Monday, November 21, 2005

The World's Most Influential Hand Wringer

So the cover of Esquire magazine has Billy Clinton, and the title "The World's Most Influential Man Gets His Hands Dirty." World's Most Influential Man! A rather large title. There is no doubt he is very popular througout the world, but even Jerry Lewis is popular in France; it doesn't mean he influences anybody. He clearly is very respected for his intellect, and has the ear of the elite ruling classes abroad, but why is this true and to what end has he used it? He arguably spent most of his foreign policy energy banking on Arafat's ability to be a civilized leader, and by his own words Arafat made him a failure. I suspect part of the reason he is so loved abroad stems back to his apology tour, where he gave credence to the moral relativism that viewed a free and democratic US as one of two very similar scorpions in a bottle along with a Soviet regime that killed 20 million of its own citizens, and more than a handful abroad, as well as to many other supposed sins that are uniquely American. Now most of the sins he apologized for were none that he had any influence over, with the exception of Rwanda.

Apparently Richard Clarke, of Against All Enemies Fame (who should have titled his book Against All Evidence) was the key man on Rwanda within the Clinton administration. He has his second book of fiction out, and in one of those surreal DC moments, I was in Costco about 1 month ago picking up a birthday cake for the twins, and there at the head of an aisle stocked with small household appliances, was the greasey looking Clarke sitting at a table signing his books. There was a black woman there chatting him up; he looked very bored.

If you haven't seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, about the Hutu massacre of the Tutus, go rent it today and reflect on what the Most Influential Man in the World and the ageless American Bandstand Dick Clarke did to show the beneficence of our great nation. And then reflect on all of the Europeans, so enamored with big Bill, who likewise stood back and let it all happen. I'll paste most of the story here, from an article written long ago by Mark Steyn. Here is the link: Here are the highlights:

Bill Clinton felt their pain. Retrospectively. In 1998, on his Grand Apology Tour of Africa, a whirlwind tour of whirlwind apologies for slavery, the Cold War, you name it, he touched down in Kigali and apologized for the Rwandan genocide. ''When you look at those children who greeted us,'' he said, biting his lip, as is his wont, ''how could anyone say they did not want those children to have a chance to have their own children?''

''All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices,'' continued Bill in his apology aria, ''who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror.''

Au contraire, he appreciated it all too fully. That's why, during the bloodbath, Clinton administration officials were specifically instructed not to use the word ''genocide'' lest it provoke public pressure to do something. (hatcher: They show that part in the movie). Documents made public confirm that U.S. officials knew within the first few days that a ''final solution'' to eliminate all Tutsis was under way.

General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian commander of the 2,500 U.N. peacekeepers, said he could prevent the killing if he had 5,000 men. Instead, the Clinton administration blocked him from taking any action and got the blue helmets to pull out. The U.N. has to learn, said Clinton, ''when to say no.'' There weren't people like him all over the world sitting in offices. There was him, sitting in his office, the Pain-Feeler-In-Chief kissing off half-a-million nobodies: Toot-Toot, Tutsis, goodbye!

It's a tenable position to feel America has no interest in preventing one bunch of Africans slaughtering another bunch of Africans. But it requires especial reserves of cynicism and contempt to seek approval for feeling bad about it four years later. Whether or not the Bush administration could ever have put together a few random clues — an uptick in Arab men taking flight-school training, etc. — in time to prevent what happened on Sept. 11, Bill Clinton knew about Rwanda and chose to do nothing.

Why was this? Well, Somalia, of course. When 10 Belgian peacekeepers were hacked to pieces in Rwanda, it reminded the administration of those 18 U.S. servicemen in Mogadishu. As Samantha Power writes in her book A Problem From Hell: ''The news from Rwanda only confirmed a deep skepticism about the viability of UN deployments. Clarke believed that another U.N. failure could doom relations between Congress and the United Nations. He also sought to shield the president from congressional and public criticism.''

What was that name again? ''Clarke''? Who's that?

Turns out it's Mister Apology himself, Richard Clarke. He was the guy in charge of Rwandan policy for the Clinton team and, as far as I can tell, unlike the Pain-Feeler, he feels not even a twinge of pro forma remorse. As we know, regrets, he's had a few. But this isn't one of them. ''It is not always the United States that has to answer the 911 call,'' Clarke said. ''It is not always the United States that has to be the world's policeman.'' Correct. But in this instance, Clarke and Clinton went further and scuttled a U.N. mission that had already answered the 911 call. Nothing the supposedly ''unilateral'' Bush team has done damaged the U.N. and its credibility as much as the Clinton-Clarke team did during the Rwandan bloodbath. And whenever a local bully gets away with it, it emboldens others.

By all accounts, Clarke is a difficult man to work with. He reminds me of that comic classic on British history, 1066 And All That, with its battles between Royalists — ''wrong but romantic'' — and Roundheads — ''right but repulsive.'' In much of his Clinton-era approach to terrorism, Clarke seems to have been ''right but repulsive,'' which is why nothing got done; in his more fanciful moments, he was ''wrong but romantic.'' But in his present incarnation he's wrong and repulsive. He seems to have learned from his old boss, who's always preferred to apologize for the mistakes of others rather than his own: Shortly after 9/11, Bill Clinton apologized for the Crusades.

By Sept. 11, Clarke was far removed from the decision-making process on Afghanistan, al-Qaida and beyond. He has no more authority to apologize for the events of that day than I do.

But he bears a lot of responsibility for Rwanda. Any chance of an apology for that?


Anonymous Jim O said...

Amazing, Democrats who are unfeeling, egocentic bastards who would let an entire country fall to ruin to prove a point.


Thank god the Republicans don't do that.

(Insert outraged rant on the state of Iraq here.)

And you wonder why people hold their noses when they vote. We can't count on anyone to do what should be done, either because it "costs too much money" or it "isn't worth one American soldier's life".

A pox on both of the houses.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really can't blame Clinton for Rwanda. He was distracted. After all, wasn't he staining Monica Lewinsky's dress about that time? I don't know about you all, but when I am receiving a favor, I can't be bothered with the trivial problems of mass genocide.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When we hear an apology for the ongoing ingorance to the tragedy currently happening in the Sudan - or do we allow GW a slide on this one as he is distracted with the mess he created in Iraq - we can castigate Slick. Until such time, the current admin has their own genocide to answer......

9:11 AM  
Blogger Incredible Dirigible said...

Saying that W created the mess in Iraq or that he's responsible for genocide is RIDICULOUS. People who say that are totally content to look the other way when Saddam tortured athletes for losing or had rape rooms & torture chambers and mass graves. Saddam was Hitler Junior, but that means nothing to the Bush-haters. There is plenty of evidence that Saddam was well on his way to manufacturing WMDs; the proof is in the 500 tons of yellowcake uranium. If W hadn't removed him, he'd have nukes by now & no doubt would've be glad to use them on us, or sell them to those who would.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Professor Vic said...

Just a minute there, ID. I completely agree with your assessment of Saddam as a brutal thug. However, you are factually incorrect about the nuclear weapons part.

Obviously your reference to the 500 tons of yellowcake comes from the forged documents that the CIA produced claiming that Saddam had entered into a secret deal to purchase 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger. This source has been shown to be false. The whole Plame affair deals with this forgery. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, on July 7, 2003, recanted the 500 tons of yellow cake claim, stating "Now, we've long acknowledged -- and this is old news, we've said this repeatedly -- that the information on yellow cake did, indeed, turn out to be incorrect."

Come on now, ID. Have you been living in a hole for the past 3 years? There were no WMDs in Iraq. Period.

Arguing in 2005 that we would all be glowing today had we not gone in is simply ignorant and distracts from your valid reasons for invading (which is that Saddam was a genocidal dictator whether or not he had WMDs.)

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently ID doesn't really read through the entire post. If so, they would've noticed that the blame game being pasted on Slick must now also be attached to GW. Not for any of the situations occurring in Iraq, that is an entirely different set of facts to debate, but for the complete ignorance of Darfur. Seeing as how the post was castigating Slick for his ignorance of Rwanda, what excuse are we furnishing for GW in relation to Sudan ? Different president, same result. Tragedy in Africa ignored.......

11:26 AM  
Blogger Incredible Dirigible said...

Unfortunately, Anonymous, after I wrote my post, I did re-read the previous post (yours?) & saw that the genocide you were talking about was Sudan, not Iraq, & yes, I have wondered why that has been allowed to go on. But I didn't correct myself immediately; I thought in light of the remark about "the mess Bush created in Iraq", I'd let it stand.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tink GW versus Slick isn't Apples to Apples looking at Rwanda vs. Sudan. As Hatcher points to numerously in his blog, it was the fact that the UN was there to intercede and we denied support. In the case of the Sudan, no such UN peacekeeping force has been brought up that I"m aware of. In other words, we are not going to police the the case where policing (ie - Rwanda) was established, slick lost his moral compass 'cause he was looking at his political compass. GW clearly states his agenda and follows it.

Apparently, Hatcher needs to get his blog out into the mainstream a bit more, however, as any respectible blog would have caught the attention of the White House Press Corps and they'd be pounding away on 'ole GW to do something about Sudan.


2:15 PM  

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