] Mona Charen
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Jewish World Review April 19, 1999 /3 Iyar, 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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Why we are in Kosovo

(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)

A month ago, it was "Will Hillary run for the Senate?" and "Did Al Gore really say he had been a farmer?" Before we knew it, our planes were bombing Yugoslavia, refugees were pouring out of Kosovo, young Kosovar men were disappearing, and the United States was plunged into a debate over ground troops.

Why did this crisis erupt so suddenly? The Clinton administration has been dealing with Slobodan Milosevic for six years. It was content to see Serbia lob mortars into downtown Sarajevo, round up Bosnian Muslim men and starve them in concentration camps, engage in the systematic rape of Bosnian women and girls, and more -- all with hardly a protest and certainly without the claim that American or NATO credibility was at stake.

(At the end of the Bosnian conflict, NATO did drop some bombs, but only after years of dithering and only when Croatian troops were settling the matter on the ground.)

Certainly it is difficult to credit the claim that President Clinton was overcome with humanitarian concern. As the CATO Institute's Doug Bandow has pointed out, "At least twice as many people died in January alone in Sierra Leone than in all of Kosovo last year." And this administration instructed the United Nations in 1994 not to use the word "genocide" about the slaughters in Rwanda, lest the emotional freight of the word impel action.

So why are we now embarking upon a military adventure that has not been thought through, has no clear goals and has precipitated some of the civilian suffering it was designed to prevent -- all in a region where no American interests are at stake?

The answer may very well be "wag the dog." This is a serious charge, but then, we are dealing with a president who is not above bombing unfriendly countries to distract attention from the grand jury testimony of former paramours.

("Frontline" recently revisited the question of whether the pharmaceutical plant we bombed in Khartoum, Sudan -- following Clinton's testimony before the grand jury -- was truly manufacturing chemical weapons and reported that the evidence was "inconclusive.")

Why does the president need a distraction right now? Not to cover up his sexual squalor but to create a smoke screen before his national security squalor.

Almost unnoticed amid the Kosovo agitation was explosive testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week by Notra Trulock, formerly the director of intelligence at the Department of Energy. Trulock testified that he had approached senior Energy Department officials with information suggesting that our nuclear labs had been penetrated by Chinese intelligence and that key nuclear technology, including the design for the neutron bomb and for the W-88 nuclear warhead, our most advanced, had been stolen.

Trulock told the senators that "Beginning in early 1997, senior DOE officials, including my direct supervisor, urged me to cover up and bury this case."

The Clinton-appointed officials were concerned, Trulock explained, that information about theft of secrets would harm the credibility of the laboratories and might affect congressional funding decisions. (No kidding.)

Besides, he was told, the presence of a spy at Los Alamos would not "affect the Clinton administration's policy of using the laboratories to further its engagement policy with China."

Quite true.

The administration's response to reports of Chinese spying has been so lax as to suggest indifference. National security adviser Sandy Berger, who represented Beijing as a lawyer before assuming his post, was first told about Chinese espionage at the nuclear labs in April 1996. Yet Berger withheld the information from the president until July 1997. But even then, he did not detail the nature of the security breaches.

Wen Ho Lee, the scientist identified by the FBI as the main suspect, was fired from his job in February of this year but not arrested. Only within the past several days has the FBI even searched his house.

The initial response by the president to the revelation of this devastatingly successful spying by China was political. It all happened on Reagan's and Bush's watch, he claimed.

When it became clear that the worst had happened since 1995, and that the president had lied about it, his response was ... Kosovo. crime.


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03/31/99: The Flower Child goes to war
03/29/99: Foreign-policy meltdown
03/25/99: 'Just doin' it'
03/22/99: Return of pay equity?
03/16/99: St. Hillary
03/10/99: Rodney King in perspective
03/08/99: Monica's story: No morals
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3/02/99: Tuning our racial sensitivities
2/27/99: Cease-fire in war between sexes?
2/23/99: Where were the religious voices?
2/19/99: Depends what you mean by "acting"
2/17/99: As Minn., goes so goes the nation?
2/09/99: Prepare for post-impeachment spin
2/03/99: Teaching morality
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1/26/99: The truth about the Peace Process
1/22/99: The vulgar decade
1/19/99: Was Jefferson libeled by DNA?
1/13/99: The backlash picks up speed
1/11/99: Who invented politics of personal destruction?
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11/24/98: Lies, damned lies, and sex lies
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9/23/98: A fork in the road: Bubba's fate and ours
9/18/98: Christianity and the Holocaust
9/16/98: The national dirty joke
9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
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9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
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7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
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7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
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6/24/98: Poison pen
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6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
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5/29/98: The truth about women and work
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5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
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2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
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12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?

©1999, Creators Syndicate