The Impeachment War: What on earth is going on?

by Camille Paglia, author and Salon columnist

I was absolutely horrified by the timing of the bombing of Iraq. I have been calling for the censure and not impeachment of Clinton since January and indeed may have been the first national columnist to mention the word "censure." I called my congressman -- one of the wavering moderate Republicans -- to support censure this week. Therefore I was all the more disgusted by the grotesque timing of the bombing raids on the eve of impeachment. I think that it is very fishy indeed, and that this simply confirms that the missile attacks Clinton ordered from Martha's Vineyard this summer were similarly oddly timed to coincide with politically embarrassing events in Washington.

Whether or not Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who deserves to be bombed into the Stone Age is a matter that should be agreed upon by the family of nations. President Bush's decision to commit our armed forces to the war against Iraq was strengthened by the coalition of nations supporting American firepower. In this case we are painfully isolated in the eyes of the world with Tony Blair -- Clinton's wanna-be double -- tagging along like the kid brother on an outing. You cannot demonstrate the rule of international law by breaking international law. What message are we sending to the world at large? How are we poisoning the Arab world against us for generations to come? What is the real motivation of these bombings? Iraq poses no threat whatever to American security. Even a present danger to the oil fields cannot be substantiated. Indeed, the president isn't even attempting to make the claims in terms of American commercial interests, which are controversial in and of themselves on ethical grounds.

Why is it that American tax dollars are being wasted in this military exercise when there are so many pressing matters of social concern at home, from the declining state of urban education to health care to care of the elderly? I am not a pacifist. I believe in war for a just cause. World War II, for example, was a just war. Without American involvement Hitler would have gone on to destroy England and rule the world. I would have been proud to serve in the military.

However, I regard this bombing, which has been pulled out of a hat like a rabbit, as completely unjustified on all grounds. Despite the positive end results of weakening Saddam Hussein's military infrastructure, there are innocent Iraqi citizens who are suffering injury, death or loss of property from a decision made in Washington, immorally hastened on political grounds.

This should be a cause of profound embarrassment to citizens in the United States.

Copyright 1998 Salon Magazine