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The Biggest Fool of All

June 17, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Despite his evident reluctance to take America into the Syrian civil war, President Barack Obama appears to be traveling down that road step-by-step. He has decided the U.S. will provide weapons to the insurgents. If that action fails to transform the conflict, he will face increasing pressure for Washington to do more. And if he does, he risks involving the country in another senseless conflict — and ruining his presidency in the process.

It may be pure coincidence, but the president acted only after Bill Clinton warned that the current occupant of the Oval Office could end up looking like a “total wuss” and being “lame” if he did not intervene in the Syrian killfest. Clinton compared the latter to his decision to bomb Serbia over its rule in Kosovo. If he hadn’t acted, said the former president, critics might have complained: “You could have stopped this by dropping a few bombs. Why didn’t you do it?” Of course, Clinton ignored the fact that the triumphant ethnic Albanians then engaged in their own campaign of ethnic cleansing — while U.S. troops were occupying Kosovo.

Clinton also said that the president risks looking like “a total fool” if he acts cautiously in response to opinion polls. In Clinton’s view, overwhelming public opposition only means people want the president to be cautious. But if Americans really believe a military action to be stupid — that there is no reason for their sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers to die in a Quixotic crusade cooked up by ivory tower generals — any military adventure will be unsustainable and will fail, perhaps disastrously.

Who is Vietnam-evading Bill Clinton to call anyone a wuss?”

Of course, former president Clinton always has had a curious view of the purpose of war. He once expressed his frustration that he likely would not be considered a great president without prosecuting a war. And Kosovo didn’t count. Leading the world’s most powerful alliance against lonely Serbia, bombing for 78 days from high altitudes to avoid casualties while killing hundreds or thousands of civilians, and ignoring atrocities by America’s allies didn’t make him into a hero anywhere other than downtown Pristina, where his statue stands.

Apparently President Obama took Clinton’s remarks seriously. Presidential press secretary Jay Carney said the latter had offered “valid” opinions and that the president “welcomes the input of every individual out there.” That’s yet another …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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