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Foreign command of U.S. troops in Kosovo

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 02/08/1999 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer is at his best
when defending the human rights of unborn children. But he was
at his worst when he endorsed President Clinton’s plan to intervene
militarily in Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia.

While the pro-life issue is of paramount importance, it’s difficult
to
see how he can make progress with conservative leaders and grass-roots
activists by adopting a foreign policy that mimics President Clinton and
commits our troops to endless, costly and possibly bloody military
engagements. Many conservatives are tired of “New World Order”
commitments that undermine U.S. military readiness and drain our ability
to defend ourselves. The fact that this deployment is technically
through NATO and not the U.N. doesn’t make any difference at all.

Where were our European “allies” when Americans were fighting and
dying in Vietnam? They were trading with Hanoi. They were holding
tribunals targeting American soldiers as war criminals. Now, they want
our soldiers to die for them. This is absolutely sickening and we should
reject it out of hand.

“This is obviously a very difficult situation, but America needs to
be involved in the world. I believe that we need to make a commitment
there,” Bauer said.

Yes, under Clinton we are now “involved” militarily in over 120
countries. Where will it all end? It appears that we can defend the
borders of Bosnia and Kosovo and countless other countries but not our
own.

After stating that “we’ve not only got to have a plan to get in, but
we have to have a plan to get out,” Gary did not explain the nature of
the plan to get out. However, he did say that our European “allies”
would have to make an “appropriate commitment to any kind of
peacekeeping force in Europe.” An “appropriate commitment?” This is
THEIR problem, not ours.

The Europeans have just launched a currency, the Euro, that is
designed
to dethrone the dollar as the world’s main currency in trade and
finance. They want to undermine our economic position in the world. They
want to undermine our standard of living. And yet we are supposed to
supply troops to protect THEM. This is on top of the 100,000 U.S. troops
already in Europe.

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture?

Pressed by host Tim Russert as to whether he would be willing to send
American ground troops, Gary said, “I would want to look as president at
all the facts, but certainly it seems to me to be a legitimate way to
use American power in order to stop the suffering and to stop the
warfare there that could explode and involve a good bit of the rest of
the continent.”

Well, what are the facts? And where is the light at the end of the
tunnel?

When President Clinton delivered his State of the Union address, he
drew applause when he stated that U.S. troops were performing well as
peacekeepers in Bosnia. Commentators neglected to point out that they
were supposed to have come home two years ago. Now, without a formal
vote of approval in advance from Congress, the president is on the verge
of sending
several more thousand troops to Kosovo, another part of the former
Yugoslavia. Conservatives should be in the forefront of blasting this
dangerous scheme, not endorsing it.

A slight problem developed when it was disclosed that our European
“allies” would allow us to keep the number of U.S. troops in Kosovo to a
few thousand only if we agreed to put them in a NATO ground force under
foreign command. Who are they to be calling the shots? We ought to tell
them to go to hell. The Washington Post noted that the issue of putting
U.S. troops under foreign command “has always been red hot for
conservative Republicans and others.” This disclosure took place one day
before Gary Bauer’s appearance on “Meet the Press” last week. Apparently
it wasn’t hot enough for Gary Bauer because he didn’t mention it. He
missed a great opportunity to make a break with Clinton. It will come
back to haunt him. The Kosovo intervention may not be as “peaceful” as
the never-ending deployment in Bosnia. American soldiers will be sitting
ducks for snipers on both sides. And who will explain to their widows
and children that they died for some ungrateful Europeans?

At the State Department press briefing the next day, spokesman
James Rubin said that, whatever the nationality of the Kosovo commander,
he would report to an American admiral who would, in turn, report to the
supreme allied commander of Europe, American Gen. Wesley Clark. Rubin
said there is a “clear chain of command” to Clark.

But it’s really not so clear. Rubin’s doubletalk obscures the fact
that
Clark comes under the authority of the supreme governing body of NATO,
known as the North Atlantic Council. This is the group that makes all
political and military decisions. It authorizes NATO military commanders
to take action. It is composed of representatives of all NATO member
countries but
its chairman is the NATO Secretary-General, a Spanish socialist named
Javier Solana. This is the highest position in NATO. So, technically,
all of our troops in NATO are ultimately under foreign control, if not
foreign command.

The administration would likely counter that Solana is just a
figurehead, that he is mainly responsible for promoting and directing
the process of consultation and decision-making in NATO. It’s true that
he can’t order military action on his own, but his position carries with
it inherent authority and he is still identified at the top of the NATO
power structure. Any doubters
should consult the NATO web site. Solana was known
as a hard-core leftist in his native Spain and his selection as NATO
Secretary-General was criticized at the time by some members of the U.S.
Congress who said he had been too sympathetic to the Communist
government of Fidel Castro.

There have been other misleading reports about whether NATO will have
to get the permission of the U.N. before engaging in military action.
This is beside the point. NATO describes itself as an alliance
established in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. It will
be intervening to ensure compliance with United Nations resolutions.

Why are any conservatives endorsing this?


Cliff Kincaid can be contacted by e-mail.


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