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:: Saturday, 15 February 2003 ::

Nailing it

THE LATEST MELODRAMATIC NONSENSE FROM THE FRENCH: French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin used his response to this morning's Security Council briefing by chief inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei partly to answer Donald Rumsfeld's recent barbs about French and German intransigence: "I am from an old country, France ... that does not forget all it owes to freedom fighters from the United States and elsewhere ... [France has] always stood upright in the face of history." Then, musing about the chaos of war, de Villepin reiterated his nation's commitment to building "a better world," and the applause erupted in Turtle Bay. As we noted Sunday, Colin Powell has a lot of work to do.

Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't give credit for this farce to Blix, the man who lobbed de Villepin his softball in the first place. Blix reported this morning that, "At the meeting in Baghdad on the 8th and the 9th of February, the Iraqi side addressed some of the important outstanding disarmament issues and gave us a number of papers.... Although no new evidence was provided in the papers and no open issues were closed through them or the expert discussions, the presentation of the papers could be indicative of a more active attitude focusing on the important open issues." Could be indicative of a more active attitude? Was Blix listening to his own report?

The obvious point here is that if the Security Council wants to believe that Iraq's reluctant presentation of meaningless documents is a sign of future cooperation, we can all forget about that "better world" France is so committed to. To his credit, Powell did his best to emphasize this in his own response, stating, "More inspectors--sorry--are not the answer. More inspectors ... will not lead us to the essential problem facing us ... and that is Iraq not complying with [Resolution] 1441." "Force must be a last resort. I have preached that all my professional life as a diplomat and as a soldier," Powell continued. "But it must be a resort."

:: WB 3:24 am [link+] ::

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