GI's and the 'blue helmet' controversy

A curious linchpin of hypocrisy plaguing today's Republicans takes the following form: What Clinton did was objectionable, but under Bush it's "fine." I would say that applies to a variety of issues, whether it's a no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa, GIs wearing blue helmets, creating an under-funded Medicare drug benefit, etc. Either it's wrong or right, but it simply cannot be both.

Cliff Kincaid, editor for Accuracy in Media, has been continuing to write about US GI's wearing the UN blue helmet, and recently brought up some of these points with me.

Here he comments: "At a time when President Bush is pleading with the United Nations for permission to wage war on Iraq, he has assigned U.S. troops to wear U.N. uniforms and report to a foreign U.N. commander.

The pro-U.N. policy represents a violation of a Bush campaign promise and the 2000 Republican Party platform. It also represents a continuation of a policy that began under former President Clinton, who ordered the prosecution of a U.S. Army soldier who refused to join the U.N. Army."

Later in the article Kincaid quotes Bush: "'I will never place U.S. troops under UN command,' candidate Bush said in his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California, November 19, 1999. The 2000 Republican Party Platform declared that '…American troops must never serve under United Nations command.'"

Kincaid continues: "The United States Military Observer Group in the Pentagon confirms that U.S. soldiers wear U.N. blue berets and U.N. shoulder patches as members of UNOMIG – the United Nations Observer Mission in the country of Georgia. Soldiers ordered assigned to this mission wear this U.N. uniform. What´s more, they receive a United Nations physical examination before deployment to the mission and the U.N. pays some expenses associated with it. The purpose is to supervise the cease-fire between Georgia and Abkhazia. The U.S. troops take orders in the mission from a foreign commander named Major-General Kazi Ashfaq Ahmed of Bangladesh. After their service, members of UNOMIG may receive a ribbon described as "Central stripe of UN blue, flanked by white and green stripes, with dark blue edges."

...President Clinton´s order to U.S. troops to wear a U.N. uniform was extremely controversial, unpopular, and alleged to be illegal and unconstitutional. House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Delay sponsored a bill to prohibit the wearing of a U.N. uniform by U.S. service personnel. "

Kincaid: "Is this what conservatism has become? An apology for Bush doing what Clinton did?" Also see Bush Pulls a Clinton.