In the past week or so the white house has begun to reply to the “Bush lied people died” accusation coming from the usual suspects. I feel the best question fro those who think President Bush lied our way into war is: If Bush lied, did Clinton lie about Kosovo?
Here are some facts about the former president and Kosovo:
In his Oval Office broadcast March 24th 1999
We act to prevent a wider war, to defuse a powder keg at the heart of Europe, that has exploded twice before in this century with catastrophic results ... By acting now, we are upholding our values, protecting our interests and advancing the cause of peace ... Ending this tragedy is a moral imperative. It is also important to America's national interests ... Do our interests in Kosovo justify the dangers to our armed forces?
I am convinced that the dangers of acting are far outweighed by the dangers of not acting – dangerous to defenseless people and to our national interests ... I have a responsibility as president to deal with problems such as this before they do permanent harm to our national interests. America has a responsibility to stand with our allies when they are trying to save innocent lives and preserve peace, freedom and stability in Europe. That is what we are doing in Kosovo.
Sound familiar? According to the New York Times April 19th 1999:
In San Francisco on Thursday, President Clinton said that the Serbs had displaced 'over a million Kosovars' and had killed and raped 'thousands upon thousands of them.' From interviews that journalists and relief workers have conducted with scores of refugees from Kosovo, there is no reason to doubt him. But at this point it is also impossible to prove that he is correct.
and the administration there were over a “million” Kosovars displaced according to USA Today July 1,1999:
Many of the figures used by the Clinton administration and NATO to describe the wartime plight of Albanians in Kosovo now appear greatly exaggerated as allied forces take control of the province ... Instead of 100,000 ethnic Albanian men feared murdered by rampaging Serbs, officials now estimate that about 10,000 were killed.
but is the 10,000 number accurate? The orange county Register in the Nov 22, 1999 edition, editorial said:
Months after the bombing has ceased, United Nations and European Union investigations have bolstered what critics had argued: NATO's estimates of Serbian genocide against the Kosovars were greatly overblown. Many observers now think the inflated numbers simply were part of the U.S.-led propaganda effort to build support for the war.
The latest evidence suggests that fewer than 3,000 Kosovars were murdered – horrifying, yes, but not many more than the number of Serbs who were killed by NATO bombing attacks on Yugoslavia, roughly estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers and civilians.
This to me says Clinton lied, people died! The intelligence turned out to be extremely wrong! I don’t remember a huge outcry for a serious investigation of intelligence failures.
The decision to go to war is a Herculean task I wouldn’t wish on anybody. Mistakes are going to be made, intelligence is not going to be 100%; 100% of the time, and inevitably someone will always look back and say I would have done it better.
I urge the left to drop the “Bush Lied” tag line. it’s simply ridiculous!