- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

Many Democratic critics of President Bush's war plans in Iraq did not express the same reservations about President Clinton's military actions in Kosovo in 1999.
And many Republicans who today support U.S. action in Iraq opposed a resolution authorizing Mr. Clinton to use force in the Balkans.
On May 3, 1999, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, argued on the floor of the Senate that the "best resolution" to getting rid of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was through diplomacy, but it was clear that it wouldn't work.
"Unfortunately, such a resolution depends on Slobodan Milosevic halting his campaign of genocide and agreeing to the reasonable conditions set forth by the United States and our allies," Mr. Dodd said. "So far, however, he has indicated that force is the only language he understands."
Mr. Dodd said then that U.S. action was justified because Mr. Milosevic was executing a "campaign of genocide" and applauded the fact that 19 NATO members supported the military strikes in Kosovo. The Senate voted 78-22 in May 1999 to table a resolution that would have authorized military action. Mr. Clinton, however, led a NATO strike against Mr. Milosevic that was not endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.
In recent weeks, Mr. Bush has cited Saddam Hussein's persecution of the Kurds in northern Iraq and the Shi'ite Muslims in southern Iraq as part of the justification for going to war. The president also promised that if war is necessary a "coalition of the willing" would be with the United States.
As of today, 18 countries have expressed support for the use of force to disarm and dislodge Saddam, including Britain, Denmark, Spain, Australia and numerous Eastern European countries. The United Nations is expected not to endorse a war.
On the Senate floor yesterday, Mr. Dodd criticized the Bush administration for not getting enough allies behind its war plans and urged that diplomacy through the United Nations be given more time to work.
This position stands in contrast to the one that he and many of his Democratic colleagues took with regards to NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. On March 23, 1999, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, asked his Senate colleagues, "What do we think is going to happen if we walk away" from Kosovo?
Mr. Biden supports the removal of Saddam but has accused the Bush administration of committing "diplomatic blunders" and questions why the United States must soon invade Iraq. In the Kosovo campaign, Mr. Biden supported military action.
Republican senators opposed to authorizing military intervention in Kosovo employed some of the same arguments made by opponents of war in Iraq today.
On March 23, 1999, Sen. Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican, said he had reservations about "attacking a foreign country because they refused to allow an international force to be stationed in their country."
Mr. Nickles also warned about the possibility of "adverse reactions" that the Clinton administration "hasn't thought about," such as inflaming Serbian forces to increase their repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and destabilizing the region.
During that 1999 debate, Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, worried about the precedent of intervening in Kosovo and said he was concerned that Mr. Clinton didn't have a "full plan" about how to solve the crisis in the Balkans.
Attempts to reach Mr. Brownback yesterday were not successful, but Mr. Nickles said the two crises are very different.
"The most important difference is that President Bush is trying to protect our own citizens, American lives," Mr. Nickles said. "Saddam Hussein agreed to disarm when we defeated him in 1991. He's in violation of 17 U.N. resolutions. America and the United Nations have repeatedly called on him to disarm. We must follow through on our words."
In an interview yesterday, Mr. Dodd said the conditions in place in Kosovo in the spring of 1999 do not exist now in Iraq. For one, European countries refused to intervene to protect ethnic Albanians from being slaughtered by Mr. Milosevic.
"Efforts were made to resolve the [Kosovo] situation through diplomatic means," Mr. Dodd said. "And without some effort to step in, there would have been continued slaughter."
In Iraq, our goal has "been to disarm Saddam Hussein," Mr. Dodd said. "There's never been the suggestion" that the United States would be occupying and performing peacekeeping duties as we now do in Kosovo.
"We endorsed [Resolution 1441] that stated we are going to have inspections," Mr. Dodd said. "Heck, we wrote it. We should give it time to work."

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