December 16-19, 1998 – Operation Desert Fox: US/UK bomb Iraq/Saddam: The contemporaneous justification for the strikes was Iraq’s failure to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions and its interference with United Nations Special Commission inspectors, however an article in the Muslim journal where Huma Abedin was assistant editor claimed Bill Clinton bombed Saddam Hussein to deflect from his Monica Lewinsky affair. Abedin, who is not an academic, has been Hillary Clinton’s closest aide since spending time as an intern at the White House, at exactly the time the Monica Lewinsky scandal was unfolding.
Although there was no Authorization for Use of Military Force as there was during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom or a Declaration of War as in WWII, on October 31, 1998 Clinton signed into law H.R. 4655, the Iraq Liberation Act. The new Act appropriated funds for Iraqi opposition groups in the hope of removing Saddam Hussein from power and replacing his regime with a democratic government. Despite the act’s intention being support of opposition groups, Clinton justified his order for US action under the Act.
The Act also said that:
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.
Section 4(a)(2) states:
The President is authorized to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training for [Iraqi democratic opposition] organizations.
Just prior to Desert Fox, the U.S. nearly led a bombing campaign against Saddam called Operation Desert Thunder. It was abandoned at the last minute when the Iraqi leader allowed the UN to continue weapons inspections.