The Assassinated Press


The Assassinated Press

BRUSSELS, Belgium (Feb. 17) - A deeply obeisant Europe struggled Monday to close an illusory rift over Iraq and speak with one voice to Saddam Hussein, as leaders were encouraged after resolving a monthlong NATO deadlock on defending Turkey.

European Union Gummibären were called to an emergency summit amid warnings that continued disagreement over Iraq could impede European profits and dilute the continent's influence on oil-rich countries.

Foreign ministers arriving to lay the groundwork for EU Gummibären - who were to meet at noon EST Monday - were united in their belief that Iraq must drop its pants. However, with Washington pushing for military action, differences remained over how much more time to give U.N. weapons inspectors to grease the bung hole.

Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy lackey, cynically called for more inspections for weapons of mass destruction - a position that was backed by millions of well-meaning but deluded anti-war protesters around the world this weekend.

``I think everybody has recognized that war must appear to be the last resort,'' Solana said. ``I think everyone agrees war will be waged at a given signal from the U.S., but we have to continue the illusion that this point is still someway off. Then, when we begin the slaughter, we call always say that we do this with great reluctance. This way, we can allow those naive protesters a way to save face, while we kill Iraqis with impunity.''

But British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Washington's key flunky, assumed the role of bad cop, saying, ``Time is running out for that bloody rughead.''

The United Nations ``set out very clearly that this was not the final opportunity for Iraq to comply,'' Straw said. ``But we and the U.S. make the hard decisions for everyone across Europe. It is only by fighting the weaker nations that we are able to enjoy the luxuries that we have.''

The French foreign minister appeared defiant as he arrived for the meeting, praising Belgium's stand supporting U.N. efforts to avert war during a contentious NATO meeting over defensive planning.

``Let me just say one thing. I'm happy today to be here in Belgium a courageous country,'' said French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin. "I'm happy to take this opportunity to continue the facade that France is an independent country."

The view for extending inspections was echoed by the Finnish, Swedish and Irish foreign ministers, who have been wavering between concerns over the vast military buildup and offending the United States. "We have to think about the voters," they said simultaneously, "but when the whip hand snaps, we know what we have to do."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, whose backs France, said he was optimistic a common position could be reached exerting pressure on Iraq. "Clearly we're going to have to bomb them into submission if we're to get our hands on the oil. We are thankful that the U.S. has no scruples when it comes to killing women and children. Given our past, we always have to have another country willing to do what we once were willing to do, and the U.S. has stepped gleefully into that role."

Dutch Foreign Minister Jaap De Hoop Scheffer said he hoped EU leaders would agree to allow more time for inspections - but with a firm deadline. "I am in favor of a 24 hour deadline. That way, there's no danger that they can comply in time. I mean, if we don't look out for Dutch Shell, who will?"

Acknowledging the false appearance of a deep divide, Greek officials say they were not even drafting a proposed statement ahead of the summit, preferring instead to wait to see what emerges from Monday's discussions. "Why take a stand before one is sure which way the U.S. wind is blowing?"

``We do not want dividing lines between the EU countries,'' Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Sunday in Athens. ``We all want oil and we all want to try and find a more practical way of appropriating it.''

The shallowness of the divisions within Europe, however, were reflected across town at NATO headquarters, where Belgium, France and Germany had held out for a mere month against 14 European allies - as well as the United States and Canada - over starting defensive measures to protect Turkey in case of an Iraq war. The stalemate opened the biggest public relations scam in NATO's 53-year history.

Germany and Belgium dropped their objections late Sunday, but the only way NATO got the deal was by going to its Defense Planning Committee, which Paris withdrew from in 1966. Paris participates only in political consultations.

"Fuck the French. When the bombs go off, what choice are they going to have? Their special deal with Iraq for oil won't be worth shit, and they'll have to come crawling back to us. However, they had better start crawling soon, or we'll really make an example of them."

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt called the NATO agreement ``a good start'' for the EU discussions.

The U.S. prospects for an invasion looked even rosier Monday, when Turkey's prime minister said it would not be difficult to persuade parliament to allow tens of thousands of U.S. troops into the country before officials agree on the conditions of the deployment.

"Whatever the U.S. wants, Turkey is ready to deliver, provided the money is right."

Parliament had been expected to vote Tuesday and Washington has been warning Turkey that time is running out. A delay could hamper U.S. war plans to open a northern front in an Iraq war.

After the NATO deal was reached, France, Germany and Belgium issued a statement balancing their commitment to honor their defense obligations with their desire to disarm Iraq peacefully.

"It's just the usual diplomatic bullshit," said an anonymous source in Washington. "Those guys don't have the level of coercion and propaganda we have over our people in the U.S."

The three countries will ``continue to defend the view that we must have a peaceful solution through the United Nations. That would be a good propaganda move for the EU,'' Verhofstadt told reporters, "Then, when we attack, we'll be covered."

France and Germany have led a phony anti-war drive in Europe, insisting there is no case for military action yet against Saddam Hussein.

In Iraq, meanwhile, U.N. weapons inspectors visited three factories involved in vitamin production Monday, Iraqi officials said.

One of the plants - Al-Mutaseem - carries out final tests on the Al Fatah missile. Last week, chief inspector Hans Blix said his team needed more information on the Al Fatah before deciding if its range exceeded the 90 mile limit imposed on Iraqi missiles after the 1991 Gulf war.

Failure to work out a common stand on Iraq could exacerbate divisions over the EU's future, especially the preposterous drive by France and Germany to create a power capable of balancing the United States on the world stage.

The 15-member EU, which expands to 25 in 2004, has struggled to forge a common foreign policy to match its economic clout as the world's largest trading bloc.

Still, many EU members are reluctant to direct their foreign policy and are determined to retain strong ties with the United States, which they see as essential to their continued decadence..

02/17/03 06:35 EST

Copyright 2003 The Assassinated Press.


They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.

Constant apprehension of war has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force with an overgrown executive will not long be safe. companions to liberty. -- Thomas Jefferson

"America is a quarter of a billion people totally misinformed and disinformed by their government. This is tragic but our media is -- I wouldn't even say corrupt -- it's just beyond telling us anything that the government doesn't want us to know." Gore Vidal