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General Wesley Clark's Poor Record in the Balkans
by Mark Brnovich
8 October 2003

What did the Dayton Accords really accomplish? General Clark's policies resulted in alienating our allies and Russia. Ethnic cleansing was allowed to continue under Clark and still does. Most people don't realize that his promotion to four star general was only because of the intervention of a high-level Clinton appointee.

General Wesley Clark seems as if he is the perfect candidate for President. He is, after all, the perfect politician. He is unable to make a decisive decision on the meaningful issues of our times. When questioned about the war in Iraq, he equivocated and indicated he would have voted for the resolution authorizing war, but he would have urged that the war be delayed. To the editors and writers at the Washington Post, he couldn't remember if he voted for Ronald Reagan. When it came to his supposed greatest achievement, the execution of the most recent Balkans war, he was once friends with Serbian leaders accused of ethnic cleansing, then later bombed their homes and hospitals.

The American public should question what credentials the former General has besides having friends in high places. In fact, his promotion to four star general was only the result of the intervention of a President Clinton appointee, Defense Secretary William J. Perry.

As far as the war in the Balkans, he was once part of the delegation that gave us the 1995 Dayton Accords that "ended" the war in Bosnia. For those who don't remember, Clark was very friendly with Serbian General Mladic and even exchanged gifts with him. General Mladic has since been indicted for atrocities that occurred prior to General Clark meeting with him.

One of the provisions of the Dayton Accords is that foreign fighters must leave the Balkans. This included the "mujahadeen" fighters who volunteered to fight for their Muslim brothers. Bin Laden was reported to have training camps in the Balkans and visited on three occasions between 1994 and 1996. He also held a Bosnian passport. As a result of the radical network that he developed in the Balkans, it should surprise no one that one of the first acts of terrorism prevented after 9-11 was the attempt to bomb the United States embassy in Sarajevo.

Of course, Clark may argue that compromising himself at the time was necessary to achieve "peace" in the Balkans. But, what did the Dayton Accords really accomplish? Just four years later, the United States was forced to once again undertake military action under the direction of General Clark in Kosovo. The military commitment has not ended and the United States continues to spend billions of dollars and send thousands of soldiers into the Balkans.

The policies of General Clark also resulted in alienating our allies and Russia. When people accuse the United States of having an arrogant foreign policy they should remember that it started on Wesley Clark's watch. One well recounted story concerns how General Clark, in a fit of rage, wanted British General Mike Jackson to deploy troops to stop the Russians from seizing an air field in Pristina in 1999. General Jackson told Clark that he wasn't “going to start World War III” for him. Never mind that Clark had assured the Russians they would have a peacekeeping role in Kosovo.

In Kosovo today, ethic cleansing continues. Today, it is hundred of thousands of Orthodox Christians and Roma who are being forced from their ancestral homes. As of last week, over 100 Orthodox churches and monasteries, which withstood the onslaught of both the Ottoman Empire and the Nazis, have been heavily damaged or destroyed. Emboldened, the so called Kosovo Liberation Army ("KLA"), has begun to destabilize Macedonia. Maybe General Clark should explain why the KLA, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States State Department until the late 1990s, is now our ally.

One of the benefits of General Clark's candidacy is that we will finally scrutinize the interventionist policies of former President Clinton. We can examine the destruction and instability those policies have wrought upon the Balkans. Under General Clark’s leadership, ethnic cleansing was allowed to continue and terrorists established a foot hold in Europe. As a result, the United States is less secure. Is this the resume we want our next President to have?

Mark Brnovich is a lawyer and writer. His views do not represent those of any organization.

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