by Justin Raimondo
There is a sinister frankness in the President's war manifesto ["A Just and Necessary War," New York Times, 5/23/99], a level of detail not present in his other public utterances on this subject, that allows us to see the mentality of the warlord behind the public mask of righteousness. What shines through the blandly earnest prose is contempt for his readers, and for the truth. For there is not a single sentence which does not encompass a lie. We are talking not about minor untruths but major fabrications involving a complete rewriting of history and even a complete reworking of the English language, so that words like are cut loose from their definitions and are reduced to nothing but rhythms and cadences, like the incomprehensible "experimental" gibberish of some half-drunk fourth-rate "avant garde" poet.
Consider the following: "The brutal methods are familiar now. Spreading hate in the media. Killing moderate leaders. Arming paramilitaries and ordering soldiers to conduct planned campaigns of murder and expulsion. Eradicating the culture, the heritage, the very record of the presence of the victims." Clinton's indictment of the Serbs could easily be applied to the Albanians and with equal justice. "Killing moderate leaders" certainly this applies to the Kosovo "Liberation" Army, which has condemned moderate Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova to death for the "crime" of negotiating with Milosevic. "Arming paramilitaries" what is the KLA but a paramilitary gang of thugs, which has been conducting terrorist activities against Serbs, military and civilians alike, for years? Slobodan Milosevic never wanted a "Greater" Serbia: his goal as always been to hold on to what remains of Serbia after the dissolution of the Yugoslav federation. On the other hand, the KLA has never been shy about proclaiming their goal of a Greater Albania, extending not only into Kosovo but also including parts of Macedonia and Greece. Naturally, the President never mentions any of this, but instead launches straight into another lie.
And what is this "spreading hate in the media"? In Bosnia, the chief NATO-crat has closed down Bosnian Serb TV stations for refusing to run biased Western "newscasts such as CNN. The NATO overlords decreed: No Christiane Amanpour, no license to operate, and sent in soldiers to occupy the facilities. While it seems clear that certain kinds of hate are proscribed, other hatreds are positively encouraged: hatred of Serbs seems to be the latest intellectual fashion craze, at least among the editors of the New York Times and The New Republic, who have applied the hateful thesis of Daniel Goldhagen that all Germans were responsible for the Holocaust because of some inner German evil to the Serbs. Hatred of Slobodan Milosevic is a constant theme of NATO propaganda and it permeates the President's apologia for this war.
THE OMINOUS PARALLELS
There is much irony in this demonization campaign, considering the similarities between the two men. Slobo started out his career as the "comeback kid" of Serbian politics: in alliance with his doctrinaire leftist wife, he revived the moribund Communist movement by adapting it to Serbian nationalism and is known for his opportunism and love of power. The second is that the United States has been in a strategic partnership with Milosevic for years: together they brokered the partition of Bosnia at Dayton, and we stood by while hundreds of thousands turned out in the streets of Belgrade and throughout Yugoslavia calling for his ouster.
What contempt Clinton has for the American people! Does he think that they don't remember events that occurred only a few years ago? Do he and his policymakers really believe that the American people are so fat and happy that they have been drugged into a narcotized trance?
IN DEFENSE OF HATE
I am beginning to hate Clinton in much the same way and for the same reasons I hated Nixon. The present occupant of the White House is possessed of the same calculating quality, the same tendency to clothe the basest motives in the shining raiment of moral idealism. In Clinton, as in Nixon, there is the eerie hollowness that peers out of the eyes, a doglike eagerness for approval, a shameless reckless pursuit of power for its own sake that, in the end, is a kind of madness. It is an imperial madness, the occupational disease of monarchs and modern American Presidents, the craziness of Nero, Caligula, and Heliogalabus. Is it wrong to hate a madman, especially one who can call upon the Marines to enforce his megalomaniac fantasies? Of course not. A common canard of the War Party is that opponents of this war are just "Clinton-haters," right-wing "extremists" who would oppose any war initiated by this President. But what is happening is just the opposite: large numbers of people, many of whom voted for him twice, are now learning to hate Clinton, not because of who and what he is a liar, a rapist, and a disgrace to the office of the Presidency but because of what he is doing to the people of Yugoslavia. And so you see that hate is not always a bad thing: it is right to hate tyrants, thieves, and murderers, and Clinton is all three of these and more. Hate can indeed be a liberating experience, in a political as well as a psychological sense, and as such ought to be celebrated as an expression of inner virtue rather than denounced as a thought crime.
THREE REASONS TO HATE CLINTON
What else can we do but hate a man who writes about the Bosnian intervention that the U.S. and "the international community responded at first with a studied neutrality"? Does he think no one remembers the first time American bombs fell on Belgrade, in 1993? We brokered the establishment of a Muslim state in the heart of Christian Europe intervening in a vicious religious civil war in which our Mideast enemies became our European friends. This is 'neutrality"? How else to respond to a man who can write about "two million displaced" people in Bosnia without mentioning US complicity in that massive displacement, including the U.S.-led ethnic cleansing of 350,000 Bosnian Serbs from the Krajina region? We can only hate someone with the self-infatuated gall to imagine that future generations of Americans will remember him as a hero: "People will look back on Kosovo and say that this time, because we [i.e. Clinton] acted sooner and forcefully enough, more lives were saved and the refugees all came home. The Balkan conflict that began 10 years ago in Kosovo will have ended in Kosovo." What balderdash! The refugees are still sitting in their camps, and will continue to do so indefinitely; and as for that 10-year conflict, is more like 400 years and it is not ending but gathering up enough steam to persist for yet another 400, thanks to Clinton and the NATO-crats.
A REAL DOG
"Had we faltered," continues the President, "the result would have been a moral and strategic disaster." If Operation Allied Force is not a moral and strategic disaster, then the phrase has no meaning. The refugees are still homeless, the bombing has hardened Serbian resolve rather than broken it, and the innocent civilians on both sides are slaughtered daily. And while the moral disaster is obvious, the strategic catastrophe is still unfolding and its consequences may be much more dramatic in the long run. Had we not intervened, says Clinton, "the Balkan conflict would have continued indefinitely, posing a risk of a wider war and of continuing tensions with Russia" and "NATO itself would have been discredited." But our intervention has caused all of these things to happen, and in spades. The whole region has been destabilized by our reckless policy of aggression: Macedonia is about to fly apart, Albania is in an uproar, and Montenegro is on the verge of civil war. As for NATO: Greece is about to withdraw, Italy is in dissent, and Germany is threatening to withdraw its sanction from the whole operation the moment the ground troops go in. In Russia, Yeltsin is declaring that we are on the brink of World War III. Can Clinton possibly be serious, is he really trying to convince us, or is he merely going through his paces, with no more understanding of what he is doing than a trained dog performing in a circus?
In a grotesque parody of his younger draft-dodging self, Clinton even has the nerve to praise the Yugoslav antiwar movement as NATO's fifth column, singling out "young men avoiding conscription" for special commendation. A more sickening display of brazen hypocrisy would be hard to imagine. I wonder if he will be praising draft resisters when he (or his successor) has to institute conscription in the US in order to fight a land war in Kosovo and police the Balkans.
Here is something I never thought I would see: Incredibly, Clinton repeats the unproved accusation that Serbians are engaged in a policy of systematic mass rape: "men and boys shot in the back, young women raped . . . " There is more credible evidence that Clinton raped Juanita Brodderick than of the dubious though oft-repeated charge of Serbian mass rape. Will somebody please wake me up from this nightmare? Am I really going to be the only commentator to remark on the moral obscenity embedded in this particular passage of the president's piece? I certainly hope not, if only because such a dire prospect seems altogether too bleak to be quite true.
THE BANALITY OF EVIL
It hardly seems worth it, in the end, decoding the assembled banalities of the President's war manifesto. He promises the Balkan peoples "a better tomorrow," opines that "a democratic Serbia" can rejoin the rest of Europe just as soon as it surrenders, and declares that "the Balkans are not fated to be the heart of European darkness." Amid the plethora of bromides, we are supposed to ignore the obvious contradictions: "Already, " he writes, 'the region's democracies are responding to the pull of integration by sticking with their reforms, taking in refugees and supporting NATO's campaign." But what about those refugees why is it so important to take them in if they are supposedly going back to Kosovo in the wake of NATO's victorious armies? As for supporting NATO's campaign: Hungary refuses to allow its territory to be used as a launching pad for an invasion; ditto Italy, and Germany. If this is support, then what would opposition look like?
THAT DEVILISH CLINTON
No one believes that the peoples of the Balkans are fated to darkness, but only a few more than this believe that US soldiers can be the region's light-bearers. Lucifer, which means Light-bearer, was cast down from heaven because he aspired to be godlike; he was punished for the sin of hubris, a sin nations as well as men can ill afford to make.
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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 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).