Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, March 17, 2003

It looks like William Safire struck a nerve in France.

Q - How do you feel about the anti-French sentiment in the US?

[A-] Among all the polemics, I must bring up the charges by an American editorialist claiming that France allowed sensitive exports to Iraq. These accusations are absolutely without foundation, they're sheer polemics in which we do not intend to take part. In conformity with current regulations, France has never delivered nor permitted the delivery of such materiƩl directly or indirectly. The French authorities maintain particularly vigilant and strict control on the export of sensitive components and equipment. Of course, no export license has been granted for a prohibited item destined for Iraq. The fight against proliferation, need I recall, is one of the main areas, it's a priority, where France and the US are cooperating very actively and very productively.

Along with some obfuscation.

Q - The inspectors want a realistic time line. Could a resolution be an ultimatum at the same time? That is, set realistic time lines with direct use of force in the event of failures to comply? Is France prepared to accept that?

[A-] No, it makes no sense. It means that you're authorizing force now whatever the results of the inspections. Jurisdiction must not be removed from the Security Council. Whether it's called an ultimatum or something else is not important. The main thing is does the proposal amount today to authorizing war in three days of three weeks.

How does a time limit with military force contingent upon the results of compliance authorizing force 'whatever the results of the inspection's?

And how is this for dodging the question?

Q - Any comment on Kurd leader Jalal Talabani's criticism of France? (...) What do you plan to do regarding the Iraqi opposition to prevent it from turning to the sole power, the US, capable of intervening after Saddam?

[A -] As to your first point, I'm not going to answer since we shun polemics from all quarters... I will simply observe that we have a tradition of humanitarian interest in the Kurdish people and are well aware of their ancient and recent misfortunes to which we are traditionally sensitive.
Second, I wouldn't want there to be any mistake about our judgment of Saddam Hussein. I believe the president and foreign minister have repeatedly said what they thought. I think it's useful to repeat this and also in Kurdistan so that there is no misunderstanding on this point.
And third, with regard to the Iraqi opposition, our analysis and position remain unchanged.

< email | 3/17/2003 04:07:00 PM | link

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