Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Feachtas um Dí-armáil Eithneach

P.O. Box 6327, Dublin 6, Ireland

Fón: +353 -1-454 0194



The Threatened War on Iraq

In a well-known Co Longford village stands a memorial, one side of which
is inscribed with the simple legend, "Vive la France!" The people of
Ballinamuck, who placed this memorial, are more aware than most of us
that the involvement of the French in 1798 had more to do with French
than with Irish interests. One suspects, however, that being assisted,
however temporarily, against the all-powerful force of the time was
enough to earn their affection and lasting acknowledgement.


In the current stand off between on the world's first hyper-power and
seemingly most of the world's citizens, perhaps insufficient credit is
being accorded to the French for bearing the brunt of the pressure right
from the very outset. The constant reiteration by the US/UK that they
will attack Iraq regardless of UN makes it very clear that the latter's
use of its veto could jeopardise France's legitimate interests in the
Middle East when they attack anyway before proceeding to control and
administer the oil interests to their own ends. France could be cut out
of such oil deals or its interests seriously reduced, a result which
would be disastrous for the French economy.


It is unfair and illogical to claim, as have some commentators that
France is acting in just as selfish and unprincipled a way as US/UK. The
French are saying the inspectors should be given enough time to fulfil
their UN mandate, that war must be a last resort. What's wrong with
that? In addition, France has legitimate interests and closer historic
relations with the Middle East than any other big or medium power today,
relations that go back centuries and long before the colonial era.
Scared to inaction by the fear of reprisal from the USA, the Russians
and Chinese came aboard only after the French had threatened to veto.
France and France alone has forced the mighty USA back to the UN, if
only temporarily, and for that all democrats must be grateful. Had it
not been for the threat of a French veto, the first phase of this war
would probably be well underway by now with tens of thousands dead and
dying from the direct and indirect effects of the bombardment.


The saddest thing from Irish citizen's point of view is that the Irish
government hasn't offered them any support. The Taoiseach statement of
having "no problem" with the Tony Blair's clumsy and unprincipled
attempt to isolate the French and Germans and thereby break their
opposition to immediate war speaks for itself. Horrific as it may seem
one is forced towards the conclusion that our government is hoping the
French will finally crack at the Security Council and the USA will have
its war. Could Nelson Mandela's description of Mr. Blair as "America's
foreign minister" also apply to our own prime minister?


CND worldwide has major differences with France, which in common with
the other nuclear powers, possesses its own weapons of mass destruction.
On this issue, however, and for the moment, we too say "Vive la France!"
It is past time now for the Irish government to stand up like the French
and represent the views of its own people.

Billy Fitzpatrick is Chairperson
of Irish CND


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