David H. Hackworth
24 Feb 98


The latest storm over Iraq may pass without a drop of rain, but keep your umbrella handy. Saddam Hussein will be back with another storm before you can say El Nino.

Serial monsters never change their M.O.s.

The pundits will argue over who won this round, and Bill Clinton and Saddam Hussein will both claim victory. But whatever the call, this latest round was not our country's finest hour.

Over the last five years Clinton and crew have performed like the gang that couldn't shoot straight with a perfect record of blunders, called bluffs and wrongheaded uses of power.

Since 1993, Clinton has been allowed to use the U.S. military as though it were a muscle-bound bully with an I.Q. to match his hat size. When it comes to military matters, Clinton and his strategists haven't done anything right while simultaneously ignoring common sense and violating the critical Principles of War that professional soldiers must live by if they are to win.

Clinton and advisors are so incompetent that I'm surprised they didn't threaten to carpet bomb Nevada when weapons of mass destruction were reported there. Bombs over Nevada would have had the same results as the planned bombing campaign on Iraq. Lots of craters in the sand, lots of deaths and the president's ever changing objective not achieved because no one knew where the bugs and germs were stashed.

A look at Clinton's 1993 - 98 military adventure track record:

Somalia: 500 U.S. casualties, four billions bucks blown and in the end we -- the world's last superpower -- were booted out of that devastated country by barefooted rebels. Then Clinton calling our losses "unfortunate casualties," provided the enemy commander with a U.S. airplane and a security detail to keep him safe.

Haiti: he invaded that tormented island with 20,000 U.S. warriors, huffed and puffed about cleaning up the place and making it right for democracy. Now, $4 billion later and only months after our forces departed, conditions have returned to the horror that existed before we went in.

Bosnia: we're already in for $8 billion and the meter's running at about $2 billion a year. Our forces have been assigned an LAPD-type police mission and could be stuck there for decades with a guaranteed catastrophe awaiting the Bosnian people when the last U.S. soldier pulls out.

Iraq: since the end of Desert Storm, Iraq's been an annual billion dollar plus running sore. We've repeatedly bombed and deployed huge forces which cost billions more with zilch results and then threatened to bomb again each time Saddam acts up. After each crisis, the monster always pops up from his bunker wearing a big smile while giving us the bird. This last time Clinton really painted himself into a corner, but fortunately for him the U.N. tossed him a face saving rope.

These operations plus dozens of other Globo Robo Cop missions have been mainly exercises in futility, bad for the grunts but good for corporate America's bottom line. They've flat broken our forces, which under Clinton have been down-sized, right-size, politi-sized and repeatedly forced to do too much with too little. Each of these do-good operations, which have nothing to do with our national security, takes money from training, new equipment and spare parts budgets and have worn out our soldiers and their equipment.

Boxers lose their skill and sharp edge if not constantly in the ring sparring and training. Warriors are the same. They're not meant to be policemen or traffic cops or custom's inspectors.

When Saddam jumped out of his sand box last November our ground forces were out of gas. So Clinton couldn't do much but threaten to bomb -- which the last 50 years have shown doesn't work without a force on the ground.

Congress needs to examine Clinton's misuse of our forces and report to the American people on the real state of our military readiness. We deserve the truth. Those are our sons and daughters being put at high risk and our tax dollars being wasted.

Last, but not least, the President should be stripped of any authority to unilaterally declare war. War is too critical and too costly to be left in the hands of Clinton and his fumblers

The end