America Has No Business in Bosnia
So President Bill Clinton is sending 20,000 American soldiers to Bosnia. The man who ducked out of serving in the Vietnam War now says other men have a duty to send their sons to fight a foreign war.
Clinton has already committed 20,000 troops and we are told we must go along because “he gave his word.” But Clinton made that rash and casual promise on his own; the rest of us are not a party to the deal. And since when is “his word” inviolate?
Clinton tries to tell Americans that going to Bosnia is our moral duty. But he is no oracle of moral law. We didn’t start the war, it isn’t our obligation to stop it, and foreign policy should not be used for social work.
Unable to show any vital national interest, the Clinton spin salesmen have instructed all Administration spokesmen to say that troops are needed in Bosnia to protect our “values,” although they never say what values they are talking about. The word has no meaning in relation to the Bosnia decision; its use is just a cheap attempt to paper over the Administration’s lack of any reasonable argument.
Clinton says we must assert American leadership in the world. But the kind of leadership America should assert is political leadership in showing the superiority of freedom over totalitarianism, and economic leadership in demonstrating the superiority of the free market over socialism and government planning.
Clinton asserts that it is his prerogative as Commander-in-Chief to send troops to Bosnia. But his constitutional authority to dispatch troops is only for the purpose of defending Americans or vital American interests, not to rush out and join a war that is none of our business. Only Congress has the constitutional power to go to war.
Clinton argues that we should go into Bosnia to keep the fighting from spreading into a bigger war. But he’s got it exactly backwards. It is U.S. involvement and casualties that turn a local fight into a world event.
Clinton says our troops will be “peacekeepers.” But there is no peace in Bosnia; all sides hate each other and one of the warring parties (the Bosnian Serbs) refused to ratify the Dayton accord. Nor can the United States pretend to be neutral so soon after we bombed the Serb secessionists.
Even if there were peace, U.S. servicemen are not policemen and should not be forced to assume that role. Policemen and soldiers are trained for different missions, and those purposes should not be blurred.
It’s not at all clear that anyone can stop the fighting. Balkan nations have fought each other for over 500 years, and too much blood has been shed over little pieces of land for the enmity to disappear in the 12 months of our projected deployment there.
The Dayton agreement creates a new Bosnian state with indefensible borders and a collective presidency with, in rotation, a Muslim, a Serb and a Croat as chairman. Under this inherently unstable arrangement, each side will have its own army!
If it is truly in the vital interest of Europe to stop the bloodletting in the former Yugoslavia, let the European countries send whatever troops are necessary. Europe has plenty of money and manpower to take on the task.
Despite the lack of a clear mission as to why we are going in, what good we can accomplish, and when we will get out, the entire liberal and internationalist establishment plus the media elite are lining up to support Clinton’s expedition into Bosnia. Let’s look at the reasons for this curious propaganda push.
They want to give NATO something to do before the American people realize that NATO has completed its mission of stopping the Soviets from invading Europe and ought now to be retired. The Warsaw Pact is already “history,” but NATO careerists want to maintain their bureaucracy through “mission creep.”
The internationalists remember how hard it was to get the United States involved in World Wars I and II. They think that, if they can just keep U.S. troops constantly marching around in Europe on any make-work project, America will be caught right in the middle if and when another big war starts.
The internationalists want to get the United States in some kind of world government and, since the United Nations is in such disfavor, NATO can serve as a useful stepping stone. Using NATO instead of the UN avoids the criticisms about U.S. servicemen wearing UN uniforms or serving under foreign commanders.
The American people are looking for a leader who will stand up to Clinton and say “NO, we are not going to let any President drag our nation into a foreign war that is none of our business.” We are looking for a Senator and a Representative who will lead the battle to cut off all money for use in Bosnia, which Congress has every right and constitutional authority to do.
Censure the President!
“To sin by silence makes cowards of us all.” Where is the Republicans’ call for the censure, or even the impeachment, of President Clinton for his unconstitutional, unauthorized and unwise ordering of American troops into a foreign war in the former Yugoslavia?
Richard Holbrooke claims it’s only half a war — he said “it’s half way between war and peace.” There is no constitutional difference between war and half a war. Anyway, Clinton has already carried out air strikes against one side.
Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution states: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States.” The two commas in that sentence make it clear that “when called into the actual service of the United States” is a modifier of both “the Army and Navy” and “the Militia.” And Congress hasn’t called them into service. Our so-eloquently-written Constitution says what it means and means what it says.
The notion that the President himself, as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, may dispatch our army and navy wherever and whenever he wishes is heretical not only to the text but to the whole scheme of our Constitution and the intent of its authors.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is even more specific about the military power: “The Congress shall have power . . . To declare war . . . To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.”
Congress’s exclusive power to get us into war does not permit the President to get us in half a war. Congress should refuse the appropriations and make rules and regulations to prohibit sending U.S. soldiers into Bosnia. It makes no difference whether or not NATO approves it. The issue is whether Congress and the American people approve it — and they don’t.
If there ever was an example of why the American people are disgusted with and fearful of government, and why they support Term Limits, it is Senator John McCain’s saying on national television that his calls from his constituents are 100 to one against the President sending troops into Bosnia, but he supports the President anyway. Whatever happened to democracy and self-government?
It’s no argument to say that other Presidents have sent U.S. troops abroad without a declaration of war by Congress. In the first place, it’s not OK to commit an unconstitutional act just because someone else did it, too. In the second place, in most of those other cases the President enjoyed a Congress of the same party, and the minority party was powerless to overturn his actions. Thirdly, in those other incidents, the President had some sort of Congressional or emergency authority for his decision, or he was acting to defend American lives or vital interests. In Bosnia, there isn’t even a fig leaf of authority to cover his naked abuse of power.
The only debate we hear on television pro-and-con programs concerns the “exit strategy” — whether or not Clinton has a plan to get our troops out of Bosnia next year. That’s not the issue. We should be attacking the plan to send them into Bosnia.
The issue is not how many, if any, U.S. soldiers will be killed. The issue is sending them there at all. It’s possible that there may be no casualties right away since, in this 500-year-old war, the combatants usually take a Christmas break in the bitter cold months and then resume fighting when the weather is more favorable.
All the whining palaver we hear about “we must support the troops” is disingenuous and dangerous. The best way we can support our troops is to bring them home and save them from walking across foreign fields where four to eight million mines are concealed. A third of U.S. casualties in Vietnam were caused by mines, and the same can be expected in Bosnia.
We are told that we have to accept Clinton’s actions because “it’s a done deal — the troops are already moving into Bosnia.” Well, Congress should undo the deal! Have the troops turn around and come back. Cut off the money. Are we living in some kind of a dictatorship?
We are told that such an action would embarrass Clinton in front of our NATO allies. Clinton’s already embarrassed about so many things that one more won’t make any difference.
NATO itself has no authority to engage in a “peacekeeping” mission, much less a local war. NATO’s charter empowered it only to resist an invasion of Western Europe by the Soviets.
It is a tragic abdication of leadership for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to support Clinton’s unconstitutional act, and it is appalling to think that a man who is so impervious to the wishes of the American people might be nominated by the Republican Party for the presidency. Bob Dole should be replaced as Senate Majority Leader by a man who has the courage to speak out against Clinton’s Bosnian expedition. If the Republican Party stands for anything, it must stand for American sovereignty and for a government that respects the U.S. Constitution.
And That’s the Way It Is
We take it as a given that Bill Clinton is primarily motivated by a desire to be reelected in 1996, but his Bosnian expedition doesn’t seem to make sense as a domestic politics move. If he is not acting out of political self-interest, and it makes no sense strategically, we are left with the conclusion that he must be serving the interests of those who want to use the tactic of what George Orwell called “perpetual war for perpetual peace” to get America locked into some sort of world government.
Powerful and persistent pleaders for world government are all around us. Just take as one example the man we relied upon for so many years to tell us “that’s the way it is,” the Longtime Father Figure of Nightly TV News, Walter Cronkite.
To my great surprise, I received a form letter from Walter Cronkite inviting me to contribute to the Campaign for Global Change, sponsored by the World Federalist Association. Walter Cronkite has long since identified himself as a liberal, but I didn’t know until this letter that he was so committed to plunging America into world government.
Cronkite’s letter urges a “global call” for “dramatic changes” in the United Nations Charter to set up (1) “permanent UN peacekeeping forces” (i.e., perpetual war for perpetual peace), “a permanent International Criminal Court” (you can bet it won’t have U.S. Bill of Rights guarantees), and “a strong and well-funded Commission for Sustainable Development to protect the earth’s atmosphere and oceans” (that’s a ruse to impose a global tax so that Third World countries can steal U.S. wealth, resources and technology).
All these changes are designed to be part of a “reinvigorated” United Nations that will be able “to forge genuine, enforceable international solutions.”
These changes in our constitutional form of government might sound too way out for many Americans to respond positively. Don’t be too sure. Walter Cronkite identifies the liberal groups he confidently expects to rally to his cause: environmental organizations, “human rights” groups, foreign aid groups, and population control groups. I wonder how many gullible people mailed donations into the coffers of the Campaign for Global Change based on a lingering belief that Cronkite is telling us “the way it is.”
To entice donors to send dollars, Cronkite spells out a long list of pie-in-the-sky promises of what the Campaign for Global Change can accomplish. These world-class goals include wiping out ethnic cleansing, mass rape in Bosnia, environmental destruction, human rights abuses, and nuclear proliferation.
That’s not all. Cronkite holds out the expectation that a reinvigorated UN will even solve our U.S. domestic drug problem. That’s a tall order! It’s hard to see how the UN could possibly solve our domestic drug problem. Or that we would want it to! The American people are unlikely to accept a foreign “peacekeeping force” invading our cities, even if it is for such a noble purpose and directed by a UN High Commissioner. But those who want to straitjacket America in global organizations are advancing on many fronts, and they don’t seem to care that the American people don’t want to travel that road.
Perpetuating Pugwash Brainwash
The granting of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize to the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, a long-moribund organization, and to one of its last remaining members, 86-year old Polish-born Joseph Rotblat, reveals the bias of the grantors. Since Rotblat is certainly not a current newsmaker, the million-dollar prize should cause us to recall the history that endeared him to the Nobel committee.
The Pugwash conferences took their name from the location of the first conference held in 1957 in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, the home of Cyrus S. Eaton, multi-millionaire U.S. industrialist and investment banker. He was Pugwash’s chief financial backer and insisted that most of the conferences be held outside of the United States in order to avoid coverage by the American press. Eaton was known for his fawning attitude toward the Soviet Union, in contrast to his wholesale condemnation of the American government and its leaders. Other prime movers in the Pugwash conferences included Lord Bertrand Russell and the Canadian defector to Poland Leopold Infeld.
The Pugwash conferences produced a mass of highly-specialized and technical propaganda designed to appeal to scientists and to those who fancy themselves as intellectuals capable of making national policy. Pugwash disinformation was always diffused in egghead lingo, but its message can be fairly summarized by the famous slogan “better red than dead.” That was the pacifist cry of the 1960s. As the most disliked Senator said repeatedly in Allen Drury’s great novel of that era, Advise and Consent: “I had rather crawl to Moscow than perish under a bomb.”
The Pugwash contribution to the popularity of this obsequious pacifism was to provide the academic and scientific jargon that made it respectable among the intelligentsia. Pugwashers spread their line through the highest echelons of our government, business, scientific and academic communities.
The most important of all the Pugwash Conferences took place in Moscow November 27 to December 5, 1960. It was attended by Nikita Khrushchev and 24 prominent U.S. scientists, headed by Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner and Dr. Walt W. Rostow, who a few weeks later became leading policy planners of the newly-elected Kennedy Administration.
At that Moscow conference, Wiesner outlined a comprehensive program for nuclear disarmament and for transferring our military strength to an international agency. He urged the Soviet Union to develop a defense system that could absorb a surprise attack, and he suggested that they harden their own missile sites.
Walt W. Rostow gave the closing address under the title “The Long Run and the Short Run.” His theme was that “accidental war” was the only present danger, rather than any malevolent intent on the part of the peace-loving Soviets, and that the most urgent need was for the United States to push hard for a test ban treaty, which would “open the way to the step beyond.”
As an active player in the Kennedy Administration, Rostow was able to carry out his Pugwash objective. President Kennedy sent Averell Harriman to Moscow in 1963 to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, by which the United States agreed that we would never catch up with the tremendous advantage the Soviets had gained by their giant series of nuclear tests in 1961- 62.
When the Pugwashers were criticized on the ground that their plans would lead to U.S. surrender to the Soviets, they fell back on the slogan, “Nuclear parity will promote peace.” According to that curious assumption, all the Soviets desired was to feel secure against possible U.S. aggression; and therefore, we should correct any nuclear imbalance that favored America and work toward nuclear equality between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
The theory was absurd. If it were valid, we should build a national monument to Klaus Fuchs for supplying U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets!
Yet Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense in both the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, made “parity” a cornerstone of his strategy to abandon our once overwhelming strategic superiority. He argued that “nuclear parity” would give the world “a more stable balance of terror,” and that, “when both sides have a sure second strike capability,” any nuclear exchange would be confined to military targets only.
The “nuclear parity” assumption was simply not true. Nuclear parity is precisely the condition that encourages one side to believe it can achieve a calculated win by means of a surprise attack, as Khrushchev tried in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
When the evil empire finally crashed in 1990, it wasn’t because we crawled to Moscow on a Pugwash path. It was because President Reagan rebuilt our military strength and couldn’t be budged from his determination to build the Strategic Defense Initiative.
America won and kept our independence because we were fortunate to have leaders who believed that liberty is worth dying for and ranks higher on our scale of values than peace. Patrick Henry would never have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Phyllis Schlafly is the author of 13 books, including five books on defense and foreign policy: The Gravediggers (1964), Strike From Space (1965), and The Betrayers (1968) covering the McNamara years, and Kissinger on the Couch (1975) and Ambush at Vladivostok(1976) covering the Kissinger years. She was a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, by appointment of President Reagan. She is the president of Eagle Forum.