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  A commentary on Wesley Clark's record in Kosovo.
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Last EditedNot in Public Domain  Jan 03, 2004 10:13am
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News DateFriday, January 2, 2004 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionIf Wesley Clark wins the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States this year, it will be partly on the strength of his performance in the war over Kosovo. General Clark, who was NATO commander during the 78-day conflict in 1999, has made his conduct of the war a centrepiece of his campaign. Here, he claims, was an armed intervention that worked.

Unlike last year's invasion of Iraq, which he opposed, the Kosovo war was, as he sees it, both necessary and successful. As his campaign ads modestly put it, in Kosovo he "stopped a campaign of terror" and "liberated a people." Even better, he did it with friends. Gen. Clark accuses U.S. President George W. Bush of intervening against Saddam Hussein's Iraq without bringing important allies along. He, by contrast, helped assemble a grand coalition against Serbian leader Slobodan
Milosevic.

It would be a strong platform if it bore any resemblance to the truth. In fact, Gen. Clark is painting a glorified portrait of the Kosovo campaign, which was far less triumphant and multilateral than he would like Americans to think.

Gen. Clark is right to say that president Bill Clinton assembled a bigger coalition for Kosovo than Mr. Bush did for Iraq. All of NATO was on board in Kosovo, while in Iraq, Washington's only true military partner was Britain, with minor support from Australia, Poland and a few others. But
Kosovo was still mostly a U.S. mission. The thrust of the bombing campaign in that air war came from U.S. warplanes, and the decision to go ahead was essentially made in Washington.

And while NATO may have been on board, the United Nations decidedly was not. Washington avoided seeking support for the war from the UN Security Council when it became clear that Russia and China, each wielders of a possible veto, were opposed. Canada, which was to say four years later that it could not possibly participate in the Iraq conflict without UN support, went merrily along to the Kosovo war, UN be d
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