‘All is Not Lost’: The Dual Lesson of Iraq …
Some Americans will find this editorial more than a little ironic – especially coming from the French. Pierre Rousselin writes for France’s Le Figaro of the lessons that Europeans and Americans – particularly the three remaining U.S. Presidential candidates – should draw from the Iraq War: “With a few months to go until a change at the White House, debating the past is no longer appropriate. The important thing is to draw the proper lessons in order to avoid making the same mistakes again … the United States must make an effort to build a solid coalition of allies on which it can draw upon. And those allies must be prepared to play their part.”
Editorial by Pierre Rousselin
Translated By Kate Davis
March 20, 2008
France – Le Figaro – Original Article (French)
Five years later, everyone pretty much agrees that the war in Iraq was a mistake. Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction – and the fall of the dictator, as welcome as it was – didn’t put the Arab world on the path to democracy.
In the battle, the United States has lost a large number of soldiers, wasted an enormous amount of money and, more importantly, squandered the sympathetic capital that was at its disposal throughout the world. [Foreign Minister] Bernard Kouchner is wrong to say that America will never again regain “its magic,” but it’s true that the next President of the United States will have to strive to restore the authority and radiance that America once possessed.
And yet, despite all this, Iraq is not the catastrophe that some had predicted. In the United States, the debate over this war without a draft has practically disappeared, replaced by other more concerns that are more pressing for American voters, such as the state of the economy.
Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are eager to revive the controversy. The former because they don’t want to jeopardize the chances of their candidate; and the latter because they feel that since early 2007 with the reinforcement of American troops, the tide has turned and Iraq is experiencing a fragile calm.
When the candidates do broach the subject, it has more to do with the past than the future. On the left, Senator Hillary Clinton is reproached for having voted in favor of the invasion; while on the right, John McCain, a fervent supporter of the war effort, hasn’t hesitated to express his disagreement with the treatment reserved for prisoners.
As for the future, everyone wants the war to end well with a withdrawal of American forces. But everyone also knows that a precipitous withdrawal would serve neither the interests of the United States nor that of Iraq.
Barack Obama is the candidate who has committed himself most to the return of the boys, but even he has given himself …
READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, along with continuing translated foreign press reaction to the five year anniversary of the Iraq War.