Daily Kos: GOP attacks on U.S. military actions during Clinton Presidency (Updated)

GOP attacks on U.S. military actions during Clinton Presidency (Updated)
by GlennGreenwald
Sat Nov 19, 2005 at 11:56:45 AM CST

The odious, patriotism-impugning Michelle Malkin is today stridently hyping a post at Mudville Gazette entitled "History of a Long War (Iraq 1990-2003)," the purpose of which is ostensibly to demonstrate that the U.S. war with Iraq did not begin with Bush's false WMD claims, but instead has been raging continuously since 1990. These most slavish of Bush defenders apparently think that this revisionism will get Bush off the hook for starting a war on false pretenses (since, according to this view, Bush did not start a war with Iraq, but merely inherited an ongoing one).

Leaving aside the absurd notion that the periodic outbreaks of hostilities between the U.S. and Iraq during the Clinton Presidency can be characterized as a "war," it is true that President Clinton repeatedly deployed the military to target Iraqi military forces violating the U.N.'s no-fly zone and/or to impede Saddam's military expansion efforts -- and he also deployed the military in Kosovo, Somalia and against Osama bin Laden.

* GlennGreenwald's diary :: ::

In light of the increasingly reprehensible assaults by the GOP on the patriotism of anyone who questions the Administration's war effort in Iraq, it is worth remembering what the Republicans were doing and saying when the U.S. military was deployed during the Clinton Presidency.

An examination of what the GOP said and did throughout the 1990s with regard to President Clinton's military actions conclusively reveals this fact: throughout the Clinton Presidency, the GOP not only vocally opposed our country's military actions, but continuously questioned Clinton's motives and impugned his integrity with regard to why the troops were being deployed and with regard to the national security value of those deployments. Put another way, these GOP uber-patriots, again and again, engaged in precisely the behavior during the Clinton Presidency which they are now trying to claim -- when engaged in by Democrats against the Iraq War -- is dangerous, immoral and unpatriotic.

Listening to the Republicans and their pundit-defenders now, one would think that the GOP always steadfastly supports U.S. military action, always refrains from questioning the integrity or motives of the Commander-in-Chief with regard to deployment of troops, and always favors a strong military response to bad regimes and bad actors around the world. But with regard to virtually every military action ordered by President Clinton - including the numerous times that he put troops "in harms' way" - the GOP was there to oppose these efforts, to call into question the purpose and value of these deployments, and to make all sorts of scurrilous accusations against the President with regard to his motives for making the military decisions he made.

These same Republicans even went so far as to overtly accuse Clinton of "wagging the dog" by ordering a bombing campaign against Saddam Hussein, and separately against Osama bin Laden, without any real military purpose and solely in order to distract attention away from his domestic scandals. Plainly, Republicans tried to impede Clinton's military actions against both Saddam and bin Laden by opposing Clinton's use of the military and attacking his motives and integrity in ordering these actions.

Isn't it about time that these GOP officials and pundits -- who now so shamelessly wield the toxic patriotism weapon against anyone who has come to oppose the Iraq war -- be confronted with their behavior through the decade of the 1990s?

Also forced to confront and explain away these obstructionist attacks on the Commander-in-Chief and his integrity throughout the military actions of 1990s should be some of the most stridently pro-war, pro-Bush voices in the blogosphere, who have taken recently to expressly proclaiming that anyone who attacks the motives and integrity of Bush with respect to the Iraq war is "unpatriotic."

Every time they appear on television or are interviewed and they impugn the patriotism of anyone who questions the Administration's conduct of this war, the following quotes -- reflecting GOP opposition to and attacks on every one of America's military actions during Clinton's Presidency -- should be shown to them and they should be forced to confront and explain them.


A stroll down memory lane:

Rep. Dick Armey, GOP Majority Leader

"The suspicion some people have about the president's motives in this attack [on Iraq] is itself a powerful argument for impeachment," Armey said in a statement. "After months of lies, the president has given millions of people around the world reason to doubt that he has sent Americans into battle for the right reasons."

Rep. Gerald Solomon (R - NY)

"It is obvious that they're (the Clinton White House) doing everything they can to postpone the vote on this impeachment in order to try to get whatever kind of leverage they can, and the American people ought to be as outraged as I am about it," Solomon said in an interview with CNN. Asked if he was accusing Clinton of playing with American lives for political expediency, Solomon said, "Whether he knows it or not, that's exactly what he's doing."

Sen. Dan Coats (R - IN)

Coats, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement, "While there is clearly much more we need to learn about this attack [on Osama bin Laden] and why it was ordered today, given the president's personal difficulties this week, it is legitimate to question the timing of this action."

Sen. Larry Craig, U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."
-Tony Snow, Fox News 3/24/99

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

Daily Kos: GOP attacks on U.S. military actions during Clinton Presidency (Updated)


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