February 17, 2003


Schroeder agrees war might be last resort in Iraq (Emma Thomasson, Feb 17, 2003, Reuters)
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder reluctantly agreed on Monday to a European Union resolution on Iraq that accepted that force might be necessary as a last resort to compel Baghdad to disarm.

Schroeder, whose anti-war stance has infuriated Washington, said last month that Germany, which holds one of the 10 rotating seats on the U.N. Security Council, would not support any new U.N. resolution that authorised military action against Baghdad.

Schroeder admitted he had compromised in agreeing to the EU statement that "force can only be used as a last resort" but insisted it did not mark a fundamental change in Berlin's position and he remained committed to a peaceful solution.

He said Germany's involvement in conflicts such as the 1999 Kosovo war, when German troops played a combat role for the first time since World War Two, and in the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic extremists showed it was not shy about military action.

"In the question of Kosovo and in the Balkans and in Enduring Freedom -- the fight against international terrorism -- we have intervened militarily," he told a news conference after EU leaders met in Brussels for an emergency summit on Iraq.

"This government has never taken the position that cannot be possible as a last resort," he said. "As a principle, history shows we have never ruled that out, nor could we rule it out."

But Schroeder's agreement to the EU statement saying force might be necessary in the case of Iraq could be interpreted as an attempt to get out of the corner he has backed himself into by ruling out backing a war under any circumstances.

What could be more fun than watching the French and Germans fight over who gets to stab the other in the back first and hop on the war bandwagon?

It's important to note how these two (France and Germany) reacted here, at the height of their influence--after what folks have been whining about as a shift of momentum following the UN meeting last week and the protests this weekend--they folded almost completely. Oh ye of little faith...

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2003 10:22 PM

Given the hissy fit that Chirac reportedly threw in front of the security council, I think Schroeder is about due for a change of heart; though, that still won't save him from the Iraqi smallpox scandal that seems to be getting a lot of play as of late. Hmmm -- the truth about German and French duplicity is coming out before the war even starts. Now that I didn't expect. Oh well, put me down for the first week of march.

Posted by: T-Dub at February 17, 2003 11:06 PM

Ok OJ, in other posts I probably fell in the ye of little faith camp briefly but at least I'm not one of the blogheads disowning Bush because he didn't begin bombing last July

Seeing France and Germany get abused helps offset the 2/14 debacle at the UN

I'd agree with T-dub on first week of March but military types are saying the problem of getting troops into Turkey will delay things

Posted by: AWW at February 17, 2003 11:48 PM

Yes, it seemed too fortuitous that on Yahoo Deutschland yesterday, two lead stories on the home page, one on top of the other, were (to paraphrase) 'Iraq got mobile bioweapons labs from Germany' and 'Don't panic, we have 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine!'

Posted by: Paula R. McIntyre Robinson at February 18, 2003 6:10 AM

Sinsterer and sinisterer....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 18, 2003 7:44 AM