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Old Europe vs New USA

Old Europe vs New USA

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

over".

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

French."

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

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