Method from his Hollywood friends, or else is just
a natural actor, is not yet known. What is known, however,
is that he uttered the following without twitching or even
biting his lip:
will begin a new century with a truly historic achievement,
for in the last few years, for the first time in all of human
history, more than half the world's people live under free
governments freely elected."
world is Bill Clinton living in? No doubt he includes Bosnia
and perhaps even Kosovo in this paradisiacal "more than
half" the world. Even allowing that such sham "democracies"
as Turkey (run by a military dictatorship), Mexico (run by
drug lords), and Weimar Russia (run by gangsters), are "free
governments freely elected" a very generous
concession it is clear that our President is geographically
and perhaps even mathematically challenged. The population
of China and Southeast Asia, combined with that of Africa's
teeming millions, the Arab world, and the totalitarian Central
Asian "republics," far surpasses that of the ostensibly
"free" world. Clinton's dictum of democracy triumphant
is sheer bunk.
a "free" government one that is elected? The people,
being free, can vote for tyranny. Hitler and Mussolini competed
in electoral politics and won. Slobodan Milosevic was
elected chief executive of Serbia and then of Yugoslavia in
elections as free as any held in, say, Turkey; our NATO ally,
or Egypt, the biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid second
only to Israel, These bastions of the "free" world
ban opposition parties, ruthlessly censor the media, and routinely
jail government critics. The "democratic" utopia
of the Clintonians is a combination of Bosnia, where the occupation
government is setting up formal mechanisms to control the
media, and a 21st century college campus, where the academic
Thought Police troll the halls hunting for evidence of "hate
speech." This, to the Clintonians, is heaven on earth:
but even Clinton admits there's trouble in paradise:
you and I know this is not a world free from danger. There
is the potential for major wars, rooted in ethnic and religious
hatred. There is the chance that former adversaries will not
succeed in their transition to democracy, and could become
adversaries again. There is the risk that nuclear, chemical
and biological weapons will fall into the wrong hands. There
is the risk of terrorist groups with increasing access to
money, to technology, to sophisticated weaponry. There is
the possibility that global financial vulnerabilities could
overwhelm free societies."
litany of dangers he attributes to all sorts of miscellaneous
enemies: nameless "terrorists," unknowable economic
processes, and science fictional plagues unleashed by demonic
conspiracies. That's the trouble with the post-Cold War world:
the enemy (or, more formally, the Enemy) is everywhere and
nowhere to be seen. It is all very murky, there are no clean-cut
cases of good versus evil, only rival tribalisms locked in
conflict. Yet if we look at all of the above-mentioned dangers,
each one is perpetrated on a far vaster scale by the US
government than any private terrorist organization. For
that is the one agency that has access to all of the listed
resources and in great abundance: money, technology, sophisticated
weaponry, not to mention nuclear, chemical and biological
weapons. We need not worry that these "will fall into
the wrong hands." They already have fallen into
the wrong hands, i.e., Clinton's. The problem is how to wrest
them from his grip.
as the "peace" in Kosovo unravels into a full scale
war between NATO and its ugly spawn, the Kosovo "Liberation"
Army, Clinton dares to intone that "America must still
be engaged in the world, working with others to advance peace
and prosperity, freedom and security, and America must remain
strong. That is what our most recent conflict in Kosovo was
all about. I want to thank you profoundly for the support
the VFW gave us
during the conflict there. I know it wasn't easy for you to
do. We were still in the early stages of the longest and most
difficult military campaign in the 50-year history of NATO.
Critics were convinced from the beginning that we could not
succeed. But you stood with us and, more importantly, you
stood with our men and women in uniform. NATO and the United
States prevailed." The complete dishonesty of this statement
is breathtaking in its defiance of the facts: if anyone is
more hated in the veterans community than his friend Jane
Fonda, it is probably the President of the United States.
The military never backed the Kosovo adventure, not the Pentagon,
and not the grunts, quite apart from their contempt for the
Commander-in-Chief. And certainly not the veterans' groups:
the biggest single group, the American Legion, was openly
and outspokenly opposed to the Kosovo war. The last
time Clinton appeared before a veterans' group, at the height
of the war, he was coldly and just barely politely received.
This time, he could not resist a little chest-beating:
instead, the century ends with a powerful statement by NATO's
19 democracies, reaffirming human life and human dignity,
giving us the chance after two world wars, the Cold War and
the Balkan conflicts, for the first time ever to have an undivided,
democratic and peaceful Europe. It shares our values, strengthens
our economy, helps us meet our common aspirations and [ensures
that we] will not call young Americans to go there to fight
and die in the 21st century."
I GET IT!
Russia, at least the Westernmost regions, not part of Europe?
But that is the least of our problems. If the President really
believes that Americans will not be called on to fight another
war in the Balkans, "in the 21st century," even as it erupts
in "liberated" Kosovo and flares up in neighboring
Macedonia, then we have to remember that here is a man who
parses every word, every syllable. Taken literally, he can
only mean the second Balkan war will not wait for the dawn
of the 21st century. Now, doesn't that sound much more plausible?
is the biggest lie, perhaps, in a few lines casually dropped
into the middle of Clinton's speech:
times our pilots risked their lives because they would not
fire back at the Serb gunners who were positioned in heavily
populated areas, and they didn't want to kill innocent civilians."
does not merely lie: he inverts the truth. NATO's high-flying
bombers could not differentiate between civilian and military
targets, and low-flying missions were forbidden because of
the political costs of American casualties. The ordnance dropped
by American warplanes did not consist of "smart bombs,"
with their alleged precision, but profoundly dumb bombs
that were dropped en masse over Serbian cities and throughout
Kosovo. The US/NATO bombardment did little but slaughter innocent
civilians, as the great majority of military targets hit turned
out to be decoys, fake "tanks" and antiaircraft
artillery made of painted wood and scrap metal.
need more weapons, and more recruits, to fuel the gigantic
war machine that is now a basic part of our economy: Clinton
makes pitches for both, and then he gets to the point:
course, international engagement costs money. But the costliest
peace is far cheaper than the cheapest war. Ever since I became
President, I've been trying hard to convince Congress of that
basic truth. It has been a considerable challenge. Our international
affairs programs which fund everything from resolving
conflicts to strengthening young democracies, to combating
terrorism, to fighting dangerous drugs, to promoting our exports,
to maintaining our embassies all around the world amount
to less than one percent of the federal budget, and less than
one-fifteenth of our defense budget. But I regret to say that
since 1985, these programs have been cut significantly. This
year, the House and Senate have passed spending bills that
would cut our request for international affairs by more than
$2 billion. In other words, we're cutting the very programs
designed to keep our soldiers out of war in the first place."
business of "the costliest peace is far cheaper than
the cheapest war" is really far too facile to taken seriously.
If that were true, then even in a defensive war, in which
the territory of the US was under attack from foreign invaders,
it would be better to pay them off with concessions than to
fight to preserve our sovereignty. Whatever happened to "millions
for defense, but not one cent for tribute"? I'll tell
you what happened to it: the foreign aid program of the United
States government, in which we pay tribute to our noble "allies"
so they won't start a war and so they'll buy our products.
As explained by our President, foreign aid is the price we
pay for peace, and, remember, "the costliest peace is far
cheaper than the cheapest war." If that is true, then
we must be willing to pay off every corrupt Third World hellhole
that threatens the peace. Or, as the President puts it:
our arsenal of peace is as risky as underfunding our arsenal
for war. For if we continue to underfund diplomacy, we will
end up overusing our military. Problems we might have been
able to resolve peacefully will turn into crises that we can
only resolve at a cost of life and treasure. If this trend
continues, there will be real consequences for important American
other words: pay up, or go to war. This is precisely what
a highwayman announces to his victims: the US is being held
for ransom, not by its alleged enemies but by its allies and
dependencies. It is a curious sort of empire, unprecedented
in all of human history, in which the conqueror is exploited,
and, as Garet Garrett trenchantly observed, "everything
goes out and nothing comes in."
ACT OF GOD
rest of this appalling speech was devoted to a plea for more
aid to Kosovo and the American presence in the Balkans. Was
it an act of God, or an accident of timing, that the news
of the billion-dollar rip-off of US aid to Bosnia was
exposed in the New York Times the very next day?
billion dollars, stolen from the American taxpayers, stolen
by Bosnian "banks" that "loaned" the money
to friends and relatives, and by the Muslim political party
that used it to fund its election campaigns and political
police. But we must give them more:
COSTS OF PEACE
we don't, and the effort fails, make no mistake there
will be another bloody war that starts in the Balkans, and
spreads throughout southeastern Europe. And some day, more
young Americans may be asked to risk their lives at far greater
cost than our part of the rebuilding of the region. If we
are to succeed in winning the peace, we may see a 21st century
I'll say again in which we do not have to send
the young people of America to fight in another European war.
That is a worthy objective.
how will throwing another billion down the Bosnian
rathole buy peace in the Balkans? This whole speech reads
like a ransom note: pay up or face the dire consequences.
What kind of a "peace" is it that mandates the payment
of perpetual tribute to the Bosnias and Kosovos of this world?
Russian scientists are running loose, the Russian military
is selling off its nuclear stockpile, uranium is spilling
out of the Soviet Union faster than it poured out of the reactor
at Chernobyl, and Clinton is presenting us with the bill in
the form of the foreign aid bill, now lumbering its way through
Congress and due to come up again some time in September.
Congress seems determined to make minuscule "cuts"
in reality, which means everywhere but Washington,
D.C., a slowdown in the planned expansion of foreign
aid spending but even a minor setback is enough to
make the foreign aid lobby scream bloody murder.
benefits from foreign aid programs? The biggest single beneficiary
among recipient countries is the state of Israel, but this
is not enough to explain the persistence of a program generally
disdained by voters. Some major beneficiaries in this country
are US exporters, who soak up the foreign aid tax dollars
shoveled out to foreign governments. How much of that $1 billion
went directly into the pockets of US companies with government
contracts, and how much went into the bank accounts of Bosnian
government officials is not the point. There is not much ideological
support for interventionism, except among a few self-deluded
intellectuals; the core of the interventionist lobby is motivated
by economic self-interest rather than ideology. Thus the curious
phraseology of Clintonian rhetoric, which hailed our great
"victory" in the Balkans and the imminent arrival
of peace in the region as "good for the American economy."
But it is hard to see whose economy directly benefits,
other than that of various and sundry Bosnian officials and
their concubines. The arms manufacturers, the foreign lobbyists,
and the suppliers of high-tech communications and other infrastructure
required for the rebuilding of the Balkans: these are the
only winners. The losers are not only the American taxpayers,
who are literally being held for ransom, but also the people
of the region we are supposed to be lifting out of poverty
and hopelessness. For the vast infusion of money into the
most criminal and irresponsible sectors of their society distorts
and destroys the social fabric as well as the economy. In
so "aiding" them, we are doing them no favors.