The retired General who had been refusing to declare himself a Democrat or Republican is now declaring himself a Democratic presidential candidate. But more important than his party affiliation is Wesley Clark’s bizarre view on how to fight terrorism. The media refer to Clark’s impressive military credentials but they fail to note that his main accomplishment under President Clinton was presiding over the establishment of a base for radical Islamic terrorism, including Osama bin Laden, in Kosovo.
Clark, who has been making headlines by claiming that the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq was a misjudgment based on scanty evidence, ran Clinton’s NATO war against Yugoslavia on behalf of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The House of Representatives failed to authorize the war under the War Powers Act, making it illegal. Thousands of innocent people in Serbia, Yugoslavia’s main province, were killed to stop an alleged “genocide” by Yugoslavia that was not in fact taking place. Investigations determined that a couple thousand had died in the civil war there.
Kosovo was a province of Yugoslavia and the military intervention of the U.S. and NATO, a defensive alliance, was unprecedented. It was far more controversial than the policy of regime change in Iraq, which was a policy of Clinton, Bush and the Congress. Kosovo was never a threat to the U.S., and Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic didn’t even pretend to have weapons of mass destruction.
Clark wrote a Time magazine column, “How to Fight the New War,” in which he said we need new tactics and strategies against terrorists. He also said, “We need face-to-face information collection: Who are these people, what are their intentions, and what can be done to disrupt their plans and arrest them?”
For the answer, Clark should ask his old friend, Hashim Thaki, the commander of the KLA. The 1998 State Department human rights report had described the KLA as a group that tortured and abducted people and made others “disappear.” Yet a photograph was taken of Clark and Thaki with their hands together in a gesture of solidarity.
The KLA’s ties to Osama bin Laden were also well-known and reported.
An article in the Jerusalem Post at the time of the Kosovo civil war had said, “Diplomats in the region say Bosnia was the first bastion of Islamic power. The autonomous Yugoslav region of Kosovo promises to be the second. During the current rebellion against the Yugoslav army, the ethnic Albanians in the province, most of whom are Moslem, have been provided with financial and military support from Islamic countries. They are being bolstered by hundreds of Iranian fighters, or Mujahadeen, who infiltrate from nearby Albania and call themselves the Kosovo Liberation Army. U.S. defense officials say the support includes that of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi terrorist accused of masterminding the bombings of the U.S. embassies” in Africa.
Another Democratic presidential candidate, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, has tried to prohibit funding for the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), the successor to the KLA now being protected by U.N. troops as a result of the outcome of the conflict. Kucinich said an internal United Nations Report found the KPC responsible for violence, extortion, murder and torture.
After the war, Milosevic was ousted and put on trial, where he has been making the case in his own defense that Serb troops in Kosovo were fighting Muslim terrorists associated with bin Laden. At a hearing before the U.N. court trying him, he brandished an FBI document concerning al Qaeda-backed Muslim fighters in Kosovo.
The FBI document was a congressional statement by J. T. Caruso, the Acting Assistant Director of the CounterTerrorism Division of the FBI, who cited a terrorism problem in Albania, the base for the Muslim terrorists that attacked Serbia forces in Kosovo.
Clark’s presidential decision suggests that he believes the media will not ask him about supporting the same extremist Muslim forces in Kosovo that militarily attacked us on 9/11. He’s right: during interviews on ABC’s Good Morning America and the NBC Today show on September 17, the subject didn’t come up. Clark did say that he would not have gone to war with Iraq, and that he would have turned the matter over to the U.N. There was no “imminent threat” from Iraq, he claimed.
So where was the “imminent threat” to the U.S. from Yugoslavia? And why did the Clinton administration bypass the U.N. on that illegal war? Clark is counting on not hearing those questions from the same media going after Bush on Iraq. They are all worse than hypocrites.