Clinton's War Crimes
"If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We
are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further
into the future." So said Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright, The New York Times, Feb. 22, 1998.
It may be unfair to single out Albright, then contemplating
bombs over Baghdad, not Belgrade. Her qualities of mind
permeate the entire Clinton administration, and are expressed
with equal zeal in the neoconservative Weekly Standard and the
liberal New Republic. As the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia
enters its ninth week it is worth asking where this attitude
has led the United States.
Clinton apologized for bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade,
though it was instructive to see the Beltway press warriors rail
against Beijing's "orchestrated" anti-American demonstrations.
Chinese-Americans I know contrasted the demos with Clinton's
response after two American embassies were bombed last summer:
He fired off volleys of cruise missiles into the Sudan, Pakistan
and Afghanistan. Two weeks ago Washington finally acknowledged
that one target it destroyed, a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum,
had no connection to Osama bin Laden, the accused terrorist
Clinton wanted to punish. Another intelligence booboo, and what
a shame for the people who worked there.
At any rate, we have apologized to the Chinese. The same day the
U.S. bombed their embassy, NATO planes hit a marketplace and a
hospital in the city of Nis, in southern Serbia, with
antipersonnel cluster bombs, killing 15 and wounding 70. No
apologies were tendered.
But as bombing from 15,000 feet, firing cruise missiles from afar
and hectoring nations who fail to appreciate that we understand
better than they how to manage their internal affairs have become
the hallmarks of the Clinton foreign policy, they have begun to
attract more critical attention.
In a stunning column in the May 7 London Times, Simon Jenkins
surveyed the damage NATO strikes have done to historic sites in
Serbia and Kosovo. Gen. Wesley Clark's bombers have destroyed the
Banovina Palace in the city center of Novi Sad, the finest work of
art deco architecture in the Balkans. They have battered the old
city of Pec, destroying a picturesque grouping of old markets and
Turkish fortified houses dating from the Ottoman period. They have
ruined the old trade center in nearby Djakovica and damaged the
16th-century Hadum Mosque there. They have destroyed the medieval
Vrsac Tower near the Romanian border, and the 18th-century Tabacki
Bridge. NATO planes have bombed repeatedly around the renowned
medieval church of Gracanica near Pristina, its walls covered with
14th- and 15th-century frescoes. Deep fissures are now reported in
the frescoes, which are detaching from the walls.
In Belgrade, the 16th-century Rakovica monastery has taken a hit
through its roof; in Kursumlija, Clinton's bombs have struck the
churches of the Virgin and St. Nicholas, dating from the 12th
century, as well as St. Procopius' ninth-century church in
Prokuplje. As Jenkins points out, these sites date from the earliest
years of Christianity in Eastern Europe. NATO's response to the Serb
refusal to give up its Kosovo province has been to wage a
civilizational war, to try to demoralize an enemy by obliterating a
One can only marvel at what must go on in the minds of Clinton,
Albright, Gen. Clark and the others: What-in this age of Littleton
and The Jerry Springer Show-makes them so certain that America
"stands taller" and "sees further"? Who do they think they are?