Excerpts from a speech by French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin
There are two options:
- The option of war might seem a priori to be the swiftest. But let us not forget that having won the war, one has to build peace. Let us not delude ourselves; this will be long and difficult because it will be necessary to preserve Iraq's unity and restore stability in a lasting way in a country and region harshly affected by the intrusion of force.
Faced with such perspectives, there is an alternative in the inspections which allow us to move forward day by day with the effective and peaceful disarmament of Iraq. In the end is that choice not the most sure and most rapid?
No one can assert today that the path of war will be shorter than that of the inspections. No one can claim either that it might lead to a safer, more just and more stable world. For war is always the sanction of failure. Would this be our sole recourse in the face of the many challenges at this time?…
Premature military intervention would bring this unity into question, and that would detract from its legitimacy and, in the long run, its effectiveness....
Such intervention could have incalculable consequences for the stability of this scarred and fragile region. It would compound the sense of injustice, increase tensions and risk paving the way to other conflicts....
We all share the same priority—that of fighting terrorism mercilessly.
This fight requires total determination. Since the tragedy of September 11 this has been one of the highest priorities facing our peoples. And France, which was struck hard by this terrible scourge several times, is wholly mobilized in this fight which concerns us all and which we must pursue together.
Ten days ago, the US Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, reported the alleged links between al-Qaeda and the regime in Baghdad. Given the present state of our research and intelligence, in liaison with our allies, nothing allows us to establish such links. On the other hand, we must assess the impact that disputed military action would have on this plan. Would not such intervention be liable to exacerbate the divisions between societies, cultures and peoples, divisions that nurture terrorism?
Oh, sure. Hindsight’s 20/20—or at least it should be. Wait, the dude said that back in February?
The man made some good points. They were summarily dismissed by our administration. Those who were so gung-ho to go to war and who cynically aligned their position with the cry, "Support our troops!" have done those young men and women an unforgivable disservice. War is a necessarily evil-- when it is necessary. It must be a last resort. Almost everyday our troops continue to be killed and wounded. Strangely enough, it is almost easier to forgive the Chicken Hawks like Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc. (almost, but not quite) than it is Powell. He knew better. He's been to war. His instincts seemed to tell him this was a bad idea. If he had had the courage, a clean break with this adminstration might have prevented this growing debacle.
Almost every day, still, a mother and father continue to lose a child in Iraq. Small children lose a parent. In retrospect, how many will believe the sacrifice was anywhere close to worth it? If you lost a child in there, would you?