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Five weeks ago, when Sam Dash sandbagged Ken Starr, the pollsters and vote-counters were all predicting that even if the House Judiciary Committee voted for impeachment, it would never pass the full House. Clinton might have attacked Iraq then and gotten away with it. But he thought maybe he would wait until he could manufacture a good pretext for a war. And as he waited, the so-called "moderate" Republicans on whom he had placed his hopes, declared one by one that they would vote for impeachment. By the beginning of last week, even his strongest supporters conceded that he would be impeached and would be tried by the Senate. And so with only hours to go before the impeachment vote, he starts a war.
Well, I guess that's sort of a Democratic tradition, but still nearly everyone was surprised when he did it. I mean, that's such breathtaking chutzpah that even some Jews were embarrassed. They were not happy that the war against Iraq that they had been scheming for and urging for so long would be seen as merely a cheap trick to save Bill Clinton from impeachment.
But of course, that's exactly what it is, and that's obvious to everyone with an IQ above 70. That doesn't include the yahoos of the American Legion and similar groups, who like to put on all their medals, salute the flag, and proclaim their loyalty to the commander in chief. But the politicians and media people are not that stupid: crooked, but not stupid. Nevertheless, I was worried right after the attack on Iraq last Wednesday that they would be afraid to say anything against Mr. Clinton's new war. Some of them, of course, were publicly expressing their support for the attack immediately, saying things like, "We should have attacked Saddam a long time ago." And no one wanted to be denounced as an "anti-Semite" for saying anything against the Jews' crusade to destroy Saddam Hussein.
On the other hand, it was easy to see that the brighter ones had figured out that there was no way they could support commander-in-chief Clinton without the stink rubbing off on them. The Jews might be grateful to them at the moment, but in the long run it would look so bad that they didn't want to be associated with it, and so they began a tortured routine of praising the war without mentioning Mr. Clinton. And the impeachment process, which had been derailed for a few hours, was put back on track.
Right after the attack the Republican politicians all were saying darkly that they hoped Clinton had a good excuse for what Congressman Bob Livingston called his "unique" timing. And all Clinton could come up with is that he had to attack before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began on December 20, four days after he started the war. He said it would be very offensive to Muslims everywhere if he started the war during Ramadan. When two or three leading Republicans -- Mississippi's Trent Lott, for example -- suggested that he had started the war in an attempt to postpone impeachment, he pretended to be offended. He said, with a phony tone of wounded dignity, "I don't think any serious person would believe that any President would do such a thing." Of course, that's exactly what every serious person did believe. But as I had feared, the politicians didn't have the courage or the honesty to stand on that position, and Lott and the others who had questioned the timing quickly backed down.
One Congressman, who was afraid to let his name be used, told the Washington Times that he had found a great deal of cynicism among senior military leaders in the Pentagon about their commander in chief. They were in daily contact with the White House in the weeks before the war began, and the generals and admirals had noticed that the White House's eagerness to begin bombing Iraq grew in intensity as one undecided Republican after another declared that he would vote to impeach. When the Congressman discussed the timing of the war with the military leaders, they laughed with contempt. They all had the same question: "Why now?" They all considered Clinton's stated excuse to be a pathetic lie.
Clinton hadn't built a coalition against Iraq, he didn't have a clear war plan and hadn't given the Pentagon time to develop one. There was no strategic objective for the attack. Furthermore, on Sunday, December 13, Clinton had told the Pentagon to prepare to launch an assault against Iraq that week. That was two days before the U.N. report claiming that Iraq was not cooperating with weapons inspectors was sent to the White House, late Tuesday night. Clinton waited until receiving the UN report to actually start the bombing, but it was clear to everyone in the Pentagon that that was phony, that he already had made up his mind on Sunday, three days earlier. They were all convinced that they had been ordered to go to war solely to postpone Clinton's impeachment. That's what the top military leaders of our nation believed when they began firing cruise missiles into Iraq on Clinton's orders.
One person in the know who spoke out was former chief U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter. He's certainly no friend of Iraq, and he resigned last August in protest against what he believed was an insufficiently aggressive effort to discover Iraq's weapons facilities. But hours before Clinton attacked Iraq last week, when Ritter knew the attack was coming, he told the New York Post that Richard Butler, the U.N. official in charge of weapons inspection, is collaborating with Clinton and his Jewish advisers rather than doing his U.N. job honestly and correctly. Ritter said, "What Richard Butler did last week with the inspections was a set-up. This was designed to generate a conflict that would justify a bombing." Ritter said that officials in the U.S. government told him that when the weapons inspectors were sent back into Iraq on November 19, after Saddam had capitulated on November 14 to head off an imminent U.S. attack and said he would not interfere with the inspections, the inspectors were secretly instructed to provoke a crisis that could be used as a pretext to begin the war. Which, of course, is exactly what I told you would happen, in my broadcasts of November 21 and November 28. Richard Butler went along with the scheme and produced a phony report saying that Iraq was not cooperating, but Clinton, seeing impeachment looming, couldn't even wait for that report. And the International Atomic Energy Agency, also monitoring the situation in Iraq, reported that the Iraqis were doing everything they could to comply with the weapons inspectors.
Ritter told the New York Post, "You have no choice but to interpret this as Wag the Dog. You have no choice." You know, I'm not the one who said that. It was our former chief weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, who personally knows all of the people involved and knows exactly how the system works. His statements are in the December 17 edition of the New York Post, but you'll have to have sharp eyes to find them anywhere else. Most of the media chose to ignore him.
And in case you don't already know, Wag the Dog is a recent Hollywood film in which a fictional President of the United States deliberately starts a war to divert attention from a scandal which arises when he has sex with a teen-aged girl in the White House.
This war against Iraq doesn't reveal anything new about Bill Clinton. We already knew that he was a man without a trace of honor or patriotism, a man who would do anything at all to protect himself from impeachment, a man who would start a war without a moment's hesitation if he thought it might be advantageous to himself personally. We also knew that he was a man with extremely poor judgment. Perhaps he really believed that no one would question the timing of his attack on Iraq and that he could brazen it out. The frightening thing is that he might have succeeded if he'd attacked earlier -- or even invented a better excuse for attacking when he did.
What this new war does is cast a little more light on the character of the system of which Bill Clinton is a part. You know, there's not a politician in Washington who doesn't understand exactly why Clinton unleashed the cruise missiles and smart bombs on Iraq. That was the time for every public official -- especially the members of Congress -- to speak out loudly against this criminal use of America's armed forces against another country to serve Mr. Clinton's personal and private needs. Every member of the Congress should have denounced Clinton's attack on Iraq instantly. The impeachment process should have moved ahead on an emergency, around-the-clock basis, followed by an immediate trial in the Senate, even during the Christmas holidays, to remove a criminal President from office before he could do any more damage and further dishonor the United States.
And you know, a great deal of damage has been done -- and I'm not talking about the bombing damage in Baghdad. The rioters who have been smashing up American embassies in half-a-dozen countries represent the feelings of most of the world's people about the United States -- certainly the feelings of young people, of university students, everywhere. When one 20-year-old protestor last week called America "the spawn of all evil," he was speaking for all the rest. Of course, the American Legion, the Rotary Club, the idiots in the Junior Chamber of Commerce don't understand this, but when Saddam Hussein or someone else somewhere finally is provoked into unleashing real weapons of mass destruction on Israel or the United States, the cheering will be heard around the world, not just in the Middle East.
You know, I watched the first part of the impeachment proceedings on television last Saturday, and the image which sticks in my mind is all the Democratic Congressmen walking out of the Capitol in protest during the voting and holding a little pep rally in support of Clinton in the Capitol parking lot. They were all spouting the familiar baloney, expressing fake outrage that the Republicans weren't supporting the commander in chief when the country was at war, shouting that everyone should stop picking on poor Mr. Clinton and let him get back to work on the job he was elected to do, and so on.
Now, as I said earlier, these Democrat politicians aren't that stupid. They understood just as well as the Republicans did why Clinton was bombing Iraq. But they had their eyes on the latest polls, which showed that 60 per cent of the voters were opposed to impeachment and three-quarters of them supported Clinton's war against Iraq. And it is clear that that's all that was important to these Democrat Congressmen. These representatives of the American people certainly weren't going to take an unpopular position and risk losing votes. Whatever the rabble wanted they would try to give the rabble -- anything except real leadership.
And I don't mean to imply that the Republican politicians are basically different. It's just that they had their eyes on slightly different polls: they were more interested in what Republican voters wanted rather than what the electorate as a whole wanted. They knew that a majority of Republicans supported impeachment. But they wouldn't speak out against Clinton's war, because they also knew that a majority of Republicans were of the same mind-set as the American Legion and the Rotary Club. And failing to speak out against Clinton's bombing of Iraq, refusing to condemn him for it, is seen as condoning it -- and rightly so.
Perhaps I'm being too stuffy about this business of bombing other countries as a way of dealing with sex scandals. Perhaps I should take the attitude of the generals and admirals in the Pentagon and regard it all as a game, good for a laugh now and then, and just go along with it. Perhaps I should applaud the bombing of Iraqis, simply because they're a pretty greasy bunch. Saddam Hussein certainly is a greasy-looking fellow. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. Perhaps it would be a good thing just to declare open season on greasy-looking people everywhere. I'm inclined to believe that the world would be better off without them. But I also believe that when we start getting rid of greasy types, we should begin with that greasy bunch around Mr. Clinton. We should tie Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger and William Cohen and the rest of the bunch to the next batch of bombs we drop on Baghdad.
Well, that's just wishful thinking, of course -- and the fact is, it's not really a game we're involved in: it's the most serious possible business, and every serious person, every person with any shred of a sense of responsibility, must concern himself with it. Just think: we have a system which allows a politician with nothing more going for him than charm and acting ability to become President -- and commander in chief of the world's most powerful military force wielding an awesomely destructive arsenal. We have a system which puts a constitutional psychopath in a position to push the doomsday button. What happened last week is not some science-fiction scenario. It's not something scripted in Hollywood. It was real. Clinton ordered the generals and admirals to start a war, and they did. They knew what Mr. Clinton's motives were, they laughed up their sleeves at him, they understood that they would be putting our military people at risk and using our forces to kill Iraqis for no better reason than taking the impeachment heat off Clinton for a while. And the Congress understood this too. But no general or admiral resigned in protest, and no Congressman made a big issue of it. When the bombing was over, the officers in the Pentagon didn't even act embarrassed. All they talked about is what percentage of their targets they succeeded in destroying.
You know, this business of bombing Iraq is a lot more than killing a few dozen Arabs and destroying some Iraqi real estate. It may not seem serious to the American Legion types, because Iraq isn't big enough to hit back -- at least, not in a conventional way. But we did wage unprovoked war on Iraq. And it's getting to be a habit. We also attacked Sudan and Afghanistan a few months ago. Those countries, like Iraq, are sovereign nations. People around the world notice these things. They draw conclusions from these things. Corrupt leaders at the top of other countries will continue to collaborate with the United States as long as the United States remains militarily and economically powerful, but even these corrupt leaders are appalled at the behavior of the U.S. government. There is no respect at all left. Clinton and the U.S. government as a whole are a laughingstock everywhere. The leaders may not laugh in our faces yet, but they all laugh behind our backs.
And younger people everywhere despise us intensely. A few years ago we were considered to be a dangerous bully. Now we are considered a dangerous bully who is completely out of control and unpredictable, an utterly irresponsible bully. The moral imperative to put us down, to protect the rest of the world from us, becomes stronger every time Clinton does something like he did last week. That sort of criminal irresponsibility may not seem important to the Clinton supporters whose primary interest is keeping their welfare checks coming, but there are a few serious, thoughtful people left in the world, and they understand that it cannot be tolerated.
The problem that serious Americans have is not so much that their President is willing to start a war to delay his impeachment, but that doing so doesn't hurt his popularity. Clinton can be replaced. Replacing the electorate will be a more difficult task, a much more fundamental task -- but nevertheless a necessary task for America's long-term survival. When the rabble -- the welfare class and the perverts and the racial minorities -- make up only a small minority of the electorate, many people are inclined to tolerate them. When they become a majority, they no longer can be tolerated. I've spoken before about the shortcomings of a democratic system of government, but Bill Clinton has made a more striking demonstration of those shortcomings than I ever could.
You know what I'd like to happen now? I'd like a long and bitter trial of Clinton in the Senate, with the Democrats and Republicans tearing each other to pieces for the next three or four months. At least, that should keep the politicians out of trouble and off our backs for a while. And then I'd like to see Clinton acquitted by one or two votes, so that for the next two years he can provide further demonstrations of the unsuitability of democracy as a system of government in the 21st century. What I'm afraid of is that the Democrats and Republicans, understanding that they all feed from the same trough and that it is not to their advantage to make any more of a public spectacle of the system of which each of them is a part, will try to get the trial over as quickly as possible. And of course, the polls will encourage them to do just that, not so much because the voters want to save the system from further embarrassment, but because they want to get back to their ball games.
I hope that some of the generals and admirals in the Pentagon who laughed at Clinton's excuse for bombing Iraq will become serious now and begin thinking about their responsibilities to their country and will understand that they cannot be faithful to those responsibilities and continue to serve the system at the same time.
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