They just want to go home

By Lonnie Shoultz
web posted June 1999

Looking crisp, clean and fresh, Hillary Clinton, the on-again off-again New York Senatorial candidate from Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arkansas, and Washington, DC, recently returned from a gallop abroad and explained to the world what the displaced ethnic Albanian Kosovars wanted in her husband's war - "They just want to go home." But, what home?

Each morning, Joe Lockhart, President Clinton's Press Secretary tells America's media how many homes were destroyed and people displaced in Kosovo by Serbian military and paramilitary units. At the same time across the Atlantic, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea tells the world media that Serbian tanks are hard to hit by NATO bombs because they are hiding inside the gutted houses of the displaced refugees from the war in Kosovo. I've never seen a house with a garage door large enough to accommodate a Russian-made tank, so I must assume that the tanks are knocking down the walls of the houses to get inside. That will make the houses pretty breezy during the coming winter in Kosovo.

While Shea is making his announcement at NATO headquarters, the Serbian state-run television in Belgrade is running footage of houses in Kosovo bombed by NATO, presumably trying to hit the Serbian tanks Shea says are hidden inside. Milosevic's side of the story is that the houses were hit by NATO bombs that missed their intended targets. Regardless of how all of the houses were destroyed, they are destroyed. So, to just which houses does Ms. Clinton want to send the displaced ethnic Albanian Kosovars? The ones they lived in are, by and large, gone!

America has a history of poor planning for ending its wars. After World War I, it took over two years for the military to discharge all of the men who had been sent "over there." World War II ended abruptly a year before the Joint Chiefs planned and left our military scrambling to find sufficient transportation to bring the military home while at the same time trying to decide on how to rebuild Europe. When President Nixon ordered the troops home from Vietnam, it literally turned into a race to see who could be the first out the door and the last guy out turned off the lights. The American military gave the keys to its trucks, tanks and helicopters to the Vietnamese and took off for the "land of the big PX." So, someone in the Clinton administration needs to be planning for the end of the conflict in Kosovo, but I'm not sure that Hillary Clinton is the one to take the lead in this, or any other, matter facing the nation.

Ms. Clinton has a penchant for oversimplification of a problem. For her to tell us that the post-war goal of the Kosovars is that "They just want to go home" when few homes exist, reminds me of her statement in 1993 when she told the nation that people "Just want health insurance." After many months and millions of wasted tax dollars, Ms. Clinton produced a health insurance plan for the country that a battalion of lawyers and a regiment of accountants couldn't unscramble. She doesn't seem to have any talent for tackling large government issues such as public health insurance or the rebuilding of Kosovo. Maybe she should just stick with her job of trying to find out which of her staff members put the pornographic ornaments on the White House Christmas tree.

Hillary's poor record of dealing with large public issues is probably not her fault and it is doubtful that she even understands why she is so poorly equipped to act in the government service arena. She is the product of privilege and doesn't have the same grasp of the essentials of life that are faced by the rest of the human race. Born the child of a wealthy Chicago area businessman, Hillary has never wanted for anything that could not be delivered by noon of the following day if her daddy opened his checkbook.

After a childhood and adolescence spent in all of the right schools and social affairs in her affluent near Chicago suburb, Hillary made the most of her liberal leanings in the turbulent 1960s when she attended a hotbed of social unrest, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Then, it was off to law school for her in Connecticut at Yale University, that bastion of the elite where it is doubtful that Hillary even met any of the common folk or the "great unwashed" of her country. The Affirmative Action programs designed to bring diversity to collegiate student bodies had not kicked in when Hillary was a campus radical.

After graduation from law school, Hillary got the plum assignment of the century for a liberal, a chance to work on the prosecution of a conservative who had gone bad. During her work on the Congressional committee investigating President Richard Nixon's transgressions involving the cover up surrounding the break in at the Watergate Apartments and Office Complex, Hillary made it to all of the photo ops to have her role recorded for posterity. Her fellow travelers among the liberals involved in that investigation are still stalwarts of the Democratic Party. Like Hillary, none of them had to wait for their government paychecks to pay the rent. They were for the most part, by all accounts, trust fund babies like Hillary.

Most of us have to spend some time each week, or certainly each month, ascertaining that our income will cover our living expenses. Trust fund babies like Hillary Clinton never have that concern. While most of her countrymen are ranking their expenses for payment, Hillary has that extraordinary monthly income to rely upon each month. She never has to make a choice between paying the mortgage or utilities first or whether to buy groceries before or after we pay our car note. Her accountant simply pays all of her bills out of her trust fund income. That very lack of worry about personal finances is what creates the great gulf between Hillary and the rest of us.

Hillary Clinton looks at a problem and offers an offhand comment about the solution with the knowledge that money will fix everything but with no thought whatsoever of who will have to pay for the cure. Those of us who have never known the life of privilege look at the same problem and wonder how much and whose money will be thrown at the solution. We don't have a trust fund with its tax-free income from municipal bonds to send our daughters to prestigious universities and pay off the people suing our spouses for sexual misconduct. Only a product of privilege like Hillary would see nothing unequal about those actions. She just accepts her elevated status in American society as one of her rights for being born rich.

Although she is clueless about solving the problem and the enormous resources required, Ms. Clinton, or more likely one of her speechwriters, has at least raised one of the right questions about the crisis in Kosovo. What do we do with the displaced Kosovars once the bombing and ground fighting stops in their native area? Sprinkling many thousands of them across America and Europe is not going to provide a long-term solution to the problem.

Whether he likes it or not, President Clinton will have to call a halt to this Kosovo mess sooner or later if for no other reason than we've run out of targets to bomb in Yugoslavia. We've hit everything of military value to the Serbs and the Chinese in Yugoslavia, and now we're just bombing the rubble from previous air strikes. This foolishness must come to an end whether President Clinton is ready to face the music over "Chinagate" or not. He can't go on bombing the Serbs forever just to keep from answering a few questions about selling our nuclear secrets to the Communist Chinese. The only ones still clinging to the notion of bombing Yugoslavia into submission seem to be Clinton and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Even one of President Clinton's fellow members in the New World Order, Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, has begun to look for a way out of the trap in Kosovo.

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