Skip to comments.BILL & HILL & BUDDY & HELEN
Posted on 01/03/2002 10:40:58 AM PST by Mia T
BILL & HILL & BUDDY & HELEN "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." If I were in an especially kind frame of mind, I would say that Helen Thomas is the exception to that rule, a rule, BTW, that applies even more today, post 9/11, to the clintons than it did when they made their cynical purchase. Purchase? Did I say "purchase"??? Was purchase in fact the operant process? Or was Buddy booty, like the clinton-klepto-bribery-scheme Socks bag? The clintons certainly exhibit a curious eagerness to exploit their pets along with their kid, and, of course, "the chilrun," blacks, women, the poor, the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, and so on... ALSO;
BILL & HILL & BUDDY & HELEN
"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."
If I were in an especially kind frame of mind, I would say that Helen Thomas is the exception to that rule, a rule, BTW, that applies even more today, post 9/11, to the clintons than it did when they made their cynical purchase.
Purchase? Did I say "purchase"??? Was purchase in fact the operant process? Or was Buddy booty, like the clinton-klepto-bribery-scheme Socks bag?
The clintons certainly exhibit a curious eagerness to exploit their pets
along with their kid,
and, of course, "the chilrun," blacks, women, the poor, the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, and so on...
Speaking of the doghouse, last fall the president's lawyer Bob Bennett gave a speech to the National Press Club in Washington. On a single day- so he informed an openmouthed audience- he had had four substantial conversations with Clinton about the Paula Jones case, and feeling this excessive, "I had to cut it short and the president said, 'Yeah, I've got to get back to Saddam Hussein,' and I said, 'My God, this is lunacy that I'm taking his time on this stuff.'" Well, I hope Mr. Bennett didn't charge for that day, or for the other time-wasting day when he naively introduced Lewinsky's false affidavit on Clinton's behalf. But, if he hoped to persuade his audience that Clinton should be left alone to conduct a well-mediated Iraq policy, his words achieved the opposite effect. Policy toward Baghdad has been without pulse or direction or principle ever since Mr. Clinton took office. As one who spent some horrible days in Halabja, the Kurdish city that was ethnically cleansed by Saddam's chemical bombs, I have followed Washington's recent maneuvers with great attention. The only moment when this president showed a glimmer of interest in the matter was when his own interests were involved as well.
And thus we come to the embarrassing moment last December when Clinton played field marshal for four days, and destroyed the UN inspection program in order to save it. By November 14, 1998, Saddam Hussein had exhausted everybody's patience by his limitless arrogance over inspections of weapon sites, and by his capricious treatment of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspectorate. In a rare show of Security Council solidarity, Russia, China, and France withdrew criticism of a punitive strike. The Republican leadership in both houses of Congress, which had criticized the Clinton administration for inaction, was ready to rock 'n' roll with Iraq. The case had been made, and the airplanes were already in the air when the president called them back. No commander in chief has ever done this before. Various explanations were offered as to why Clinton, and his close political crony Sandy Berger, had make such a wan decision. It was clearly understood that the swing vote had been the president's, and that Madeline Albright and William Cohen had argued the other way.
But in mid-November the president was still flushed with the slight gain made by his party in the midterm elections. Impeachment seemed a world away, with Republican "moderates" becoming the favorite of headline writers and op-ed performers alike. This theme persisted in the news and in the polls until after the pre-Hanukkah weekend of December 12-13, when, having been rebuffed by Benjamin Netanyahu at a post-Wye visit in Israel, Clinton had to fly home empty-handed. This must have been galling for him, since he had only imposed himself on the original Wye agreement, just before the November elections, as a high-profile/high-risk electoral ploy. (He had carried with him to Tel Aviv, on Air Force One, Rick Lazio and Jon Fox, two Republican congressmen widely hailed as fence-sitters regarding impeachment. So it can't easily be said that he wasn't thinking about the domestic implications of foreign policy.) But by Tuesday, December 15, after Clinton's last-ditch nonapology had "bombed" like all its predecessors, every headline had every waverer deciding for impeachment after all. On Wednesday afternoon, the president announced that Saddam Hussein was, shockingly enough, not complying with the UN inspectorate. And the cruise missiles took wing again. Within hours the House Republicans had met and, "furious and fractured," according to the New York Times, had announced the postponement of the impeachment debate, due to begin Thursday morning.
This was not quite like the preceding dramas. For one thing, it could and probably would have happened- unlike Sudan and Afghanistan- at any time. For another thing, the president was careful to say that he had the support of his whole "national security team," which he wouldn't have been able to say of his cop-out decision in November. Presidents don't normally list the number of their own employees and appointees who agree with them about national-security questions, but then, most presidents don't feel they have to. (Though most presidents have avoided making their Cabinet members back them in public on falsehoods about "private" and "inappropriate" conduct.) Having gone on slightly too long about the endorsements he'd won from his own much - bamboozled team, Clinton was faced with only a few remaining questions. These included:
The last question, apparently a simple one, was the most difficult to answer. It emerged that Clinton had known the contents of the Butler report at least two days before it was supposed to be handed to the UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. It was Kofi Annan's job, furthermore, to present it to the world body for action. Members of the National Security Council in Washington, however, were leading the report (which "discovered" Saddam Hussein's violations) to friends of mine in Washington by Tuesday, December 15. This timeline simply means that Clinton knew well in advance that he was going to be handed a free pretext in case of need. Mr. Butler might care to explain why he hurriedly withdrew his inspectors without Security Council permission- leaving some 400 United Nations humanitarian aid workers to face the music- at least a day before the bombs began to drop.
Once again the question: What was the rush? It must have meant a lot to Clinton to begin the strikes when he did, because he forfeited the support of the UN, of Russia, of China, of France, and of much of the congressional leadership- all of which he had enjoyed in varying degrees in November. (The Russians, whose volatile stock of "weapons of mass destruction" is far more of a menace than Iraq's, actually withdrew their ambassador from Washington for the first time in history, and threatened again to freeze talks on strategic-arms limitation.)
To the "rush" question, Clinton at first answered that the weekend of December 19-20 marked the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and one would not want to be bombing an Islamic people while they were beginning their devotions. However, the postponed impeachment debate continued well into Saturday, December 19, and so did the bombardment, which concluded a few hours after the impeachment vote itself. Muslim susceptibilities were therefore even more outraged, even in morally friendly countries such as Kuwait, by the suspicious coincidence of timing. During the debate, the House Democratic leadership took the position, openly encouraged by the White House, that a president should not be embarrassed at home while American troops were "in harm's way" abroad. Again, it is made clear by Clinton's own conduct and arguments that, for him, foreign policy and domestic policy do not exist in parallel universes, but are one and the same.
And, again, I found myself talking to someone who is normally more hawkish than I am. Scott Ritter, who served with UNSCOM from 1991 until August 1998 and who was the chief of its Concealment Investigations Unit, had been warning for months that Saddam Hussein was evading compliance inspections. This warning entainled a further accusation, which was that UNSCOM in general, and Richard Butler in particular, were too much under the day-to-day control of the Clinton administration. (An Australian career diplomat who, according to some of his colleagues, was relinquished with relief by his masters Down Under, Butler owes his job to Madeline Albright in the first place.) Thus, when the United States, did not want a confrontation with Iraq, over the summer and into the fall, Butler and the leadership acted like pussycats and caused Ritter to resign over their lack of seriousness. But then, when a confrontation was urgently desired in December, the slightest pretext would suffice. And that, Ritter says, is the bitterest irony of all. The December strikes had no real military value, because the provocation was too obviously staged.
"They sent inspectors to the Baath Party HQ in Baghdad in the week before the raids," Ritter told me. "UNSCOM then leaves in a huff, claiming to have been denied access. There was nothing inside that facility anway. The stuff was moved before they got there. The United States knew there was nothing in that site. And then a few days later, there are reports that cruise missiles hit the Baath Party HQ! It's completely useless. Butler knew that I'd resign if the U.S. continued to jerk UNSCOM around, and he even came to my leaving party and bought me a drink. But now he's utterly lost his objectivity and impartiality, and UNSCOM inspections have been destroyed in the process, and one day he'll be hung out to dry. Ask your colleagues in Washington when they got his report."
From the Washington Post account by Barton Gellmen, on Wednesday, December 16, written the day before the bombing began and on the day that Kofi Annan saw the Butler report for the first time:
Butler's conclusions were welcome in Washington, which helped orchestrate the terms of the Australian diplomat's report. Sources in New York and Washington said Clinton-administration officials played a direct role in shaping Butler's text during multiple conversations with him Monday at secure facilities in the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
"Of course," Ritter told me almost conversationally, "though this is Wag the Dog, it isn't quite like Sudan and Afghanistan in August, which were Wag the Dog pure and simple."
Well, indeed, nothing is exactly like Wag the Dog. In the movie, the whole war is invented and run out of a studio, and nobody actually dies, whereas in Sudan and Afghanistan and Iraq, real corpses were lying about and blood spilled. You might argue, as Clinton's defenders have argued in my hearing, that if there was such a "conspiracy" it didn't work. To this there are three replies. First, no Clinton apologist can dare, after the victim cult sponsored by both the president and the First Lady, to ridicule the idea of "conspiracy," vast or otherwise. Second, the bombings helped to raise Clinton's poll numbers and to keep them high, and who will say that this in not a permanent White House concern? Third, the subject was temporarily changed from Clinton's thing to Clinton's face, and doubtless that came as some species of relief. But now we understand what in November was a mystery. A much less questionable air strike was canceled because, at that time, Clinton needed to keep an "option" in his breast pocket.
On January 6, two weeks after I spoke to Scott Ritter, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's office angrily announced that, under Richard Butler's leadership, UNSCOM had in effect become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Clinton administration. The specific disclosure concerned the organization's spying activities, which had not been revealed to the UN. But Ritter's essential point about UNSCOM's and Butler's subservient client role was also underscored. This introduces two more canines- the UN inspectors being metamorphosed from watchdogs into lapdogs.
The staged bombing of Iraq in December was in reality the mother of all pinpricks. It was even explained that nerve-gas sites had not been hit, lest the gas be released. (Odd that this didn't apply in the case of the El Shifa plant, which is located in a suburb of Khartoum.) The Saddam Hussein regime survived with contemptuous ease, while its civilian hostages suffered yet again. During the prematurely triumphant official briefings from Washington, a new bureaucratic euphemism made its appearance. We were incessantly told that Iraq's capacities were being "degraded." This is not much of a target to set oneself, and it also leads to facile claims of success, since every bomb that falls has by definition a "degrading" effect on the system or the society.
By acting and speaking as he did, not just in August but also in December, Clinton opened himself, and the United States, to a charge of which a serious country cannot afford even to be suspected. The tin pots and yahoos of Khartoum and Kabul and Baghdad are micro-megalomaniacs who think of their banana republics as potential superpowers. It took this president to "degrade" a superpower into a potential banana republic.
So overwhelming was the evidence in the case of the Sudanese atrocity that by January 1999 it had become a serious embarrassment to the Clinton administration. The true owner of the El Shifa plant, a well-known Sudanese entrepreneur named Saleh Idris, approached Dr. Thomas Tullius, head of the chemistry department at Boston University, and asked him to conduct a forensic examination of the site. Samples taken from all levels, and submitted to three different laboratories in different world capitals, yielded the same resut. There were no traces of any kind of toxicity, or indeed of anything but standard pharmaceutical material. Armed with this and other evidence, Mr. Idris demanded compensation for his destroyed property and initiated proceedings for a lawsuit. His case in Washington was taken up by the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld- perhaps best known for the prominence with which Vernon Jordan adorns its board of partners.
As a capitalist and holder of private property, Mr. Idris was always likely to receive due consideration if he was prepared to hire the sorts of help that are understood in the Clintonoid world of soft money and discreet law firms. The worker killed at the plant, the workers whose livelihood depended upon it, and those further down the stream whose analgesics and antibiotics never arrived, and whose names are not recorded, will not be present when the recompenses are agreed. They were expendable objects of Clinton's ruthless vanity.
Christopher Hitchens, NO ONE LEFT TO LIE TO
by Mia T
BUT THE SOFA??
by Mia T
copyright Mia T 2000
Sen. Clinton made another assertion - one that is equally misleading.
TRANSLATION: An earlier example of the clinton post-election/pre-swearing-in klepto-bribery scheme...
Thanks for the memories... and entertainment!
But it's a shame about Buddy... like Chelsa, he was merely a prop on an empty movie set....
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