News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 12/28/98

From: omnivore@interlog.com (Dan);
Sent at Wed, 30 Dec 1998 17:18:25 -0500;

A Canadian's perspective on the Clinton/Iraq mess.

Where you see the lost honour depends on the connections you make. Americans are seeing the bombing of Iraq as a change of pace, a reinstatement of hostilities. And they're grasping for reasons why it should take place now. Naturally, they examine the events of the day and make the connections as best they can, based on the information they have. Some of them conclude that Clinton is bombing Iraq to solve his domestic problems.

Do the Iraqis see it this way? Over the last five years, they've buried at least a half million of their children, probably far more, entirely the result of the UN/US embargo. The total death toll as a result of the embargo is over one million, perhaps one and a half million. The Iraqis have already been subjected to a weapon of mass destruction - it's the UN's high handed process.

A few hundred, even a thousand dead in the current wave of bombings will not greatly affect the overall death toll. Perhaps this explains the widely reported indifference of the Iraqis to the bombings. I'm sure that most Iraqis would prefer to be bombed whenever a US President is caught in a sexual imbroglio if they could buy food and medicine, if they could hold their precious, beautiful children in their arms again.

This issue has been out of the US press for the last five years. Americans haven't included it in their explanations to themselves; for them, the last five years in Iraq have consisted entirely of thwarted inspections. Not a million funerals of sickened, ravaged bodies. Not a million mothers weeping.

The New England Journal of Medecine is one of the only periodicals that has covered it, and they have connected it with the embargo on Cuba: low pressure wars waged in a way that ensures the continuing rule of the supposedly intolerable dictators, and such that the populace feels the effect most brutally.

Where is the honour in that, I wonder?

As a side note to this, I've been reading Thucydides' Peloponnesian Wars for the first time since high school. My interest stems from I.F. Stone's Trial of Socrates, where the parallels between the US political psyche and ancient Athens are drawn again and again. An important theme in Stone's book is the idea that Athens' glittering democratic ideal, like the US democratic ideal, is built not only on the existence of a permanent disenfranchised domestic group, but also on the clear understanding by Athenians that the humane domestic ideals that produced their demos were not applicable to Athenian external affairs.

One sees this over and over again with the Athenians in Thucydides; in their foreign affairs, the Athenians were capricious, brutal, murderous and unyielding in their subjugation of others. This is something that the Athenians, at any rate, understood and discussed. Their unflinching embrace of this ugly reality meant that the Athenians, though pre-eminent in their sphere, though proud of their magnificent acheivements, knew that any claim to be their world's conscience would be at best untenable, and at worst repugnant.

Would that the Americans could learn this.

From: j.kangel@excite.com;
Sent at Wed, 30 Dec 1998 08:30:27 PST;

I never met anyone while he was President nor have I ever met anyone who later became President. All I have ever known about someone who wanted to become President is what I saw in carefully orchestrated photo-ops and carefully modulated sound bites. Perhaps you find it conceivable that you would trust someone on the basis of photo-ops and sound bites. I do not.

In most elections 55% of the vote is considered a solid victory. That means 45% of the voters think the candidate who won is no better than the second best candidate. Some in that 45% may have voted as they did precisely because they did not trust the candidate who won. In two-way races negative ads are routine and effective. The basic message of every negative ad is that you can not trust the other guy.

While the Founding Fathers of the United States tried to set up a government where the majority ruled, the Founding Fathers also feared the tyranny of the majority. The result is a governement of checks and balances, not just for extraordinary events like impeachment or declaration of war, but also in the day-to-day business of enacting and interpreting laws. The President can thwart Congress by vetoing a bill but Congress can override a veto. If Congress and the President agree on a law the Supreme Court can say the law is unconstitutional or interpret the law so narrowly it becomes meaningless. Congress, together with the state legislatures, can pass and ratify amendments to the constitution, thereby overruling the Supreme Court.

The people who created the constitution expected there would be disputes, the creators of the constitution expected there would be factions and individuals in these factions would not trust one another, even if one of those individuals was President; the creators of the of the constitution expected that people would not trust the leaders; the creators of the constitution tried to create a government that did not require trust.

The would-be dictator is the one who says, "Trust me I know what to do."

Thank you for your consideration of my comments.

From: stewart@neuron.com (Stewart Allen);
Sent at Wed, 30 Dec 1998 02:42:19 -0500 (EST);
what do the polls really tell us?

My father's colleague at work got one of those phone polls the other day asking whether they approved of the president or not. When this gentleman indicated that he did not in fact think Clinton was doing a good job, the poolster actually got into an argument with him and accused him of "not supporting the president". When he asked to speak to the pollster's manager, she hung up on him. I don't think his opinion was recorded.

I suspect the media is like this, too. They ignore what they don't want to hear. It didn't used to be this blatant (nor was the bias as strong).

If the polls are really accurate and 60 or 70 some odd percent of the population actually think Clinton is (depending on your definition :) doing a good job...

1) it's the strongest argument I've seen for a representative republic (which we're very luck to have) over direct democracy. the unwashed masses really are ignorant and as much as I don't like politicians (they didn't all used to be lawyers) they are professionally informed.

2) the quickest way to the heart is through the wallet. if the economy was in the tank, Clinton would be swinging from a rope.

I'm sick of poll-based politicians (of which Clinton is leading the pack). They have no spine and they're not doing their job. In fact, they're doing us all a dis-service.

I'm tired of being told what the "American people want". I'm one of those American people and they have NO idea what I want.

I do NOT want to censure and move on. I want to set things straight. Incrementalism let the Nazi's come to power by slowly moving the line of acceptable behaviour (by politicians and their groups/thugs). It's being used now to slowly erode our standards (to what end?).

From: bobc@microassist.com (Bob Courchaine);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 16:57:30 -0600;
Re:People With Honor

I was in Kuwait in Oct and Nov during the prelude to Desert Fox.

The timing let me check out what others in the world were thinking about our very public actions.

Here's what I came away with:

-the Kuwaitis are as fed up with their rancorous neighbor as the rest of the world and they wish someone would get it (getting Sadam out of power) over with;

-they view Clinton's impeachment as unnecessary for what seems to be the same reason many Americans do- what he did was wrong but sex is no reason to upset the apple cart;

-a by-product of that visit was an appreciation of how important Islam is to the people of that part of the world. I viewed Clinton's timing as being respectful of Ramadan, a very important time of the year for Muslims.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that Clinton should be taken from office. But I'm amazed at how so many people cannot see the logic of that.

Is it because it's framed in sex? Does that steal our focus so quickly? It must be something human because even people in a very different culture react similiarly.

In many ways, it's almost poetic justice, that Clinton is in the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't position with Iraq.

For so many years he couldn't lose. Now he can't win.

From: TuckerG@sandellmgmt.com (Tucker Goodrich);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 15:54:33 -0500;
One more thought on People with Honor

I'm reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Edmund Morris) right now. Very interesting.

The man was the polar opposite of Clinton. Married twice (first wife died in childbirth), he never slept with any one but his wives.

Clinton's poll driven, no one respects that; Roosevelt was once quoted saying, "I don't have the slightest idea what the American people want. I only know what they should want." People loved him for that.

Clinton keeps getting us into these half-assed wars; Roosevelt, as much as he *wanted* to get into a war, kept us out of them. No one on Earth doubted for a second that Mr. "Speak softly and carry a big stick" was willing, eager even, to use that stick. So no one started a war. He would not be pushed around. And the most war-loving, personally violent President we ever had earned a Nobel Peace Prize.

And they're both insanely popular. Can't figure that one out, but I do know one thing--no one respects Clinton, and probably never will.

Roosevelt, on the other hand, was so well respected that when he lost the race for Mayor of New York (at 28!) one of the NY papers encouraged him to run again, for a higher office, perhaps President. This was one of the papers that was *against* him, and supported his opponent in the mayoral race! And of course there's that Mt. Rushmore thing...

Great book. Reminds you what a President ought to be like. Reminds you what honor is.

From: plbruno@yahoo.com (Paul Bruno);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 09:51:07 -0800 (PST);
Clinton and Silicon Valley

Re: "The thing he wants to get done is keep all email open and unencrypted, so anyone can read anything you send over the Internet, including the FBI."

Or Starr?

I wonder how Clinton feels about privacy now?

To paraphrase Phil Zimmerman: "If privacy is outlawed, only outlaws (and Presidents) will have privacy."

From: jyl@best.com (Jacob Levy);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 09:53:19 -0800;
Thanks for the "latest email" page!

No one else (AFAIK) said it yet, so here goes: Thank you for bringing back the "latest email" page. I really missed it. Let me explain.

Somehow I was not enthused by the discussion group software and the obstacles seemed too high every time I wanted to submit something. Email is simple, it has a linear flow -- no more questions like "where in this discussion do I *really* want to insert this comment?". I've been around a while and somehow never got hooked on discussion group software -- email, yes, and Usenet news, yes. Is it possible for such a young media to engender entrenched habits and tastes already? Maybe not, but maybe something is worth paying attention to here...

You complained that the email page takes more work for you than the discussion group software. You have to edit the users' comments, check their spelling and so forth. That's what I recall you said. This makes no sense to me -- why isn't that necessary for the discussion group? Maybe it's an appropriate question to ask, why really *does* it take more work to put together the email page? Is this an opportunity to do some cool Frontier stuff? :)

From: plbruno@yahoo.com (Paul Bruno);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 09:13:51 -0800 (PST);
bombing saddam

Clinton's bombing of Saddam serves no real military purpose except to expend firepower. Imposing one's will on another nation by air failed the Germans in the Battle of Britain and failed the Americans in Vietnam. Similarly you cannot eliminate terrorists by bombing terrorist camps. You can only retaliate, and that's playing the terrorist's game. Even the Soviet Union could not impose it's will on Afghanistan, and that was with overwelming ground forces.

You can't expect Bill Clinton to be a wonk on matters of military history. OTOH, politically, bombing another country almost always rallies Americans in the popularity polls. At least until you start to suffer casualties.

What we have here is governance by public opinion. Clinton is a master of that game. Whenever a big decision is required, the first thing the White House does is float several trial balloons. Whichever one soars higher is the policy of the day. Nearly a year ago, we had a similar ramp up to bombing that ended with a town hall meeting in which the idea was effectively shot down. This year we couldn't wait that long because there was a vote about to take place in the House.

It's been said that Saddam needs the US as an enemy in order to keep his stranglehold on the people of Iraq. The reverse is true as well. Absent the Soviet Union, our Military Industrial Complex needs an enemy.

Saddam is still a problem because we didn't finish the job in Desert Storm. President Bush did the right thing by not having the U.S. go after Saddam, way back when. He did what he had the support (domestic and international) to do. Unfortunately (that is too mild a word for this) there was enough teasing done to get anyone who wanted to resist Saddam to stick their necks out, and then we stood back and let him crush any hope of resistance. That was a terrible mistake. In hindsight, it feels like the job was never finished. In hindsight, getting rid of Saddam would have AT LEAST meant we weren't playing wag the dog today. But that's hindsight. We were always more afraid of the devil we didn't know, and weren't sure about what would happen after Saddam, so we kept him there.

Letting Saddam live looked really magnanimous on our part, but rather than something courageous like a Marshall Plan to bring Iraq and even Saddam back into the 'family' of world governments, we did something more like Megan's Law for Rogue States, and kept him around in a box as a bogeyman whose only role would be to get punished periodically. What other behavior could we expect from him based on that treatment?

From: eric@postman.abisource.com (Eric W. Sink);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 09:15:13 -0600;
People with Honor

Thanks for taking the courage to write your People With Honor piece. Your conclusions seem reasonable, and in fact obvious. It amazes me that the world is unwilling to process the issue. The stakes are high. History may record us as the generation who turned our heads when our President ordered military action simply to increase his political standing. In the aggregate, we are as guilty as he.

Your website has finally started to make sense to me. I've been reading it for a long time. At first I was irked by the fact that you keep including tidbits of questionable relevance. At some point I realized that the whole point of scripting.com is a daily listing of whatever the heck *Dave* thinks is relevant. The site makes more sense when I view it that way. :-)

Anyway, thanks for scripting.com. I plan to keep reading it.

From: kdow@maricopa.com (Ken Dow);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 09:47:35 -0400;
Re:People With Honor

Your article captures the view from my chair (in Canada) quite well. President Clinton is completely without honour. Had he even a shred, he would have stopped the lies and resigned long ago. That the Republicans can be blamed for this is astounding. That he is able to start bombing a country that poses no immediate threat to the US or its allies is horrifying.

The superior man understands what is right, the inferior understands what will sell. -- Confucius

The US - like any nation - has its superior men and women; it is their turn to act.

From: chriswj@mostxlnt.co.uk (Chris Ward-Johnson);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 13:15:42 +0100;
Re:People With Honor

There's an interesting sidebar to what's going on with Clinton here in the UK. A Government minister, Peter Mandelson, was revealed last week to have borrowed £373,000 from a fellow minister before the 1997 Labour election victory. Nothing wrong with that. However, after the election this minister himself was responsible for setting up new rules about declarations of interest for all ministers. One rule was that such loans needed to be declared to a civil servant (government employee) and he failed to do so. He resigned within a day or so of the revelations, as did the guy who lent him the money.

Mandelson didn't lie, didn't cheat, didn't go on live TV and declare his outrage at the lies being perpetrated against him, he just resigned. He is - was - a very capable minister, and a very, very close personal friend of our Prime Minister Tony Blair. He had a very central role in orchestrating the Labour Party's victory at the last election. And yet Blair accepted his resignation - despite the fact that Mandelson is probably the person he'd least like to lose.

I look at this and then at Clinton. Clinton's crimes aren't, probably, severe enough for sacking him, or whatever the next part of the process with the Senate involves and, according to the maths being done over here anyway, it seems likely that the Senate doesn't have the necessary votes. But what should happen is that Clinton should resign and, even at this very, very late stage bring some honour back into American politics.

How does bombing Iraq look to outsiders? you ask. The UK seems to be the only country which approved of the action, and indeed our military forces were involved. The UK government has a strange attitude to the US and we just seem to do whatever we're told. But at least our elected officials, or some of them anyway, know when resignation is the only honourable thing to do.

Mandelson did something wrong, a small thing it's true, but he strengthened the government and showed us that he's an honourable person by going at the right moment. I only hope that, even now, Clinton can see that this is what he should do too.

Regards and thanks for all the interesting mails.


From: gnu@toad.com (John Gilmore);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 02:54:20 -0800;
Re:People With Honor

If Clinton stays, do we have a system based on lies? None of us know how deep it goes. We may be fighting a war as a by-product of this, a real war, with battleships and bombs. Don't blame anyone but yourself.

Congratulations, Dave. I've been asking myself this question for more than a decade. Watching the NSA will tend to do that to you. Their every public statement is a manipulation, a lie. They tighten controls on crypto and call it "relaxation". They claim the national security prevents a full discussion of the issues, when a distinguished panel, most of whom got top security clearances, tells us that it does not. They've been enforcing an unconstitutional law that bans publication of computer software for twenty years -- AFTER Justice Dept lawyers told them it was unconstitutional. Good policies get twisted and corrupted when NSA whispers in the President's ear, or convenes a classified session of the congressional Intelligence Committees.

There's a deep well of cynicism about Washington, about the US Federal Goverment, and the reason it's so deep is that obvious liars, cheats, crooks, and thieves are in high positions of power and trust.

Ignore Clinton -- crooks at that level get turfed out every 8 years anyway, and it appears likely that you have to *be* a crook to get elected at that level. Either that, or doing the job for a few years *turns* you into a crook (power corrupts).

Just look at the actions of FBI Director Freeh if you want to see another liar, cheat, and crook in a high place. "Judge" Freeh is architecting a domestic surveillance state based on whipping up fear of terrorism -- when he knows the major terrorist in the world, by the CIA's own definition of terrorism, is the US Federal Government. He's demanding that the cellphone networks be re-engineered to provide the location of every cellphone user, to within 100 meters, at all times, to the FBI. Without warrants, without court involvement at all! (See www.cdt.org.) The Congress specifically didn't give that power to him, but the FCC looks likely to. Freeh is demanding that a wiretap infrastructure be built that can pipe 1% of the nation's urban phone lines straight to FBI headquarters -- simultaneously. (Rural residents will be comforted to know that only a quarter of a percent of them will be secretly wiretapped simultaneously.) Congress *did* give him this power -- though industry is balking at the price (they don't seem to care about their customers' privacy, just about the cost). What possible use is there in a liberal democracy for a way to keep constant tabs on a large fraction of the population, and for wiretapping 1 out of every 100 phone calls? There has been at least one previous FBI Director who kept his job and increased his power via blackmailing prominent citizens, including presidents and Congressmen. Personally I think Freeh has his sights set on replicating that feat.

Just seven weeks ago there was an election in Washington, DC. On the ballot was a measure that would decriminalize the medical use of marijuana. Rep. Bob Barr sponsored an amendment to a DC funding bill, which passed and was signed by the President, which prevents any funds from being spent to process this ballot measure. ACLU is now having to challenge these idiots in Federal court because they passed a law saying that DC voters can only vote to make drug laws worse, not better. (It's just as constitutional as if they'd passed a law saying DC officials could only count ballots for Republicans but not for Democrats -- the technical term is "viewpoint discrimination"). The DC Dept of Elections was able to put the medical marijuana initiative on the printed ballot -- before Congress passed this law -- but now refuses to count up the returns to certify that the initiative has become law. (Exit polls say something like 69% voted for it.)

Welcome to the U.S.S.A., as my friend Hugh Daniel is tired of saying.

From: esarge@pobox.com (Edward Sargisson);
Sent at Tue, 29 Dec 1998 14:55:36 +1300;
People with Honor: Interesting take on Iraq vs US/UN

I have an ex-pat Iraqi friend here in New Zealand. He is actually quite annoyed with the US because way back at the end of the Gulf War their actions had the effect of protecting Saddam from his own people.

He said that most of Iraq was getting ready to take out Saddam and his supporters. The army units in Kuwait (which weren't the Republican Guard - SH's supporters) were withdrawing to go back to Baghdad to deal with him there. Something like 12 out of 14 cities were revolting. At a US-staffed checkpoint in the south of Iraq which was a cut-off point for all routes going north the US soldiers demanded that the Iraqi soldiers put down their weapons and keep going. Any trucks or similar transports were attacked by helicopters. The end result was no enemies for SH. Then the US allowed SH to send his helicopters and tanks into the cities to quell the disturbance. Hence my friend is upset.

My point of view is that the actions of the US were supportable if and only if you assume the Iraqi units were on SH's side. Of course, there was no discussion in the media.

Go figure?

Websites he gives to check out:



From: faisal@faisal.com (Faisal Jawdat);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 17:14:35 -0500;

We have yet to take any substantive steps to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Instead we have reduced the country to the poverty level, irreparably destroyed the national infrastructure, and given Saddam Hussein even more power. Iraq at this point effectively resembles the state as described in '1984'. Anything short of removing the people in power just gives them more of it.

From: Simon@dataway.com (Simon Lewis);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 13:43:28 -0800;
Re:People With Honor

Why did blacks vote in such overwhelming numbers in November ? Because they were reacting to an injustice. They correctly saw that for years Clinton was being hounded by an extreme right wing that was abusing the democratic process. This is a central question. Who paid for the Paula Jones lawsuit? Who started investigating Whitewater? This is not political discourse, this is quintessentially a non-democratic power play. Clinton didn't start this and to ignore the root cause is to miss the point.

You're right to question the Iraqi bombings, I agree with you, it stinks. But I don't believe it's a wag the dog scenario. I think it's far worse. The military in this country beta tests its advanced weapons systems on third world muslims and nobody seriously complains about it. There is no debate about why the Iraqis are a threat, no attempt to get to the root of the problem. Why is there no real debate? Because in spite of what most Americans think of themselves they don't know how to debate. The legacy of the cold war is that Americans have grown up with their media spoon fed to them and even when they think they are thinking critically they are usually coming from a very narrow view point.

Think on this..

We just had the 10 year aniversary of the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Scotland. Did you hear anywhere in the media about the 10 year aniversary of the shooting down of an Iranian jet in the Persian gulf by a US warship - July 3rd 1988? Has everybody forgotten that the Pan Am jet was a retaliation! America is one of the last bastions of capital punishment and surely an eye for an eye is understood if not condoned ?

Honestly, I ask you to think about this and comment if you feel like it. I believe that there is a basic dishonesty in ignoring the Iranian Airbus aniversary and remembering Lockerbie out of context and until America is presented with unbiased and balanced news then Iraq will continue to be bombed, gun manufacturers will continue to flood the inner cites with hand guns, universal health care will continue to be a pipe dream and political enemies will continue to use non-democratic means to exert their power.

From: kcheung@chaffee.com (kcheung);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 15:45:31 +0100;
Re:People With Honor

I need to read your article a few more times to fully digest it, but here are some quick notes:

  1. Just as you have mentioned, US media barely asked the question whether Clinton is bombing Iraq to stay in his President seat. However, I have read many Chinese websites, and newspaper, and unfortunately, this question has not only be asked in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, but also be answered, not by Clinton, not by US journalists, but by those countries' journalists. So far, almost all of them believe that he was doing this to stay in power. I won't be surprise that other countries journalists will have the same thought.

    My thinking is, it really doesn't matter whether Clinton has really be dishonest or not, and whether he bombed Iraq for his personal interest or not. He has lost his international creditability. People in US may not feel the destructive power of it, but it damages the image of United Stats of America, as a country. And, more importantly, it damages the international image of every US citizen.

  2. Democracy does not solve everything. There is something called "Democratic Dictatorship". This is a very extreme case, but if Germany people did not support Hitler during the WW 2, Hitler wouldn't have the chance to be the leader.

    Democracy reflects the opinion of a majority people in a country, but it doesn't mean that their opinion must be the right one.

From: doc@searls.com (Doc Searls);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 14:19:59 -0500 (EST);

DaveNet has turned into the Naked Emperor report. And that takes courage, Dave. You're the kid for the job, and I applaud you for it.

You want thinking. Here's mine.

The Special Prosecutor laws are awful. They have created in offices such as Ken Starr's a fourth branch of government, equally well-funded and unaccountable, working as full-time bloodhounds, constantly sniffing the asses of their suspects, making their jobs nearly impossible. They've turned governance into a gotcha game, and they need to be changed.

Ken Starr went far beyond his original mandate, which was to study Whitewater. What he did to the McDougals and others is cruel and unusual, to say the least. His report to the Judiciary Committe was excessive and bizarre, though understandable given his quarry's equivocations on the definitions of sex.

What look like a "high crimes and misdemeanors" are entirely a partisan matters where the shades are gray. Is lawyering under oath when one is a witness in cases extremely hostile to you the same as lying? The facts make it clear that the Republicans do have a case against Clinton, but it's a thin one that's far more a matter of opinion than fact. The only place where Clinton appears to lie outright (by any definition) is in the Jones case where he says he can't recall being alone with Monica. Still, it's his word against hers. Sure, she has less reason to lie, perhaps; and her testimony is far more credible. Yet in a court of law, under hard cross-examination, the result might be far different.

Clinton is a first-class liar. Yes, all politicians lie, but this guy is the Alpha Liar. The Liar-in-Chief. He has given us good reason to distrust him. As you say, his greatest sin was getting on the tube, wagging his finger at the whole country in feigned outrage and saying he "did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

He did, and he knew it. That wasn't just misleading. That was a lie. He felt her up, diddled her with a cigar, made out with her like a high schooler at a drive-in, and came all over her dress. But he didn't have sex with her. Thanks for setting us straight about that, Mr. President.

What he proved was that he would risk putting the country -- the cabinet, the Congress, the courts, the media, the people -- through a hell of lies, just to protect his own ass. How courageous. Just what we want from our commander-in-chief.

This wasn't just "lying about sex." It was lying about something profoundly uncomfortable. Lying to mislead political enemies.

And now he's making war with Iraq.

We have no reason to trust any commander-in-chief who has proven, repeatedly, that he is willing to sacrifice others -- many others -- to save himself.

That's the issue.

Is lying to the country a high crime or misdemeanor? Depends on the stakes. Which is why this isn't about sex. It's about war.

Saddam Hussein is a bad man -- maybe the worst in the world today. But did we need to bomb him precisely when we did, without a tenth the support George Bush had for Desert Storm?

We can believe the Joint Chiefs and the other nonpolitical military guys. But we can't believe the liar in chief.

Is that reason enough to impeach him? If being an untrustworthy commander isn't enough, what is?

The honorable thing for Bill Clinton would be to resign. But he won't, because that would mean surrendering to his political enemies.

Now there's a profile in courage.


From: James Plamondon (jamespl@MICROSOFT.com);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 11:04:53 -0800;
Re:People With Honor

No one expects public servants to be saints. But to be entrusted with power, public servants must be counted on to avoid the temptations of power. It's bad enough that Clinton abused his power in his personal life, but hey, he's only human, I could forgive him that. As an electorate we all knew he had weaknesses for Big Macs and big hair, and (enough of us) voted for him anyway, on a "don't ask, don't tell" sort of basis.

But if he lied under oath, and obstructed justice, then he has demonstrated that he cannot resist the temptations of official power, and he should be removed from office -- not censured, not spanked and sent to bed without supper, but permanently barred from holding public office.

This is so simple. Clinton has the best spin doctors in the world, and they've done an amazing job of creating salacious diversions, but it all comes down to a very simple question: did he lie and/or obstruct justice, or not? That's all. Nothing else.

From: "David Carlick" (carlick@iGive.com);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 11:01:24 -0800;
Re:People With Honor

The interesting thing here is that there are truly two perfectly valid points of view. Like you, I'm sure, I've been in many many heated discussions, and find that people are absolutely convinced of one or the other.

  1. Clinton was forced to lie about his private sexual indiscretions through a massive, $40 million inquiry process that was funded by the right (witch hunt). His sex life is his own business. The Paula Jones case had no merit (no harm, no damage, she was even promoted, as was Monica Lewinsky) and appears to have been funded by the Religous Right, leading to the depositions that gave ammunition to the even more gigantic Grand Inquisitor, Kenneth Starr.

    We should hound the bastards who have mounted this witch hunt from office with every ounce of our will and erase this from our national agenda.

  2. Clinton is a mysogynist, a sexual harasser, a liar, a perjurer, an obstructor, and maybe even a personally motivated bomber, and not fit to lead the government, or our military, let alone the free world. We should hound the bastard out of office with every bit of our political and legislative power.

You know, both are really true to one side or another, and that is really Civil War material -- such irreconcilable points of view. Fortunately this time we're fighting it in the legislative and political arena, and not in the streets.

The question of Iraq timing has, in fact, been raised more than once in the press. I noted that certain of the press pointed out that the issues that 'required' bombing or force (and quite a number of the press, even a majority) favor the use of force to restrict Iraq's use of world-poisoning weapons of 'mass destruction') certainly existed for months before the Impeachment hearings, so why the sudden show of courage?

From: Mickapp@aol.com;
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 13:27:32 EST;
Re:People With Honor

You pose some interesting questions. Why not consider calling your Congressman and seeing him/her when next in town to discuss your questionsor better yet, getting into the system by running for office?? Get involved...

From: James Kittock (kittock@interval.com);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 10:25:25 -0800;
Re:People With Honor

The question has barely been raised on TV or in the newspapers or on the web.

When the bombing first began, this issue was clearly brought up by the media, largely in the form of the press reporting on various Republicans talking publicly about how suspicious it was.

Also, this was one of the few times where the US acted aggressively towards another country and there was not overwhelming support initially. Eventually, the House came around with a statement of support for the troops, but even that was not a statement of support for Clinton's action.

Now it may be the case that the issue of timing was aired and then squelched, but to say that it wasn't brought up is an overstatement.

In any case, I would say the tough question we should be asking ourselves is, "what right does the U.S. have to bomb Iraq?" If the argument is that he is a clear and present danger to the United States, I would love to see some evidence. All I can see from here is a petty tyrant having fun in his sandpile at the expense of his own people. If the argument is that he is a clear and present danger to his neighbors, then I would say that his neighbor countries are generally very wealthy (oil states) and/or adequately militaristic (Israel) and should be capable of defending themselves.

So what is the justification? That's the question I would like answered.

From: Brent Deverman (deverman@pilot.msu.edu);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 13:15:14 -0400;
Re:People With Honor

I just have to ask the question: Couldn't Clinton have waited one day before he gave the order to bomb Iraq? Just one day after the impeachment hearings? I'm very suspicious.


From: Brent Schlender (bschlender@fortune.timeinc.com);
Sent at Mon, 28 Dec 1998 10:05:17 -0800;
Re:People With Honor

Did you notice what Mike McCurry, the former Clinton official spokesman, said a couple weeks ago about how "troubled" he was by being lied to so baldly? I'd wager that's why he quit.

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