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April 08, 2003

No role for France

This editorial inThe Washington Times points to the "incredible chutzpah, French President Jacques Chirac"
In an act of incredible chutzpah, French President Jacques Chirac and his government are demanding a large role for the United Nations in rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq — something that would ensure that Paris gets a cut of the action. We disagree. M. Chirac's efforts to prop up Saddam Hussein and his persistent refusal to act in good faith should disqualify France (and the United Nations, whose destructive conduct it orchestrated) from any role in Iraq's reconstruction.
It is in the United States' long-term national interest to rebuild the Atlantic alliance. However, this strategic objective is not inconsistent with excluding France and the United Nations from substantial participation in post-war Iraq. Indeed, both the carrot and the stick are useful tools in carrying out diplomacy. And the behavior of the French government — and that of M. Chirac in particular — cries out for use of the stick.
One 1975 photo symbolizes decades worth of French complicity in making Saddam Hussein the international menace that he would eventually become. The picture shows M. Chirac, then-prime minister of France, and Saddam, then the Iraqi vice president, and their aides touring a nuclear power station outside of Paris.
In a documentary that aired Sunday night in Europe called "J'Accuse Jacques," journalist William Shawcross described how M. Chirac described Saddam as "a personal friend and a great statesman" and sold Iraq a breeder reactor, which Saddam called "thevery first concrete step toward production of the Arab atomic bomb." Had Israel not had the good sense to defy the United Nations and bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirik in 1981, U.S. forces would almost certainly have been confronting a nuclear-armed Iraq 10 years later, when Washington went to war to drive Saddam's forces out of Kuwait. [more]