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Republicans are so adept at self-destruction that they are about to
convert one of Bill Clinton’s worst policy debacles into a political net
loss for themselves. Clinton’s NATO operation has not only already
failed to accomplish its main purpose — to end the ethnic cleansing in
Kosovo — it has specifically exacerbated the problem by intensifying
and accelerating the cleansing.
Of course, Republicans shouldn’t choose this time when our soldiers
are in harm’s way to opportunistically score political points for
Clinton’s woeful mishandling of the matter. But neither should they rush
headlong into shooting themselves gratuitously in the foot over it.
Republicans manage to allow themselves to be painted as evil no
matter what side of an issue they are on. When they were largely united
against communist aggression and favored intervention in foreign
conflicts to prevent the domino effect — i. e., the fall of one nation
to communism leading to the fall of others — they were viewed as
reactionary, paranoid imperialists.
Now, Democrats are leading a U.S. intervention, which is clearly more
“imperialistic” under any but the communist definition of that term, in
part to prevent Milosevic’s aggression from spilling over into Macedonia
and other neighboring states (read: the domino effect).
So Republican opponents of the operation are regarded as reasonable
advocates of restraint, right? Wrong. They are reactionary, paranoid
isolationists. This description wouldn’t be so bad if its authors
were only Clinton and his demagogic allies.
The problem is that Clinton has ravaged the Republicans’ collective
self-image to the point that they are falling all over themselves to do
his dirty work for him, as if he were Tom Sawyer. They are so anxious to
shed their uncompassionate image that they seem willing to destroy each
other in their individual quests for rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, some influential conservative commentators have also
fallen under Mr. Sawyer’s compassion trap. They, too — especially those
inside the beltway — must prove that, though they are Republicans, they
are of the enlightened species who care about their fellow man, as
distinguished from the Neanderthal family.
That’s why we’re reading and hearing the patronizing advice of
certain Republicans to their brethren to purge themselves of their
hatred of President Sawyer so they can clearly discern the wisdom of
intervening in a sovereign nation.
With all due respect to the enlightened, is Clinton’s knee-jerk
interventionism really something Republicans ought to be emulating?
Our current fiasco in Serbia is an illustration of what happens when
liberals are in charge of the military. There are no definable goals or
guiding principles underlying the policy, let alone an exit strategy.
We’ve heard a great deal of lofty rhetoric from the globalists about
the obligations of the United States as the world’s only remaining
superpower. Their actions belie their words because they are the ones
who have presided over the criminal dismantling of the military to the
point that it cannot perform to the extent their reckless idealism
Liberals and their favorite conservative commentators praise Sen.
John McCain for having the courage to support Clinton and for saying
“now that we’re in there, we’ve gotta do whatever it takes to win.”
Circumspect Neanderthals, on the other hand, argue that before we
send ground forces in we better have a crystal clear idea of what we are
trying to accomplish. Do we intend only to rid Kosovo of Milosevic’s
Serbian forces, or are we going to supervise the return to the province
of displaced Kosovar Albanians? Are we going to march into Belgrade and
physically remove Milosevic from power? Are we going to continue to
occupy Kosovo indefinitely? Will we allow our ground forces to fight the
war, or impose artificial and life-threatening restraints upon their
ability to engage the enemy?
There are many Republicans opposed to this war who are neither
isolationists nor uncompassionate. They believe that we have an
obligation to base our decisions on a cohesive, coherent foreign policy
rather than the mischief of runaway emotions; and before this nation has
the moral right to compel its young soldiers into battle, our national
interests must be at stake.
Republicans neither can nor should compete with Democrats in a
contest of compassion, so they should quit trying. A refreshing first
step in that direction would be a self-imposed ban on such obsequious
phrases as “compassionate conservatism.”
Besides, what is so compassionate or moral about sending American
troops to their potential deaths in a cause that does not affect their
lives or the strategic interests of the nation they are sworn to
To find out more about David Limbaugh, and read features by other
Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate