President Clinton was accused by many of using the wag-the-dog strategy when he ordered Tomahawk missiles fired on a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan and terrorist Osama bin Laden?s training camp in Afghanistan. This was supposed to be reprisal for the bombing of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya but it is now clearer than ever that there was no justification for attacking the plant in Sudan. The claim that it was producing nerve gas was false.
Osama bin Laden?s camp in Afghanistan consisted of shacks and tents, hardly a fit target for a missile that costs nearly a million dollars per copy. These targets were chosen and approved by a very few people who had limited or incorrect information. The missiles were launched more to divert the attention of the public in the U.S. from the Clinton sex scandal than to seriously hurt possible terrorists.
Now Clinton is toying with a more dangerous and costly scenario? intervention in the Serbian province of Kosovo to assist the ethnic Albanian majority in their efforts to gain Kosovo?s independence or autonomy. Bombing the Serbs, who have been portrayed as monsters who engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and will do the same in Kosovo if they are not restrained, appears to be another no-win operation that will do nothing but enable the impeached President to pose as a bold, decisive leader.
The administration is trying to whip up public opinion in favor of military action to force the “wicked” Serbs to do what we demand. But on March 21, The New York Times broke from the journalistic pack and published a front-page story that supported what the Serbs had been claiming for years? that they themselves were major victims of the ethnic cleansing that had taken place in Bosnia.
The Times said that investigators for the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague had concluded that (quote) “the Croatian Army carried out summary executions, indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations and ?ethnic cleansing? during a 1995 assault that was a turning point in the Balkan wars…” It said the Croatians had expelled some 100,000 Serbs from their ancestral homes in the Krajina region with the tacit blessing of the United States. This was described as “the largest single ethnic cleansing of the war.”
The investigators? report charged that the United States had failed to provide critical evidence, including satellite photos taken of the Krajina region during the ethnic cleansing operation, lending support to the suspicion that the U.S. doesn?t want to see the evidence divulged. They also charged that the Croatian Army had engaged in other war crimes such as the indiscriminate shelling of civilians. They cited the shelling of Knin, saying that two senior Canadian officers were reported to have testified that the Croatians fired some 3,000 shells into the town and that fewer than 250 hit military targets. The U.S. has said this is a minor incident, and the Times says that many at the tribunal believe that we are trying to manipulate the court, perhaps to protect Americans who advised the Croatians.