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Make Love, Not War

Bill Clinton is much better at making love than war. I campaigned and voted for Bill Clinton twice and spoke up for him during the impeachment process, so I've paid enough dues to tell him the world was a better place when he was making out with Monica in the oval office rather than ordering bombing strikes in the Balkans. Just consider a cost-benefit analysis: we are probably spending more in one day of military action than Kenneth Starr has spent in three years of legal action. It will cost us at least double that amount to build back the bridges, hospitals, and infrastructure we are destroying every day until "July or August"---or however long it takes to "win' as Clinton and his fellow NATO warriors like to say.

A comparison of the moral costs of love versus war vis á vis Clinton's performance is interesting. Certainly, truth suffered in the USA when the Prez looked us in the eye, wagged his finger and said "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," but it's been said that the greatest casualty of war is the truth, and if Clinton really thinks the bombing of Yugoslavia is stopping the killing, he is either suffering from a clinical case of self-delusion or actually believes the intelligence reports of the "bomb-the-Chinese-Embassy-by-mistake" CIA. He might even pick up The NY Times and read one of Steven Erlanger's reports from Kosovo, quoting ethnic Albanians from different areas who say that most of the real violence and "ethnic cleansing" started when the NATO bombing began in their town or village.

Marital infidelity is not the moral equivalent of bombing and killing hundreds of innocent people and destroying the quality of life of millions more. I don't know if the policies of Milosevic have resulted in as much genocide as those of Ho Chi Minh, but I do know that in Bill Clinton's "make love, not war" days he opposed the "unjust" war in Southeast Asia and found a way to keep from putting his own life on the line to fight it. I'm not certain there is such a thing as a just war but I know for sure that Bill Clinton has not engaged in the kind of personal diplomacy necessary to bring about a conclusion to the war, and instead is sending more and more young Americans into a conflict that appears to be spinning out of control.

The German government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is teetering on collapse after its congress voted that NATO should declare a limited halt to the bombing. Russia, whose diplomatic efforts are crucial for a peace agreement with Yugoslavia, is verging on political chaos, with the possibility of a coalition of communists and ultra-nationalists taking over the government and its thermonuclear ICBM arsenal. The Russian Parliament recently voted by a 6-1 margin to join with Yugoslavia as a nation. Militarists who long for a resumption of the Cold War must be ecstatic with growing numbers of Russians and Chinese hating us about as much now as in the days of the Cuban missile crisis or the Korean War.

I wish Ron Brown were still alive to counsel the President about the real strength of the United States in the global community. Ron, who believed in the strength and diversity of all God's children in the USA and everywhere else, died in a tragic plane crash in the Balkans while peacefully pursuing a policy of economic stimulation and trade that could have bridged across the age-old ethnic and religious animosities of that region for everyone's mutual benefit.

Since 1949, there have been 19 ethnic and civil wars around the world with more than 6 million people killed. If the Clinton doctrine is to now randomly project our awesomely expensive, hi-tech, military power around the world by bombing the Balkans, or even Iraq, while genocide is practiced and tolerated in Turkey and Rwanda we will be perceived as the world's bully and worse. There's an old American folk adage that war is good for the economy, and if President Eisenhower were alive he would probably update his apprehension of the military-industrial complex by adding in the media-entertainment industry who cash in on war and violent conflict with elevated ratings and readership.

The only thing that rivals war and violence in interest to those viewers, listeners, readers, and voters is sex, so please, Mr. President, make love, not war. Your poll numbers were much higher when you were being impeached for messing around with Monica and the world was a much safer place.

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is

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