GW in et out

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GW in et out


8 octobre 2002 — Nous publions ci-dessous deux réactions au discours de GW sur l'Irak, hier à Cincinnati. Les deux réactions ont été publiées quasiment aussitôt après que ce discours ait été terminé. Elles donnent deux appréciations extrêmement différentes du discours. Éventuellement, on pourra faire son choix, et l'on aura également à l'esprit combien leb nmême événement peut être présenté de manières très différentes.

• Il s'agit de quelques éléments (les premiers paragraphes, de présentation du discours) d'une première analyse de l'agence AP, insistant particulièrement sur la rhétorique belliciste de GW à l'encontre de Saddam Hussein. Il est difficile d'y trouver de très grandes nouveautés et matière à un commentaire élaboré. Il s'agit d'un texte d'un correspondant à la Maison-Blanche, et ceci explique peut-être cela.

• L'autre réaction nous donne une appréciation complètement différente. Il s'agit d'une réaction de Ivan Eland, du Cato Institute, un think tank de tendance libertarienne qui est notoirement hostile à l'attaque de l'Irak. (La réaction a été publiée sur le site de Cato aussitôt après le discours de GW.) Eland insiste particulièrement sur la faiblesse de l'argumentation de GW et il met également en évidence une réelle incertitude dans sa position de fond. Reprendre l'idée, qui est une idée de Powell contre la position des super-faucons, qu'une action de l'Irak pour satisfaire à toutes les demandes de l'ONU « would change the Iraqi regime », c'est-à-dire constituerait de facto le changement de régime qu'on envisageait jusqu'alors que par la seule violence, constitue sans doute une nuance nouvelle de la position américaine témoignant de cette incertitude.


Bush Calls Saddam “Murderous Tyrant”

By Ron Fournier, AP White House Correspondent

President Bush, seeking support for war against Iraq, called Saddam Hussein a ''murderous tyrant'' Monday night and said he may be plotting to attack the United States with biological and chemical weapons. Bush also said Saddam could be within a year of developing a nuclear weapon, and he declared, ''Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. (...) I am not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein,'' the president said.

His address opened a week of debate in Congress over resolutions giving the president authority to wage war against Iraq. The House and Senate planned votes for Thursday, and the Bush-backed resolution was expected to pass by wide margins. Facing skepticism at home and abroad, Bush portrayed an apocalyptic struggle between good an evil, saying the threat posed by Saddam could dwarf the damage done in the Sept. 11 attacks. He said Iraq must be the next front in the war on terrorism.

''There is no refuge from our responsibilities,'' Bush said. If it comes to war, ''We will prevail.'' Citing U.S. intelligence, Bush said Saddam and his ''nuclear holy warriors'' are building a weapons program that could produce a nuclear weapon in less than a year. U.S. intelligence agencies issued a report last week estimating 2010. ''If we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed,'' the president told civic group leaders at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

As he spoke, new polls revealed lingering unease among voters about going to war, particularly if casualties were high or fighting distracted attention from America's sagging economy. Democrats criticized Bush's insistence upon confronting Iraq alone if the United Nations failed to act. About 1,000 protesters gathered outside the building where Bush spoke, police said. Tafari McDade, 11, held a white posterboard on which he had drawn the twin towers of the World Trade center. ''We shouldn't go to war,'' he said. ''I came down here with my mom to tell people that.''

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President Bush's Case for Attack on Iraq Is Weak

by Ivan Eland, Director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute.

President Bush's speech attempting to make the case for invading Iraq contained little new information. Thus, the speech failed to bolster his administration's weak case for a very risky change from the existing and effective U.S. policy of deterring and containing Saddam Hussein. The president attempted to argue that if the United States does not act, the threat from Iraq will worsen when Saddam Hussein gets nuclear weapons. Yet the historical record of the Gulf War indicates that Hussein was deterred from using weapons of mass destruction against the world's only remaining superpower by its huge nuclear arsenal.

The president also failed to provide specific evidence to show that the Iraqi government had any role in the terrorist attacks of September 11. He also failed to argue persuasively that Saddam would have any incentive to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. For a decade or more, Hussein has not given such weapons to terrorist groups he supports that operate against his hated enemies in the Middle East.

In contrast, if Hussein knows his days are numbered, he has every incentive to use weapons of mass destruction or give them to terrorist groups hostile to the United States-the very outcome that the president is trying to avoid.

At least for now, the president seemed to leave himself an alternative to an invasion of Iraq. He declared that military action was not imminent or unavoidable. He then said that if Saddam Hussein took various actions to satisfy U.N. resolutions, such steps would change the Iraqi regime. The president would be wise to continue using this definition of ''regime change'' and avoid a costly and unnecessary invasion of Iraq.