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>> The International Herald Tribune


RETHINKING THE IRAQ WAR

The International Herald Tribune - July 22, 2008 by Marco Perduca and Marco Cappato * Nicholas Kristof's idea to set up a truth commission to explore what the attack on Iraq has produced is a proposal worth pursuing ("It takes a school, not missiles," Views, July 15). But in order to have a comprehensive picture of what the decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein has generated, we believe that its scope should be broadened to re-examine, among other things, the various options that were on the table in the Oval Office between September 2002 and March 2003. In fact, in September 2007, the Spanish newspaper El País published the transcripts of a meeting held in Crawford, Texas, between President George W. Bush and then Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, where it was clear that the option of ousting Saddam and sending him into exile - a scenario also promoted by some Arab states - had also been endorsed by the Iraqi dictator himself with a request of $1 billion. Bush decided otherwise. That option not only would have averted a military intervention, but would have also created the conditions to set up a transitional government under the aegis of the UN to establish democratic institutions that would have progressively opened the country to the practice of democracy. Today, not only is democracy still fragile in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East, democracy is no longer considered a "weapon of mass attraction" - quite the contrary. It is perceived as being the byproduct of a military invasion by an alien army. We believe that the "exile scenario" should be included in any truth commission or further investigation into the U.S. conduct in Iraq. To that end, we are ready to contribute to any such effort. Marco Perduca, Rome Senator in the Italian Senate, Radicals/Democratic Party and Marco Cappato, Brussels Member of the European Parliament, Radicals/Alliance of Liberal-Democrats for Europe





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