Thursday, April 07, 2005

Connecting Some Delay-ed Dots 

Dot One: Recent revelation that Tom Delay took Russian trip in 1997 on Russian security forces' nickel, by way of a mysterious Bahamanian front group; actual expenses added up to considerably more than a nickel.

Dot Two: Kevin Drum remembers, in the context of dot one, Delay's immediate criticism of President Clinton's commitment of American forces to a NATO led military intervention in Kosovo, and Mark Kleiman elucidates the new implications.

These via Atrios.

Dot Three: My contribution. I knew a lot about the Serbian abuse of the ethnic-Albanian Muslim Kosovars from having an email pen pal from each of the contending groups. I thought Clinton made the right decision. In fact, I would argue that his administration's handling of the crises was an exemplary example of an American administration's handling of foreign policy , but that is for another post.

What is undeniable - this country's strategy in that conflict was based on convincing Milosevich that NATO would not back off the decision to attack the Serbian military industrial infrastructure from the air until Milosevich pulled his army and his paramilitary militia out of Kosovo; a corollary of that was the Clinton administration's need to keep NATO together, in the face of considerable opposition from their own citizens, and as well, to effectively counter the Russian moves on behalf of their Serbian ally, for whom the Russian people felt immense sympathy and thus provided democratic credibility for their government's hard line response to NATO's intervention. And yet Republican after Republican got up in congress and denounced that intervention, while American military personnel were facing daily combat. There was even talk about pulling funding. Rep. Kurt Weldon rushed off to Europe to meet with representatives of the Russian government, and then rushed back to give news conferences about how Clinton's policy in Kosovo was counter to American interests.

Delay, in particular, was vitriolic in his denunciations of Clinton, accusing the administration of lies and deceit, and actually managing to paint Serbia as the victim, NATO as the aggressor. Not a few observers on the left, some for whom I have great admiration, were making the same point. Meanwhile, the world watched while within a matter of weeks, a million unarmed Muslim Kosovars were driven from their homes to the border of Albania by a campaign of wanton violence that had clearly been organized prior to the commencement of the NATO bombing campaign.

Remember, Republicans controlled both houses of congress. What they conveyed to the world was precisely this: that Clinton did not have the backing of the congress or the American people for his policy in Kosovo, and in fact, that his actions were held in abhorrence by significant figures in the American government. That's what the rest of the world, including the NATO nations, and especially, Milosevich, couldn't help but notice. So, I guess you could say that Tom Delay and a good many Republican office-holders were undermining a war effort while American military forces were in combat. Imagine that!

We don't have to, do we? Because that's the precise accusation, implied and explicit, with which Bush and Co have beat Democrats about the head and shoulders ever since 9/11, this despite the fact that the Democrats gave this administration everything it asked for; the Patriot Act, support for the removal of the Taliban, and even that congressional Resolution supporting Bush's personally stated new Iraq policy, which, as we now know, included a phony promise to make a good faith effort to try inspections first. (Yes, he went to the UN, but what was lacking was the good faith part).

I'm glad Democrats didn't accuse the Republicans of being disloyal when they were so critical of Clinton's Kosovo policy, even though their dissent quite probably caused Milosevich to hold out longer than he might otherwise have done. But in view of all the references to the hate-America crowd, naturally always located firmly on the center/left, in view of all the columns about how Democrats want America to fail in Iraq, and on and on, wouldn't it be nice of the SCLM could manage to overcome their programmatic amnesia to remember when shoes were on other feet?

Like, for instance, ask yourself what would the SCLM be doing right at this moment if that Washington Post article had been about a far more obscure connection between the Clintons and, say, some Kosovar defense lobbyist, or say, if it was a story that said something to the effect that among money raised in the Clinton 1996 presidential campaign, some small amount might have had some obscure connection to the Chinese military, although there was no evidence of knowledge of same on the part of top officials of the campaign, ask yourself what you'd be seeing on all three cable networks, even as we speak, in spite of the death of a Pope.....well, we already know, don't we.

Un huh...what else is new?

P.S. If any reader who is interested in this subject would like to do a fuller post on both the media and the Republican response to the NATO intervention in Kosovo, let me know; we'll be happy to post it.

corrente SBL - New Location
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