Chancellor Clinton's Blitzkrieg
Jude Wanniski
December 17, 1998


The bombing of Baghdad is not the act of a democratic superpower, but the desperate act of a fascist dictator. The fact that President Clinton has the unanimous support of his national security team is merely a reminder of how facile subordinates can become in justifying what are basically criminal acts. The blood spilled in Iraq has to be added to the innocent blood spilled in the Sudan and Afghanistan -- the price we are paying for a corrupt commander-in-chief who will do anything to stay in power, a man who has become a real and present danger to the Constitution and to our national security. Except for the complaint from Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who was courageous enough to announce in advance of the bombing that he could not support it, the Political Establishment has been quick to justify it. Clinton is shrewd enough to see that he can divide his opposition as he faces almost certain impeachment for his criminal conduct in the Paula Jones/Monica Lewinsky case -- by giving the Republican right wing and the Israeli Lobby the scheme they want more than impeachment: A puppet regime in Iraq to control Iraqi oil and a permanent U.S. military presence in the Middle East to protect Israel.

The Big Lie that nobody wants to touch, including Senator Lott, is the certain knowledge that the United States has never had the slightest intention of lifting the sanctions -- no matter what the level of cooperation from Baghdad. Given this open secret, the only card Saddam Hussein has had to play has been periodic acts of defiance aimed exclusively at trying to direct world opinion to the plight of the Iraqi people. This was Baghdad’s stated justification for non-cooperation in October, as our government engaged in its most blatant acts of provocation since the Gulf War: 1) The GOP Congress and the Democratic President joined hands in enacting the Iraq Liberation Act, with $100 million authorized for the overthrow of Saddam, and 2) The United States announced that it would unilaterally ignore the relevant paragraph, No. 22, of the original United Nations Resolution 687, which provided for the sequence that would lead to a lifting of the sanctions. These were the provocations that led to the October crisis, which ended when Baghdad announced unconditional cooperation with the UNSCOM inspectors.

Remember, since February UNSCOM inspectors have visited every site they desired. There has been no presidential palace or “sensitive” site that has not been open to UNSCOM -- an agreement worked out when UN General Secretary Kofi Annan flew to Baghdad and assured Saddam that he, at least, would act in good faith, and that he would work to get the sanctions lifted. Annan did not count on the treachery of UNSCOM’s chief inspector, Richard Butler, who has been acting as an agent of the United States and United Kingdom, not as a representative of the Security Council. It was Butler who developed the argument that Iraq had to prove that it did not have any secret caches of biological or chemical weapons and that it had to turn over documents (in addition to the 1.7 million it has yielded thus far) before he would give his seal of approval. On Monday, when Annan saw the handwriting on the wall, he openly criticized the United States for publicly promoting the overthrow of the Baghdad regime. He also blasted Butler for his “megaphone diplomacy.”

 In the last six weeks since UNSCOM has been back in the inspection business, the few hundred UNSCOM inspectors have swooped into 300 locations suspected of harboring weapons of mass destruction. They found nothing. In five of the locations, though, Iraq raised questions about the propriety of inspections. The only site of any significance was the headquarters of the Ba’ath Party, which is the Iraqi equivalent of the offices of the Republican National Committee. The White House and Defense Secretary William Cohen insist it was Butler’s report to the Security Council on Tuesday night that triggered his decision to bomb. In this morning’s Washington Times, Pentagon officials dispute the White House and their own defense chief:

“The White House notified the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sunday that President Clinton would order air strikes this week, 48 hours before he saw a United Nations report declaring Iraq in noncompliance with weapons inspectors, it was learned from authoritative sources last night. Several Pentagon officials have questioned Mr. Clinton's timing to order strikes on the eve of the House impeachment debate. Pentagon sources said National Security Council aides told the Joint Chiefs to quickly update a bombing plan that was shelved in mid-November and were told that a strike would be ordered in a matter of days. Israeli spokesman Aviv Bushinsky said yesterday in Jerusalem that President Clinton discussed preparations for an attack with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just minutes before Mr. Clinton flew home from Israel's Ben_Gurion Airport on Tuesday, ending a three-day peace mission. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart insisted that Mr. Clinton made the strike decision yesterday based on the UN finding of noncompliance.”

There was, of course, no “UN finding of noncompliance.” Butler, who is technically a bureaucrat who works for the Security Council, pulled all the UNSCOM inspectors out of Iraq on Tuesday before he even presented his findings to the Council. Several members of the Council are now demanding he be fired for his behavior, but Butler’s work is done anyway. There is no intention of reconstructing UNSCOM inspections. The blitzkrieg continues today, with B-52s dropping payloads. Who is going to stop the commander-in-chief from ordering the next stages of the plan to set up the puppet regime, financed by the sale of Iraqi oil? The scheme can only succeed if ground troops are introduced, but that has always been part of the plan designed by Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and their allies in the press corps -- chiefly Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard, and William Safire of the NYTimes (whose column today insists that the bombing and the impeachment are coincidental, and the President, God bless him, is finally doing the right thing).

It is utterly amazing the size of the Whoppers that can be told when the ends justify the means. Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat, who was lionized not long ago for having the courage to state on the Senate floor that Bill Clinton misbehaved with Monica, is now all over the tube lionizing Bill Clinton for bombing facilities that house weapons of mass destruction! There is of course not one facility that is being bombed that was not open for spot inspection by UNSCOM, and of course not one houses weapons of mass destruction. Lieberman also insists there is no connection between the impeachment and the bombing. The various Republican presidential contenders are falling all over themselves demanding the President drop bigger bombs. Sen. John McCain is particularly bloodthirsty in his appeals, but so is Steve Forbes, who has signed on to the Perle-Wolfowitz puppet regime. Jack Kemp remains the only contender for the Winston Churchill mantle. “This bombing is wrong, it’s unjustified, and it must stop,” he argues in a statement released this morning at Empower America. The only company he has thus far is Pope John Paul II, who is saying the same from Rome. Let’s see who listens.