Opinions on whether the President's conduct merits his removal by the Congress of the United States
IF THERE is a silver lining to such an ethically clouded climate, it is that the Founders fully expected such antics and designed the impeachment system accordingly. They gave the House only the power to accuse, leaving the Senate responsibility for removing the President from office, and then only by a vote that requires a broad consensus. If Clinton is impeached, a nation turned off by cheap partisanship - from both sides - deserves no less.
AN IMPEACHMENT charge before the United States Senate would therefore touch the very core of democracy: the fall of a president - even when it is comes constitutionally and formally secured - represents the annulment of the voted will of the people. Such a step can only be justified by grievous practices such as endangering democracy, the state order, or national security.
New York Times
MR CLINTON'S offenses threaten us with the possibility that Americans will see him as a role model. They cry out for condemnation so that no citizen will be tempted to follow his example or regret his departure... but do not threaten the future of a republic that defines itself through politics. We elected him to lead a great nation. He became a prince of disorder. Now it is up to Congress and the public to limit the damage caused by his irresponsibility.
AMERICANS TEND to take things to the limits and live excess to the full. In their eyes, no political mistake is too great for the right way out to be at the end of the tunnel. As a result, Washington's politicians can see nothing funny in the fact hundreds of them have spent 11 months obsessed with a sex scandal in the White House. Quite the opposite: the lawmakers, lawyers, professors and commentators involved see it as their sacred duty to take part in the search for truth in the "William Jefferson Clinton" case. Meanwhile, the rest of the world worries about the US President's authority.
WHAT CLINTON deserves and what the country needs is not a symbolic rebuke from which he will bounce back unscratched. There is only a momentary sting in being censured; impeachment will sting through history. Clinton has lied and deceived. It is fitting that his lies and deceit be the cause, finally, of his fall. A president who violates the people's trust and dishonors his office forfeits his right to the White House. The words are those of the Democrats' proposed resolution of censure. But they sum up perfectly the case for impeachment.
THE RULE of law should apply to everyone, including this corrupt, unethical president. For high crimes and misdemeanors, the House of Representatives should impeach Clinton. The Senate will determine whether he can continue in office.
BARRING A last-minute deal, it looks like the US is about to condemn itself to a Senate trial that may last as long as six months. As the world tries desperately to avoid an economic slump, its sole remaining superpower will treat itself to a semen-stained dress, scratchy tape-recordings of two not particularly brainy women and grainy video clips of the "Big Creep" squirming in his seat as he parses impenetrable definitions of sexual acts. The Dow may melt in the meantime, the dollar may sink, but the Senate will devote itself to adding a new chapter to the Kama Sutra. Is this for real?
Was this attack necessary?
THE BOMBING OF IRAQ
WHY WAS such military action necessary now or, more to the point, necessary at all? The fact of the matter is this: after almost eight years of sanctions and inspections, Saddam Hussein is still in power. The US and Britain, so they say, believe that Iraq still has the capability of assembling weapons of mass destruction. Over 1 million people - mostly children - against whom no one held any grudge, are dead. When does it end? US officials last night could offer us no assurances, while commentators last night expressed surprise that Iraqi people were moving around Baghdad during the attack. It shouldn't come as a surprise - after all, they are the only ones who have had to endure the last eight years.
Hong Kong Standard
CLINTON'S CRITICS would like to think that the strike against Iraq was a diversionary tactic to postpone the House vote on the impeachment motion. That is too facile an argument unless the Republicans believe that US use of its power will stop some wavering or moderate party members from impeaching him. The order for an immediate strike was to show US resolve, and to act before the Muslim religious period of Ramadan, which is beginning in a few days. Really, the dispute is over how best to proceed against Saddam. It was the UN that took him to task and imposed sanctions. It is for the UN to resolve this problem. If force must be used, it must only be with the authority of the UN, and not arbitrarily.
CLOSE ALLIES of the United States and Britain during the Gulf War eight years ago have distanced themselves from the new round of attacks on Iraq. The reason for this is simple. Hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Iraqi crisis had not really been exhausted before the military strike broke out. The use of force is against the will of all peace-loving peoples. The US-British joint operation disregarded UN conventions. A world run by big powers, acting outside the framework of international relations, has subjected itself to a clear threat of power politics.
The Washington Post
THE CAMPAIGN must be sustained enough to gravely damage Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and the military upon which he depends for survival. It should aim to cause as few civilian casualties as possible, but must be undertaken with the understanding that only Saddam's removal from power can erase the threat that Iraq currently poses to its region and the world. No one should be naive enough to expect that any of the players in this drama have or could put domestic politics entirely out of their thoughts. But Clinton and his political adversaries must keep these two crises as separate as they possibly can.
WE URGE the Security Council to resume its proper duty and take a unified approach toward Iraq. It is essential that trust is restored among the United States and Great Britain, who resorted to force; Russia and China, who opposed it; and France, which is sceptical of it. The Japanese government promptly expressed its support of the military action, which hardly contributes a solution to the Iraq problem.
THE UNITED States called off strikes against Iraq at the last minute a month ago, after Iraq's modest concessions. Bill Clinton's administration had said that it would strike without warning, if Iraq did not honour its promise to co-operate with the UN inspectors. The White House has been circumspect, as Saddam repeatedly flouted the inspectors over the past few weeks, and now says that its timing has been dictated by circumstance. It is impossible to disprove that argument, but this conflict remains the strangest coincidence yet.
THE DECISION to resort to force against Iraq was a bad one in every sense. It was bad in form: the Security Council wasn't consulted, even though Washington claims to act in the name of the international community; and it was bad in reasoning - there were no grounds other than Butler's suspect report. This American decision could so easily end in catastrophe.
SADDAM HUSSEIN cannot be allowed to assume that the international community has lost the will to oppose him. The bombings aim to harass him, degrade his ability to produce weapons of mass destruction, and erode confidence in his regime. Few believe he will willingly change course. But if Saddam will not co-operate and cannot be ousted, then he must be contained.
LORD HOFFMANN'S JUDGMENT
THE PINOCHET ruling is extraordinary. It means that not even the highest court in the land can be considered free from bias. How it could have slipped Lord Hoffmann's mind to mention his connection with Amnesty International is beyond us. His mistake has caused a huge political row here and abroad. He surely cannot keep his job.
THE ONLY winner from this farce is Jack Straw. By allowing the extradition to proceed last week, he pleased almost the entire liberal establishment and Labour Party. But after the ruling, the likelihood must be that Pinochet will be returned to Chile when the Law Lords reconvene - which will allow Mr Straw and the Government to escape an awkward dilemma.
LORD HOFFMANN'S actions may yet prove a personal tragedy. More broadly, they have called into question the role and composition of Britain's highest court. Before the Pinochet case, few outside legal circles would have known how judges come to be appointed to Britain's senior court. With the advent of devolution and the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law, such issues will shortly assume far greater importance.
NOBODY DISPUTES Hoffmann's legal brilliance. But however rigorous his approach,
and however dispassionate his judgment may have been, his behaviour was lacking in common sense. In law, appearances are everything. Is justice really seen to be done, when a judge seems to have a particular and partisan interest?
ONE CAN only hope that the next panel of law lords will take the view that General Pinochet does not have the immunity he claims. Whether they do or not, the victory of tactics over principle has interrupted the search for justice.
WHAT IS well understood is the doomsday scenario of fewer and fewer workers having to support more and more pensioners living longer and longer. As the decades pass, the state pension - already inadequate - will be worth only small change.
THE PROPOSALS are a deft answer to the question - what pensions policy is consistent with declining funding, and won't involve electorally unpopular taxes on the middle classes. But it won't necessarily provide pensions for the poorest that an advanced industrialised country can feel proud of.
BY OFFERING a second pension rather than income support to the low-paid, the Government has removed the stigma of forcing them to rely on means- tested welfare.
NEW LABOUR can claim that increased public spending is going to those in need, for which it deserves full marks. Despite the caveats, many of the deficiencies of the present system are being addressed.
IF THE Government did not come up with a new plan for pensions, we would have millions of poverty-stricken old people. Everyone who is working and earning reasonable money will have to make a provision. Not the sort of thing which leads to cheering, but a crucial step in creating a welfare state for the 21st century.
THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
THE FOOTBALL Association may be spared animosity, because the spectacle it presents is too ridiculous to sustain hatred. None of the proposals to streamline the FA will be of any merit unless they ensure capable leadership. For the moment, it is certain that the FA, whenever it strides the corridors of power, will throw open a door and march straight into the broom cupboard.
THE RESIGNATION of Mr Graham Kelly is a major event in a sport where the investigation of alleged wrong-doing has an unrivalled reputation for stateliness, not to say toothlessness. No doubt the FA will be toiling night and day to bring us the truth. When it does so, let us hope it can shed light on the difference between a "grant", a "gift" and a "loan".
KELLY TYPIFIED the incompetent face of English football administration. He loomed over a game riddled with scandal and corruption. The FA should take this opportunity to appoint a more forward-thinking administrator for what is now a multi-billion-pound industry.
IT'S THE best news for English soccer for a long time - Graham Kelly has quit as boss of the FA. He is an arrogant, pig-headed, smug, self- opinionated fool, who acted as if football were there for his own aggrandisement. Football is better off without him.
POLICE DESTROYED over 20 rai of opium poppy fields in mountainous areas in Phop Phra district. About 30 officers were sent to slash and burn poppies planted by tribespeople. A tribesman was found harvesting poppies, but managed to flee arrest. Police said villagers who grow poppies have introduced modern technology which allows year-round cultivation and improved yields.
A GROUP of Iowa pork producers is inviting hunters to come and shoot hogs. Hog Hunt `98 is to draw attention to the plight of the American farmer. Hunters will be charged $100 to shoot a hog. "Some have criticized the hunt," Muller said, "because they think it's cruel to kill an animal. What do they think they're doing when they eat beef, pork or bacon?"
Sydney Morning Herald
SYDNEY IS running out of Christmas trees as the demand reaches unprecedented levels. Some suppliers shut up shop two weeks early, telling clients they would have to settle for the plastic. People have got sick of plastic and want the real thing.Reuse content