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Old 01-05-2007, 09:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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international congress on iraq? chirac's modest proposal

jacques chirac has been painted in a host of strange ways by the american press since 2003: many of these ways of distorting his image curiously function to make him in general more pallatable than he actually is. but this short article, summarizing a speech from today (i think) outlines what looks like the first suggestion for a coherent way out of iraq: an international conference, a kind of multinational forum, that would be convened and that would try to work out a coherent way out of the present debacle. even without having any information about who would be included and how it would proceed, this sort of action seems to me about the only one that presents in principle any way out of this mess:

it would remove the u.s. from the center of things, which is at this point i think absolutely necessary. the americans are boxed in by their own choices: they cannot act as mediators because they are parties within a civil war; they have no credibility in terms of disinterestedness and even more in terms of actual actions; the situation on the ground appears to be spinning well beyond any hope of control. attempts that the american make to assert some primary control seem to me to be doomed from the outset simply because they will tend to exacerbate existing dynamics rather than break them.

here's the synopsis of chirac's speech (i could get the text of it later, if there is a call for it)

Chirac Blasts U.S.-Led Invasion of Iraq

Friday January 5, 2007 4:31 PM

PARIS (AP) - President Jacques Chirac gave a tough critique Friday of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its fallout, saying the war destabilized the entire Middle East and allowed terrorism to spread.

In a speech to ambassadors, Chirac also renewed his call for an international conference on the Middle East, saying he was deeply concerned by the growing number of crises there.

``At Europe's gate, the Middle East has become an epicenter of international tensions,'' Chirac said. ``Crises are building up and spreading.''

On Iraq, Chirac suggested the problems there today justified France's strong opposition to the invasion in 2003.

``As France foresaw and feared, the war in Iraq caused upheavals whose effects have not yet finished unraveling,'' he said.

``The venture exacerbated the divisions between (Iraqi) communities and undermined the very integrity of Iraq,'' he said. ``It weakened the stability of the region, where every country is now worried about its security and independence. It gave terrorism new terrain for expansion.''

Now, ``more than ever, the priority is to return sovereignty to the Iraqis,'' Chirac said.

Chirac had rallied together voices against the Iraq war, the main foreign policy legacy of his 12 years in office. He is not expected to stand in elections this year, though he has not yet declared his intentions.

For months, Chirac has called for an international conference on the Middle East. The European Union should relaunch the work of the so-called Quartet peacemakers - the United States, the EU, Russia and the United Nations - with a proposal for a conference, he said.

Chirac said it should be ``a new form of conference that, without claiming to dictate the terms of the settlement to the parties involved, would bring the new guarantees that they aspire to,'' he said. ``Then, I am persuaded, a true dynamic of negotiation could be launched.''
source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlates...325213,00.html

what do you think of this idea?
would it work?
what should such a conference look like? who should be included and who not included?
what do you think the prospects are for this?
do you think the bush administration capable to acceding to it? why or why not?

do you see in this anything like a path that might lead out of the current debacle?
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Powerful stuff from Chirac there.
4 years into this, he decides he has a plan.
4 years into this, he decides he wants to help out.
He is a weak leader who panders to muslims because they threaten to overrun his country with riots.
"The muslims are at the gate..."
Why should anyone think he is serious about helping out in Iraq, while his country watched Iraq go up in flames to begin with?
Of course, anyone and everyone should be concerned with rebuilding Iraq, but they aren't.
They would rather Iraq continue to burn, let thousands of iraqis continue to die, and - most important of all - see the US humiliated, than play any kind of supporting role there.
"The muslims are at the gate..."
The US should listen to what France says?
Yes they should.
Iran, Syria and Sauid Arabia are more important to whats going on in Iraq than France.
If France wants to play a productive part in negotiations with those players, wonderful.
What a fine and noble thing for France to do.
"The muslims are at the gate..."
I am of the opinion that Chirac talks from fear, not resolution.
Pacification, not determination.
Appeasement, not solution.
"The muslims are at the gate..."
Run, Jacques. Run.
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sen. Biden offered a plan earlier this year (despite the BS on this board that the Dems have no plan) that included an international conference as well as other components to address the growing sectarian violence.

First, the plan calls for maintaining a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis their own regions. (this is the most difficult and politically charged component of the plan) The central government would be left in charge of common interests, such as border security and the distribution of oil revenue.

Second, it would bind the Sunnis to the deal by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue. Each group would have an incentive to maximize oil production, making oil the glue that binds the country together.

Third, the plan would create a massive jobs program while increasing reconstruction aid -- especially from the oil-rich Gulf states -- but tying it to the protection of minority rights.

Fourth, it would convene an international conference that would produce a regional nonaggression pact and create a Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.

Fifth, it would begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces this year and withdraw most of them by the end of 2007, while maintaining a small follow-on force to keep the neighbors honest and to strike any concentration of terrorists.

Any international conference would require the involvement of the Arab League as well as a willingness of the Shia-dominated government in Iraq to be open to the involvement of the Sunni-dominated Arab League and the Kurds in Iraq to be open to the involvement of Turkey, both of which have a political stake in a successful outcome.
"The perfect is the enemy of the good."
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Old 01-06-2007, 11:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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here is a synopsis of the bush plan: stay within the same obviously catastrophic logic, but increase the number of troops:

Bush Plan for Iraq Requests More Troops and More Jobs

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 ? President Bush?s new Iraq strategy calls for a rapid influx of forces that could add as many as 20,000 American combat troops to Baghdad in coming months, supplemented with a jobs program costing as much as $1 billion intended to employ Iraqis in projects painting schools and cleaning up streets, according to American officials who are piecing together the last parts of the initiative.

The American officials said that Iraq?s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, formally agreed in a long teleconference on Thursday with Mr. Bush to match the American troop increase, made up of five combat brigades, by sending three additional Iraqi brigades to Baghdad over the next month and a half.

Nonetheless, even in outlining the plan, some American officials acknowledged deep skepticism about whether the new Iraq plan could succeed. They said that two-thirds of the promised Iraqi force would consist of Kurdish pesh merga units to be sent from northern Iraq, and they said that some doubts remained about whether they would show up in Baghdad or were truly committed to quelling sectarian fighting.

Mr. Bush is expected to make the plan public in coming days, probably in a speech to the country on Wednesday that will cast the initiative as a joint effort by the United States and Iraq to reclaim control of Baghdad neighborhoods racked by sectarian violence. Officials said Mr. Bush was likely to be vague on the question of how long the additional American forces would remain on the streets of Baghdad. But they said American planners intended for the push to last for less than a year.

The call for an American troop increase would put Mr. Bush in direct confrontation with the leaders of the new Democratic Congress, who said in a letter to the president on Thursday that the United States should move instead toward a phased withdrawal of American troops, to begin in the next four months.

A crucial element of the plan would include more than a doubling of the State Department?s reconstruction efforts throughout the country, an initiative intended by the administration to signal that the new strategy would emphasize rebuilding as much fighting.

But previous American reconstruction efforts in Iraq have failed to translate into support from the Iraqi population, and some Republicans as well as the new Democratic leadership in Congress have questioned whether a troop increase would do more than postpone the inevitable and precarious moment when Iraqi forces have to stand on their own.

When Mr. Bush gives his speech, he will cast much of the program as an effort to bolster Iraq?s efforts to take command over their own forces and territory, the American officials said. He will express confidence that Mr. Maliki is committed to bringing under control both the Sunni-led insurgency and the Shiite militias that have emerged as the source of most of the violence.

Some aspects of the plan were reported by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

An increase of 20,000 troops would add significantly to the total now assigned to Baghdad, though the phased escalation being planned by the Bush administration would take several months to carry out, the officials said. They would not say specifically whether the American troop increase would be carried out if the Iraqis failed to make good on their commitment to add to their own ranks, but they emphasized that the American influx could be re-evaluated at any point.

The American officials who described the plan included some who said they were increasingly concerned about Mr. Maliki?s intentions, and his ability to deliver. They said senior Bush administration officials had been deeply disturbed by accounts from witnesses to last Saturday?s hanging of Saddam Hussein, who said they believed that guards involved in carrying out the execution were linked to the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia that is headed by Moktada al-Sadr, whose name some of the executioners shouted while Mr. Hussein stood on the gallows.

?If that?s an indication of how Maliki is operating these days, we?ve got a deeper problem with the bigger effort,? said one official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing internal administration deliberations over a strategy that Mr. Bush has not yet publicly announced.

The White House has refused to talk publicly about any of the decisions that Mr. Bush has made about his plan, which is tentatively entitled ?A New Way Forward.? Even though speechwriters are already drafting Mr. Bush?s comments, several of the crucial elements are not finalized, officials warned. That apparently includes the exact amounts of money Mr. Bush will ask of Congress to finance the jobs program, or a longer-term job-training effort that will also be part of the strategy.

Mr. Bush has previously promised to remake American reconstruction efforts in Iraq, most notably in December 2005 when he said that the United States had learned from the failure of efforts to rebuild major infrastructure, mostly run by American companies. But subsequent efforts to focus on programs that would bring more immediate benefits to Iraqis have also faltered.

The details of Mr. Bush?s latest military, economic and political initiatives were described by several sources, including some who said they were doubtful that it would work. The jobs program, noted one, ?would have been great in 2003 or even 2004, but we are trying it now in a very different Iraq,? one in which the passion for fighting for sectarian control of neighborhoods may outweigh interests in obtaining employment.

The American officials who described the program included both advocates and critics of Mr. Bush?s new strategy, and included representative of three different executive branch departments. They would speak only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations about a plan that Mr. Bush had not yet announced.

The most immediate element of the new jobs program will amount to a major expansion of what is known in the military as the Commander?s Emergency Response Program, which provides funds to local officers to put civilians to work as a way of reducing resistance to the American presence in neighborhoods. While the effort has had some successes, they have largely been temporary. As one senior White House official noted in an interview recently, ?You?d go into a neighborhood, clear it, try to hold it, and come back later and discover that it?s all been shattered.?

The new effort, officials said, would cost between a half-billion and a billion dollars, some of which would be spent on other efforts to achieve stability and train Iraqis for more permanent jobs. Both the State Department and the Treasury Department have been brought into that effort.

The plan also calls for a more than doubling of the ?Provincial Reconstruction Teams,? relatively small groups of State Department officials who are empowered to coordinate local reconstruction efforts, chiefly hiring Iraqi firms. For much of the first half of 2006, the State Department was engaged in a bureaucratic dispute with the Defense Department about how these teams would be protected, including exploration of a plan to hire private protective forces that one White House official said ?was too expensive.? Now those teams will be expanded and embedded with the combat brigades, officials said, in what would amount to the latest effort to demonstrate to Iraqis that the American forces in their midst were not simply occupiers.

Mr. Bush?s speech is widely expected to make the case that Americans needed to commit to greater national sacrifice as part of what Bush administration officials acknowledge amounted to a last-ditch effort to salvage the mission in Iraq.

But almost as soon as his speech is done, a series of hearings will begin on Capitol Hill that Democrats intend to use to pick apart the details of the plan, with lawmakers questioning administration officials about whether a troop increase of any size can be successful this late in the war. Those hearings will also likely focus on whether the expanded American military commitment is linked to Iraqi military performance, a point that Bush administration officials would not address directly.

As described by those officials, Mr. Bush is stopping well short of declaring that the beefed-up American force will be sent only to Baghdad and Anbar Province, the seat of the Sunni Arab insurgency, if the Iraqis also boost their own forces. But under the phased increase being contemplated, the reality is that every month between now and April or May, Mr. Bush will have a chance to decide whether to send an additional combat brigade into the country. ?That?s our moment of leverage,? one White House official said.

Officials said that a larger American troop commitment to Iraq also would be used to illustrate Washington?s increased resolve to deter adventurism by regional adversaries, especially Iran. Mr. Bush?s speech is expected to include talk of a new diplomatic initiative to shore up confidence among Washington?s Islamic allies in the region as well as to warn its adversaries, officials said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to begin that initiative almost immediately after the speech, leaving for the Middle East by next weekend.

In parallel to an enlarged Baghdad security operation, Mr. Bush has already signaled his desire to expand the number of American military trainers working with Iraqi security forces.
source: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/wo...pagewanted=all

trapped by their own way of thinking, a variant of which you see in powerclown's post above, the bush people seem to allow for no alternative that will not simply compound the problems that they have created for themselves. i am not ging to defend chirac: i do not consider the scenario powerclown outlines above to be close enough to the reality that other people know about to be worth commenting on any further: all it seems to demonstrate is the power of conservative rhetoric and its repetition for those who decide, for whatever reason, to lay themselves open to it.

for the far right, for the extreme right of the george w bush persuasion, i would think the convening of an international congress of some kind, probably outside the purview of the un, but even worse within it, would be understood as a greater defeat than what is happening now in iraq. it would represent the demolition of the far right's hyper-nationalism, its unilaterialism, and with that the illusion that the united states is not really part of the world community, because it is the Power. but i see no other way forward.

the biden plan seems preferable. if such a plan has been floated already, i would expect that it would surface in the context of debates about the bush policy in congress over the next few days.

i saw the war in iraq as a war on an idea of an institutional framework developing around globalizing capitalism that was not dominated by the united states as a function of their military capabilities. it was a primitve dream of power, rooted in what has turned out to be paradoxically called a "realist" mode of thinking power. the gambit the right played in iraq has turned out to be a disaster, and now they have to face the scenario they had hoped to see the least of all of them: a model of exactly the type of global order they tried to short circuit has to be convened in order to bail the americans out of a disaster for which there was not justification in the first place.

i dont see the united states loosing here: i see the american right experiencing a total defeat. but i think the united states will be better for that. i dont think anyone except perhaps for american conservatives identifies the states as a whole with the conservatives.

iraq is waterloo for american conservatism in its present form.
a gramophone its corrugated trumpet silver handle
spinning dog. such faithfulness it hear

it make you sick.

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Last edited by roachboy; 01-06-2007 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 01-07-2007, 05:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Detroit, MI
Well, you had the opportunity to say something like "The Bush Administration from the start forbade international ngo's, foreign companies and the UN from leading major reconstruction programs in Iraq, wanting them run instead by American companies exclusively", but went once again into liberal intellectual mode by blaming the entirety of Bush's mistakes and lack of progress on "american conservatism", as if the Bush neoncons are majority representative of American conservatism

Why even use pseudo-diplomatic disclaimers like "far right" and "the extreme right of the george w bush persuasion" when its obvious that to you there is no "far, far right", there is only "american conservatism". Why not go the one further step and say there are only "conservatives" who are the problem?

I like Biden's plan, particularly the idea of giving the different iraqi factions their own regions (not unlike the layouts of many large american cities), dividing up the oil revenues between the groups, and especially the incentive of a employment and reconstruction plan based on recognition of minority rights.

Again I think chirac likes to talk more for domestic reasons than anything else. All he seems concerned about (in this respect) are the muslims in his own country and how to mollify them. I'd like to hear more of what Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have to say on the matter.
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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so the problem with chirac's proposal is that chirac made it.
therefore it makes sense to wait around for x months of continuing republican-inspired debacle in iraq until someone more palatable to the american right comes along and says the same thing.

i know: let's escalate. that has worked out really well in the past. we'll escalate so we can pull out.

not only do we have great examples from the not-terribly distant past to look at in order to show what fine sense this makes, but----more importantly---- that way we wont have to deal with the humiliation of taking seriously a proposal for an international conference to address the american debacle in iraq that originates with france.

and everyone who dies from now until that other, non-french guy makes the same proposal at some future date dies because.......?
a gramophone its corrugated trumpet silver handle
spinning dog. such faithfulness it hear

it make you sick.

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Last edited by roachboy; 01-08-2007 at 05:39 PM..
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Old 01-08-2007, 07:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Detroit, MI
Why now?
Why is chirac expressing his "deep concern" for Iraq and calling for international conferences NOW?
Shouldn't this have been done years earlier before Iraq got this bad?
Wouldn't it have been cool to see france emerge as a progressive, visionary leading voice for Iraq 4 years ago?
chirac and the rest of the world knew what it would have took to stem the flow of the insurgency back in '03.
Where were the french calls for international conferences then?
But now that things are as bad as they are, now's the time to talk. Come on...
Perhaps he thinks the US more amenable to french demands, in their perceived hour of need?
Perhaps he's interested in talking now that Iraq is burning and people might open to compromise?

I'm all for talking and debating the course of Iraq.
Get a conference together and talk.
I think the US should be talking to Iran and Syria.
One has to wonder how well the Biden plan would be received, in light of how poorly the ISG's report was received.
Maybe someone else has a plan.
Having no idea what would be on the agenda for such a conference, its all speculation at this point.
Comprehensively securing baghdad could signal the start of something productive, some sort of foothold.
Furthermore, there are new players, the Rumsfeld Doctrine has been ditched, things might start to happen.
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Old 01-08-2007, 11:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
Originally Posted by powerclown
Why now?
Why is chirac expressing his "deep concern" for Iraq and calling for international conferences NOW?
Shouldn't this have been done years earlier before Iraq got this bad?
Wouldn't it have been cool to see france emerge as a progressive, visionary leading voice for Iraq 4 years ago?..........
powerclown, in the "rest" of the world, including in mine....."france [did] emerge as a progressive, visionary leading voice for Iraq 4 years ago?" The near term historical record is that Mr. Bush ordered aggressive war against Iraq in 2003. Mr. Villepin, prime minister of France, will be described in the majority of history books, still to be written, this way:
.....He was appointed Foreign Minister by Chirac in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin at the beginning of his second term in 2002.

During the crisis in Haiti, Villepin once again showed himself to be a resolute decision-maker, obtaining the backing of the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in his bid to solve the crisis by ousting Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power.

Villepin's most famous assignment as Chirac's Foreign Minister was opposing the U.S. plan to invade Iraq, <b>making France look like the leader in a coalition of countries such as Germany, Belgium, Russia and China that opposed the invasion.</b> The speech he gave to the United Nations to block a second resolution allowing the use of force against Saddam Hussein's regime <b>is regarded by some as an historic moment, receiving loud applause.......</b>
France 'cannot accept ultimatum'

Monday, March 17, 2003 Posted: 4:41 AM EST (0941 GMT)

Villepin: "War is not necessary, we can do otherwise."

PARIS, France (CNN) -- France cannot accept a U.N. resolution that includes an ultimatum calling for the automatic use of force to disarm Iraq, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says.

Reacting to the "coalition of the willing" summit in the Azores, Villepin said Monday the leaders of the United States, Great Britain and Spain "must ask themselves if war is really necessary."

Villepin reiterated France's position that it is still possible to disarm Iraq peacefully, noting that U.N. weapon inspections are working.

Following the Azores summit, U.S. President George W. Bush said the U.S. and its allies would make its final effort Monday to extract a resolution from the U.N. Security Council giving Iraq an ultimatum to disarm immediately or be disarmed by force.

Bush called the day "a moment of truth for the world."

But despite severe criticism from the United States, France is sticking with its demand that U.N. arms inspectors be given more time.

"France cannot accept the resolution that is on the table in New York ... which poses an ultimatum and which envisages an automatic use of force," Villepin told Europe 1 radio.

"France has said what it would do [if such a U.N. resolution was proposed]," he said, a reference to President Jacques Chirac's threat to use France's right of veto in the U.N. Security Council.

Chirac proposed setting a 30-day deadline for Iraq to meet a series of disarmament criteria and also defended his country's stance in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. (Staunch voice)
Relations 'undamaged'

The current crisis is with Iraq and not between France and the U.S. or Britain, the French foreign minister stressed.

The United States was a "precious ally" and tensions over Iraq would not damage U.S.-French relations, he said.

But he warned "one country can win a war but it takes more than one country to win peace."

Villepin also said there was no evidence of a link between Iraq and the al Qaeda terror network.

France has called for an emergency U.N. ministerial meeting Tuesday to set a timetable for Iraq's peaceful disarmament.

The call ignores a Monday deadline set by the U.S. and three allies for the U.N. to authorize war against Baghdad.
Iraq / Address by Dominique de Villepin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the United Nations Security Council

New-York, February 14, 2003

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,

I would like to thank Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei for the information they have just given us on the continuing inspections in Iraq. I would like to express to them again France's confidence and complete support in their mission.

You know the value that France has placed on the unity of the Security Council from the outset of the Iraq crisis. This unity rests on two fundamental elements at this time:

We are pursuing together the objective of effectively disarming Iraq. We have an obligation to achieve results. Let us not cast doubt on our common commitment to this goal. We shoulder collectively this onerous responsibility which must leave no room for ulterior motives or assumptions. Let us be clear: Not one of us feels the least indulgence towards Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime.

In unanimously adopting resolution 1441, we collectively expressed our agreement with the two-stage approach proposed by France: the choice of disarmament through inspections and, should this strategy fail, consideration by the Security Council of all the options, including the recourse to force. It was clearly in the event the inspections failed and only in that scenario that a second resolution could be justified.

The question today is simple: Do we consider in good conscience that disarmament via inspections is now leading us to a dead-end? Or do we consider that the possibilities regarding inspections presented in resolution 1441 have still not been fully explored?

In response to this question, France has two convictions:

# The first is that the option of inspections has not been taken to the end and that it can provide an effective response to the imperative of disarming Iraq;
# The second is that the use of force would be so fraught with risks for people, for the region and for international stability that it should only be envisioned as a last resort.

So what have we just learned from the report by Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei? That the inspections are producing results. Of course, each of us wants more, and we will continue together to put pressure on Baghdad to obtain more. But the inspections are producing results.

In their previous reports to the Security Council on January 27, the executive chairman of UNMOVIC and the director-general of the IAEA had identified in detail areas in which progress was expected. Significant gains have been made on several of these points:

# In the chemical and biological areas, the Iraqis have provided the inspectors with new documentation. They have also announced the establishment of commissions of inquiry led by former officials of weapons programs, in accordance with Mr. Blix's requests;
# In the ballistic domain, the information provided by Iraq has also enabled the inspectors to make progress. We know exactly the real capabilities of the Al-Samoud missile. The unauthorized programs must now be dismantled, in accordance with Mr. Blix's conclusions;
# In the nuclear domain, useful information was given to the IAEA on important points discussed by Mr. ElBaradei on January 27: the acquisition of magnets that could be used for enriching uranium and the list of contacts between Iraq and the country likely to have provided it with uranium.

There we are at the heart of the logic of resolution 1441 which must ensure the effectiveness of the inspections through precise identification of banned programs then their elimination.

We all realize that the success of the inspections presupposes that we obtain Iraq's full and complete cooperation. France has consistently demanded this.

Real progress is beginning to be apparent:

# Iraq has agreed to aerial reconnaissance over its territory;
# It has allowed Iraqi scientists to be questioned by the inspectors without witnesses;
# A bill barring all activities linked to weapons of mass destruction programs is in the process of being adopted, in accordance with a long-standing request of the inspectors;
# Iraq is to provide a detailed list of experts who witnessed the destruction of military programs in 1991.

France naturally expects these commitments to be durably verified. Beyond that, we must maintain strong pressure on Iraq so that it goes further in its cooperation.

Progress like this strengthens us in our conviction that inspections can be effective. But we must not shut our eyes to the amount of work that still remains; questions still have to be cleared up, verifications made, and installations and equipment probably still have to be destroyed.

To do this, we must give the inspections every chance of succeeding:
# I submitted proposals to the Council on February 5;
# Since then we have detailed them in a working document addressed to Mr. Blix and M. ElBaradei and distributed to Council members.

What is the spirit of these proposals?

# They are practical, concrete proposals that can be implemented quickly and are designed to enhance the efficiency of inspection operations.
# They fall within the framework of resolution 1441 and consequently do not require a new resolution. <
# They must support the efforts of Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei: The latter are naturally the best placed to tell us which ones they wish to adopt for the maximum effectiveness of their work.
# In their report they have already made useful and operational comments. France has already announced that it had additional resources available to Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei, beginning with its Mirage IV reconnaissance aircraft.

Now, yes, I do hear the critics:

# There are those who think that the inspections, in their principle, cannot be the least effective. But I recall that this is the very foundation of resolution 1441 and that the inspections are producing results. One may judge them inadequate but they are there.
# There are those who believe that continuing the inspection process is a sort of delaying tactic to prevent military intervention. That naturally raises the question of the time allowed Iraq. This brings us to the core of the debates. At stake is our credibility, and our sense of responsibility Let us have the courage to see things as they are.

There are two options:

# The option of war might seem a priori to be the swiftest. But let us not forget that having won the war, one has to build peace. Let us not delude ourselves; this will be long and difficult because it will be necessary to preserve Iraq's unity and restore stability in a lasting way in a country and region harshly affected by the intrusion of force.
# Faced with such perspectives, there is an alternative in the inspections which allow us to move forward day by day with the effective and peaceful disarmament of Iraq. In the end is that choice not the most sure and most rapid?

<b>No one can assert today that the path of war will be shorter than that of the inspections. No one can claim either that it might lead to a safer, more just and more stable world.</b> For war is always the sanction of failure. Would this be our sole recourse in the face of the many challenges at this time?

So let us allow the United Nations inspectors the time they need for their mission to succeed. But let us together be vigilant and ask Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei to report regularly to the Council. France, for its part, proposes another meeting on March 14 at ministerial level to assess the situation. We will then be able to judge the progress that has been made and what remains to be done.

Given this context, the use of force is not justified at this time.

There is an alternative to war: disarming Iraq via inspections. Furthermore, premature recourse to the military option would be fraught with risks:

# The authority of our action is based today on the unity of the international community. Premature military intervention would bring this unity into question, and that would detract from its legitimacy and, in the long run, its effectiveness.

# Such intervention could have incalculable consequences for the stability of this scarred and fragile region. It would compound the sense of injustice, increase tensions and risk paving the way to other conflicts.

# We all share the same priority�that of fighting terrorism mercilessly. This fight requires total determination. Since the tragedy of September 11 this has been one of the highest priorities facing our peoples. And France, which was struck hard by this terrible scourge several times, is wholly mobilized in this fight which concerns us all and which we must pursue together. That was the sense of the Security Council meeting held on January 20, at France's initiative.

<h3>Ten days ago, the US Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, reported the alleged links between al-Qaeda and the regime in Baghdad. Given the present state of our research and intelligence, in liaison with our allies, nothing allows us to establish such links. On the other hand, we must assess the impact that disputed military action would have on this plan.</h3> Would not such intervention be liable to exacerbate the divisions between societies, cultures and peoples, divisions that nurture terrorism?

<b>France has said all along: We do not exclude the possibility that force may have to be used one day if the inspectors' reports concluded that it was impossible to continue the inspections. The Council would then have to take a decision, and its members would have to meet all their responsibilities. In such an eventuality, I want to recall here the questions I emphasized at our last debate on February 4 which we must answer:

To what extent do the nature and extent of the threat justify the immediate recourse to force?

How do we ensure that the considerable risks of such intervention can actually be kept under control?

In any case, in such an eventuality, it is indeed the unity of the international community that would guarantee its effectiveness. Similarly, it is the United Nations that will be tomorrow at the center of the peace to be built whatever happens.

Mr. President, to those who are wondering in anguish when and how we are going to cede to war, I would like to tell them that nothing, at any time, in this Security Council, will be done in haste, misunderstanding, suspicion or fear.

In this temple of the United Nations, we are the guardians of an ideal, the guardians of a conscience. The onerous responsibility and immense honor we have must lead us to give priority to disarmament in peace.</b>

This message comes to you today from an old country, France, from a continent like mine, Europe, that has known wars, occupation and barbarity. A country that does not forget and knows everything it owes to the freedom-fighters who came from America and elsewhere. And yet has never ceased to stand upright in the face of history and before mankind. Faithful to its values, it wishes resolutely to act with all the members of the international community. It believes in our ability to build together a better world.

Thank you.

Embassy of France in the United States - February 14, 2003
Mr. Bush, on the other hand, will be described in history books as an instigator of aggressive war, on a series of false pretenses, at best, and at worst, as a liar and as a war criminal. In the highlighted area in the preceding quotes of Villepin's much admired , Feb. 2003 speech before the UN, it can be accurately said that he diplomatically called Colin Powell's UN presentation concerning the "evidence" of the serious threat to the world that justified war against Iraq, unverifiable.

I have post much support since, and much has been reported elsewhere, for the possibility that Villepin was correct in questioning Powell's evidence.

The US leadership ignored the pleas for "more time" from the UN security council members, sans Britain. The invasion of Iraq has turned into a diplomatic, military, and fiscal disaster for the US, and it potentially guaranteed Iran's dominance in the region.

Given how this has progressed, and considering your opinion of the French leadership, and the resolute attitude of the Bush admin., why would you expect that France would show the slightest inclination to involve itself, any earlier, in the US/Iraq mess? Why do you think that France has any obligation to ever get involved? Powell's "Pottery Barn" analogy still sums things up, powerclown.

Originally Posted by powerclown
One has to wonder how well the Biden plan would be received, in light of how poorly the ISG's report was received.
Maybe someone else has a plan.
Having no idea what would be on the agenda for such a conference, its all speculation at this point.
Comprehensively securing baghdad could signal the start of something productive, some sort of foothold.
Furthermore, there are new players, the Rumsfeld Doctrine has been ditched, things might start to happen.
powerclown, the passage of time has resulted in the incurious Mr. Bush's "flip flops", turning him into a pathetic caricature of a "leader", don't you see that, yet?

In Theater of War, It's Iraq Study Group's Turn to Take the Stage

By Dana Milbank
Thursday, December 7, 2006; Page A02

Minutes after the Iraq Study Group placed an improvised explosive device beneath the Bush administration's Iraq policy yesterday, <b>panel member Lawrence Eagleburger was asked how President Bush reacted to the recommendations.

"His reaction was, 'Where's my drink?'</b> " the former secretary of state cracked after the commission's White House visit and Capitol Hill news conference.......

....Baker bristled when reporters questioned the study group's credibility. When ABC News's Jonathan Karl, pointing out that only one of the 10 panelists ever left the Green Zone in Iraq, asked why their views should carry weight, Baker looked down the row of commissioners with a smile and a wink. He took out some lip balm and applied it, then smiled some more. "This report by this bunch of has-beens up here is the only bipartisan report that's out there," he finally shot back.

Whatever else the "has-beens" accomplished, they made sure that any credibility questions will be directed not at them but at Bush. Hamilton lectured: "You cannot look at this area of the world and pick and choose among the countries that you're going to deal with." Leon Panetta counseled Bush to "look at the realities of what's taking place." <b>Eagleburger said after the event that when the group met with Bush, "I don't recall, seriously, that he asked any questions."</b> Even the loyal Baker had to advise his friend's son that "it is time to find a new way forward."

At least he didn't say Bush has B.O.
Press Conference by the President
But in order to do so, there must be a specific mission that can be accomplished with more troops. And that's precisely what our commanders have said, ...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0061220-1.html - 68k - Cached - Similar pages

President Addresses Nation, Discusses Iraq, War on Terror
If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their ...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0050628-7.html - 44k - Cached - Similar pages

President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq Participate in ...
And, obviously, the violence in Baghdad is still terrible, and, therefore, there needs to be more troops. In other words, the commanders said, what more can ...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea.../20060725.html - 48k - Cached - Similar pages

President Outlines Steps to Help Iraq Achieve Democracy and Freedom
General Abizaid and other commanders in Iraq are constantly assessing the level of troops they need to fulfill the mission. If they need more troops, ...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...040524-10.html - 45k - Cached - Similar pages

President Tours Border, Discusses Immigration Reform in Texas
And I will make decisions based upon -- the level of troops based upon the recommendations by the commanders on the ground. If they tell me we need more ...
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...0051129-2.html - 33k - Cached - Similar pages

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Bush Says Sending More Troops To Iraq Would ‘Undermine Our Strategy’

On Wednesday night, President Bush is expected to announce plans to escalate the war in Iraq by sending more U.S. troops. On June 28, 2005 — just 18 months ago — Bush said that sending more troops to Iraq would “undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead” and “suggest that we intend to stay forever.” Watch it:

Bush prefaced his comments by saying that, “If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them.” <b>Last month, Gen. Abizaid revealed that he asked all the commanders on the ground and none of them wanted more troops. Shortly thereafter, Abizaid was replaced.</b>

Last edited by host; 01-09-2007 at 12:24 AM..
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