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Démocratie en Irak: la mémoire sélective des adversaires de l’intervention

Instapundit (encore) revient, complété par ses lecteurs — ça c’est la grande force du blog –, sur la polémique autour de la menace d’armes de destruction massive supposées se trouver en Irak. Citations à  l’appui, il tente de démolir la légende révisionniste avancée par les adversaires de l’intervention selon laquelle la création de conditions favorables à  un développement démocratique n’est que rationalisation a posteriori inventée après l’échec de la recherche d’armes de destruction massive. En réalité c’était une politique constamment avancée par Bush (comme par Blair, évidemment), et qui trouve déjà  son origine du temps de la présidence Clinton.

Si je reprends dans l’ordre chronologique (en élargissant parfois les citations):

  • 31 octobre 1998: le président Clinton promulgue le Iraq Liberation Act voté par le Congrès en déclarant notamment:

Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are: The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region.

The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq’s history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership.

In the meantime, while the United States continues to look to the Security Council’s efforts to keep the current regime’s behavior in check, we look forward to new leadership in Iraq that has the support of the Iraqi people. The United States is providing support to opposition groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a popularly supported government.

  • 12 septembre 2002: dans son discours devant l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, le président Bush déclare solennellement:

If all these steps are taken [by the Iraqi regime], it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. And it could open the prospect of the United Nations helping to build a government that represents all Iraqis — a government based on respect for human rights, economic liberty, and internationally supervised elections.

The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they’ve suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.


If we meet our responsibilities, (…) [t]he people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.

  • 2 octobre 2002: la résolution conjointe du Sénat et de la Chambre des représentants autorisant une intervention militaire souligne dans son préambule:

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

  • 8 octobre 2002: s’ils s’empressent de la dénoncer comme hypocrite, au moins les adversaires de l’intervention reconnaissent-ils alors l’existence de cette motivation:

And Bush continued to lie about U.S. motivations for the war.

In his speech, Bush claimed that he is motivated by a desire to see democracy in Iraq and by the « non-negotiable demands of human dignity. »

« America is a friend to the people of Iraq, » he explained.

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country.

And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation. (…) And as we and our coalition partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food and medicines and supplies and freedom.


America is a strong nation and honorable in the use of our strength. We exercise power without conquest, and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers.

Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world; it is God’s gift to humanity.

  • 30 janvier 2003: alors aussi, les adversaires de l’intervention enregistrent mais n’y croient pas:

The ouster of Saddam Hussein, the administration claims, will allow the Iraqi people to establish a truly democratic government and serve as a beacon and inspiration for the spread of democracy throughout the Islamic world.

But there is little reason to believe that the administration is motivated by a desire to spread democracy in its rush to war with Iraq.

  • 26 février 2003: le président Bush précise ses intentions dans un discours (on est un mois avant le début de l’intervention):

The current Iraqi regime has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America’s interests in security, and America’s belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq.

The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people, themselves. Today they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, and misery, and torture. Their lives and their freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein — but Iraqi lives and freedom matter greatly to us.

Bringing stability and unity to a free Iraq will not be easy. Yet that is no excuse to leave the Iraqi regime’s torture chambers and poison labs in operation. Any future the Iraqi people choose for themselves will be better than the nightmare world that Saddam Hussein has chosen for them.


We will seek to protect Iraq’s natural resources from sabotage by a dying regime, and ensure those resources are used for the benefit of the owners — the Iraqi people.

The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq’s new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected.

Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before — in the peace that followed a world war. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.

There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq — with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people — is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.

The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the « freedom gap » so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater politics participation, economic openness, and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward politics reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.

It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world — or the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim — is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same. For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror.

Success in Iraq could also begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace, and set in motion progress towards a truly democratic Palestinian state. The passing of Saddam Hussein’s regime will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training, and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers. And other regimes will be given a clear warning that support for terror will not be tolerated.

  • 19 mars 2003: alors encore, les adversaires de l’intervention croient devoir ironiser lourdement:

[H]e proclaims that his war against the people of Iraq will bring about something called « democracy » for the struggling peoples of the Middle East. Lets ignore, for a second, the fact that the United States is not itself a democratic nation in anything except the most literal sense (people vote). In truly democratic nations, that portion of the populace that does not support one of two official parties is not effectively disenfranchised, since their vote does not directly help the candidate on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum. In truly democratic nations, presidents do not come to office through blatant fraud and cronyism.

En définitive, la coalition a fait exactement ce que Bush avait annoncé (Instapundit cite un mot de Cavour: pour mentir à  un diplomate, il suffit de dire la vérité car il ne vous croira pas!); non sans erreurs de planification ou difficultés, mais avec des résultats tangibles dont les premiers bénéficiaires sont les Irakiens, et les vagues portent bien plus loin. Pourtant, depuis la « divine surprise » (pour les adversaires de l’intervention) de la non-découverte d’armes de destruction massive en Irak, tout discours relatif à  la liberté du peuple irakien et à  la stratégie globale de démocratisation du Proche-Orient est ridiculisé comme construction après coup, soi-disant jamais évoqué dans les motivations préalables à  l’intervention.

Même au Café du commerce c’est inacceptable, mais de la part de professionnels, journalistes de politique étrangère, éditorialistes, intellectuels, c’est indigne. Il doit être dur de réaliser rétrospectivement que, croyant se battre pour la paix et contre l’impérialisme US, on défendait bel et bien un statu quo qui laissait Saddam au pouvoir, son peuple dans l’oppression, et l’ensemble du Proche-Orient sans l’espoir de liberté et de développement qui point aujourd’hui (et qui pourrait toujours bénéficier d’un soutien plus enthousiaste en Europe ou à  gauche…).