Clinton's ordering of heavy strikes in Iraq may just be a more serious offense than the four impeachment charges that were voted on in the House of Representatives. I submit that they are the actions of an imperial President devised to subvert the impeachment process and that such action may be impeachable itself.
To declare war without the authorization of Congress is patently unconstitutional. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, as well as the War Powers Act of 1973 give Congress the exclusive power to declare war, not the President. Clinton has not sought the approval of the Congress to wage war in Iraq, and is therefore acting outside of the Constitution.
Multiple waves of cruise missile, fighter-bomber and B-52 attacks on the cities of another nation are nothing but an act of war. The attacks have momentarily subsided; troops are still being moved to the Gulf. Imagine if Fidel Castro launched a barrage of Scuds at Miami, dive-bombed our Naval installations and Air Force bases and amassed troops in flotillas around the Florida Keys ready to invade; would that not be a blatant act of war?
It is not unreasonable to suspect that the timing of the strikes was to affect the impeachment vote. It is indeed peculiar that Clinton acted as the momentum for impeachment built up again and as undecided Congressmen were coming down on the side of impeachment. I believe that he knew the strikes would postpone the impeachment process.
Bill Clinton did not hesitate to order another made-for-TV war, with cruise missile strikes on the Sudan and Afghanistan on August 20, immediately after his grand jury testimony about the Lewinsky affair and his admission of wrongdoing.
To justify his actions, Clinton always falls back on a body of experts and security advisors that are paid to devise military strategies for any scenario. Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright and Bill Cohen have all scrambled to deny questions about the timing of the strikes. I don't know whom they're trying to fool. Bill Clinton's cabinet members' jobs depend on rallying around him when he needs them to. Why should we put any more trust in them than we do in the President?
Unfortunately, many Republicans also support Clinton's reckless adventures, applauding military action for its own sake. Maybe they think that if they don't let Clinton 'wag the dog,' they won't be able to do so when they have the armed forces at their disposal. Such is the nature of politicians.
But some Republicans, including Sens. Trent Lott and Paul Coverdell, as well as Congressmen Ron Paul, Mark Sanford, Dick Armey and Bob Barr were insightful enough to immediately recognize Clinton's actions as a calculated diversion and courageous enough to say so publicly. Realizing he may have offended the sensibilities of the GOP's more hawkish constituencies, Lott later backed down, but this does not invalidate the essence of what he said: "Both the timing and the policy are subject to question."
Dick Armey went even further: "The suspicion some people have about the president's motives in this attack is itself a powerful argument for impeachment...(A)fter months of lies, the president has given millions of people around the world reason to doubt that he has sent Americans into battle for the right reasons." The disbelief echoed by these individuals disproves Clinton's presumptious assertion that no "reasonably astute person in Washington would believe that Secretary Cohen and General Shelton and the whole rest of the national security team would participate in such an action." But even some of the biggest Republican hawks ever, like Lawrence Eagleburger, former President Bush's Secretary of State, admitted that the "timing stinks."
On December 16, Congressman Paul courageously stated that it is "despicable for a man who ran from military service to now use soldiers as a shield from impeachment. How many American soldiers and innocent Iraqi children will die so that this President can hide from justice? How many American citizens are now at increased risk from terrorist attack because of this president?...This attack has no basis in protecting our national security and only increases the danger to our people."
President Clinton's actions are indeed despicable, divisive and unconstitutional. More charges need to be brought against him. He should be impeached for the good of us all.
Tom Walls is the Executive Director of the Republican Liberty Caucus.