Senator John Kerry, the defeated 2004 Democratic candidate for president, was the subject of a May 28 New York Times article about how he is once again trying to rebut allegations about his military service made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. With a sympathetic media, such as that represented by the Times story, Kerry thinks he might be able to rehabilitate himself and try another presidential run. The Times endorsed Kerry for president in 2004.
But Kerry may have some competition. On Memorial Day, another former Democratic presidential candidate, retired General Wesley Clark, tried to rewrite the history of the war in Kosovo in order to make himself into a great military hero. “Last week,” he said, “I returned to Kosovo for the first time since I retired from military service. For me, this trip was very personal. In 1999, I commanded the NATO forces that stopped the genocide against ethnic Albanians by Slobodan Milosevic and his Serbian forces.”
That sounds pretty impressive-commanding the forces that stopped genocide. Too bad it’s not true.
Genocide is defined as seeking to eliminate an entire group of people. But the number of dead found in Kosovo after the war was said to be only 2,108. That was the figure given by Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, at a December 1999 press conference . But it wasn’t clear they were all Kosovo Albanians. Indeed, many may have been Serbs. That’s a terrible loss of life, but it’s no genocide.
That figure also didn’t include the number of Serbs killed in Serbia by the NATO mission commanded by Clark and ordered by President Clinton. The mission was both illegal and unconstitutional, since Clinton never received the authorization of Congress to conduct the war.
In his message, Clark went on to tell another whopper. Referring to the NATO campaign, he said, “This was an example of how we CAN do it right: diplomacy first, strong leadership, working with others, and using force only as a last resort. We had a plan for what to do after the operation before we began air strikes.”
Working with others? Congress was bypassed. And what was that plan? Serbia today is being dismembered, so that a Muslim state in Kosovo can be established. Clark didn’t mention that most of the Albanians in Kosovo who want independence are Muslims.
He referred his supporters to photos of his visit to Kosovo . Previously, however, Clark had posed for a photo with Hashim Thaci , leader of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), also known by the initials UCK. This is the group laying siege to Serbian Christian churches in Kosovo today.
For those interested in this largely untold (by the media) story, go to the website of Bill Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, who visited the area in August 2004 and filed this stunning report .
Our media are ready and eager to pounce on Bush whenever he is perceived to have made a misstatement, but a retired General and former Democratic presidential candidate tells blatant lies about Kosovo and gets away with it. In fact, he uses his participation in this illegal and unconstitutional war as a badge of honor.
Bush, of course, will be the favorite target for some time to come. Typical is Frank Rich’s forthcoming book about the Bush presidency, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina.
That will be the media theme at least until after the November congressional elections.
Rich and his colleagues will try to make you ignore the fact that while Bush has had a policy of fighting terrorists in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, Clinton, Clark & Company had a policy of helping them gain political power through false charges of genocide.