13 octobre 2004
A propos de l'increvable débat sur la guerre en Irak, cette note de Matthew Yglesias est trop importante pour ne pas en citer de longs extraits (je souligne) :
To me, by far the most frustrating thing about the retrospective debate over the Iraq War is that the press, along with the Republican Party, persist in ignoring the fact that the vote on the authorizing resolution took place on October 10-11, 2002 and the war did not begin until March 20, 2003. The president, at the time of the resolution, most emphatically did not portray voting for it as a vote for certain war, but rather as a vote to empower him to conduct some coercive diplomacy, which is exactly what took place over the next four months.Il est impossible de bien comprendre les batailles diplomatiques de février-mars 2003 à l'ONU sans avoir cette toile de fond en tête. C'est en grande partie à cause du progrès des inspections en Irak que les Etats-Unis et le Royaume-Uni n'ont jamais pu obtenir la seconde résolution qui aurait dû suivre la résolution 1441 (comme le montre Josh Marshall, il était évident pour tout le monde, en octobre 2002, qu'une intervention militaire nécessitait un passage préalable devant le Conseil de sécurité).
Thus two decisions were taken, one in October to abandon traditional diplomacy in favor of a robust coercive kind, and a second in March to abandon coercive diplomacy in favor of war. An awful lot changed during the period in question, notably the re-entry of the UN's weapons inspectors operating through UNSCOM and the IAEA. This, in and of itself, is important in assessing the wisdom of going to war as containment was working much better in March than in October. Perhaps more important, it ought to transform our understanding of the debate over pre-war intelligence.
Bush and his defenders like to point out that "everyone" thought Iraq had WMD stockpiles and more active nuclear and biological programs than he turned out to have. As of October that's not quite right, but it's an oversimplification rather than a lie. The conventional wisdom really was that stockpiles existed and that the nuclear and bioweapons programs were more advanced than they turned out to be. This defense overlooks various points at which the administration went well beyond the consensus view and the ways in which they shaped the consensus by pressuring the intelligence agencies, but still there's a basic kernel of truth here. A kernel, that is, as long as you're talking about October 2002, which isn't when the decision to go to war was made. By March we had additional information on the WMD question thanks to the inspectors. This information demonstrated definitively that there was something wrong with the intelligence Bush thought he had -- they weren't finding any weapons and they weren't being denied access to any sites. The War Party chose to construe this as evidence of corruption and/or ineptitude on the part of the inspectors, and they were wrong. But beyond Bush's actions at this point and his retrospective mendacy about them lies the interesting fact that in the media retelling of what went on before the war, none of this happened.
Le résultat des inspections en Irak explique aussi en partie l'attitude de plus en plus frondeuse de la France à partir de janvier 2003. En partie, parce qu'il me semble qu'il y a aussi des explications moins glorieuses (je reviendrai prochainement sur le sujet). Mais c'est en tout cas une clef d'explication beaucoup plus sérieuse que toutes les théories basées sur la corruption des politiciens français, les intérêts commerciaux de la France ou un atavisme national qui pousserait immanquablement notre pays à se jeter dans les bras du dieu Apaisement avant même le premier coup de canon tiré.
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