His domestic agenda in tatters, President Bill sounds the happy drumbeat of war in an attempt to distract restless natives. Slips another notch on the “morality-o-meter.” (Who knew negative numbers were possible?) Monica Lewinsky and why “loose lips sink ships.”
President Clinton holed up this weekend (or is that a poor choice of words?) at Camp David to salvage what he can from the ruins of his second term. Huddling close by were scores of advisors—military officers, governmental officials and presumably female interns with ticket stubs in hand—in a scene that must have felt at least something like Hitler’s last days in his Berlin Bunker.
His domestic agenda surrounded by Monica Lewinsky-based subpoenas, Clinton finds himself struggling to move the focus of the executive branch—and therefore the country—to foreign policy areas, a subject where he has about as much experience and skill as the Spice Girls have fashion sense and musical talent. Simply put, Clinton’s forte is not diplomacy with other nations. (A quick aside: One can only hope that there was no White House intern foreign exchange program, or we’re in real trouble.)
All of which leads us to the brink of war with Iraq, a country of minor national interest and importance. If it seems to you that this does not follow, you’ve obviously not seen Wag the Dog with Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro. Given Clinton’s domestic troubles, attacking Iraq is not just a military option, it’s a political necessity.
For you see, Clinton’s is a sinking ship of a presidency, and were this the Titanic, I dare say that his role would be to announce that people should “please disregard the very large ice cube now floating off the port bow” and/or to scurry to the life boats where he would proclaim himself to be Chief Life Boat Inspector and demand an immediate test drive. Self-preservation at any cost is, after all, one of Clinton’s defining characteristics.
What we get, then, in the upcoming bombing of Iraq will be blatant political ploy to distract the American public from the self-made disaster on the domestic front. As former President Bush can attest, nothing gets those poll numbers up like a good bombing of someone who deserves it, and Iraq’s dictator, Saddam “Smiley” Hussein—poster boy for the tall, dark and yuck—certainly qualifies.
Unfortunately, as Clinton has recently discovered, almost no one in the United Nations agrees. Saddam may be the biggest thug and cutthroat since a similar-looking fellow we fought in the last Gulf War, but he’s got his proponents. Many in the Arab world think Saddam’s a great guy for standing up to the “Great Satan,” which just happens to be home to the Dallas Cowboys, Microsoft and the Hanson brothers.
So maybe the guy’s onto something.
And while we’re at it, you gotta give the man his props: He runs a very, very tight ship. (Indeed, I can only imagine that the Baghdad newspaper’s Help Wanted section is littered with ads for none-too-bright, semi-skilled, extremely loyal government officials. (But check that fine print: “Must be willing to die for a madman’s whim.”))
Be that as it may, there are so many problems with bombing Saddam back to the stone age (which—let’s face it—in Iraq, isn’t that far) that it would be a laughable idea if it weren’t Clinton who was president. Remember: This is the guy who was willing to go to war with that world super power and vital strategic interest known as Haiti. Never mind the money it’s costing us to send our fleet to the far side of armageddon; I’m sure we’ll be busy killing people in no time, getting full-value for the tax dollars we’ve put into cruise missiles and F-15 fighter jets instead of education and infrastructure. Or the environment. Or Social Security. Or crime prevention. Etc. Etc. Etc.
No, the biggest problem is not that Saddam will not die, but that the legend of Saddam will not die, and we’re ultimately going to kill hundreds of people on both sides—not that I think God cares particularly which side you’re on—in our effort to take him out. Not only is a success a failure in this case, the very attempt is a failure.
For as the Romans discovered almost 2,000 years ago, you can’t martyr a hero and expect his followers to call it quits. You’d think with all the church-going Bill’s had, he’d remember this lesson, but I’m guessing he probably spent most of his Bible study time sneaking peeks at the Song of Solomon and certain sections of Leviticus. If we attack Saddam, we will create a hatred of the United States so intense that travel in the Middle East by U.S. nationals will be all-but-impossible for years to come. And that’s just if we fail to kill him.
If we actually manage to off this bozo, we’re talking Third World jihad. For a chance to bloody the nose of the “Great Satan,” the Arab populations will form a queue a mile long, and you can bet there’ll be plenty of pushing and shoving to get to the front of the line. The World Trade Center bombing will seem like a friendly pat on the back compared to the kind of terrorism we’ll start to see here in the States.
And I won’t even go into the civil liberties nightmare that will follow for U.S. citizens. If you thought that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) tore to tatters the First Amendment and then burned the remains, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The law-enforcement agencies will be so hopped up over this that we might as well just suspend the Bill of Rights now to save court costs. I’d estimate that within three years of Saddam’s death at U.S. hands, we’d see a major terrorist attack in the United States and a serious erosion of civil liberties as a result. (Of course some of us think the now-overturned-as-unconstitutional CDA was the first step in that direction.)
Maybe some face-saving agreement can be worked out between Clinton and Saddam, but that will require that the president find a new foreign policy crisis. The bottom line—which is a delightful pun if you think about it—is that Clinton dropped his pants, got caught lying about it and destroyed his presidency. He shouldn’t make the rest of America pay for those mistakes by launching an ill-conceived attack against Iraq, and we need to let him know that we think so.
So now is the time, my friends, and we need to shout it out from the rooftops: “Come on Bill! No war with Iraq! Be impeached like a man!”