After the US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, called France and Germany
"Old Europe," the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer responded, "Well
said!" as "Old Europe" has its long traditions and values from which derive
certain principles that guide present policy.
In contrast, a number of
statements of US policy leaders are extremely surprising, given that they relate
to the life and death of thousands of people. Is this the voice of the "New
United States of America"?
On February 6, 2003, President Bush declared
that the government of Iraq had thrown away its final chance - while the UN
weapons inspectors were continuing their work, finding answers and clarifying
open questions - and that "now the game is over". To which French Prime Minister
Jean-Pierre Raffarin said the Iraq crisis "is not a game" and it is "not
At the Azores press conference on March 17, it seemed to be to
Bush a game again, when he explained his view of what had happened at the UN
Security Council: "I was the guy that said they ought to vote. And one country
voted, showed their cards. I believe it's an old Texas expression: show your
cards, when you're playing poker. France showed their cards. After I said what
they said, they said they are going to veto anything that held Saddam to
account. So cards have been played."
But the French position had been to
take the government of Iraq to account; it accepted and supported the pleading
of the UN weapons inspectors that more time - "not years, but months" - would be
needed to complete their task.
The overall US Marine commander,
Lieutenant-General James Conway, who commands more than 85,000 US Marines and
British troops waiting to attack, predicted on March 16 that war would begin
with a three or four-day bombing campaign, to kill half of the Iraqi military
close to the border, before moving into Iraq. He told his troops not to worry
about peace protests at home, as the support for the war was growing: "When we
invade Iraq, that'll go up to 91 percent. And you know how I feel about it? Piss
on everybody else."
The US tested its newest 21,000 pound (9.5 tonne)
bomb, 40 percent stronger than the strongest bomb used in Afghanistan, on March
11 in Florida: "It spreads a flammable mist over the target, then ignites it,
producing a highly destructive blast." While other such bombs were being
prepared for transport to anti-Iraqi units, a member of the US Air Force - who
had learned to adjust his spelling to French - had painted on it: "Fuque the
On March 18, President Bush announced his ultimatum that "Saddam
Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours; their refusal to do so
will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing", showering
death on many innocent people in Iraq. He concluded his speech: "Good night, and
may God continue to bless America."
The following day, the Pope spoke
about the "precious gift of goodwill and peace ... for all of humanity,
especially those people threatened in these hours by war. I pray that ... in
this moment of trepidation for peace, the desire for harmony and reconciliation
is revived ... Those who decide that all peaceful means that international law
makes available are exhausted assume a grave responsibility before God, their
conscience and history."
As a person from Old EuropeÇ I would like to see
similar language and serious content from the leaders of the United States,
instead of talk about poker, pissing on the peace movement, and threatening to
fuque the French.
- Norbert Klein - Phnom Penh