Clinton's "Wag the Dog" Maneuver

From: "Rick Damiani" ( )
Subject: Clinton's "Wag the Dog" maneuver
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 22:19:24 -0700

I have always enjoyed your point of view on things and check your web site regularly for updates. However, I think that you made a mistake in bashing the representatives who questioned President Clinton's motives in the recent US strikes. I think that we should all question his motives and find out if this marks as big a change in our foreign policy as it seems to.

I am a US Navy veteran. I served for 10-1/2 years. I served on USS Detroit during the strikes against Libya in 1985 (one defensive when the Libyan Navy attacked the USS America battle group, and one retaliatory as a 'pay-back' for the earlier attack). I missed the Gulf War because I was teaching at Great Lakes when it happened. I was on board the USS Spartanburg County off of the coast of Somalia from the end of January 1994 to May of 1994 covering the pull-out of the UN peacekeeping forces. Marines from my ship were the last American troops to leave Mogadishu, Somalia. I was also on board the USS Spartanburg County when, as the duty MARG we went to Haiti for reasons that are still unclear to me. I have always loved my country, and feel privileged to have been able to serve it to the best of my abilities.

Osama bin Laden

Nevertheless, over and over again I have watched my country take no effective action to combat terrorism. Even as our troops, businessmen, and tourists are increasingly the target of every yahoo with a gripe, our government responds with meaningless UN resolutions and strongly worded press releases. Time and time again we sit on our hands and ask our police or the police of other nations to respond for us. The terrorists count on our lack of action, they plan on it.

I know, it sounds like I should be cheering our recent military strikes. I do think that they are a step in the right direction and I hope that the trend continues. I am a little saddened at the loss of the moral high ground that we have tried over and over again to take, but terrorists don't seem to respond well to talking. However, I find it very difficult to believe that the same Clinton that seems to bend over backwards to try to achieve a 'peaceful' solution would adopt a military response to terrorist activity.

The strikes are out of character for Clinton and for the US. It's natural to ask what is different about this terrorist activity at a pair of US embassies as opposed to the car-bombing of the US embassy in Beirut or the siege of the US embassy in Iran. It can't be just the fact that we now have undetectable tomahawk cruise missiles - they have been around screwing up disarmament attempts since the '70s (it's one of our many nuke/conventional weapons systems that makes verification nearly impossible). President Clinton admitted to a lapse of judgment that is incredible in a politician as experienced as he is. If his judgment is (or can be) that impaired, then how can we place our faith in that judgment now?

Having been the subject of embarrassing official questions, I know that a normal enough response is to try to deflect the interest to another area. My lawyer suggested it. 'Wag the Dog' got way too much press for it to have been far from Clinton's mind when he ordered the strikes. Even though they are justified, even though it's high time we did something about terrorism, any rational person would and should ask the question - is he just trying to change the subject.

When I was in the Navy, after I became an NCO my senior NCOs advised me that I was now in a position where the my conduct would serve as an example to those of lesser rank. It is never sufficient to simply require proper behavior. Any leader worth following must have learned the same lesson I learned as a newly frocked Third Class Petty Officer: Don't do things that you would be ashamed of if they became public knowledge. Only by keeping private and public conduct above reproach can you legitimately require good behavior from your subordinates. How we managed to elect a President who never learned that I'll never know. But until he leaves office, we had better give all of his decisions the tightest possible scrutiny.


P.S. I am, as always, behind you 100% against the rat bastards in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I hope that you prevail.

--- A host is a host from coast to
& no one will talk to a host that's close..............Rick Damiani
Unless the host (that isn't close)......................ICQ# 191179
is busy, hung or dead..............................................

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