Anyone who dissents from U.S.
foreign policy must be nuts, hints Canada's national newspaper, The
Globe and Mail.
In its August 1, 2001 edition,
the newspaper uses the occasion of former U.S. attorney-general
Ramsey Clark's visit to Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of
Yugoslavia, to paint a picture of Clark as having gone "ga-ga."
Milosevic, now in a Dutch prison,
is awaiting trial for war crimes.
Clark, a lawyer, whose father was
U.S attorney-general, and who, himself served as U.S.
attorney-general during the Vietnam War, visited with Milosevic to
offer advise on Milosevic's legal defense.
Once hailed as a possible
presidential candidate, Clark's politics turned sharply left in the
80's. He founded the International Action Centre, which describes
itself as being active in "resistance to U.S. militarism, war, and
The full-page Globe and Mail
article is silent on the reasons Clark is defending Milosevic,
pointing instead to Clark having a history of taking "on an
assortment of accused terrorists, accused war criminals, and
ex-Nazis," including "native activists Leonard Peltier, accused
terrorist Lori Berenson, accused Rwandan war criminal Elizaphan
Ntakirutimana as well as Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader
charged with war crimes." A personality defect, not sound reasons,
apparently, led Clark to the steps of the Dutch prison.
The newspaper points to the New
Republic's assessment of Clark (disreputable) and to online magazine
Salon's (the tool of left-wing cultists), but in a concession to
journalistic balance also serves up a defense. Christopher Black, a
Canadian lawyer who has also visited Milosevic at The Hague, is
quoted as saying ,"They always try to marginalize the left, saying
we're either old fashioned wing nuts or Stalinist hard-liners. Any
emotive word that condemns you off the bat, they use."
Black himself was the subject of
a Globe and Mail profile, which dwelled long on the lawyer's
connection to the Communist Party of Canada, but had little to say
about the reasons why Black opposes Milosevic's imprisonment.
For its part, the newspaper links
Clark to emotionally-charged names: Gadhafi, Lyndon Larouche, the
PLO, terrorists, and astonishingly, to Quebec's Bill 101, much hated
in English Canada. It seems Clark is linked with everything that is
Among Mr. Clark's many actions
the newspaper holds in disrepute is his condemning of "the 1999 NATO
bombing of Yugoslavia to end the army's purge of ethnic Albanians in
Kosovo as a violation of human rights." Clark is portrayed as
opposing a legitimate and humanitarian attempt to stop the Yugoslav
army's purge of ethnic Albanians, yet in a bit of Orwellian
rewriting of history, the Globe and Mail has the exodus happening
before the NATO bombing campaign, not after. Clark didn't oppose an
end to repression. He only questioned whether it was actually
happening, and whether stories of ethnic cleansing and genocide were
the Balkan's Gulf of Tonkin equivalent. Much that's been revealed
since shows he was right.
As U.S. attorney-general, Clark
supported U.S. intervention in Vietnam, an immoral war that killed
or injured 1,000 civilians every week, far bloodier, and more
decidedly criminal, than anything Milosevic, "the butcher", is
accused of. At the time Clark's sanity was never questioned, he was
never reviled in the media for offering comfort to "war criminals,"
even though he was a member of a cabinet of war criminals, and his
reasons for supporting U.S. foreign policy were explained by the
media in detail.
But today, as he questions the
foreign policy of the establishment he once belonged to, doubts are
raised about his sanity, and the media keeps mum on the reasons for
his dissent. He's simply ga-ga.
Support an insane, immoral
policy, and you're a model of reasonableness. Dissent, and you've
Mr. Steve Gowans is a
writer and political activist who lives in Ottawa, Canada.