Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Was it something he said?

Andrew Sullivan on Wesley Clark:

HOW LOOPY IS CLARK? The answer, I fear, is that he's Ross Perot without the emotional stability.
Still, he's strong in the polls, whatever that means at this point, even to the point of besting Bush. If a wacky, unknown, fill-in-the-blanks general is running ahead of the president, you get a pretty good idea of how adrift the White House's political operation now is.
STILL IN THE BALKANS [aka, Clark's war] Geez, do we have an exit strategy yet? Four years later - four years later, president Clinton is telling the world we'll stay there as long as it take to finish the job.
To my mind, the most important thing about Clark is that he was a Rhodes Scholar. Almost to a man and woman, they are mega-losers, curriculum-vitae fetishists, with huge ambition and no concept of what to do with it.
More pathetic, however, is the notion that the Dems really did think of this guy as their savior. Are they that weak on national security issues that a general - even as hapless as this one - is their only chance? What does that say about their own self-image?

Good God, whence this animosity? Isn't it fun to watch Mr. Sullivan paint our Rhodes Scholar, 4-star General, West Point valedictorian as the loopy, hapless, wacky one? I'm always amazed at the contortions Andy is able to bend his mind into when he wants to. Hell, he's a homosexual member of a party that hates homosexuals; he uses his devotion to true conservative values (fiscal responsibility, small government) as a rationalization for his allegiance to administration that eschews them; now he follows a few months of war-love (publishing anonymous letters from soldiers in the field with rapturous commentary) by trashing a brave public servant in favor of everybody's favorite draft-dodger.

And not surprisingly, he's talking out of his ass most of the time.

I won't even touch the suggestion that a Rhodes Scholarship is a bigger liability than flopping your way through college on a legacy admission, nor will I bother with the ridiculous personal slurs that will sadly be appearing all the more frequently, but I do want to touch that Kosovo issue.

Sullivan notes correctly above that we still have a troop presence in the Balkans, years after the bombing mission was completed. By his snarky tone, we know that he means to compare the ongoing peacekeeping mission overseas with the current occupation of Iraq. Why is nobody harping about our nefarious occupation of Kosovo?? Hmmm?? Bush-Hating liberals, of course!


If you actually look at some numbers, you'll see that we currently have between 2,200 and 2,500 troops in Kosovo, down from 4,350 troops a year ago, when the U.S. forces were already only 15% of the total peacekeeping force. There are over 30 countries participating in the operation, the U.S. suffered a grand total of zero combat deaths, and the peacekeepers are actually wildly popular in Kosovo. (You can find a gigantic mural of Bill Clinton in Pristina, my sources tell me.) This compares to Iraq insofar as they both involve guns.

I hope people do keep bringing up Kosovo, because I've heard Clark convincingly defend it as exactly the model for modern warfare. Sullivan fears that if we'd had to get an international consensus on every bombing target in Afghanistan, nothing would have been accomplished. But he ought to recall that Belgrade was effectively leveled, so with goodwill amongst nations, there are no limits to the number of cities we can destroy. Sleep easy, Sully.


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