Real Wars and Movie Stars

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," an old proverb says. One standard applies to everybody. But many Hollywood celebrities seem to think that what's good for the donkey is bad for the elephant. Fighting was commendable when Clinton did it, but contemptible when Bush so much as contemplates it. The Wall Street Journal's online Opinion Journal ran an article on March 13 titled, "Stars and Gripes: Hollywood celebs aren't antiwar. They just hate the president." In it, author John Fund cited singer Sheryl Crow. After accompanying Hillary Clinton on a USO tour for troops in Bosnia several years ago, Crow told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, "Once over there, I felt extremely patriotic. Here are these people, from eighteen-year-olds to military veterans, enduring real duress for the cause of peace. I don't ever want to play for a regular audience again, only military folks who are starving for music." Ironically, Ms. Crow is appalled by action in Iraq and "hasn't been seen around any military bases lately." Fund also mentions actor Mike Farrell of M*A*S*H fame. Debating with former senator Fred Thompson on Meet the Press, Farrell accused the Bush administration of "trump[ing] up a case in which we are ballyhooed into war." But in 1999, Farrell had defended the Clinton administration's rationale for war in Kosovo, saying, "I think it's appropriate for the international community in situations like this to intervene. I am in favor of an intervention." "That's ironic," Fund observes, "because President Clinton's intervention in Kosovo . . . was much less justifiable. Weapons of mass destruction were not an issue; the rationale was exclusively humanitarian." In March 1999, Mr. Clinton said, "[I]f President Milosevic will not make peace, we will limit his ability to make war." Fund observes, "Insert the words 'Iraq' and 'Saddam' . . . in the above excerpt, and you could have a speech that President Bush would be happy to give on Iraq." The article also points out that the Clinton administration and NATO bombed Serbia for seventy-seven days without ever asking for even one UN approval. People who applauded that action now criticize Bush for not going back for approval number eighteen before using force against Iraq. Comedian Janeane Garofalo explains that Hollywood didn't protest the Clinton military ventures because "it wasn't very hip." By Hollywood standards, what was "hip" when Mr. Clinton did it, gets a negative flip when Mr. Bush does it. Critics of the war against Iraq in Hollywood and elsewhere might want to take another look at what President Clinton said in 1998: "What if Saddam fails to comply, and we fail to act? . . . Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And someday, some way, I guarantee you he'll use that arsenal." Now it is President Bush who is acting on that threat that President Clinton identified. One of the primary purposes of government is to defend its citizens. That is the purpose of the war against Iraq. President Clinton saw that clearly when he was in the Oval Office. It is a pity his supporters in Hollywood can't -- or, perhaps I should say, won't. For further reading: John Fund's Political Diary, "Stars and Gripes," Wall Street Journal, 13 March 2003. Roberto Rivera, "London Dumbstruck Blues: Celebrity 'Experts,'BreakPoint Online, 20 March 2003. Spencer Ackerman, "Cause Célèbre," The New Republic, 2 March 2003. Bill Clinton, "Trust Tony's Judgment," The Guardian (London), 18 March 2003. Leah Garchik, "Celebrities sneak anti-war sentiments into broadcast," San Francisco Chronicle, 24 February 2003. Read the transcript of the March 2 edition of Meet the Press with guests Fred Thompson and Mike Farrell. BreakPoint Commentary No. 030102, "Star Power and Suffering Children." Richard Morin and Claudia Deane, "7 in 10 Americans Back Decision to Go to War," Washington Post, 21 March 2003, A25.


Chuck Colson


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