Clinton's Suspicious War

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WASHINGTON: Forget about partisanship -- not even accusations of treason stop at the water's edge anymore. Just moments before the skies over Bagdad filled with anti-aircraft fire Wedneday, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said that he could not "support military action in Iraq at this time... Both the timing and the policy are subject to question." TIME White House correspondent Jay Branegan doesn't see a lot of evidence that Clinton is playing damage control with American lives. But by voicing what not even Henry Hyde would say, Lott has raised the impeachment stakes all the way.

Special Report "If any connection turns up later, that's an impeachable offense," says Branegan. "That's abuse of power." But Branegan points out that Clinton can make a good case for acting when he did: In November -- with the full support of a politically disinterested Pentagon -- he had given the order to bomb but rescinded it in deference to ordinary Iraqis. Wednesday, it was the UNSCOM report that pushed him to act. Of course a little war is good for a president, and Branegan says that a whole winter of it might even turn the impeachment tide. "If he does well, suddenly Congress might find impeachment an appalling idea." But now that fighter and bomber pilots are set to join the fray over Baghdad, one mistake -- just one American son who doesn't come home -- could turn a lot of dark suspicions into Senate votes.