TBL will never forget that Dominique de Villepin was the man who made this great speech at the UN on March 19, 2003, hours before the American invasion began:
Make no mistake about it: the choice is indeed between two visions of the world.
To those who choose to use force and think they can resolve the world’s complexity through swift and preventive action, we offer in contrast determined action over time. [. . .]
To those who hope to eliminate the dangers of proliferation through armed intervention in Iraq, I wish to say that we regret that they are depriving themselves of a key tool for other crises of the same type. The Iraq crisis allowed us craft an instrument, through the inspections regime, which is unprecedented and can serve as an example. Why, on this basis not envision establishing an innovative, permanent structure, a disarmament body under the United Nations?
To those who think that the scourge of terrorism will be eradicated through the case of Iraq, we say they run the risk of failing in their objectives. The outbreak of force in this area which is so unstable can only exacerbate the tensions and fractures on which the terrorists feed. ...
Now the newly released Downing Street Memo of July 23, 2002, of course, shows that the new French Prime Minister gave too much credence to American goals and motives in Iraq, not too little:
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. [. . . ]
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections. [. . .]
It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force. [. . .]
True Blue Liberal
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