Why the WALL must FALL


Israel is building a gigantic Wall in occupied Palestine on the pretext of security - yet it is building it well within the West Bank (not on its border). The first phase is already completed. The second phase, scheduled for completion in 2005, will exclude a wide swathe of the Jordan River Valley. The Wall will then have effectively annexed nearly 50% of the West Bank. It is clear that in building the Wall, Israel's goal is to seize more Palestinian land for a “Greater Israel”.

For Palestinians, the Wall means isolation, restriction of movement, the loss of land and water, of markets and homes. It means living in an open air prison. It means difficulty getting food, education and health care. This translates into pressure on Palestinians to leave their land - and make way for yet more Jewish settlements. If this pressure is insufficient, expulsions will undoubtedly follow. Recently, Palestinian residents living between the Wall and the border have been told they must apply for "permits" to remain on their land - permits which may or may not be granted. (The order was called "Announcing the Closure of the Seam Area").

This is all totally illegal. Yet the US continues to support Israel both financially and diplomatically. The US gives Israel 5 billion dollars in aid annually, plus "loan guarantees" - de facto gifts. Without US aid, Israel would be unable to pursue its brutal military occupation of Palestine and the building of the Wall (to a staggering cost of over $2 million per kilometer). Yet there is virtually no opposition in the US to this policy of uncritical support. In September 2003, the US Congress again approved $9 billion of loans - with no mention of the Wall.

US law forbids giving military assistance to any country that violates internationally recognized human rights. The US continues to arm Israel, and to allow these weapons to be used against civilians, in violation of its own law.

In October, the US vetoed a United Nations resolution condemning Israel’s Apartheid Wall. The US has vetoed a total of over 60 UN resolutions which are critical of Israel. (Israel chooses to ignore another 71 resolutions which the UN has passed).

US leaders consider Israel to be an ally in their own strategic plans for the Middle East. The US arms industry is delighted to have such a good customer, at US taxpayers' expense. US elected officials and candidates for office, even when they privately disagree, seldom dare to oppose pro-Israel policies for fear of charges of anti-Semitism and of the powerful pro-Israel lobbies, notably the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Some are sincerely concerned for Israel's security. But cruel and oppressive treatment of the Palestinians is not the way to guarantee the security of Israel and its people. An end to the occupation would better serve that cause, and would also lead to peace and security for Palestinian men, women and their children.

The European Union has given lip service to “deep concerns” about the Wall, but has yet to show the courage of its convictions. EU countries also arm Israel. Although the European-Israeli Association Agreement, in force since 2000, explicitly requires the parties to respect human rights, the EU has not seen fit to suspend the treaty despite the obvious and persistent human rights violations stemming from the occupation and the Wall.

We say that support of oppression is not only unlawful and immoral, but extremely dangerous. State terrorism will not crush individual terrorism. No wall can bring security. Only in a world where human rights and law are prized over brute force may we hope for peace and freedom from terror.



  1. Because a small but vibrant Israeli peace movement wants and needs my support.
    27 courageous Israeli airforce pilots who refuse to serve in the occupied territories have declared: "We, who were raised to love the state of Israel and contribute to the Zionist enterprise, refuse to take part in Air Force attacks on civilian population centers. We, for whom the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force are an inalienable part of ourselves, refuse to continue to harm innocent civilians: "These actions are illegal and immoral, and are a direct result of the ongoing occupation which is corrupting all of Israeli society. Perpetuation of the occupation is fatally harming the security of the state of Israel and its moral strength." These pilots join the more than 1,000 Israeli officers and reservists who have publicly refused to serve in the occupied territories, many of whom have been imprisoned for speaking out.
  2. Because I support a strong United Nations! Israel has not complied with more than 60 U.N. Resolutions, including Resolutions 242 and 338, which call for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Not to mention Resolutions that have been vetoed by the USA, including the most recent one demanding that Israel not assassinate the elected leader of the Palestinians. How hypocritical of the George Bush government to wage war against Iraq because of U.N. Resolutions that may not have been complied with, and then reward Israel for not complying with more significant Resolutions.
  3. Because supporting Israel does not mean supporting a prime minister who is right-wing fanatic and who has been doing everything in his power to sabotage all peace proposals. Most recently, the former Palestinian prime minister, Abu Mazen, got a cease-fire, but, Sharon simply continued to assassinate Palestinian leaders until he finally provoked the bus bombing. Follow the chronology; every lull in the violence has been interrupted by Sharon's targeted assassinations and attacks on refugee camps, provoking the ugly responses that disgust us all. Why does Sharon seem to DESIRE this conflict? Two decades ago, an Israeli commision had found Ariel Sharon indirectly responsible for the gruesome massacres of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Sabra and Shatila. Today his Likud party stands for a "Greater Israel" which means doing everything possible to make life so unbearable that the Palestinians will "want" to leave their land.
  4. Because Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories are illegal and I cannot accept colonialism in the 21st century. The 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the wartime treatment of civilians forbids an occupying power to resettle its own civilians on territory under its military control. However, from Oslo to the Road Map, from Barak to Sharon, Israel has continued to expand the illegal settlements in Palestinian territory even when agreed upon peace processes required putting a freeze on new settlements. The Israeli government has only recently asked for bids to build over 500 new housing units in the illegal colonies. The Palestinian Authority has already signed away 78% of its historic territory to Israel. The fanatic settlers movement believes that the remaining 22% of Palestine belongs to Israel. No peace process can be taken seriously while these religious fundamentalists dictate policy, while they are subsidized by Israeli tax revenue (and indirectly by American tax dollars).
  5. Because I did not like Apartheid in South Africa and the Israeli government wants to establish it in the occupied territories. According to Israeli anthropologist Jeff Halper: "There is a very definite political plan - apartheid". Sharon calls this plan cantonization: a Palestinian state on about 42% of the West Bank in three or four islands, all controlled and surrounded by Israel. The plan involves making the Palestinians submit by getting a weak Palestinian leadership that will sign off on this Bantustan, this cantonization. It involves getting rid of the Palestinian middle class that would oppose it by what we call 'quiet transfer' - forcing them out of the country with bad housing, bad education and no economic life, in order to create a very malleable Palestinian mass ..."
  6. Because I don't like walls, choking East Berlin or choking Palestine The Israeli wall of shame is annexing, de facto, so much Palestinian territory that even Bush and Powell have complained. The Berlin wall was 155 kilometres long, Israel's wall is planned to be at least 650 kilometres long. It violates the freedom of movement of tens of thousands of Palestinians, endangering their access to food, water, education, and medical services. West Bank residents become separated from their lands, crops, services, water, and jobs.
  7. Because I believe in disarmament and Israeli governments, both the Likud and Labor, have been arming the worst of the world's dictators. As Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper notes: "Israel is the subcontractor for American arms to the 'Third World.' There is no terrible regime - Columbia, Guatemala, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile during the time of the colonels, Burma, Taiwan, Zaire, Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone - there is not one that does not have a major military connection to Israel." The totally disproportionate amount of U.S. aid to Israel not only saps resources from education and health in the USA, but it also subsidizes the voracious U.S. military-industrial complex.
  8. Because I would like to stop Israel from self-destructing before it is too late. Avraham Burg, former Israeli Knesset president has written: "It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers ... The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun. Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated". Burg calls on the Israeli prime minister to "present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racialism or democracy. Settlements or hope for both peoples. False visions of barbed wire, roadblocks and suicide bombers, or a recognized international border between two states and a shared capital in Jerusalem."
  9. Because violence begets violence. The young woman who recently became a suicide bomber made this grave decision because two of her family members had been killed by the Israelis. It is not a mystery that if you take people's land, kill their parents and children, destroy their houses and humiliate them on a daily basis, you will be fertilizing the soil that grows terrorism.
  10. Because no government in any land deserves unconditional support. Why should Israel be the exception?
Mark Cramer - October 2003

Americans against war and empire... more than ever


Americans Against the War (AAW-France) and its numerous sympathizers have taken to the streets several times since October 2002, when the Bush administration’s threats against Iraq were materializing and its total disdain for international law was becoming manifest. It was clear to us that the official reasons advanced to justify “regime change” in Iraq obscured other, more empire-oriented motives that the so-called “neo-conservatives” had been formulating for over a decade: the urge to “control” the Middle East and make it safe for U.S. economic and geopolitical interests (as they define them), even if that meant invading, occupying and “remodeling” entire countries and regions of the world.

This same neo-conservative group is also, as a matter of public record, organically linked to the most military-oriented wing of the Israeli right – those who are the most determined to frustrate Palestinian aspirations to material well-being and viable self-government.

In these ways and others still, the Bush administration is contributing to greater polarization in the world and generalized mistrust of U.S. motives, while exacerbating the same 9/11-style terrorism it claims to be combatting.

Although we harbored no sympathy whatsoever for the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, we saw that the argument of “democracy” – one of the neo-conservatives’ proclaimed objectives in Iraq – was pure hypocrisy. An illegitimate regime of military occupation can in no way cause democracy to flourish.

We were shocked but not surprised to learn, shortly after Bush proclaimed “victory” in Iraq, that the main reason alleged to justify the war – the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction – was nothing but a pretext and a politically convenient means to unify the pro-war “coalition” and sway some potential doubters in the U.S.

The real reasons for the Iraqi adventure have to do with the projection of U.S. power throughout the Middle East, in a way that some friends of the Bush administration no longer hesitate to call “imperial”. The idea is not simply to control Iraq’s oil supplies but also to influence the overall political evolution of the Arab world – as if entire peoples could be dictated to from Washington.

The occupation as it has played out since April 2003 has confirmed our worst fears:

- Chronic insecurity continues to reign. The occupation began with widespread looting of homes, stores, hospitals and museums full of treasures of humanity, while U.S. troops were busy with more “important” matters – such as protecting the Ministry of Oil. Armed attacks have taken as victims not only dozens of U.S. and British troops, but also UN personnel and large numbers of Iraqis.

- Economic “reconstruction” has stagnated, leaving many Iraqis jobless and without electricity or clean water, while certain private corporations close to the Bush administration, such as Halliburton, are reaping huge profits.

- Above all, growing polarization between the Arab-Muslim world and the United States. We are horrified by the durable situation of “war without borders” that this administration has fomented.

This is NOT our idea of how the U.S. should conduct its relations with the rest of the world. Although it will take time to build a viable opposition to empire in the U.S., we are ready to do all we can, in the short term, to defeat the Bush administration in its bid for re-election in 2004.

We want to help prepare for the day when U.S. foreign policy will no longer be based on unconditional support to Israel, even as Israeli leaders intensify a dehumanizing occupation that provokes immense Palestinian suffering, unprecedented insecurity in Israel itself, and increased international tension.

We want to see the day when the kind of manipulation of public opinion witnessed during the drive to war in Iraq will be impossible. In the meantime, we join with those in the U.S. and Europe who are marching on September 27, 2003 to demonstrate our rejection of the occupation of Iraq and to call for a regime of transition based on international law and cooperation, under the aegis of the UN, leading to the rapid restoration of sovereignty for the Iraqi nation and a democratic future for the Iraqi people.

Americains contre la guerre et contre l'empire... plus que jamais


Americans Against the War (AAW-France) et ses nombreux sympathisants sont descendus dans la rue plusieurs fois depuis octobre 2002, au moment où les menaces de l’administration Bush contre l’Irak se matérialisaient et son dédain total pour le droit international devenait manifeste. Nous voyions que les raisons officielles avancées pour justifier le « changement de régime » en Irak occultaient d’autres motifs, liés aux ambitions impérialistes formulées par lesdits « néoconservateurs » depuis plus d’une décennie : la volonté de « contrôler » le Moyen-Orient et le rendre « sûr » pour les intérêts économiques et géopolitiques américains (tels qu’eux les définissent), même si cela signifiait des invasions, des occupations et le « remodelage » de pays et de régions entiers.

Ce même groupe néoconservateur entretient, de notoriété publique, des liens organiques avec l’aile militariste de la droite israélienne – les plus décidés à frustrer les aspirations palestiniennes au bien-être matériel et à l’autodétermination politique.

Ainsi l’administration Bush contribue à la polarisation du monde et à la méfiance généralisée vis-à-vis des Etats-Unis, tout en exacerbant le terrorisme de type « 11 septembre » qu’elle prétend combattre.

Sans la moindre sympathie pour la brutale dictature de Saddam Hussein, nous voyions que l’argument de la « démocratie » – l’un des objectifs proclamés des néoconservateurs en Irak – était pure hypocrisie : un régime illégitime d’occupation militaire ne peut en aucune façon contribuer à l’éclosion de la démocratie.

Nous étions choqués – mais guère surpris – d’apprendre que la raison principale avancée publiquement pour justifier cette guerre – la menace des armes de destruction massive de Saddam Hussein – n’était qu’un prétexte, un argument commode pour souder la « coalition » de forces pro-américaines et convaincre les moins bien informés aux Etats-Unis.

Les vraies raisons de l’aventure irakienne ont plutôt à voir avec la projection de la puissance U.S. au Moyen-Orient, dans un projet que certains amis de Bush n’hésitent plus à appeler « impérial ». L’idée n’est pas seulement de contrôler le pétrole irakien, mais également d’influencer l’évolution politique du monde arabe tout entier – comme s’il était possible de dicter la conduite de peuples entiers depuis Washington.

L’occupation telle qu’elle s’est déployée depuis avril 2003 a confirmé nos pires craintes :

- L’insécurité demeure chronique. D’abord les innombrables actes de pillage de maisons, de magasins, d’hôpitaux et même de musées remplis de trésors de l’humanité, pendant que les troupes américaines protégeaient le Ministère du Pétrole. Des attaques armées ou à la bombe ont fait des centaines de victimes, parmi les troupes britanniques et américaines, parmi le personnel de l’ONU et parmi les Irakiens eux-mêmes.

- La “reconstruction” économique stagne, laissant beaucoup d’Irakiens sans emploi, sans électricité et eau potable, tandis que certaines entreprises privées proches de l’administration Bush, Halliburton en particulier, récoltent d’importants profits.

- Surtout, nous sommes choqués par la polarisation croissante entre le monde arabo-musulman et les Etats-Unis. Nous sommes horrifiés par la situation durable de « guerre sans frontières » que cette administration a fomentée. Ce n’est pas ainsi que nous envisageons que les relations entre les Etats-Unis et le reste du monde.

Une opposition viable à l’empire aux Etats-Unis ne se construira pas en un jour. A court terme nous ferons tout ce que nous pourrons pour empêcher la ré-élection de Bush en 2004. Nous voulons que la politique des Etats-Unis ne soit plus basée sur le soutien inconditionnel à Israël, alors que les dirigeants de ce pays intensifient une occupation qui provoque d’immenses souffrances chez les Palestiniens, une insécurité sans précédent en Israël même, et des tensions internationales accrues.

Nous voulons voir le jour où le type de manipulation de l’opinion observée lors de la préparation de la guerre en Irak sera tout simplement impossible. Nous rejoignons ceux qui manifestent le 27 septembre 2003 aux Etats-Unis et en Europe pour signifier notre rejet de l’occupation de l’Irak et revendiquer un régime de transition conforme au droit international, sous l’égide de l’ONU, menant à la rapide restauration de la souveraineté irakienne et à un avenir démocratique pour le peuple irakien.

Américains contre la guerre et contre l'injustice


Depuis l'automne 2002, le groupe Americans Against the War – France manifeste inlassablement son opposition à la politique guerrière du régime du président Bush, qui n'a montré que dédain pour le droit international et pour les droits humains fondamentaux.

Tandis que l’insécurité demeure chronique en Irak et que la reconstruction économique stagne, le prétexte majeur invoqué par les assaillants pour attaquer ce pays – la menace des armes de destruction massive détenues par Saddam Hussein – s'avère un tissu de mensonges préfabriqués. L’autre objectif proclamé – l’instauration d’une démocratie en Irak - relève également de la pure hypocrisie.

Démocratie…? Rappelons que des centaines de prisonniers capturés par les Américains en Irak et en Afghanistan sont détenus à Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), à Bagram (Afghanistan) et au Camp Cropper (Baghdad), "dans des conditions assimilables à une forme de traitement cruel, inhumain ou dégradant" selon les termes d’Amnesty International. Le statut de prisonniers de guerre défini par la Convention de Genève ne leur est pas accordé et, la protection de la Constitution américaine leur étant également refusée, les prisonniers sont maintenus dans un vide juridique. « Ils sont privés de contact avec les tribunaux, leurs avocats et leurs familles », témoigne Amnesty International. « Ils sont confrontés à la perspective de rester en détention pour une durée indéterminée, dans des cellules exiguës, parfois vingt-quatre heures sur vingt-quatre, et à l'éventualité d'être jugés par des commissions militaires exécutives, habilitées à prononcer la peine de mort, sans droit d'appel ».

Nous considérons que l’administration Bush contribue à la bi-polarisation du monde et à la méfiance généralisée vis-à-vis des Etats-Unis, tout en exacerbant le terrorisme qu’elle prétend combattre. Pire, « la guerre contre le terrorisme » déclarée par Bush semble se muer en « guerre sans frontières ».

Americans Against the War condamne également le soutien inconditionnel de l'administration Bush à l'actuel gouvernement israélien. Les Etats-Unis versent chaque année à Israël une aide de quelque cinq milliards de dollars et se distinguent par leur refus de condamner l'occupation illégale des territoires palestiniens par l’armée israélienne. Tout récemment, ils ont opposé leur veto à deux résolutions de l'ONU, l’une condamnant le projet d'Israël « d’enlever » le dirigeant légitime palestinien Yasser Arafat, l’autre condamnant la construction du mur enfermant les Palestiniens dans des "bantoustans". Les Américains ont bloqué aussi une résolution déplorant le raid aérien israélien contre un supposé « camp d'entraînement palestinien » en Syrie. Pourtant, l’insidieux processus de dépossession du peuple palestinien - effectué par les confiscations de terre, l'extension des colonies dans les territoires palestiniens, la construction de routes réservées aux colons, l'édification d’un mur privant des milliers de Palestiniens de leurs terres, de leurs maisons et de leurs récoltes - a amené l'économie palestinienne au bord de l'effondrement. Plus de 22 % des enfants palestiniens de moins de cinq ans souffrent actuellement de malnutrition. Au sein de la société israélienne même une déchirure s'est faite : des centaines de militaires risquent la prison pour leur refus de servir dans les territoires occupés. Les Etats-Unis doivent cesser leur soutien économique et politique au gouvernement d’Ariel Sharon faisant obstacle à l’instauration d’une paix juste au Proche-Orient.

Americans Against the War lutte contre les injustices perpétrées par les Etats-Unis chez eux et dans le monde. Dans cet objectif, nous ferons tout notre possible pour empêcher la réélection de George Bush en 2004.

US policy and the Israel-Palestine conflict


The US has been giving Israel about $3 billion in direct aid - military and economic - every year for the past 25 years, plus another 2 billion in indirect aid, for a total of over $100 billion since 1949! The US also provides Israel with "loan guarantees" - $9 billion this year. In practice, these loans are generally forgiven, so these are de facto grants as well.

Most of this aid violates US laws. The Arms Export Control Act stipulates that US-supplied weapons be used only for "legitimate self-defense." The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act prohibits military assistance to any country "which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." The Proxmire amendment bans military assistance to any government that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities, which Israel refuses to do.

Human rights violations by Israel are well documented. Since 1967, Israel maintains an illegal occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Furthermore, Israel systematically violates the fourth Geneva Convention's rules concerning the obligations of an occupying power. Its policy of roadblocks, curfews, and now a wall euphemistically called a "security fence", has resulted in a division of Palestinian territory into small parcels - one could say bantustans. Palestinians' freedom of movement is drastically restricted, as are their opportunities for work, education and medical attention. Illegal Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories, along with their network of connecting roads which are off limits to Palestinians, contribute to this process. Palestinian water is diverted for the benefit of Israel and the settlements. Palestinian land continues to be confiscated. The occupation is further punctuated by military incursions into the territories, targeted assassinations, and house demolitions. If Israelis live in fear of terrorism, Palestinians live under a regime of state terror.

The Israeli government behaves as if it has no notion of the rule of law. Recently, Israel's vice prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said "[Palestinian Authority Chairman] Arafat can no longer be a factor…. The question is: How are we going to do it? Expulsion is certainly one of the options, and killing is also one of the options." Although Israeli sources later denied that the killing of Arafat was official policy, it is clear that Arafat, the Palestinian elected President, remains a rallying point for Palestinian hopes. He has shown a willingness to compromise, but not to back down on the minimum needs of the people he represents. He is also a crucial link between the Palestinians and the outside world. Sharon's strategy has been to weaken Arafat, demonize him (blaming him for every attack) and finally to prepare Israeli and world opinion for his elimination - to be carried out, possibly disguised as an "accident", when the moment is ripe. Sharon is not stupid; he knows that the result will be a bloodbath. And this is just the pretext he needs to realize his old dream of creating "greater" Israel by establish total Israeli control over the conquered territories - except perhaps for a small bantustan for the "Arabs" who refuse, or haven't the means, to leave. (A look at a map of the planned Wall is instructive.)

On September 16, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution demanding that Israel halt threats to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Aspiring Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean recently ran into sharp criticism from fellow Democrats for proposing that the US take a more “even-handed role” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Republican leader Tom DeLay recently told the Knesset, "Israel's fight is our fight. And so shall it be until the last terrorist on Earth is in a cell or a cemetery."

Although some Israelis realize that Israeli policies of repression and colonization only encourage terrorism, neither the Republican administration nor the Democratic opposition in the US seem able to cope with this obvious fact.

Open Letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, from "Americans Against the War"


Open Letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, from "Americans Against the War" (AAW-France)

Paris, May 22, 2003

Mister Secretary,

We are a group of U.S. citizens living in France. We are taking advantage of your visit to Paris to ask you some questions and share with you our outlook on the war in Iraq.

1. As a General, you have known the horrors of war, including the 1991 Gulf War. You were initially opposed to a new military intervention in Iraq. Compared to President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, you gave the impression of being the voice of reason, while your colleagues, who have never seen combat, looked like irresponsible warmongers. Many people hoped your point of view would prevail. Why did you capitulate to the warmongers?

2. You supported the idea of sending UN weapons inspectors into Iraq, thinking that Saddam Hussein would refuse to let them do their job. But when he accepted them, your administration did not give them the necessary time to complete their work. Today, it is your administration that refuses the return of the inspectors, while also admitting that it would take several months to prove the existence of weapons of mass destruction (this has not been done!). How can you justify such contradictions?

3. Before the UN Security Council, last Februarym you claimed that war on Iraq was justified because of the weapons of mass destruction - chemical and biological weapons, ballistic missiles, etc. - that the regime of Saddam Hussein had hidden throughout the country while waiting for the opportunity to use them against the U.S. or Israel. However, Hans Blix and the weapons inspectors declared that no prohibited weapons had been found and that they needed more time to complete their mission. Several weeks after the fall of Baghdad, no such arms have been found, but thousands of Iraqis are dead, including at least 4000 civilians. The country's infrastructure has been reduced to rubble; the population is undernourished and deprived of vital services. Has your administration not committed a tragic error by ordering the destruction of the country for unfounded reasons?

4. In the Security Council your arguments met strong opposition. The majority of the member countries opposed military intervention and preferred to let the inspectors continue to work. This was also the dominant sentiment in the General Assembly. The U.S.'s military "coalition" was for all practical purposes made up of only two countries: the US and Britain. How can you justify a war rejected by the overwhelming majority of countries in the world, and by millions of citizens the world over?

5. By refusing to take into account the views expressed within the UN, was your administration not trying, deliberately, to weaken that organization? Was it not trying to justify, at the same time, the "principle" of preventive wars, decided unilaterally? Was this not a way of also trying to justify further interventions against other enemies constructed as "threats" -- Iran or Syria for example?

6. As Secretary of State, it is your responsibility to ensure that the U.S. respects international treaties and norms. But by invading Iraq, and not providing for the security of civilians, nor assuring their adequate nourishment; by letting the looters run rampant; by claiming to place the country under U.S. administrative authority, and y taking over the country's oil resources, your administration has trampled on the very idea of international legality. How can you justify this?

7. When your counterpart Mr. Dominique de Villepin eloquently defended before the Security Council the position of opposing an automatic authorization to intervene militarily in Iraq - a position shared by the majority of member countries - your administration stigmatized France as an "anti-American" country. And yet the French position proved correct: no weapons of mass destruction were actually found. Iraq has been destroyed for no valid reason. This did not prevent your administration from engaging in campaigns of disinformation against France and thereby feeding into virulent and demagogical anti-French media campaigns. Do you consider justifiable the anti-French xenophobia that is spreading in the U.S. under the influence of your administration?

8. In spite of the appeals of human rights organizations prior to the invasion, your administration did not take measure to make sure that the population was properly fed, or that water was distributed, or that the sewer system worked, or that adequate medical care could be given to a war-torn country. It did not listen to the appeals of hundreds of academics, including U.S. academics, who demanded that the archeological sites and museums be protected from bombing and looting. Do you recognize that your administration, on the pretext of overthrowing the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, has provoked a no less inhumane and unacceptable situation?

9. During the war, the Ministry of Oil was one of the few public buildings that received the protection of U.S. troops. What is referred to as the "reconstruction of Iraq involves the granting of billion-dollar contracts to Halliburton, Bechtel and other companies close to the Bush administration. Do you recognize, Mr. Powell, that the question of weapons of mass destruction was a mere pretext allowing this administration to justify its urge to control the Iraqi oil industry and favor its own narrow network of private interests?

10. The press informs us that U.S. military bases may be installed on a long-term basis in Iraq. The U.S. administration claims to govern the country, but has done so very badly. Throughout the world, public opinion rejects the usurping of Iraqi sovereignty. Can you not see that this is provoking even more instability in the world? Do you not see how much this encourages the same transnational terrorist networks that your administration claims to be fighting?

11. Anarchy currently reigns in Iraq. Political or political-religious polarizations are developping throughout the region and beyond. We are perhaps heading toward new conflagrations. Do you not think it is high time to place the fate of Iraq into the hands of the United Nations - the only organization that can bring to the management of Iraqi affairs an internationally recognized legitimacy?

Lettre ouverte au Secrétaire d'Etat Colin Powell, de la part des « Américains contre la guerre »


Paris, le 22 mai 2003

Monsieur le Secrétaire d'Etat,

Nous, citoyens des Etats-Unis vivant en France, profitons de votre présence à Paris pour vous poser quelques questions et partager avec vous, par la même occasion, notre point de vue sur la guerre en Irak.

1. En tant que général des armées, vous avez connu les horreurs de la guerre, y compris celles de la Guerre du Golfe en 1991. Vous étiez initialement opposé à une nouvelle intervention armée en Irak. A côté de MM. Bush et Rumsfeld, vous donniez l'impression d'être la voix de la raison, tandis que vos collègues, qui n'ont jamais connu le combat, apparaissaient comme d'irresponsables va-t-en-guerre. Nombreux étaient ceux qui espéraient voir triompher votre point de vue. Pourquoi avez-vous capitulé devant eux ?

2. Vous avez soutenu l'idée d'envoyer en Irak les d'inspecteurs de l'ONU, en pensant que Saddam Hussein refuserait de les laisser travailler. Mais lorsqu'il les a acceptés, vous ne leur avez pas laissé le temps nécessaire pour compléter leur travail. Aujourd'hui, c'est votre gouvernement qui refuse la présence des inspecteurs, tout en admettant qu'il faudrait plusieurs mois pour démontrer l'existence des armes de destruction massive (ce n'est pas encore fait !). Comment justifiez-vous de telles contradictions ?

3. Au Conseil de Sécurité de l'ONU, en février dernier, vous avez prétendu qu'une intervention en Irak se justifiait à cause des armes de destruction massive -- armes chimiques et biologiques, missiles ballistiques, etc. -- que le régime de Saddam Hussein avait cachées partout dans le pays, en attendant de s'en servir, contre les Etats-Unis ou contre Israël. Pourtant, Hans Blix et les inspecteurs disaient qu'ils n'avaient trouvé aucune arme de destruction massive et qu'il leur fallait du temps supplémentaire compléter leur mission. Plusieurs semaines après la prise de Bagdad, de telles armes n'ont toujours pas été trouvées, mais des milliers d'Irakiens sont morts, dont au moins 4000 civils ; l'infrastructure du pays est réduit à néant ; la population est sous-alimentée et privée de services vitaux. Votre administration n'a-t-elle pas commis une tragique erreur en ordonnant la destruction du pays pour des raisons dépourvues de fondement ?

4. Vos arguments ont rencontré, au Conseil de Sécurité, une forte opposition. La majorité des pays membres du Conseil s'opposait à l'intervention et préférait laisser travailler les inspecteurs. C'était également le sentiment dominant dans l'Assemblée Générale. Votre "coalition" militaire se réduisait, pour l'essentiel, à deux pays : les Etats-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne. Comment pouvez-vous justifier une guerre que la majorité écrasante des pays du monde a refusée, contre laquelle des millions de citoyens du monde entier se sont élevés ?

5. En refusant de tenir compte du point de vue des Nations-Unies, n'essayiez-vous pas, délibérément, d'affaiblir cette organisation ? Ne s'agissait-il pas de justifier, par la même occasion, le "principe" des guerres préventives, décidées unilatéralement ? Ne s'agissait-il pas de justifier par avance de nouvelles interventions contre des ennemis érigés en "menace" -- l'Iran ou la Syrie par exemple ?

6. En tant que Secrétaire d'Etat, il relève de votre responsabilité d'assurer que les Etats-Unis respectent les traités et les normes internationalement reconnus. Mais en envahissant l'Irak, en ne prévoyant rien pour assurer la sécurité des civils, en n'assurant pas leur alimentation adéquate, en laissant courir les pilleurs, en prétendant placer le pays sous l'autorité administrative des Etats-Unis, en s'emparant des ressources énergétiques du pays, votre gouvernement bafoue l'idée même d'une légalité internationale. Comment pouvez-vous le justifier ?

7. Lorsque votre homologue M. Dominique de Villepin a défendu avec éloquence, devant le Conseil de Sécurité, l'opposition à l'intervention -- position partagée par la majorité des pays-membres -- votre gouvernment a stigmatisé la France en tant que pays "anti-américain". Mais la position française s'est avérée juste : aucune arme de destruction massive n'a été trouvée. L'Irak a donc été détruit inutilement. Ce qui n'a pas empêché votre gouvernement de participer à une campagne de désinformation à propos de la France et d'alimenter ainsi des campagnes anti-françaises virulentes et démagogiques. Trouvez-vous justifiée la xénophobie anti-française qui se répand aux Etats-Unis sous l'effet de votre gouvernement ?

8. En dépit des réclamations des organisations des droits de l'homme dès avant l'invasion, votre gouvernement n'a pas été en mesure d'alimenter la population, de lui fournir de l'eau, de faire fonctionner les égouts, d'organiser des soins médicaux adéquats à une population meurtrie. Il n'a pas écouté l'appel de centaines d'universitaires, y compris américains, qui demandaient que les sites archéologiques et les musées soient protégés des bombes et des pillages. Aujourd'hui le choléra se répand dans certaines zones, la violence demeure rampante dans les villes. Reconnaissez-vous que votre gouvernement, sous prétexte de renverser la dictature de Saddam Hussein, a provoqué une situation non moins inhumaine et inacceptable ?

9. En pleine guerre, le Ministère du Pétrole fut l'un des rares bâtiments publics protégés par les troupes américaines. Ce qu'il est convenu d'appeler la "reconstruction" de l'Irak passe par l'octroi de juteux contrats à Halliburton et à Bechtel, entreprises proches de l'administration Bush. Reconnaissez-vous, M. Powell, que la question des armes de destruction massive était un simple prétexte, permettant à l'administration Bush de justifier son souci de contrôler le secteur pétrolier et de favoriser un réseau intime d'intérêts particuliers ?

10. La presse nous informe que des bases militaires américaines vont être installées durablement en Irak. Une administration américaine prétend gouverner le pays, mais elle gouverne fort mal. Un peu partout l'opinion s'élève contre l'usurpation de la souveraineté irakienne. Ne voyez-vous pas que cela fomente encore plus d'instabilité dans le monde ? Ne voyez-vous pas à quel point cela encourage les mêmes réseaux terroristes transnationaux que votre gouvernement prétend combattre ?

11. L'anarchie règne en Irak. Les polarisations politiques et politico-religieuses se développent dans toute la région et au delà. Nous allons peut-être vers de nouvelles conflagrations. Ne croyez-vous pas qu'il soit grand temps de placer le sort du pays entre les mains des Nations-Unies, seule organisation apte à créer une forme de gestion internationalement légitime ?

Letter to the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Villepin


Monsieur Dominique de VILLEPIN
Ministre des affaires étrangères
37, Quai d'Orsay

75700 Paris

May 20, 2003

- Open Letter -
Dear Mr de Villepin,

We are a group of American citizens residing in France. On January 11, we wrote to you to express our appreciation of your refusal to condone a senseless and unnecessary war. Although you and the other members of the Security Council who were in the majority were unable to prevent the war, you were able, on that occasion, to prevent the United Nations Organisation from losing its credibility by becoming a rubber stamp for United States' policy. Please accept once again our gratitude.

We are taking the liberty of writing to you now in view of your forthcoming visit with Mr. Colin Powell. We feel confident that you will continue to uphold the principles of multilateralism, international law, and the fundamental role of the United Nations. International peace, and particularly peace with justice, can only be based on respect for the rule of law.

We believe that the UN must not abdicate its responsibility for overseeing the postwar normalisation process, including the rapid restoration of Iraqi sovereignty and control over their country's natural resources. Any decision about industry privatisation belongs to the Iraqi people acting through a duly elected government. As no weapons of mass destruction have been found, and the former regime has been effectively dissolved, there is no reason to delay normalisation and the withdrawal of the occupying forces. We believe that the destruction of Iraq's national museum and library should be investigated by an international commission., as you have suggested

Concerning the Israel/Palestine conflict, we feel that the European Union and the United Nations should actively shoulder the responsibility they have assumed in co-sponsoring the "road map" peace process.

We should like to take this occasion to express our strong disapproval of the negative climate that has been created through systematic misinformation.

You have said that the UN is the incarnation of a universal conscience. We want you to know that there are many United States citizens who share that conviction.


Americans Against the War (Paris)

- Lettre ouverte - Monsieur Dominique de Villepin - Ministre des Affaires Etrangères


Paris, le 20 mai 2003

Monsieur le Ministre,

Nous sommes un groupe de citoyens des États-Unis résidant en France. En janvier dernier nous vous avons écrit pour exprimer notre satisfaction par rapport à votre refus de cautionner une guerre que nous estimions absurde et inutile. Bien que la France n'ait pas pu empêcher cette guerre, elle a pu, avec d'autres membres du Conseil de Sécurité avec lesquels elle formait une majorité, sauvegarder la crédibilité de l'Organisation des Nations-Unies en refusant de cautionner la politique unilatérale du gouvernement des États-Unis. Nous vous prions d'accepter une fois de plus l'expression de notre reconnaissance.

Nous nous permettons de vous écrire aujourd'hui à propos de votre prochaine rencontre avec le Secrétaire d'État américain, M. Colin Powell. Nous avons confiance en votre détermination à défendre le principe de la coopération multilatérale, le droit international, ainsi que le rôle fondamental des Nations-Unies. Une paix internationale avec justice ne saurait exister qu'à condition d'être fondée sur le respect du droit.

Nous pensons que l'ONU ne doit pas abandonner sa responsabilité pour la surveillance du processus de normalisation après-guerre, ce qui signifie la restauration de la souveraineté irakienne et le rétablissement du contrôle irakien sur les ressources naturelles du pays. Par exemple, toute décision en matière de privatisation des industries appartient au peuple irakien, agissant à travers un gouvernement dûment élu. Aucune arme de destruction massive n'ayant été trouvée en Irak, nous ne voyons aucune raison de retarder la normalisation et le retrait des forces d'occupation.

Nous pensons que la destruction du musée national et de la bibliothèque nationale devraient faire l'objet, comme vous le suggérez, d'une enquête par une commission internationale.

A propos du conflit israélo-palestinien, nous pensons que l'Union européenne et les Nations-Unies devraient assumer toutes les responsabilités qu'implique leur co-parrainage de la « feuille de route ».

Nous voudrions enfin saisir cette occasion pour exprimer notre forte désapprobation du climat négatif créé aux États-Unis par la diffusion systématique de désinformation à propos de la France. Vous avez affirmé, Monsieur le Ministre, que l'ONU incarne la conscience universelle. Nous voudrions que vous sachiez que beaucoup de citoyens des États-Unis partagent cette conviction.

Nous vous prions d'agréer, Monsieur le Ministre, les assurances de notre haute considération.



The world's only superpower, with a military budget that nearly equals that of all other nations together, has invaded and occupied a small nation crippled by years of war and sanctions. Bravo.

What next?

Millions of protesters took to the streets during the past months. We were unable to prevent the war. But we did help to save the UN from the shame of being a rubberstamp for US policy. We forced reluctant regimes to pay attention, reluctant media to give us coverage. Young, and older, people who'd never protested before, realized that they are not happy with the way the world is run - and that they can say so. We DID make a difference - and we must continue.

Our first and most imperative demand is that Iraq belongs to the Iraqis. The UN should assure an interim civil administration for Iraq pending rapid elections for a constituent assembly.

It is folly to imagine that a conquering power, having itself supported and armed the regime it has now decided to annihilate, having justified its war of conquest with forged documents and lies; having shown its commitment to good government by leaving its last conquered nation (Afghanistan) to warlords and chaos, its respect for human life by the use of unnecessarily dangerous weapons and hundreds of civilian casualties, its commitment to freedom of the press by attacking al-Jazeera TV and a hotel full of war correspondents, its commitment to religious freedom by supporting Christian fundamentalists at home, its commitment to human rights by its treatment of its own illegally held Guantanamo prisoners, its commitment to rule of law by its flagrant violation of the UN Charter; a power which installed, supported and continues to support authoritarian regimes throughout the middle east and elsewhere (its ally Uzbekistan is distinguished by "human rights abuses on an epic scale", according to Human Rights Watch) - it is sheer folly to imagine that this superpower is in a position to bring democracy to Iraq. The UN is still the most credible international institution we have. The UN Security Council has shown itself capable of rejecting the enormous pressure of bribes and blackmail from the US. The UN alone must be entrusted with interim governance of Iraq - not in a supporting role but decisively.

Nevertheless, while the present occupation of Iraq persists, the US and the UK must fulfil their obligation as occupying powers "to maintain the orderly government of the territory" and in particular to ensure and maintain "the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory" (fourth Geneva Convention). Failure to prevent recent widespread looting, particularly of hospitals, are a symptom of either incompetence or disregard for international standards.

Second, we must ensure that the oil of Iraq is for the people of Iraq, and not for the companies of America.

Third, we must demand that all profits from reconstruction go to Iraqis, and that the costs are born by the aggressor (and not the other way round!). Iraq has architects, entrepreneurs and labor. They need the jobs, and Iraq's economy needs the boost. Incredibly, Iraq, through its oil sales, is still paying reparations for its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. When will the US start to pay for its unlawful invasion of Iraq?

Fourth, the illegal occupation of Iraq must not obscure the 36-year-old illegal occupation of Palestine. Until the Palestinian people have a viable state, tension and unrest will persist. Can anyone seriously claim that Washington, where decisions are made by people who have actually worked for the Likud (Feith, Perle, …), can solve this problem? We must insist that the UN and the European Union shoulder this responsibility - urgently.

Fifth, looking to the future, we must work toward a renewed, strengthened and democratized United Nations Organisation truly able to maintain world peace, and work toward reducing oppression, injustice and inequality, the true "axis of evil".



L'unique superpuissance, dont le budget militaire vaut presque l'ensemble de tous les autres, vient d'envahir et d'occuper un petit pays malade des années de guerre et de sanctions. Bravo.

Et la suite?

Durant des mois, des millions de protestataires sont descendus dans la rue. Nous n'avons pas pu empêcher la guerre, il est vrai. Mais nous avons empêché que l'ONU devienne un beni-oui-oui pour la politique américaine. Nous avons attiré les attentions des régimes et des médias. Des jeunes et des moins jeunes qui n'avaient jamais manifesté auparavant, ont compris qu'ils ne sont pas d'accord avec la manière dont le monde est géré, et qu'ils peuvent le dire. Notre poids a été compté. Nous devons poursuivre.

Notre première exigence est que l'Irak est aux Irakiens. L'ONU doit assumer l'administration civile de l'Irak en attendant l'organisation rapide des élections pour une assemblée constitutionnelle.

C'est une folie que d'imaginer qu'une puissance conquérante, ayant lui-même soutenu et armé le régime dont il a décidé à présent l'annihilation, ayant justifié une guerre de conquête avec des documents fabriqués et des mensonges, ayant démontré son engagement envers le bon gouvernement en abandonnant sa dernière conquête, l'Afghanistan, au chaos; ayant démontré son respect pour la vie humaine par l'utilisation d'armes inutilement dangereuses résultant en des centaines de victimes civiles, son engagement pour la liberté de la presse par des attaques sur l'émetteur de télévision Al-Jazeera et sur un hôtel rempli de journalistes, son engagement pour la liberté religieuse en soutenant des fondamentalistes chrétiens, son engagement pour le droit en bafouant la charte de l'ONU; une puissance qui a installé au pouvoir et qui continue à soutenir des régimes autoritaires au moyen orient et ailleurs; - c'est de la pure folie que d'imaginer que cette superpuissance soit à même d'apporter la démocrotie à l'Irak. L'ONU est toujours l'instance internationale le plus crédible que nous avons. A l'ONU seule doit être confié le gouvernance par intérim de l'Irak.

Toutefois, tant que dure l'occupation, la puissance occupante se doit de maintenir l'ordre dans le territoire occupé et notamment d'y assurer le maintien des hôpitaux et des services de santé. Telle obligation est inscrite dans le quatrième convention de Genève. Par leur incapacité d'empêcher les pillages de magasins, de bureaux et même d'hôpitaux, les USA et l'UK ont fait preuve soit de l'incompétence soit d'indifférence envers les normes internationales.

En deuxième lieu, nous devons exiger que le pétrole de l'Irak soit la propriété des Irakiens, et non pas des entreprises américaines.

Troisièmement, nous exigeons que toutes bénéfices de la reconstruction doivent aller aux Irakiens, et que les coûts soient soutenus par l'agresseur - et non l'inverse ! L'Iraq a ses architectes, ses entrepreneurs, sa main d'œuvre. Il faut relancer l'économie irakienne et créer des emplois pour ses habitants. Il est incroyable que l'Irak verse toujours des réparations pour son invasion du Kuwait en 1990. A quand les versements par les Etats-Unis à l'Irak pour compenser leur invasion illégitime ?

En quatrième lieu, l'occupation de l'Irak par les USA ne doit pas nous faire oublier l'autre occupation illégale, celle de la Palestine par l'Israël. Des tension dans la région persisteront tant que les Palestiniens n'ont pas un Etat viable. Qui peut prétendre que le régime aux Etats-Unis et ses décideurs ayant travaillé pour le Likud, soit capables de résoudre ce problème? Nous exigeons que l'ONU et l'UE assument leur responsabilités ici - avec urgence.

Enfin, regardant vers le future, nous devons travailler vers une ONU renouvelée, renforcée et démocratisée, vraiment capable de maintenir la paix dans le monde. Nous devons travailler à réduire l'oppression, l'injustice et les inégalités : le véritable axe du mal.



The mask has fallen. Gone is any pretence of upholding an international order based on law. The United States of America has just launched a war of aggression.

The United Nations was founded to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war". Its Charter sets out the strictly limited conditions under which nations may go to war : in self defence (article 51) or, with the authorization of the security council, under chapter VII (to restore international peace - but only when "measures not involving the use of armed force" have been exhausted). "Pre-emptive" war, war for regime change, and war for the purpose of punishing non-conformity with a UN decision, are not permitted. Article 2 of the Charter requires states to refrain from any threat or use of force that is inconsistent with the UN's peace-keeping purposes.

The rationale for this war has been couched in lies and hypocrisy, its justification constantly revised. No link with al Qaeda was ever demonstrated. The much-vaunted "evidence" of hidden weapons led to nothing. After weeks of bickering to obtain UN Resolution 1441, the US now shows that it never intended to honor a UN decision that was not a rubber stamp for US policy. If UN resolution violations were just cause for invasions, Israel, for example, would have been invaded by UN-sponsored forces more than 30 times in the past decades.

Weapons of mass destruction? The US has over 10,000 nuclear warheads.

Crimes ? In the last Gulf War, 6000 surrendering soldiers were blasted from helicopters and then buried under the sand, the survivors along with the dead. It's easy to see why the US lacks enthusiasm for the International Criminal Court. It now plans to unleash up to 800 cruise missiles on Iraq in the first 48 hours of the war. A Pentagon official said, "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad." Targeting a civilian population is a grave violation of the Geneva convention. Weapons containing depleted uranium will undoubtedly be used again. Forty tons of this radioactive material were left in Iraq and Kuwait after the first Gulf War, and cancer rates increased by 700%. US military policy no longer excludes the use of tactical nuclear weapons even against a country having no nuclear capacity.

War for security? Even before the first bombs began to fall, al Qaeda recruitment began to soar. Bush himself admitted that "in desperation, [Saddam Hussein] and terrorist groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends."

It is no coincidence that the US national security strategy, published in September 2002, sets forth a doctrine that capitalises on United States military and economic might to maintain the US as the sole superpower, able to impose its will on the rest of the world.

It's too late to save the Iraqi people from bereavement and devastation. But it's not too late to condemn this war for what it is - a violation of international law, a crime against peace. At the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, Justice Robert Jackson declared, "To initiate a war of aggression is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

We must press for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly, where no state has a veto, to pass a resolution condemning this illegal war. The next step will be to have those responsible brought before a national or international tribunal. Bush has said, "War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished." For once, we agree with him! Let's see that it's done.



Le masque est tombé : le gouvernement américain ne peut plus prétendre soutenir un ordre international fondé sur le droit. Les Etats-Unis se lancent dans une guerre d'agression. En abandonnant brutalement le terrain diplomatique aux Nations-Unies, où elle n'a pas pu obtenir un soutien adéquat pour une guerre que l'opinion mondiale refuse, l'administration Bush montre qu'elle n'avait aucune intention de respecter une décision de l'ONU qui fût autre chose qu'une copie conforme de sa propre politique, déjà décidée depuis longtemps. Nous assistons aujourd'hui à la mise en oeuvre d'une stratégie énoncée dans un document de la Sécurité nationale publié en septembre 2002, dans lequel l'administration affirme clairement son intention de conserver l'avantage militaire et économique du statut d' "unique superpuissance", capable d'imposer sa volonté au reste du monde.

L'Organisation des Nations-Unies a été fondée pour "préserver les générations futures du fléau de la guerre". Sa Charte énonce les conditions, strictement limitées, dans lesquelles les nations peuvent faire la guerre : pour se défendre contre une agression (article 51) ou, avec l'autorisation du Conseil de Sécurité, pour restaurer la paix interationale (chapitre VII), mais seulement lorsque tous les autres recours sont épuisés. Ni les guerres "préventives", ni celles visant un "changement de régime", ni même celles conçues pour sanctionner le refus de se conformer à une décision de l'ONU, ne sont permises. L'Article 2 de la Charte exige que les Etats s'abstiennent de tout usage de la force, et de toute menace de son usage, qui ne soient pas conséquents avec la défense de la paix -- la mission essentielle de l'ONU.

Les arguments proposés par l'administration Bush en faveur de cette guerre reposent sur le mensonge et l'hypocrisie. Ils ont d'ailleurs été sujets à des révisions fréquentes. Aucun lien entre le régime de Saddam Hussein et les réseaux d'Al-Qaida n'a pu être démontré. Les "preuves" tant vantées de l'existence d'armes de destruction massives cachées n'ont rien donné. Qui croira qu'il s'agit d'une guerre pour augmenter la sécurité dans le monde ? Avant même que les premières bombes ne tombent, le recrutement d'agents par al-Qaida a connu un pic (New York Times 16.03.03). Bush lui-même admet que "dans leur désespoir, Saddam Hussein et les groupes terroristes pourraient essayer de mener des opérations terroristes contre le peuple américain et nos amis". La justification de cette guerre comme moyen de confisquer des armes de destruction massive n'est guère crédible venant des Etats-Unis, qui possèdent plus de 10 000 têtes nucléaires. Et si la violation des résolutions de l'ONU constituait une cause juste et suffisante pour envahir un pays, un pays comme Israël aurait été envahi par des troupes sous l'égide de l'ONU plus de 30 fois depuis 1967 ! Cette guerre annonce inévitablement des crimes de guerre. Il y a des précédents : à la fin de la Guerre du Golfe de 1991, 6000 soldats irakiens qui étaient en train de se rendre ont été enterrés sous le sable, morts et survivants ensemble. On comprend que les Etats-Unis manquent d'enthousiasme pour la Cour pénale internationale. Cette fois-ci, les forces armées ne cachent pas leur intention de lancer jusqu'à 800 missiles Cruise sur l'Irak pendant les 48 premières heures de la guerre. Un porte-parole du Pentagone a déclaré qu'il n'y aura "aucun lieu sûr" à Bagdad. La population civile est donc visée, ce qui constitue une violation grave de la Convention de Genève. En 1991, les forces armées américaines ont laissé 40 tonnes de matériaux radioactifs en Irak et au Koweit : les taux de cancer ont augmenté de 700 pour cent. Cette fois-ci, des armes contenant de l'uranium appauvri seront probablement utilisés de nouveau. Même l'usage d'armes nucléaires tactiques n'est pas officiellement exclu.

Il est trop tard pour préserver le peuple irakien du deuil et de la dévastation, mais il n'est pas trop tard pour condamner cette guerre pour ce qu'elle est : une violation du droit international, un crime contre la paix. Lors des procès de Nuremberg, le juge Robert Jackson a déclaré : "Initier une guerre d'agression est le crime international suprême, qui diffère des autres crimes de guerre seulement en ceci qu'il contient en lui-même le mal accumulé du tout".

Exigeons une réunion d'urgence de l'Assemblée Générale de l'ONU, où aucun Etat ne détient un droit de véto, pour faire adopter une résolution de condamnation de cette guerre illégale. Exigeons ensuite que les personnes responsables d'avoir déclenché cette guerre soit jugées devant un tribunal national ou international. Le 18 mars, Bush a déclaré : "Les crimes de guerre seront sanctionnés, les criminels de guerre seront punis". Pour une fois, nous sommes d'accord ! Veillons à ce que sa déclaration soit suivie d'effet.

The Relentless Drive To War


We, citizens of the United States living in France, feel the moral obligation to express our strong opposition to the U.S. government's stated intention to go to war against Irak. This war will have disastrous geopolitical and economic consequences and renew a sinister tradition of military occupation, in the pursuit of objectives that are unacceptable by the standards of international law. It will inevitably have a high cost in human lives and suffering. By further polarizing the populations of the world, it can only bring to a higher pitch the anger, resentment and hatred that are at the root of international terrorism.

What are the pretexts for this war? A high US military authority testified recently before the US Senate that "about 25 countries already have or are now pursuing programs for the construction of missiles and weapons of mass destruction". Also before the Senate, the director of the FBI stated that "in the foreseeable future the al-Qaida network will remain the most serious and urgent threat". Nor is Iraq the only country in the world with a dictatorial regime. Designating Iraq as the "main enemy" has no justification. If the Bush administration takes war to be the best solution to these problems, then how many more wars can we expect in the near future?

The relentless drive to war against Iraq is all the more unacceptable in that other countries -- Israel for example -- have ignored UN resolutions without being threatened with sanctions. Why the double standard?

What are the real motivations behind the policy that is leading to war? An official strategic document entitled "National Security Strategy" (September 2002) calls for so-called pre-emptive military interventions against states considered to be potentially hostile; 2) affirms US military supremacy, and seeks to make it impossible for other powers to challenge it; 3) claims the right to act unilaterally and 4) asserts the ambition, on the pretext of spreading democracy, of intervening in the internal affairs of other nations without the request or consent of their populations.

How far can this policy go? Some members of the Bush administration -- the so-called neo-conservatives -- have called for interventions in other countries after Iraq, such as Syria, Iran and North Korea. They are seeking to affirm via force US strategic hegemony over the entire Middle East region and throughout the world. This warlike policy threatens central values of the US, as a democratic society, governed by a constitution conceived in the spirit of the Enlightenment, open to the peoples and cultures of the rest of the world.

We believe that the disarming of Iraq, like other problems of international security, should be handled in conformity with international law and in particular the UN Charter, which was conceived in the spirit of peaceful and multilateral settlement of conflicts.

We express our congratulations to the French people for taking an active part in a broad international movement of public opinion that rejects the drive to war. We thank the French government for having worked effectively within the United Nations to defend a vision of international relations based on the respect of law. These efforts give great encouragement to Americans who share with the French the objective of blocking the road to war.

The war drums are booming. Should we march to their beat?


The reasons for going to war

The Bush administration is hell-bent on war. Why?

"Iraq is harboring weapons of mass destruction."

Scott Ritter spent seven years in Iraq with the UNSCOM weapons inspection teams. The team tracked down every bomb, missile and factory designed to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weaponry, and destroyed 90-95 % of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "If Iraq was producing weapons today, we would have definitive proof," says Ritter.

Of all the nuclear powers, only the US has declared itself prepared to used a nuclear weapon in a first-strike capacity. Such use by any other country would be suicidal.

Why wage war when you can reach your goal without war … unless your true goal is, simply, war itself?

"Saddam Hussein has links with Al Quaeda and international terrorism."

If Saddam gave weapons to Al Quaeda, he would be their first victim! Saddam has never been tender with Islamists, to say the least.

"The Iraqi declaration is incomplete."

Colin Powell remarked, "Most brazenly, the Iraqi declaration denies the existence of any prohibited weapons programs at all." It's the classic witch-hunt strategy: if you deny the charge you're lying, if you confess you're guilty. The US and UK allegations are based on nothing but speculation. If Iraq has a prohibited weapons program, the inspection team is there to find it and destroy it. Why don't the American secret services hand over their information to Blix – if they have any – to make his job easier? But suppose the Iraqis omitted something. Bureaucratic muddle exists, and not only in war-torn lands. Can we, in good conscience, consider this to be grounds for WAR ?

"War will liberate the Iraqi people from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."

Tens of thousands will be liberated right into the cemetery*. The survivors are bound to be delighted with their new US military dictatorship (the same US which has been bombing their country and strangling it with sanctions for ten years)… and happy to see Iraq's oil revenues funnelled to you-know-where. (Well, somebody must pay for the war!)

Power, arms and oil

When the Bush team's stated reasons for the war are non-reasons, we have to look elsewhere.

A Defense Department document in 1992 already envisioned the United States as a colossus imposing its will on the world through military and economic power. Paul Wolfowitz drafted the document. Richard Cheney was Secretary of defense. 1

In September 2000 – a year before "9/11" – the " Project for the New American Century" (PNAC) issued a report which reads like a blueprint for current Bush defense policy. It advocated repudiation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty, a commitment to a global missile defense system, an increase in defense spending so the US could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars", and the development of small nuclear warheads "required in targeting very deep, underground bunkers." Iran, Iraq and North Korea were already identified as primary short-term targets. The report said, "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."2 Among the report's authors and PNAC members, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Stephen Cambone, Eliot Cohen, Devon Cross, I. Lewis Libby, Dov Zakheim, Richard Perle and Zalmay Khalilzad now hold key government or policy-making positions. 1, 2

A swift war on Iraq using our most deadly technology will certainly impress others. For countries like Iran, Syria and North Korea, the question "Are you with us or against us?" will take on a new and terrible meaning. Even European nations may show increased respect for their "big brother" when questions of tariffs, markets and treaties come up.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in 1961: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

Since 11 September 2001, America has established bases at the gateways to all the major sources of fossil fuels..2 Iraq has 12% of the world's known oil reserves. Control over these resources means not only wealth, but an important lever of power.

America's leaders may also believe that a war will distract Americans from economic woes and may stimulate the economy via the weapons industry.

The foreseeable effects of the war

The Patriot Act already erodes Americans' fundamental liberties. The press is on its way to becoming the Administration's echoing-box. As John Pilger observes, "as a journalist, I have never known official lying to be more pervasive than today. … The more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on Iraq and linking it to would-be terrorists … are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are black propaganda." 2

It will be very surprising if the war on Iraq diminishes world tensions, anger, hatred, "anti-Americanism" and ultimately terrorism. We can expect quite the opposite.

Unilateral military action by one power in defiance of the UN charter will set a terrible precedent. It will devastate the very concept of international law and entrench the principle of "might makes right." Is this the sort of world order we want?

Are we all sleepwalking to the hypnotic beat of a subliminal drum?

It's time to WAKE UP !!!

We, citizens of America and residents of Europe, believe in justice, fairness and respect for international law. We believe in the community of nations, not the dominance of one nation. We believe that brute force, capriciously used, cannot not solve world problems, it IS the problem. We say that the Bush administration's war plans must be stopped!

*100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis died in the last Gulf war. Snow plows mounted on tanks were used to bury thousands of Iraqi soldiers, some still alive.



We, American citizens living in France, strongly disagree with the policy of the American administration and its obsession with waging war on Iraq. War will cause countless innocent deaths, terrible suffering and devastation. By polarizing the world's populations and increasing worldwide frustration, anger and hatred, a war will surely increase, not decrease, the danger of international terrorism.

Iraq's weapons can be, and are being, dealt with by the UN inspection team. Other nations (North Korea, for one) possess or are developing weapons of mass destruction. Other nations (Israel, for one) have consistently flouted UN resolutions. Other nations have dictatorial regimes. If war is the best solution for these problems, how many wars may we expect in the near future? If war is not the solution, how can Bush justify this war on Iraq?

We applaud the French stand against an irresponsible war, and urge the French government to remain steadfast and use its veto in the Security Council if necessary.

We say: Let the inspection teams finish their job. Let's work toward reducing world tension. Give peace a chance !