Friday, September 05, 2003

US, Europe still far apart on Iraq: "French President Jacques Chirac told his annual ambassadors' conference last week that while the risk of chaos in Iraq makes security a priority, the European Union must insist on a central role for the UN. 'The transfer of power and sovereignty to the Iraqi people themselves is the only realistic option,' he said. 'It must be started without delay, in the framework of a process upon which the UN alone can bestow full legitimacy.' Once this framework is established, he added, the international community can make its 'effective and entire contribution' to Iraq's reconstruction, 'in a way that must be defined with the Iraqis themselves.'"

"That is not what Washington is saying. The "old European" heavyweights called on to contribute troops and reconstruction finance nonetheless are not going to agree to an arrangement that leaves the United States in effective control of Iraq."

Thus far, Pfaff's article is worthwhile. Then he states "[Chirac] draws a curtain over the responsibility the Iraqis themselves bear for their present condition. Saddam Hussein was an Iraqi leader, not some dictator imposed from the outside... Any society not under massive foreign occupation has a revolutionary option. The Iraqis exercised it against their king in 1958 (as the Iranians did against their shah in 1979). The Iraqis did not exercise it against Saddam Hussein. Iraqis themselves were also responsible for the looting and destruction that followed the war, with ruinous consequences for the country's hospitals, civil infrastructure, and cultural institutions. The United States invaded Iraq because it chose to describe it as a threat to the United States and to the region."

Blame the victim. No mention of the US role in the rise to power of Saddam, its crucial support of him thoughout the 80s, the period of his worst crimes, nor its effort to keep Saddam in power at the end of the first Gulf war, at the cost of brutal repression of Shiites and Kurds. As for the statement that the US "invaded Iraq because it chose to describe it as a threat" this is actual nonsense, a nonsensical remark that shouldnt have made it past the sub-editor.

Thus, Pfaff's article is a typical example of a corporate media propaganda piece. It conveys a message of reality that has to be heard, that Europe won't support the current US UN proposal, but covers that message with layers of mythology.

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