Yesterday, boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson had a piece titled “Prolonged war wasn’t in the deal.” In his piece, he details a United States president circumventing Constitutional safeguards and engaging in an unnecessary war, a war that lasted far longer than promised, and excoriated that president and his supporters.
It’s a good piece, and I can agree with a lot of it. But there is one element I can’t quite buy into:
It’s about 10 years too late.
In 1996, Bill Clinton, in violation of the War Powers Act, embarked on a 78-day bombing campaign against Kosovo, then sent in peacekeepers with the promise that they’d be home for Christmas. Ten Christmases have passed since then, half of them under Clinton, and they’re still there.
Jackson’s memory is apparently failing him in other areas, too. He recalls President Bush promising that the struggle would be a short one. I recall just the opposite — Bush saying that the war on terror (of which I consider the Iraq war a campaign in the larger war) would be a struggle of years, if not decades. He also doesn’t recall that Congress authorized the use of force in an overwhelming vote, and hasn’t undone that.
I don’t like having to defend Bush. While I agree with a lot of his policies, personally I find him a smidgen offsetting. But the tactic of rewriting history to try to make the facts fit the positions of his critics (“Bush lied,” “illegal war,” “Bush linked Iraq and 9/11,”and the like) is despicable, and cannot be left unchallenged.
(Note: I don’t agree with a lot of the tone and conclusions of this piece, but it seems to have a fairly good recap of Clinton’s Kosovo adventure. Google can be your friend…)