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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Dean: Unilateralism Sounds Great To Me

Howard Dean has castigated George Bush endlessly over "unilaterally" going to war in Iraq -- even though we were joined by several nations in actual combat and many more in diplomatic and/or material support -- but unilateralism used to sound really good to the combative Vermont governor, regarding Bosnia in 1995:

After long and careful thought, and after several years of watching the gross atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serbs, I have reluctantly concluded that the efforts of the United Nations and NATO in Bosnia are a complete failure. ... Since it is clearly no longer possible to take action in conjunction with NATO and the United Nations, I have reluctantly concluded that we must take unilateral action. While I completely agree with you that no ground troops should be committed for other than humanitarian purposes in Bosnia, I would ask that you take the following steps in Bosnia. First, lift the arms embargo as it applies to the Bosnian government. Second, enforce a full embargo of the sort that is now in effect in Iraq on the Bosnian Serbs and upon Yugoslavia. Third, break off diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia. Fourth, commit American air power to support the Bosnian government until the situation is stabilized and the civilian murders and atrocities by the Bosnian Serbs have been stopped.

Note the reservation Dean expresses about using ground troops for anything other than "humanitarian purposes". In other words, bomb the hell out of the Yugoslavians but don't get our skirts dirty in the Balkan mud. And also please don't do anything that might actually resolve the situation; just bomb Serbs until they stop committing atrocities, instead of creating a situation with a commitment of combat troops to make sure it stops for good. We were able to stop the atrocities for the moment, but we still haven't found a way to create a stable environment for the Bosnians, Kosovars, and the Serbs to coexist without tearing each other to pieces. We've been committed there for almost ten years and have no exit in sight, and yet the Left calls Iraq a "quagmire".

Half-hearted steps like these are what gave the impression that the West in general and the US in particular were paper tigers, possessing mighty forces but bereft of will to use them in our own defense and in defense of liberty. The notion of electing another executive who would perpetuate the same policies that led over the course of three decades to 9/11 frightens me more than Dean's numerous reversals and prevarications ever could. (via Power Line)

UPDATE: Blogs for Bush asks an interesting question: is this one of the reasons Howard Dean has sealed his records for 10 years?

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02:13 PM in DeanWatch | Permalink

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