Sunday, February 16, 2003

This is amazing. How did we get to this point?

Rattled by an outpouring of anti-war sentiment, the United States and Britain began reworking a draft resolution Saturday to authorize force against Saddam Hussein.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the final product may be a softer text that does not explicitly call for war.

Before Friday's dramatic Security Council meeting, where weapons inspectors gave a relatively favorable accounting of Iraq's recent cooperation, U.S. and British diplomats said they had been preparing a toughly worded resolution that would give them U.N. backing for military action....

But the measured reports by inspectors, in addition to massive global opposition to war — expressed both in the council and in the streets — came as a blow to their plans.

The two English-speaking allies had hoped to push through a new resolution quickly, and there had even been talk of a Saturday council meeting to introduce it. But their plans were put on hold Friday after staunch opposition — led by France, Russia and China — drew rare applause inside the council chamber....


The Washington Post now asks: Should we blame Rummy? In an article provocatively titled "Did Rumsfeld Impede Iraq Coalition?," the Post recalls some of Rumsfeld's most boorish statements and draws the obvious conclusion that his professional-wrestling-style trash talk may have actually impeded Bush's war drive.

Of course, it's not clear why the blame should all fall on Rumsfeld when Richard Perle is running around loose, calling France "our erstwhile ally" and insisting that Jacques Chirac believes "deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor." And the problem is hardly limirted to intemperate talk. Here's the administration's latest tantrum, as reported in today's London Observer:

US to punish German 'treachery'
America is to punish Germany for leading international opposition to a war against Iraq. The US will withdraw all its troops and bases from there and end military and industrial co-operation between the two countries - moves that could cost the Germans billions of euros.

The plan - discussed by Pentagon officials and military chiefs last week on the orders of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - is designed 'to harm' the German economy to make an example of the country for what US hawks see as Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's 'treachery'....

'We are doing this for one reason only: to harm the German economy,' one source told The Observer last week....


Of course Dominique de Villepin was applauded in the UN Security Council last week -- he was saying, in effect, that people who disagree with the Bush administration are sick of having take this kind of guff.

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