- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 1999

Might the British be about to lose their marbles? President Clinton seemed to hope so last month when he joined in the fighting between Greeks and British over the “Elgin Marbles,” a collection of Greek marble statues currently on display in London’s British Museum. The 2,500-year-old monuments were acquired by the 7th earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, in the early 1800s, and the British government later bought them outright for 35,000 pounds sterling. Greece wants its artifacts back and has been asking for them for years. No word on whether they would like to give the descendants of the earl a refund in today’s pounds.
This feud may seem like ancient history, but leave it to our fearless leader, Mr. Clinton, to reignite 200-year old anger. On a tour of the Acropolis that took place during the president’s recent brief but certainly action-packed trip to Greece, Mr. Clinton was outwardly chagrined to learn that the British refused to hand over the statues to the Greeks, who are mounting a campaign to recover what they consider an important element of their national history.
In a strangely worded display of ethical rectitude, Mr. Clinton said, “If it would be me, I would give them back immediately.” That’s quite a remarkable statement coming from one of American history’s most morally vacuous leaders. It also makes you wonder what would be left in the Smithsonian Institution should Mr. Clinton decide to act on his sentiments.
The president, apparently giving in to an uncontrollable urge to feel the Greeks’ pain, unwittingly stuck his foot squarely in his mouth and simultaneously unleashed a wave of renewed hostility between Britons and Greeks. The British response, regardless of individuals’ stand on the statues’ return, seemed to be a collective call on Mr. Clinton to butt out. If only it were that simple.
If anyone knows about Mr. Clinton’s inability to mind his own business, it’s the American public. From FBI files to health care to redistribution of wealth, the president’s ability to distinguish between “mine” and “not mine” appears to have significantly deteriorated. In fact, the problem has progressed to the point where Mr. Clinton’s generosity could be considered his biggest fault. His generosity with other people’s things, that is. Americans can only hope Mr. Clinton’s term in office will come to a close before he bundles up the Statue of Liberty and ships it back to France.

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