Full Disclosure

One picture last week was worth more than the proverbial thousand words: Two embattled leaders, President Clinton and Russian president Boris Yeltsin, were embracing in such a way that they appeared to be propping one another up. The problem is, if President Clinton were to fall, the crash would affect far more people than Mr. Yeltsin. And that's why America must resolve the Monica Lewinsky scandal as soon as humanly possible. We've been told for several months now that the president's private conduct has no bearing on his public duties. According to the polls, many Americans seem to believe it. Well, it has a great deal to do with the nation's business. For sadly the president is losing the moral authority essential for America's leadership role in the world. The world, partly because of the president's weakness, is becoming increasingly dangerous. The Russian economy is in a shambles. Its government may well collapse. China takes repeated advantage of the United States and supplies military aid to the Pakistanis. North Korean just days ago fired a missile over Japanese territory. And of course there is an undeclared war with powerful terrorist groups. At the same time there is a worldwide economic recession growing. But most telling of all, look at the Middle East. Scott Ritter, the ex-Marine arms inspector, quit in protest over the administration's policies—they deliberately refused to demand arms inspections of Saddam Hussein that were required by the UN. Could it be that the president, wounded by the scandal, doesn't dare risk a confrontation, fearful he couldn't mobilize our allies? This is no longer just a tawdry sex scandal. Nor is it a case simply of violations of the law. The question is much bigger. Restoring the moral authority of this country so vital in the world today. And there really are only two choices. The president can come forward, as I've been praying he would do, and do what former Senator Sam Nunn urged in an article last week in the Washington Post, make "a voluntary and complete disclosure of all relevant matters . . . to the independent counsel, to the congressional leadership and to the American people." Senator Nunn added that this "may even require [Clinton's] resignation, but it would fulfill the president's most important oath—to preserve and protect our nation." If the president doesn't do this, Congress must do its duty. It was reassuring last week to hear three Democratic senators openly criticize the president for failing to come clean and admit that his behavior was not just inappropriate, but immoral. Those senators recognize that Congress cannot turn away from its duty. And the longer the issue drags on, the more dangerous the world becomes. I know the leadership does not want to do this during an election period, but the world won't wait for our political convenience. The scripture is clear on this point. The primary role of government is to maintain order and promote justice. And like it or not, in the late twentieth century, the lion's share of that task worldwide falls upon the United States. We're the last remaining superpower, and we do not have the luxury of squandering away our moral authority. There's never been a time when it's been more important for Americans to pray for our leaders—that the president would have the courage to do what is right. As Senator Nunn put it, "to put the country's safety and security first." And we should pray for our congressional leaders, that they would have the courage to do their duty— whatever the political consequences.


Chuck Colson



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