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Sunday, October 15, 2006
The problem today is that many people cannot differential between partisanship and principle. Take the Republicans for example. Although most of us never heard about it, the Clinton Administration was guilty of wide use of warrentless wire taps. There wasn't a peep from the "freedom-loving" Democrats at the time, and it was never challenged in the Supreme Court. There were MANY Republicans against it, but there was no "conservative media" so their voices went unheard. Fast forward 10 years, and we have Republican's supporting warrentless wire taps and all of the sudden Democrats opposing them. Now why is that? Have Democrats become more "conservative" and Republicans more "socialistic"? No, the answer is simple partisanship--not principle. If Clinton were currently president in 2006 and he wanted to install cameras in each of our homes you could bet that the outcry would be loud from the Republicans and Democrats would lockstep right behind him in support. Another example would be the silence of opposition to Clinton's warmongering. I would bet that 98% of the liberal Democrats today have no idea what moral wrongs were committed in Bosnia or the illegal nature of many of the Iraqi bombings and other unsanctioned invasions of that time, but each of them know the exact body count and time to the minute that we have been in Iraq. Of course the Republicans back during that time were opposed, but largely impotent and voiceless (except for a few like Newt Gingrich, and others).
The sooner you realize that the decisions made by those on Capital Hill have nothing to do with principle, but rather partisanship, the more independent of thought you will be.
Submitting to partisan "thought police" makes you a victim of the "Anybody but Bush" or "Anybody but Clinton (Hillary)" mentality, something we DON"T need as we move forward into the next election cycle. We need Americans of principle, not partisanship.
posted by Jack Mercer @ 10/15/2006 09:43:00 AM  
  • At 10/16/2006 09:41:00 AM, Blogger Smorgasbord said…

    Amen, Jack. Exactly right. I do like to point out to some of those who come to this conclusion that there aren't always "apple to apple" comparisons. For example, Clinton was indeed responsible for many questionable acts and military interventions of a questionable nature BUT Bush's military interventions are soooo much more egregious it's mind-numbing. Clinton approached all his military actions with the ideology of minimizing US casualties and US dollars lost. If a president is going to do something illegal, at least they can do us that favor. Bush cavalierly throws young lives and billions upon billions of dollars into the trash heap every day.

  • At 10/16/2006 02:32:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    Hi Smorg,

    Good to hear from you!

    I guess when making comparisons it is often a matter of perspective. For example, one could truthfully say that President Bush waged war in both Afghanistan and Iraq with full congressional approval, (a majority of Democrats who had the same intelligence HE did--keep in mind the intelligence committees of both houses are in an advisory capacity to the President and they were bipartisan--gave full approval of the Iraq incursion), while President Clinton conducted a multiplicity of illegal unilateral actions. Also, this took place post 9/11 when the United States had been attacked on its own soil which surely appeared to be full justification, while President Clinton's crimes ranged from ad hoc bombings to boycotts and sanctions designed to starve into submission, support of ethnic cleansing in brutal counterinsurgency warfare, etc.

    This is kind of what I mean when I say that people's memory or information is partisan and selective.

    As a matter of fact, from MY perspective President Clinton's actions seem far more cruel, self-motivated and unjust.

    -President Clinton waged war in Kosavo without a congressional declaration or approval (remember the lawsuit? Don't worry, most of Americans don't--but it was brought against him by 30-40 congressmen who charged him with violating the United States Constitution--it was a token lawsuit to bring the issue to the attention of America--of course the MSM gave it no voice). (Do a search on "Kosovo bombings")

    -In 1993, Clinton bombed Baghdad in retaliation for an alleged but unproven Iraq plot to assassinate former President George Bush. Eight Iraqi civilians, including the distinguished Iraqi artist Layla al-Attar were killed in the raid, and 12 more were wounded. This kind of unilateral action in response to an unproven charge is a violation of international law. The legal excuse given by U.S. officials, which they relied on in justification of the bombing of Libya in 1986, is the right to self defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. But that Article requires that the response be to an immediate threat to the retaliating party, clearly not the case, and therefore a legal fraud. This crime may be petty by the usual U.S. standard-but it is still a crime. And it had the further repellent feature that it was done almost surely for purely internal political reasons-to show Clinton's toughness, despite his Vietnam War record, and to countervail right-wing attacks on his lack of militancy.

    -In 1998 he went to bombing Afghanistan and the Sudan. Unknown numbers were killed in Afghanistan (and by the missiles that accidentally landed in Pakistan), and the pharmaceutical factory destroyed in the Sudan was the major source of medical drugs in that poor country. All evidence points to the fact that the Sudan factory destroyed had no connection whatever to chemical weapons or Bin Laden, and was bombed on the basis of insufficient and poorly evaluated data. (Where have we heard THAT before?) But following the attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, Clinton felt compelled to act for internal political reasons once again, and there are no international constraints or costs to him or his country if he chooses to bomb small and weak countries to score political points at home. This was rogue and criminal behavior as far as I am concerned and far more heinous than President Bush making his decisions in a post 9/11 world.
    -Additionally, Clinton gave COMPLETE support to Turkey in its war against its indigenous Kurds. He increased to Colombia. In both of these countries the civilian casualties from counterinsurgency warfare and death squad operations during the Clinton years exceeded even the pre-NATO bombing deaths in Kosovo.

    But we can't stop there. In the Clinton years his policies impacted heavily on Cuba and most dramatically on Iraq. The tightening of the embargo on Cuba under the Toricelli-Helms bill, signed into law and enforced by Clinton, which banned the sale of U.S. food and curtailed access to water treatment chemicals and medicines, took a heavy toll. According to a 1997 report of the American Association of World Health, the food sale ban "has contributed to serious nutritional deficits, particularly among pregnant women, leading to an increase in low birth-weight babies. In addition, food shortages were linked to a devastating outbreak of neuropathy numbering in the tens of thousands. By one estimate, daily caloric intake dropped 33 percent between 1989 and 1993." The decisive offsetting consideration, however, was that Clinton was able to preserve some of his political support from the powerful Cuban lobby in Florida.
    Have we forgotten what Clinton did to Iraq? His policy of sanctions on Iraq and regular bombing attacks often resulted in civilian casualties. UNICEF reported that in 1999 more than 1 million Iraqi children under 5 were suffering from chronic malnutrition, and some 4,000-5,000 children were dying per month beyond normal death rates from the combination of malnutrition and disease. Death from disease was greatly increased by the shortage of potable water and medicines, that had led to a sharp increase in malaria (among other ailments). His sanction system, causing a creeping extermination of a people, was estimated to have caused more than a million, and it is claimed by John and Karl Mueller that Clinton's "sanctions of mass destruction" have caused "the deaths of more people in Iraq than have been slain by all so-called weapons of mass destruction [nuclear and chemical] throughout all history" (Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999). U.S. mainstream reporters, who have so eagerly followed the distress of the Kosovo Albanians, somehow never got to Iraq for pictures of the thousands of malnourished children.
    -In Yugoslavia, one of the most notable features of the NATO-U. S. war against Yugoslavia was the gradual extension of targeting to civilian infrastructure and civilian facilities-therefore civilians who would be in houses, hospitals, schools, trains, factories, power stations, and broadcasting facilities. Two months after the war was over, the BBC "revealed" that the attack on Yugoslav television on April 23 was part of an escalation of NATO bombing whereby the target list was extended to non-military objectives; NATO was "taking off the gloves." According to Yugoslav authorities, 60 percent of NATO targets were civilian, including 33 hospitals and 344 schools, as well as 144 major industrial plants and a large petro-chemical plant whose bombing caused a pollution catastrophe. John Pilger noted that the list of civilian targets included "housing estates, hotels, libraries, youth centres, theatres, museums, churches and 14th century monasteries on the World Heritage list. Farms have been bombed and their crops set afire." This targeting was in open violation of the laws of war, although this was certainly neither publicized nor condemned in the mainstream media; U.S. pundits like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times frequently called for a more aggressive bombing of Serb civilian targets and the commission of more war crimes (Rachel Coen, "Lessons of War: Leading papers call for more attacks on civilian targets next time," EXTRA! Update, August 1999). There can be little doubt that Yugoslavia finally agreed to a military exit from Kosovo mainly because they recognized that, although their forces had not been defeated on the battlefield, the NATO strategy of attacking civilian targets in violation of international law, was subject to no limits.
    On May 27, in the midst of this criminal operation by NATO, Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, issued an indictment of Milosevic for war crimes, thereby implicitly exonerating and facilitating the NATO commission of war crimes. By allowing her Tribunal to be so mobilized in NATO propaganda service, Arbour and her colleagues were arguably guilty of war crimes themselves.
    -Again in Rwanda, the U.S. played an important role in the "international community's" failure, as it worked hard to prevent any international action to interfere with the gigantic 1994 massacres (Omaar and de Waal, "Genocide in Rwanda: U.S. Complicity By Silence," CovertAction, Spring 1995). Bill Clinton apologized for this, suggesting that his recognition of the earlier failure spurred him on to his Kosovo policy, which involved his commission of further war crimes under the guise of a "humanitarian intervention" that was devoid of humanitarian intent or effect.

    Smorg, I can understand why you would think the way you do and don't blame you for it. That's because you and most of the American people were (and are) kept in the dark by the mainstream media (remember, FOX News is only 10 years old-and before it came into existance President Clinton never did anything wrong:).

    Sources quoted from all over the net, plus there are many books out that chronicle about the same.

    etc., etc.

    Hope this helps,


  • At 10/16/2006 02:50:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…


    I guess I was wondering if you were just counting U.S. military lives, or if total lives lost failure of American policy counted--if so, President Clinton could be credited with millions.


  • At 10/16/2006 03:03:00 PM, Blogger Smorgasbord said…

    Looking back over my original comment I think the tone may seem apologetic toward Clinton. It wasn't meant to be. The reason why I replied to the post initially was to agree with you - then I felt obliged to put in two cents about Bush's failures in foreign policy.

    The USA has made countless missteps in foreign policy over its history - especially the 20th & 21st centuries. I don't forgive Clinton anything and, again, your original post is right on target. To answer your last question, I was speaking of lives lost by the conflicts directly. The kind of inaction we saw with Clinton that resulted in so many deaths shouldn't be discounted in any way but Bush's war (and it is his war, just as much as Kosovo was Clinton's) has had a terrible, terrible cost. I guess I didn't want the severity of it to be lost.

  • At 10/16/2006 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    I agree, Smorg! I think that when we reach the place where you and I have, we begin to see the realistic picture of what is going on and begin to shake those partisan blinders that BOTH sides have been anxious to put on us. Like you, I believe that all war is best avoided, and in all reality, I wish that Iraq had never happened (going back to Bush the elder and Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and everything that has happened since.) The truth of it, is that the ones who pay the terrible price are people like you and me in those countries who want nothing more than to live their lives in peace and carve out an existence. We are truly a people buffeted by circumstance, but we don't have to let it control our actions--that is a point that you so rightly make!

    BTW, I think back over the past two years that we have shared and how much our perspectives have evolved--I'm looking forward with interest toward the content of our discussions. I have learned much from you and the other NL's.


  • At 10/17/2006 09:05:00 AM, Blogger Helen Losse said…

    Of course, we need Americans of principle. But the way our government works (not talking about how it ought to work but how it does), each party sets its own agenda and abattles forth, conceding only enough to the opposing party to get its own major points on the agenda passed. Thus, the only way to see that what a voter believes in (principle, I hope) has half achance of becoming the law of the land, he/she must vote along party lines. Thsi is sad, but it is true.

  • At 10/19/2006 11:58:00 AM, Blogger Doug Stych said…

    Clinton, the butcher of Kosovo, certainly comitted his share of crimes. He did so to strengthen the US position in the world, it's his job. Bush too is motivated by the same ideal, to make America stronger and better. Neither seemed to really give a damn about the lives lost in the process. The big difference between the two is that Clinton was a very smart man who understood the complexities of the world scene, and played accordingly. Bush has played by an almost comic book understanding of the world, and the results show. When Clinton left office the USA was the most powerful Empire the world had ever seen, exactly three countries world wide were openly defying the USA. And he managed to balance the budget to boot. Since taking office Bush has lost ground on all fronts, and some of the problems he created are going to last for decades if not centuries. I don't dislike Bush's policies because he's a republican, I dislike Bush's policies cause they are idiotic and counter0productive. If that's a partisan opinion, then I guess I'm partisan. :)


  • At 10/21/2006 12:41:00 PM, Blogger chickenhawk said…

    And to comment on that cartoon at the top of this post: it couldnt be any more true. What a farce that commission was, Im sorry, but it really was. Just an example of how crippling partisanship is in this country.

    How much of this went on (?):
    "Ok we can put this in there, if you agree to put this in."

    "Ok, we will leave this out of the report, if you agree to leave this out."

  • At 10/22/2006 08:59:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…


    The cartoon says it all. The Republicans do no wrong according to other Republicans therefore they are in the problems they find themselves in. The same goes for the Democrats.

    Its a shame.


    I see what you're saying, but there are those in Bush's "camp" who would disagree with you and say the same about President Clinton. To be honest, I can criticize President Clinton in retrospect because of what we know now--the jury (the objective one) is still out on Bush. Who knows, he may be the singular instrument that brings about world peace. One never knows until we get there.


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