- LONDON (Agence France-Press) - According to Saturday's British press,
U.S. President Clinton and Iraqi leaders have one thing in common as they
face off in the Gulf: They're both doomed. The only question is who'll
- Clinton faces a vote in Congress that
will likely lead to an impeachment trial in the Senate on two counts of
perjury and one each of obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
- Saddam, meanwhile, has seen his country
hit by three straight days of US and British air strikes for refusing to
live up to his promises to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors.
- All the British press struggled to keep
the two stories apart. In the end, most gave in.
- The mass-selling conservative tabloid
Sun and the left-leaning Guardian, for instance, chose almost identical
- "Doomed", screamed the Sun
on its front page between pictures of the two leaders. "But who'll
be finished off first?"
- "Two presidents in peril - but which
one will be toppled first?" asked the Guardian.
- The Sun put its money on the Iraqi dictator
- Its editorial insisted it was "time
for the liars to go". Clinton was too discredited to hang on if Congress
voted for impeachment.
- "It would be a supreme irony if
he were to be out of office while Saddam remained in power," the paper
added. "But it is a price Clinton must pay for betraying America."
- The Daily Mail also lumped impeachment
and Gulf crisis together. "As Slick Willie parties, bombing goes on,"
read its headline, next to a picture of the president and Hillary Clinton
at a White House party.
- It said the "squalid and surreal"
spectacle in Washington was undermining Operation Desert Fox against Iraq,
although it criticized Clinton for causing his own problems.
- Few papers could avoid putting both stories,
Gulf crisis and impeachment, on their front page.
- The media mood remained largely in favor
of military action against Iraq. One of the staunchest, the Daily Telegraph,
regretted only that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be tainted
by his close ties with Clinton.
- Its editorial said the U.S. president
"has compromised Western policy in the Gulf by associating it with
his own disgrace.
- "The one comfort is that Mr. Clinton's
knavery has done him no good."
- The Daily Express also believed impeachment
was casting a cloud over Iraq. It urged a return to priorities: crippling
Saddam's regime and ensuring there was a clear strategy for dealing with
- "This is no time for gung-ho language
and military machismo and neither is it time for impeaching the American
- Clinton won more vociferous backing from
the Mirror tabloid. "What went on in Washington was a scandalous blot
on American democracy," it stormed.
- The paper said trying to impeach Clinton
now was "treachery".
- "Bill Clinton has little to be proud
of about how he behaved over Monica Lewinsky. But the shameful behavior
of his rightwing persecutors dwarfs his misdeeds."
- The Times focussed its editorial on how
Blair should persuade the country that launching air strikes on Iraq was
right and why it was backing the United States.
- It suggested he make his first nationwide
broadcast this weekend to press the case for attacks.