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Dissent Must Be Punished!

The officials, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said Vice President Dick Cheney's office had been particularly vocal in pressing for some kind of punitive measures to be taken against France.
Senior Bush aides meet to weigh sidelining France for Iraq war stance
Tue Apr 22, 4:17 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Senior aides to US President George W. Bush met this week to consider ways to punish France for its opposition to the war on Iraq including sidelining Paris at NATO and limiting its participation in transatlantic forums, officials said.

Participants in the meeting, held Monday at the White House after a similar gathering last week was postponed, did not arrive at any decisions but are expected to gather again, possibly next week, in an effort to reach consensus, the officials said.

The officials, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said Vice President Dick Cheney's office had been particularly vocal in pressing for some kind of punitive measures to be taken against France.

"They are trying to find ways to create alternative mechanisms for dealing with the French, or rather without them, and not just at NATO, but more broadly," one senior official said.

Dissatisfaction with France has reached such a point that the State Department, which has registered opposition to the punitive suggestions under consideration, appears to be resigned to the possible moves.

"The recent events and disagreements will have an effect on our views and our relationships," spokesman Richard Boucher said.

"There will obviously be an effect of the recent disagreement, but I am not prepared to draw specific conclusions at this point," he told reporters.

Among the ideas discussed at Monday's meeting included bypassing the North Atlantic Council, NATO's governing body, in favor of the alliance's Defense Planning Committee from which France withdrew in 1966, the officials said.

But perhaps more significantly, participants also looked at possibly not inviting France to numerous US-sponsored or -hosted consultative policy meetings held regularly with Washington's European allies, they said.

"Traditionally there have been meetings of senior officials with the Europeans and we could dispense with them altogether, expand them to water down French influence or just cut France out altogether," a second official said.

"What's being looked at is less consultation with the French at all levels from ministerial on down," the official said.

Bush's most senior advisors -- Secretary of State Colin Powell Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice -- did not attend Monday's meeting, but sent deputies instead, the officials said.

Rice's number two, Stephen Hadley, chaired the meeting with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman sitting in for Powell's deputy, Richard Armitage, the officials said.

It was not immediately clear who represented Rumsfeld, although Pentagon officials said Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was at the White House for several meetings on Monday.

Powell, Rumsfeld and Rice had been set to meet last Thursday to go over the issue of France but that meeting was postponed at the last minute after French ambassador to the United States intervened to stop it and the Pentagon asked for a delay to better prepare its arguments.

The defense department is in general agreement with Cheney's office that France should pay some price for its opposition to the war on Iraq and its refusal to back the deployment of NATO assets to help defend Turkey during the conflict, the officials said.

The State Department, however, wants to move beyond the split over Iraq and focus more on areas of future cooperation with France, including in Iraq where Boucher said there would be "opportunities" to work with allies on reconstruction.


(Ironically the article's appearance bumped another one- about France proposing lifting sanctions against Iraq- off Yahoo's front page...)
Ironically? 22.Apr.2003 22:50


More likely purposefully.

If this is true.. 23.Apr.2003 05:59


..It only feeds the whole "Bush is a Fascist" theory.

PS: Bush is more like Mussolini than Hitler.

Theory?! 23.Apr.2003 07:25


Theory?! Not a theory! He is definitely a fascist. He would admit it if only he knew the definition of the word.

when i read this title 23.Apr.2003 08:35


When I read this title, I was thinking that it was the new indymedia censorship strategy.

That's hilarious 23.Apr.2003 09:46


Life is full and complicated. Censorship attempts to make it small and simple, whether it states that as its goal or not. Willamette Week - 1 Indymedia - 0