The specter of partisanship and outright vindictiveness has again appeared in the totally unjustified statements by Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas and Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi.
Saddam Hussein tried to use the conflict to subvert the inspection process. President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had only a small window in which to respond.
Although the leadership in the Republican Party and its right-wing zealots would not hesitate to initiate military action during the Muslim high holy period of Ramadan, President Clinton understands the worldwide political consequences of such actions. The U.N. inspectors were safely out, and Ramadan was quickly approaching. To wait until after Ramadan would have given Saddam Hussein ample time to move his arsenal to new hiding places.
Instead of requesting the president's resignation, Mr. Armey, Mr. Lott and the rest of the Republican members of Congress should apologize to the American public and consider their own resignations from office.
It is quite clear that their hatred, self-righteousness and political posturing make them unfit to hold office. They are the ones incapable of performing their duties in both the national and international arenas.
Clinton should quit to close questions
The events in the Middle East make it clear that President Clinton should immediately resign.
It is unclear whether the events of this past year are "Wag the Dog," foreign policy or our opponents taking advantage of the scandals. But if Vice President Al Gore were president, this would not be in question.
When the president lies under oath, to his Cabinet and to the American people, how can we believe him or his administration?
I believe Mr. Clinton will do anything to remain president.
Harris C. Howland
Suspicions are why moral leader needed
The natural suspicions surrounding President Clinton's motives regarding the attack on Iraq are perfect examples of why our political leaders must possess high moral standards.
One could also make a good case that part of Saddam Hussein's motivation is the belief that he is dealing with a distracted U.S. president.
Aid, comfort to enemy is act of treason
Now the Republicans are accusing the president of putting American lives at risk to delay or impede his impeachment. This accusation and stated refusal to support him gives aid and comfort to the enemy. The other word for that is treason. If not treason, it certainly rises to the level of other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Of course, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and others can say and do any reckless, stupid thing they want with impunity.
Patricia Cole Blom
Brooklyn Whether the tail is wagging the dog or not, the end result is that the United States and Britain are waging war against Iraq, and innocent people are dying because of the fixation of these nations on Saddam Hussein.
Saddam Hussein is a nasty, brutish tyrant. Tyrants are denounced and overthrown, ignored, accepted or supported, not because they are tyrants, but because of their place in the economic world order.
Iraq does not have a monopoly on weapons of mass destruction. Russia, China and the United States -- the largest exporter of weapons in the world and the only nation to actually use nuclear weapons -- possess huge arsenals of mass destruction, as do smaller, but no less dangerous, nations.
What will the bombing accomplish in the long run? U.S. and British troops will be put in harm's way; after a brief pause, weapons of mass destruction will continue to be produced and possibly used in retaliation; thousands of Iraqi children will die of starvation because of continued economic sanctions and others will die as a result of the current attack; and Saddam Hussein will remain in power.
A more effective policy might include lifting economic sanctions, contingent on the resumption of United Nations' weapons inspections; ending the bombing; and delivering food and medicine to the Iraqi people, regardless of the status of arms inspections. The Iraqi people might stand a chance of overthrowing Saddam Hussein if they are not starving and being bombed into oblivion.
The death, destruction and suffering that will result from military strikes and the violence of economic sanctions are not morally or politically justifiable.
Clinton had chances to respond to charges
U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes' questioning of the fairness of the impeachment process deserves a reply. Apparently he feels that President Clinton did not have a chance to respond to charges. This is not true. His responses have been evasive when given.
The only response possible is a complete admission of wrongdoing and an apology to the people and his victims.
William D. Townsend
Is there a reason to doubt Clinton?
President Clinton told us that the United States' bombing attack on Baghdad is not related to the impeachment hearings.
The president, in his televised address, looked us in the eyes and said this is true.
What reason could we possibly have to doubt him?
Who's the madman in military action?
President Clinton is out of control.
I cannot figure out who the madman is anymore -- Mr. Clinton or Saddam Hussein.
Mr. Clinton is so far gone, I doubt if he can be controlled by either house of Congress, either party, the public or even his wife.
L. Craig Phillips
Sacrifice contempt to preserve presidency
Republicans are ushering us into a dark and dangerous unknown. Like it or not, we may have to sacrifice our contempt for Bill Clinton to salvage the prestige of the presidency as an institution.
If the perception grows internationally that the authority inherent in that office can be compromised by vindictive political opponents, we risk our ability to achieve our diplomatic goals.
The Founding Fathers never anticipated, nor intended to allow, the partisan bullying of the executive branch by the legislative branch.
Joseph M. Dunch
Perjury reached bar of impeachable offense
It is a simple exercise in logic. Perjury is a felony; no one denies this. A felony is more significant than a misdemeanor. The Constitution calls for impeachment for bribery, treason or other high crimes or misdemeanors.
That this simple fact has required months of debate by scholars, historians, lawyers, judges and other educated people calls into question the quality and purpose of higher education in America. Is it to learn timeless truth or clever ways to subvert it for one's own purpose?
Elizabeth Ward Nottrodt
Impeachment, strike a scene from movies
Is anyone concerned that we have a president who started an undeclared war with no clear or easily obtainable military objectives -- on the eve of an impeachment vote?
I might expect this to occur on a movie screen, not on the nightly news. One can only wonder what the next century will bring.
Biblical comparison for President Clinton
Jesus appointed Peter head of his church despite Peter's fault of denying him, or lying, three times. Despite Peter's weakness, Jesus clearly believed in him, forgave him and chose him to lead people.
William Jefferson Clinton is no Peter, but the comparison can be made. Mr. Clinton lied under oath and possibly obstructed justice because of his own shame. He wanted to protect himself, his family, his presidency and his legacy. And while the president will most likely never be canonized, perhaps we ought to remember that he may spend a lifetime apologizing for his sins. Also, we elected him twice. Beyond the faults, the lies and the despicable behavior, we believe in the president.
GOP was bipartisan in Nixon hearings
The Democrats have cited the workings of the House Judiciary Committee, which drew up the articles of impeachment against Richard M. Nixon as a model of bipartisanship and an example of how things ought to work.
At the time, it was a Republican's head on the blockl; however, some Republicans were able to rise above partisanship and do what was necessary and proper.
One wonders if what is really occurring with the current circus is that the Democrats are demonstrating a willingness to do anything to avoid damaging one of their own and are not able to rise above partisanship and do their duty.
Robert A. Rudolph
Focus on articles instead of sex
Your caption under the picture of Geneva Jones (Dec. 13) stating "Fed up" is exactly how I feel. Her statement is a prime example of how the people have been led around by the nose by the news media.
All we hear in the news is the constant drumbeat of the details of a perverted sex scandal. The drumbeat continued even in your analysis on the front page of the same edition. When will you and the rest of the news media focus on the real crimes that Bill Clinton committed and beat this drum for us to hear?
Focus on the articles of impeachment, and the people will see that there is a great deal more than just a sex scandal.
Melvin A. Soboleski
Ehrlich did not show integrity or courage
In a letter to the editor, Alice J. Tates praises U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s integrity and courage and thinks his constituents should feel proud of his stance on impeachment. ("November elections should not matter in impeachment vote," Dec. 14).
As one of the congressman's constituents, I feel no such pride -- quite the opposite.
From my point of view, the congressman's position is anything but a carefully thought-out analysis leading to a reasoned conclusion. The congressman locked into a pro-impeachment stance from the moment the Clinton-Lewinsky matter came to the fore, calling immediately for the president's resignation. He hasn't deviated from that position since.
He's ignored the seriously flawed process by which the impeachment resolution came to the floor of the House. A solid case for impeachment hasn't been made, and the majority of the public doesn't support impeachment because the process has been so tainted with partisanship and prejudgment.
That's precisely what Mr. Ehrlich has brought to this question -- partisanship and prejudgment, not integrity and reason.
Only a small number of members in the House of Representatives remain undecided. This is troubling because the issues are grave and complex, requiring, one would think, considerable searching and reflection.
I give high marks to those in the House who are honestly and earnestly engaged in such a reflective search. Mr. Ehrlich's lock-step, partisan, pro-impeachment approach hardly falls into this category.
Merrill E. Milham
Baldwin I guess it never occurred to U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that Saddam Hussein is the one manipulating the timing of events through his defiance of the United Nations resolutions and UNSCOM demands. What a poor excuse for a congressman.
Weakening office, comforting enemies
Charles Levendosky's Opinion Commentary article "Partisan impeachment imperils presidency" (Dec. 15) hit the nail on the head on one point.
The impeachment of the president by one political party with a slim majority in the House of Representatives imperils the balance of power among the three branches of government.
If impeached, the president must fight for future chief executives in the Senate to protect the office. The Republican majority in the House has brought down the standards of impeachment so low. Would a president in the future dare use his authority to grant pardons, negotiate treaties with foreign powers and as commander-in-chief order military action without the prior consent of Congress?
No one knows what character an impeachment trial will take. It will stall the government, give comfort to our enemies and weaken the authority of our chief executive. The Republican Congress will have to answer for this in the 2000 elections.
Alex P. Gross
Hold top commander to officers' standard
I write in reference to the article ("Retired Army general charged with illicit conduct and lying," Dec. 11). The general is charged with having sex with the wives of four subordinate officers, lying about it and obstructing justice. If found guilty, the officer would face up to 56 years in confinement and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Is it fair to hold these standards for the people in our military and not expect their commander-in-chief to live by the same rules? Maybe our president should have to sit in front of the Army's inspector general along with Gen. David R. E. Hale. If it is deemed that he has broken rules his subordinates are expected to follow, common sense would dictate a disciplinary action those under his command would face.
Changing registration from Republican Party
As a lifelong registered Republican, I will be changing my registration and will not vote for another Republican.
This is not Watergate; it is the case of a philandering husband. The GOP is ignoring the will of the people, who showed in the last election they do not want the president impeached.
I did not vote for Mr. Clinton, but I also do not want Congress to overturn the last presidential election and the opinion of the majority of people.
Democracy was loser in committee hearings
The way the impeachment hearings was handled gives me reason to fear for our nation.
Democracy did not prevail in the completely partisan House Judiciary Committee. Five minutes were allowed for each committee member to question the president's defense panel. Often, the questions took too much time to leave room for the answers.
This is only one example of how militant conservatives are abusing power. It seems they have closed their ears to any intelligent reasoning. They are like sharks in a feeding frenzy, ready to destroy the man who was voted president and who the majority of the people wish to remain in office.
GOP hypocritical, caused our turmoil
The sanctimonious House Judiciary Committee chairman has called upon President Clinton to step down. He says that if the president cares about the country, he will spare us more turmoil.
Did the Republicans care about the country when they devoted long congressional hours to virtually create and stir up the turmoil?
Did they care about their party when they failed to listen to the electorate over and over again in such monumental examples of obtuseness as shutting down the government in a budget war three years ago, in running a sure loser against President Clinton?
For my part, I have requested a form to change my lifelong party affiliation. I no longer want to be a part of this group of grandstanding phonies.
Eleanor Weller Reade
Johnson impeachment tainted Republicans
U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his fellow Republicans in their "public be damned" impeachment quest seem to imagine that Bill Clinton's legacy will be smeared and their actions will be viewed by future historians as a "profile in courage."
They fail to remember how the impeachment vote against President Andrew Johnson over the trivial issue of the firing of a Cabinet member raised the standing of a mediocre president and besmirched the reputations of the Radical Republicans -- men who ought to be remembered for their high ideals of equality rather than their political pettiness.
Martin D. Peters Jr.
Baltimore I have to agree with Mike Olesker's column "What work does Tripp do for her $90,000 Pentagon salary?" (Dec. 13). I often have thought the same thing. Also, if she is no longer employed, how come she still receives a salary?
Over the past six months, much has been written about people (especially those involved with the Clinton affair) and their jobs or positions that they held.
Much has been written about their salaries and their duties. I haven't seen or heard anything about just what Linda Tripp does to earn her $90,000.
Pub Date: 12/19/98