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Jewish World Review May 12, 1999 /26 Iyar 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas
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OAF-ish behavior explains U.S. mistakes

(JWR) ---- (
THE MILITARY AIR FORCES assembled to bomb Yugoslavia are known as Operation Allied Force, acronym OAF, or oaf. An oaf is defined as: "Originally, an elf's child; a changeling left by fairies or goblins; hence, a deformed or foolish child; a simpleton; an idiot.''

That about sums up our policy in the matter of the relentless and, so far, ineffective air attacks on Yugoslavia. Nothing has gone right, unless you count Jesse Jackson's freelance rescue mission, which the Clinton administration supposedly opposed.

Our announced goal of stopping Slobodan Milosevic from his ethnic cleansing of Kosovo has failed. Now we say our policy is to make Kosovo "safe'' for the return of the refugees, many of whose houses have been destroyed and whose relatives are dead. What's to go back to, and who will pay to rebuild the houses? If you guess the American taxpayer in order to save Bill Clinton's "legacy,'' you would be making a safe bet.

The bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was a fiasco. I'm surprised the president didn't claim that it was a retaliatory strike for stolen nuclear secrets and the systematic effort by the Chinese government to influence the 1996 election, which is expected to be detailed in the soon-to-be released Cox committee report. Why not? Given Clinton's success at persuading the polled that his motives are good, even if his actions are not, he could have had those soccer moms swooning again.

The embassy bombing was first described as an accident and one of the unfortunate consequences of warfare (though this unfortunate "war'' remains undeclared and a spineless Congress has been unable to come up with anything remotely approaching leadership on the issue). It was then said NATO was operating off old and "bad intelligence.'' Bad intelligence describes the people who conceived and are executing this unworkable strategy with unwinnable objectives.

Apologies were repeatedly offered to China. The Clinton administration, which has based its domestic strategy on feelings, apparently can't understand why apologies don't work with Beijing. A government-sponsored demonstration against the U.S. Embassy put American ambassador James Sasser and his staff under virtual house arrest.

Ulysses S. Grant had this view of war: "The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on.''

Such a philosophy presumes one has the will, the expertise and the proper implements to wage war successfully. In the case of the Clinton administration, there is no vision, save a '60s-generation "one-world'' mentality; our military is as weak as, or weaker than, during the Carter years; our intelligence capabilities may not have been this poor since Sen. Frank Church's committee began dismantling the CIA in the '70s; and the doctrine of Colin Powell, so successful in the Gulf War, has been replaced by an air war conceived in error and carried out with the same goals as a video game -- no combat deaths, no injuries and, depending on the results, the presumption that something significant has been won or that nothing important has been lost.

The only way to keep Milosevic from killing more innocent people is to remove him and his friends from office by force. Doing that will require sending massive numbers of ground troops, which President Clinton knows he cannot afford to do. Remember, he let his fellow Americans go to Vietnam and get killed while kept himself safe for the presidency.

The cost of this administration will be paid on an installment plan over many years. More than our defense and intelligence capabilities will have to be rebuilt when Clinton finally leaves office. American credibility and prestige will also have to be repaired. The credibility and prestige part might not take long if our next president has integrity. The rest will take longer and cost a lot of money.

But that's what happens when we elect and maintain an oaf in office.


I05/07/99: Israel's high-stakes election
05/04/99: Jeb Bush chooses to save kids, not institutions
04/26/99: Surrendering our civilization
04/26/99: War abroad, war at home
04/22/99: Those wild and crazy (Democrat) tax-cutters
04/16/99: Bubba’s contemptible behavior
04/14/99:Elizabeth Dole's choice
04/09/99: The taxman cometh
03/30/99: Human-rights terror in China
03/25/99: Yasser Arafat:
bad cop, worse cop
03/23/99: Bubba’s multiplied lies
03/18/99: Reinventing AlGore
03/16/99:Americans get bull while China shops
03/12/99: Bill Lan Lee: Flouting the law
03/09/99: Don't worry about your child, be happy
03/08/99:The ‘lady' is a tramp
03/04/99: Proving myself to President Clinton
02/24/99: New slaves to a new slavery
02/22/99: Character-plus
02/19/99: GOP losers tell winner how to win
02/17/99: The Clinton legacy
02/10/99: More a man, less a president

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