Accusing Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and other unnamed Democrats of undermining the nation's unity over the war in Iraq, Rush Limbaugh, during his April 29 radio show, made the false claim that Republicans refrained from criticizing the war effort in Kosovo out of concern for unity:
LIMBAUGH: We have had Kosovo, which, I mean, it went without any casualties. There was no -- you know, Republicans didn.t raise a lot of hell about that. Didn.t try to divide the country over it.
Republicans relentlessly criticized former President Bill Clinton over his handling of the conflict in Kosovo. Leading the charge was House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, who referred to the allied operation as "the Clinton war," according to the Houston Chronicle on April 20, 1999. Other Republican leaders, the Chronicle reported, took to calling the Kosovo conflict "the Democratic war," and House Speaker Dennis Hastert even referred to U.S. military personnel involved in the NATO operation as "his (Clinton's) forces." According to The Washington Post on April 14, 1999, Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Larry E. Craig also referred to the operation in Kosovo as the "Clinton-Gore war."
On March 23, 1999, The Washington Post reported, "Republicans again criticized Clinton's Kosovo policy as the Senate opened a debate on whether to demand that any airstrikes must first win congressional approval. 'We're now picking sides in a civil war where the United States' interests are not clear,' Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) said as the debate got underway. 'Before we go bombing sovereign nations, we ought to have a plan.'"
According to The San Jose Mercury News on April 11, 1999, "Republican criticism of President Clinton's leadership in the growing Balkan war intensified" when Representative Heather Wilson observed in the Republican Party's weekly radio address, "Thus far our strategy in Kosovo has failed to achieve our political objectives... The president owes the Congress a complete picture of the situation in the Balkans -- the effect of the bombing, the military and non-military options available, and the risks of each. What is the vital American national interest at stake in the Balkans?" Wilson asked.
According to the Associated Press on April 27, 1999, Republican Senator Bob Smith said, "[T]he US should pull out now rather than get 'bogged down in wars that are not winnable.'" Smith said, "I don't have a lot of confidence in the President in this matter at all." Republican Representative Charles Bass "characterized White House policy as indecisive and confused." Bass said, "The President needs to advise Congress as to what exactly his strategy is."