A PROGRESS REPORT
A REPLY TO NANCY PELOSI ON BOSNIA
"Nancy Pelosi voted to send U.S. troops into the Bosnian quagmire," said Republican congressional candidate Justin Raimondo in a statement today, "and this Saturday, at 10 am, at the Roosevelt Middle School, she is going to have to start explaining herself." Raimondo will appear at the site chosen by Pelosi for a public meeting with her constituents to discuss Medicare and Medicaid.
"It is the height of hypocrisy," he continued, "for Pelosi to be calling public meetings such as this Saturday's, to whine about alleged cuts in Medicare and Medicaid funding, when she voted to spend billions on Bosnia. Now that the Cold War is over, it is time for America to come home.
"This Saturday," said Raimondo," I will confront Pelosi with her folly, and demand an explanation for her outrageous vote against House Resolution 2606." The resolution, which would have cut off all funding for the Bosnian misadventure if Clinton decided to move in the troops without vote of Congress, passed the House but failed in the Senate.
"This Saturday," Raimondo declared, "San Francisco Republicans will take a stand for peace, and against military intervention: for a foreign policy that puts America First, and against the globalist vision of the Pelosis' and the Clintons', who see the United States as the policeman of the world.
"Ninety-three Democrats joined the great majority of Republicans in Congress to say NO to yet another Vietnam-style quagmire. Pelosi is such a political hack that she went along with the leadership of her party even over and above the wishes and interests of her constituents at home.
"In terms of Pelosi's future political career, that just may have been a fatal error. Testifying before Congress in favor of intervention, a former Democratic national security official declared that the Bosnian misadventure is now "in the lap of the gods." Wrong: this folly is in the lap of Nancy Pelosi and all the others who dutifully marched into Clinton's quagmire -- and they will be made to answer for it, perhaps as soon as Election Day, 1996."
This campaign took off before the candidate even filed his campaign papers. On December 2, Nancy Pelosi conducted a meeting on alleged "cuts" in medical subsidies--and the Raimondo for Congress campaign went on the offensive. With U.S. troops already on their way into the Bosnian quagmire, we confronted Pelosi on this vital issue on her own turf. We leafleted the audience of over 100 mostly seniors, and then the candidate addressed the crowd, asking the Congresswoman "How can you stand there and talk about the need for medical care, when your vote for intervention means that thousands of our boys (and girls) will come back from Bosnia missing arms, legs, hands, and god knows how many in bodybags?" This dramatic confrontation was broadcast by KPIX TV (channel 5), as well as 105 "Live" (KITS radio), KPFA, and KSFO radio. And we have only just begun to fight . . . TO GET INVOLVED IN THE CAMPAIGN, CALL (415)885-5021, or (415) 697-0147.
"How can you possibly talk about cuts in funding for medical care when you voted to send 32,000 American soldiers to far-off Bosnia, at a cost of several billion dollars? How can you stand there and talk about the need for medical care, when your vote for intervention means that thousands of our boys (and girls) will come back missing arms, legs, hands, and god knows how many in bodybags? Isn't this the height of hypocrisy, for you to stand there and tell us we can't cut the budget, and yet you want to send untold billions to Bosnia? You called a meeting on Medicaid and Medicare, but isn't the issue far wider than that? I challenge you to debate the issues, in a formal debate, head to head: you never asked us, Nancy, whether we supported sending our troops and treasure to Bosnia-- you never called one public meeting, never mentioned in your many newsletters that we pay for. Nancy, my name is Justin Raimondo, and I am going to be your Republican opponent in the 1996 election: and so now I am challenging you: will you debate me on the vital questions of our day? Will you call a public meeting, such as this one, on the question of our senseless and self-destructive intervention in the Bosnian civil war?"
A week before the President announced that he is sending 25,000 U.S. troops to intervene in the Bosnian civil war, I contacted the office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. I wanted to know Pelosi's position on a resolution introduced by Rep. Mark Neumann, a freshman Republican from Wisconsin, that would have prevented funds from being spent to send U.S. troops to Bosnia if the President proceeded without a vote of Congress.
I was alarmed and surprised that the President was proposing to put American soldiers in the midst of the blood feuds of the Balkans. After all, we have a word in English, to balkanize, which means "to break up (as a region) into smaller and often hostile units," according to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, and it is not for nothing that the area has long been known as "the powder keg of Europe."
Even more surprising was a discussion with Pelosi's foreign policy advisor, Carolyn Bartholemew, who expressed her fulsome support for military intervention. After all, she said, what about the atrocities? Don't you care about atrocities?
Of course, atrocities have been committed by all three sides; not only the Serbs, but also the Croats and the Muslims have engaged in "ethnic cleansing." When the Croats moved into the Krajina region, with covert U.S. military assistance, 130,000 Serbs were driven out and many were summarily executed, mostly elderly Serbs who refused to leave their homes.
But Ms. Bartholomew was having none of it: she said she didn't want to argue about it, and promised to send me a letter explaining Pelosi's position.
As a model of obfuscation and moral vacuity, this document has few equals. Pelosi blames "the reluctance of the world community to use any military force" as a failing "that contributed to the belief of the warring parties there that they could act aggressively and with impunity." This reluctance, according to Pelosi, is also responsible for "the wholesale massacre of civilians in the region."
This must also be the case, then, in Rwanda, Chechnya, East Timor, Guatemala, and every other country where atrocities are routinely reported. But if high moral dudgeon is Pelosi's rationale for sending the Marines to Bosnia, then why not ship them off to these other places as well? Such a militant moralism would require sending American fighting men and women to the four corners of the earth: is Ms. Pelosi prepared to pay for this, in U.S. lives and tax dollars?
In her letter, Pelosi boasts that she voted for and end to the UN-sponsored arms embargo, that kept weapons out of the area, and states that passage of this legislation "had a positive effect. The prospect of an override of a Presidential veto . . . spurred President Clinton and the Nato allies to take action. Nato air strikes around Sarajevo were the first real actions taken by the allies to demonstrate to the Serbs that their aggression is unacceptable."
Muslim aggression, of which there has been no lack, is apparently acceptable. Also acceptable to Clinton and his congressional allies was the recent Croatian campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Krajina in which thousands of Serbs were hauled out of their houses and many killed. The Croatians were trained by the American military, through a "private" company, Strategic Services, of Alexandria, Virginia, run by retired U.S. military officers. In addition, there were several news reports that the U.S. funneled covert aid to the Croatian offensive.
Finally, we get to the punchline of Pelosi's letter, in which she declares a jihad (holy war) against the evil Serbs: " Fifty years ago," she avers, "when the reality of the Holocaust came to light, people of conscience said `never again' to ethnic cleansing and genocide. These abhorrent actions continue despite this promise. I believe that the world can no longer turn a blind eye to the tragedy in Bosnia."
It is now customary to identify all prospective victims of U.S. "peacekeeping" as miniature Hitlers, their followers the moral equivalent of Nazis, but this propaganda technique is wearing a little thin -- and ought to astound anyone who knows the troubled history of the Balkans. In fact, the side we are backing collaborated with Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. It was the Serbs who, virtually alone in the region, defended the Jews and other victims of the Nazis, while the Croatian Ustashi and Muslim militias were allied with the Germans.
Pelosi hails the bombing of Serbian cities by NATO forces, but fails to mention that this was supposedly in retaliation for the August 28 explosion in Sarajevo -- an incident which the UN's own experts, a Russian and a Canadian, now confess they have grave doubts as to its origin.
Atrocity stories are a staple of every war. During World War I, the war party invented stories of Belgian babies impaled on German bayonets. More recently, as a prelude to the Gulf war, we were treated to the same sort of lies, this time about Iraqi soldiers ripping babies off life support systems. Now it is Serbians who are supposedly guilty of "genocide."
After the Great War to "make the world safe for democracy," many American liberals declared "never again!" Never again would they be bamboozled into supporting mass murder in the name of moral idealism. The Vietnam defeat furthered strengthened liberal resolve against the temptation of world-saving. Now that the Cold War is over, however, and we have no real enemies abroad, all too many alleged liberals, such as Pelosi, are more than willing to search the earth for new enemies to conquer, new villains to demonize.
Such a course would be an unmitigated disaster: a U.S. military presence in the Balkans would reignite the Cold War, fan the flames of Russian revanchism, divide Europe into armed camps, and unleash forces that will make short work of Clinton's "peace accord." If the agreement imposed by the U.S. on the three parties is the beginning of "peace," then war is peace, it, freedom is slavery, and -- as Orwell put it -- ignorance is strength.
Ignorance, of course, is what politicians like Pelosi are counting on: how many of her constituents know that she voted to send U.S. troops to Bosnia? In her newsletters, printed and mailed at public expense, and her many public meetings held in the district, she never mentions it. In San Francisco, where the last war for the New World Order was the occasion for a protest in which tens of thousands participated, this may be a wise decision. But such a state of affairs cannot last too long: as the bodybags start coming home, and Americans begin asking questions, Nancy Pelosi will have much to answer for.
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