Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 14, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

IS HOWARD DEAN A WARMONGER?....Robert Tagorda points out today that Howard Dean wrote a letter to Bill Clinton in 1995 saying that we should take unilateral action in Bosnia:

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.

He wonders how Dean can square this with his opposition to unilateral action in Iraq, and then offers a few possibilities. But I'll offer one more. I clicked over to read the text of the letter, and here's what it says:

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.

I'll let the Dean supporters do the heavy lifting of supporting their guy, but in his defense I have to point out that he probably supported the same kinds of actions in Iraq. As in Bosnia, though, he didn't support a full scale invasion.

Maybe he was right both times, maybe he was wrong both times. But I'm not really sure there's very much inconsistency here.

(It's also worth pointing out that it's not really inconsistent to support one war and oppose another anyway. In fact, one of Dean's points all along about Iraq has been that he opposed this war at this time, not that he opposes the use of military force in general.)

Kevin Drum 11:33 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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