But after withstanding a steady rain of bombs and cruise missiles that, according to Defense Secretary William Cohen, set Iraq's weapons program back at least a year, Hussein has vowed to fight on. Hours before Clinton called off the planes, Baghdad said it would now cut off all cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors. The White House countered that it would use force, if necessary, to keep those doors open. All of which sounds more than a little familiar. In the end, just as with the impeachment debate, we finish the year much in the same place we started -- but with the stakes significantly higher next time around.
Never has Bill Clinton's famous ability to compartmentalize been on more prominent display. Barely two hours after vowing to stay in office in a remorseful-but-resolute appearance outside the White House, he went on television again, this time inside the building, in his role as commander in chief. The 70-hour attack on Iraq is over, the President said, and now the rest is up to Saddam Hussein.