Leading Article: Bombs shouldn't stop impeachment
Saturday 19 December 1998
THERE IS never a good time to impeach a US president, since the so-called head of the free world is always busy striving to pacify some world trouble-spot. It must seem particularly cruel to Bill Clinton that he faces trial at exactly the same time as he is ordering troops into battle; but to be realistic, when has he been free of such troubles? When he was ordering marines into Somalia? When he was making peace in Northern Ireland? Or on the previous occasions when he has bombed Iraq?
National leaders have always been assailed without regard to the crises their nations face. Andrew Johnson, the only other president to be impeached, was struggling with the challenge of reconstruction after the American Civil War. Democrats showed no mercy to Richard Nixon, embroiled in Vietnam, opening up Western policy to China, and attempting detente with the Soviet Union. Closer to home, Margaret Thatcher was preparing for the Gulf war when she was politically assassinated.
Bombing in the Gulf makes no difference to the issues facing Congress. Either the President has perjured himself, and committed the "high crimes and misdemeanors" of which the Constitution speaks, or he has not.
The world's cynicism about the President's motives in ordering military action should encourage a decision. The impeachment vote may bring the crisis to a head, and renew America's self-confidence. If Congress decides today to allow President Clinton to escape, he can face the world with his mandate renewed. But if he is impeached, his authority will be irreparably damaged. Then, for all our sakes, he should resign, and allow a successor to govern with authority.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 School playground evacuated over 'unusually aggressive' grey squirrel
- 2 Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
- 3 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 4 Today was a bad day for renters, landlords, and democracy
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Christmas TV schedule 2014: The best shows to watch from Downton Abbey to Black Mirror
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police