Magazine article Insight on the News

The Desert Fox Wags the Dog

Magazine article Insight on the News

The Desert Fox Wags the Dog

Article excerpt

How odd this thing called coincidence, especially in politics. Consider the following quotations: "I gave [him] a chance, not a license"; "If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price"; "The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing"; "In light of this experience and in the absence of full cooperation. it must regrettably be recorded again that the [probers are] not able to conduct the work mandated to [them]"; "[He] has failed to seize the chance"; "I concluded then that the right thing was to ... give [him] one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate."

The speaker was not a Republican. Neither was he talking about the 42nd president of the United States and the debacle he has created leading to only the second presidential-impeachment debate in the history of the republic.

No, the author of the words quoted above was William Jefferson Clinton, speaking from a script that, as surreal as the live broadcasts showing cruise missiles raining down on Iraq, could have been written by any critic of Clinton's actions. But, of course, Clinton was speaking about Saddam Hussein.

How odd the word choices, too -- including "reckless" "deception" "doing the right thing" "sobering," "profoundly disturbing" and "paying a heavy price."

It's interesting to hear the president denounce Saddam in precisely the same way he has been denounced. It's interesting, too, to ponder the games these leaders are playing on the world and domestic stages each occupies. Saddam escalates his animosity toward U.N. weapons inspectors under some misguided sense that complaining about their tactics somehow will overshadow his own shameless behavior and avoid U.S. military action. Clinton escalates his animosity toward congressional probers under the misguided sense that blaming accusers Henry Hyde or Dan Burton or Bob Livingston somehow will legitimize his own wrongdoing and avoid impeachment. Like Saddam, he likes to rattle the saber to pose as a swordsman.

Consider the following and ask yourself which president this applies to: He uses the powers of office to cover up misdeeds, plays games to thwart investigators, bellyaches about nutty opponents, portrays himself as a victim to divert attention from the fact that wherever he goes there are fresh corpses, plays possum when cornered and devises actions to divert attention or delay an outcome. No wonder people talk about "wag the dog" scenarios when these two are engaged in conversation.

Has anyone ever figured out why, in August, there was a sudden need to send U. …

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