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IRAQ: Conflicting US and French viewpoints
Anything the French say is immediately discredited by Americans, but in fairness we should listen to informed and reasonable people like Martin Storey to get a better sense of how the French think and feel: "I'm no longer completely sure which of my messages Tim Brown's comments pertain to, but the discussion has reached a point where neither side is likely to budge. Respectfully, I read Tim Brown's statement as bullying, in line with the US Government's attitude and well seen in Paul Davis's posting of a couple of days ago ("the international arguments against the war seem to be mostly based on sentiment (Europe is from Venus?) and those for the war mostly on reasoning (America is from Mars?)." We romantics have no balls, tough, so we should get out of the way. While we can throw (mainly valid) arguments at each other to make our respective cases, I think we're missing the point.
Let me state for the record that I have not actively militated (other than for nature conservation causes that I had a direct familiarity with) in my life, so I am not a hopeless romantic who embraces every trendy political cause, nor an anarchist, nor a systematic denigrator (in spite of my French origins) - I rather dislike such people. I have nothing a priori against the US nor anyone else for that matter. Let me also repeat once again that I have no issue with the removal of the current power in Iraq, and a change of regime there: it's the method that I find irreconcilable with fundamental ethics. Perhaps nothing unusual in a historical time scale, but in the time scale of my own life, it's the worst I've seen.
But what I think doesn't make an iota of difference. However: I believe that Tim Brown is seriously mistaken, or misinformed, on how the rest of the world feels about current events. I believe that the people of the US are seriously misinformed on the consequences of the war. I believe that much harm has already been done, and that it is only getting worse. I believe that the US Government is trumpeting to be holier than all while abusing of its current monopoly on superpower. I believe that the people of the US will lose out too, on the long run.
I grab today's national newspaper in Australia, The Australian, and submit the following three items (in addition to the previously quoted President Mubarak:
- Blix says: "Now we are curious, we are the most curious of all to know, are the Americans and Brits and others going to find some weapons of mass destruction?" Good point, although that detail may be quickly forgotten in the frenzy of contracts to "rebuild" Iraq using Iraqi oil money.
- From Reuters: "ARAB PRIDE SWELLS OVER STIFF RESISTANCE - A new mood of Arab nationalism, fusing pan-Arab and Islamic themes, is sweeping in the Middle East in reaction to the war, denounced by many Arabs as a new colonial invasion. Millions of Arabs are taking pride in Iraqi resistance against overwhelming odds [...] Before the war there was a sense of resignation and impotence in the Arab world, now there is pride in Iraqi resistance and anger at their own governments, who are seen to be either sitting on the fence or collaborating with the US".
- And if anyone doubts that the US is acting as a colonialist and bully, here's what was on the front page of the newspaper: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,6238880%255E2702,00.html. It's about the US of A vs. one of the smallest and saddest countries on earth, shady lawyers, "promises and threats" in their words, lies, theft, and broken promises. If you are a citizen of the US, this is your government doing this.
Back to the 2nd point, and again stating the obvious: - the US is addicted to oil. Most of the oil is in the Middle East, at least the cheap oil (let's ignore the relatively minuscule volumes in ANWR). If the US wants the oil, they're going to have to buy it from its owners, or take it. A scary perspective for world geopolitics in the coming years, yet that's where we are today.
RH: Tom Moore asks where Tim Brown found proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This point is made also in "Washington's burden of proof" by Gloria Borger in US News and World Report (4/7/03). There is a danger that we may face another Bay of Tonkin resolution, i.e. a fraudulent report to justify military action., The same issue has a has a harshly anti-French and anti-Chirac article by Lou Dobbs titled "Saddam's business partners. American consumers are fed up with France's opposition". The magazine is strongly pro-war and eager to find proof of weapons of mass destruction. I personally am waiting for the evidence.
We have heard no from both the US and the French side and for the time being we must leave it at that. Please do not send me any rebuttals of Martin Storey's statement. They would simply be repetitions of the original American statements. You have had your say. WAIS does not engage in shouting matches.
Ronald Hilton - 4/6/03