mercredi 21 décembre 2011

Petit rappel...

Vaclav Havel est mort il y a quelques jours et, comme il se doit, nous avons lu et entendu les hommages au grand homme, la « conscience européenne », « l' humaniste » etc. Mouais...

Qu'il ait été un des courageux dissidents de l'est et un auteur dramatique respectable est une chose mais je trouve qu'une fois encore les medias ont fait un grand silence sur un sujet qui n'est sans doute plus d'actualité (pas plus que son ancienne dissidence d'ailleurs) mais qui me semble tout de même bigrement intéressant du point de vue moral. 

A-t-on remarqué que Vaclav Havel est mort le jour même où le « dernier » (cough, cough) soldat américain quittait le sol Irakien? Quel rapport me demanderez-vous?

Eh bien, il se trouve que notre grand homme fut l'un des signataires de la lettre des huit en janvier 2003, lettre qui apportait son soutien à l'Administration Bush dans son entreprise guerrière en Irak.

Cette lettre publiée, par le Wall Street Journal (Rupert Murdoch anyone?), était un vrai coup de poignard dans le dos de la diplomatie française qui n'avait pas même été avertie de son existence comme il est coutume de faire entre chancelleries. Et Sarko de qualifier Havel de grand ami de la France! Ah bon? When was that?

Voilà donc un ancien dissident dont le pays avait été occupé pendant quelque 40 ans par des forces étrangères, donner son accord pour l'invasion (illégale!) d'un pays qui lui était totalement étranger. Au nom bien sûr des WMD, de la démocratie (see how "democratic" Iraq has become) etc. Un dissident bien conformiste pour le coup. Et tout à fait « démocratique » une fois encore puisque la majorité des Tchèques était opposée, comme tous les Européens, à cette expédition néo-colonialiste américaine au Moyen-Orient.

La République Tchèque a donc envoyé 300 hommes en Irak, en fait du personnel médical pour un hôpital de campagne. C'est bien le moins quand il y a une guerre qu'on cautionne de prévoir qu'il y aura des blessés à traiter...

L'humaniste a donc été reçu par Bush et la photo montre combien il en ronronne de plaisir. 

Par son soutien affirmé à la guerre d'Irak de 2003, Vaclav Havel est moralement responsable des 4.800 soldats morts là-bas et des 100.000? 200.000? Irakiens qui ont été tués dans les années qui ont suivi. Pas joli, joli pour la grande conscience européenne et l'humaniste exemplaire qui soutenait aussi l'initiative américaine d'installer un « bouclier » antimissile iranien avec installations en Pologne et en Tchéquie, contre l'opinion majoritaire de ses concitoyens. Mais on m'assure que c'était « démocratique ».

Comme on n'est jamais seul à avoir une idée, j'ai lu avec plaisir que d'autres partageaient mon avis ici et .

A ce compte-là je préfère encore Chirac (and yet) qui vient de se prendre 2 ans et demi avec sursis.

15 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

//Cette lettre publiée, par le Wall Street Journal (Rupert Murdoch anyone?), était un vrai coup de poignard dans le dos de la diplomatie française//

M. Chirac, ever the smooth diplomat, responded by noting that the states endorsing the letter "missed a good opportunity to shut up" and noting that these little peoples were "not very well brought up."

Perhaps the British, Portuguese, Italians, Spanish, Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Danes might be excused for thinking that they were permitted opinions inconsistent with French diplomacy?

Or is the rule "You are either with France, or against France"?

SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

Yes, I remember Chirac being reported as having said the words you quote.

Now, will you please give the link where I can hear him by myself or see him utter these inocuous words?

As far as I know Chirac didn't speak publicly but more likely to some aide or member of his staff who probably echoed his words to the press. Needless to say, the Murdoch association for raising public morality didn't miss the opportunity to propagate the canard that the French president was a bullying rogue amateur in the diplomatic field and blah blah blah...

I confess I was surprised at the time that these words would cause the virgins to blemish and faint at the rudeness of the man.

Now some contextualisation is required here.

That was the time when the American media (and not only the Murdoch owned one) was actively pounding day in day out that the French were a bunch of cheese-eater surrender monkeys, inter alia. Talk of being diplomatic!

Noteworthy is the fact that this antiFrench hysterical campaign came to an end the day the French ambassador told some big shot in the Bush Ad. that enough was enough. Politicians in America have some influence on American media? No kidding!

Now what about the French media calling Americans as a whole a bunch of Hamburger-eating warmonger gorillas?

That was the mood at the beginning of 2003, Chirac knew it of course as well as other European chancelleries.

Some American president once spoke of a day of infamy because the U.S had been stabbed in the back.

Mutatis mutandis, that's what happened with this "letter of the eight".

I didn't know so far that Poland, Danemark, Portugal and all were enemies of France but they actually behaved as if they were. And Chirac should have asked for more of the same?

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Perhaps the British, Portuguese, Italians, Spanish, Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Danes might be excused for thinking that they were permitted opinions inconsistent with French diplomacy?

You mean dozens of millions of Danes, Poles, Brits etc. were behind their respective leaders regarding the war in Iraq?

I kind of remember 2 million Brits marching through the streets of London to protest the involvement of their country in this American led war.

Actually dozens of millions of Danes, Portugese, Italians (2 million in the streets of Rome against the war as well) were against their despective leaders but since we're in democracy, so we're told, everything went according to the will of some individuals who accepted the American bribe to go to war. Long live democracy!

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"Or is the rule "You are either with France, or against France"?"

Yes, that's it exactly!

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No later than yesterday there was this page in the N.Y.T. with comments of American citizens regarding how they feel about the outcome of the Iraqui war. They may be not as resentful against Chirac who warned America of what was to come as you seem to be against him because he forsaw what was in store for the U.S.

Pour en revenir à V.Havel, I see on the pic a man purring with delight because he's being awarded some American decoration (what's this blue ribbon he's wearing?) by one of the most revered American Prez ever.

I have added some information on the French Wiki regarding the engagement of the great European humanist. You may well correct me where I'm wrong or better, add yourself the missing part on the English Wiki which seems not to know about this honourable past choice of the western media's darling...

Flocon a dit…

OK, it just took seconds (Allah is great and Wiki is his prophet) before I could learn what Havel was wearing the day he was with G.W.Bush.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dick Cheney got it as well as Robert. S McNamara, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Bliar, etc. Says it all...

And that's what's making the great European humanist wet his pants ô-Ô

Anijo a dit…

As far as I know Chirac didn't speak publicly

He spoke these words at a CONFERENCE DE PRESSE DE MONSIEUR JACQUES CHIRAC, PRESIDENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE A L’ISSUE DE LA REUNION INFORMELLE EXTRAORDINAIRE DU CONSEIL EUROPEEN, BRUXELLES - BELGIQUE

Flocon a dit…

Ah, bravo pour la rechercher et merci pour le lien Anijo, so it's "As far as I knew" then...

Donc j'ai lu tout le texte que je ne connaissais pas et il est très intéressant.

Here's what Chirac says about Havel:

"La République tchèque qui, d’ailleurs, avait signé sous la plume de son éminent président, que tout le monde respecte, qu’est M. HAVEL..."

How undiplomatic is that?

re the quote SemperFidelis refers to:

"les pays candidats, honnêtement, je trouve qu’ils se sont comportés avec une certaine légèreté. Car entrer dans l’Union européenne, cela suppose tout de même un minimum de considération pour les autres, un minimum de concertation. Si, sur le premier sujet difficile, on se met à donner son point de vue indépendamment de toute concertation avec l’ensemble dans lequel, par ailleurs, on veut entrer, alors, ce n’est pas un comportement bien responsable. En tous les cas, ce n’est pas très bien élevé. Donc, je crois qu’ils ont manqué une bonne occasion de se taire."

I should do another research but I fail to see where Chirac spoke of these "little peoples" SemperFidelis added to the quote.

And globally speaking, one has to be very, very, and even extremely sensitive if h/s feels Chirac was being rude and undiplomatic with the countries who acted the way they did toward the French (and German) position re the war in Iraq.

Actually he was simply reminding these countries, who at that time wanted to be integrated into the U.E (read : we want the French/German subsidies by the billions), that their move wasn't exactly subtle: begging for entrance into the U.E and at the same time stabbing the French diplomacy in the back.

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: I have no brief against Chirac. But you do him a disservice when you compare him to a man like Havel.

Havel was a true man of letters. No more need be said about his accomplishments in that line.

Havel stood up for the right at great personal cost throughout his life. He was denied his chosen university faculty, censored, banned from employment in the arts, and imprisoned many times. Even after he had achieved political success, he risked it all by insisting that the Sudenten Germans had been wrongfully expelled from Czechoslovakia after WWII.

If Havel is morally responsible for all who died in Iraq because he signed a letter supporting military force against Saddam Hussein, then Chirac is certainly morally responsible for all those who died in the Algerian War, since he personally took part in the French Army campaign there. And not as a conscript, but as a volunteer.

And Chirac's opposition to using force against Hussein in 2003 was done from the comfort of his government office, and at no cost to himself at all. He benefited from it politically, as he certainly knew he would.

And an odd sort of accomplishment it is to claim for a statesman, since he changed nothing at all by his actions. He didn't delay the invasion by a minute. And a more adroit politician could have kept France out of the military action without all the disruption within the European Union.

As a whole man, Chirac does not come out well in a comparison against Havel.

I am not even counting Chirac's petty personal corruption.

SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

"Havel stood up for the right at great personal cost throughout his life. He was denied his chosen university faculty, censored, banned from employment in the arts, and imprisoned many times. Even after he had achieved political success, he risked it all by insisting that the Sudenten Germans had been wrongfully expelled from Czechoslovakia after WWII."


There may be some misunderstanding here. I'm not comparing Chirac and Havel as regards their entire lives but, as is said in the beginning of the post (Qu'il ait été un des courageux dissidents de l'est et un auteur dramatique respectable est une chose) their respective attitude on a very specific topic e.g the Iraq war.

Also, I'm not trying to protect Chirac's name since I never voted for him and even could'nt stant to see a pic of him since he emerged in politics 45 years ago...

"If Havel is morally responsible for all who died in Iraq because he signed a letter supporting military force against Saddam Hussein, then Chirac is certainly morally responsible for all those who died in the Algerian War, since he personally took part in the French Army campaign there. And not as a conscript, but as a volunteer."

The last sentence of this paragraph surprises me. Unless you have more precise details, Chirac didn't chose to go to Algeria since there was no choice at the time: Conscription was mandatory and lasted 2 years and a half.

Chirac was a conscript and not a volonteer. Also that's because he personaly knew what war was all about that he opposed the American neocons who somehow managed not to go to Vietnam.

Stating that he was responsible for the victims of the Algeria war because he was a soldier is an unexpected stand.

This you can indeed affirm regarding the American soldiers who voluntarily engaged in the US Army, knowing full well they were going to Iraq or Afghanistan.

"And Chirac's opposition to using force against Hussein in 2003 was done from the comfort of his government office, and at no cost to himself at all.

This is another bizarre statement who certainly could be valid in the case of Havel but certainy not in Chirac's case.

Havel approved the sending of military personal from the comfort of his office whereas Chirac disapproved launching a war who would eventually cause the death of hundreds of thousands lives. Did Havel ever go to war? Lucky for him the opportunity didn't arise.

Are all the American soldiers who were drafted into Vietnam personaly responsible for the +/- 2 million Vietnamese dead?

There I agree with you : Havel took his decision from the comfort of his office and at no cost to himself at all.

"He benefited from it politically, as he certainly knew he would".

I'm afraid I have to object to this other part of your comment.

Chirac had entered his second term in the presidency and had no political interest anymore. He was at the very end of his long political life(he was already 71 in 2003) and had nothing to gain whatsoever.

Fact is his popularity was "slightly" over that of G.W. Bush the world over but I doubt that was his prime motivation for opposing the war.

"And an odd sort of accomplishment it is to claim for a statesman, since he changed nothing at all by his actions"

That is a raw materialistic point of view on politics if you allow me, and one that discards all morality in this field.

Anyway, I've read time and again this "argument" that Chirac's position was futile since it was ineffective.

What about the Pope then? And the Dalai-lama? Not to mention all American presidents who pressed the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians et all to change their politics regarding human rights and "democracy"?

What odd sorts of accomplishment it is for these statesmen...

Flocon a dit…

No latter than yesterday the Obama administration pressed the Chinese and the Japanese about their respective currency whose value should be raised (in the interest of the U.S's economy). Last time I checked, the Chinese didn't seem that impressed.

Not to mention said Chinese weren't asked their opinion when Nixon put an end to the convertibility of the US $ (« The dollar is our currency and your problem »). Unilatealism anyone ?
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"A more adroit politician could have kept France out of the military action without all the disruption within the European Union."

For what I know, the huge majority of Europeans was opposed to this war and only the French and German leaders opposed it, in accordance with the will of their respective citizens. The disruption came from the coalition of the poodles and it is a sad fact that Havel commited himself with Berlusconi and the chief warmonger, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

I'd be interesed to learn when the NATO general secretary ever went to war, as well as the 7 other signatories of the infamous letter of the eight..

As for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair, Aznar, Berlusconi etc... well never mind.

I didn't expect that you, as a soldier, would take side with all those politicians who never risqued their lives but don't hesitate one second to send to their death your comrades in arms.
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"I am not even counting Chirac's petty personal corruption."

Now we're far from Vaclav Havel and his engagement for the war in Iraq.

Nobody questions that Chirac has an unpleasant pedigree in that field. He has been convicted to a 2 and a half year suspension sentence last week which is a very, very strict sentence when one considers the number of thugs
and rapers the French judiciary system hardly admonishes for their (real) crimes.

But this is another story...

Anonyme a dit…

The English Wiki article on Chirac indicates that he volunteered for the military academy at Saumur, graduated first in his class, and subsequently volunteered to fight in Algeria. I have read this elsewhere as well, but can't put my finger on the source.

There is a misunderstanding. If all you are saying is that you approve of Chirac's position on using force against Hussein, and do not approve of Havel's position regarding the same, I haven't much to say about it. Except that on the whole I find Havel an admirable character and Chirac less so. That does not mean that I find Chirac to be a villain.

I find discussions about moral responsibility useful. A discussion with someone whose experiences and points of view are so different would be especially interesting. But our virtual conversations over the years leave me with no idea where to start.

In English, "responsibility" carries a strong implication of "answerable to someone." I suspect you don't see it the same way.

SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

A two and a half suspended sentence is probably closer to what it should be...

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Bon, d'accord, Chirac volonteered alors qu'il aurait pu obtenir une dispense. Dans l'absolu, c'est-à-dire dans un monde irréel, il est sans doute responsable des conséquences de ce choix ce qui nous amène directement à la notion de péché originel... (en anglais).

As a Marine, do you have more consideration for those politicians who dodged the draft to 'Nam or for one who personally risked his life on the ground for what he thought was his duty? Say all you want about Chirac but at least he wasn't Awol.

Also the Algerian war is an altogether completely different matter than the Iraq war (Colonial war and preventive war of aggression).

And this is precisely because he knew first hand what wars are all about that he certainly was more qualified to take a stand than Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Aznaz, Berlusconi, Blair and Havel were.

At the end of the day you can reproach Chirac to not have sent young men to their death in Iraq contrary to what Havel approved of, whereas the great humanist never experienced first hand what it's like to be personally involved in combat like situations.

Also, making a comparison to what someone did as a 24 year old student with no responsibility whatsoever 45 years earlier and a 66 year old statesman in a completely different context doesn't seem to be absolutely relevant in my eyes.
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"If all you are saying is that you approve of Chirac's position on using force against Hussein, and do not approve of Havel's position regarding the same,"

? ? ? It must be me but I read an inner contradiction in this part.

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"on the whole I find Havel an admirable character and Chirac less so."

Exactly who challenges this opinion?

As I've written above, it's not on the whole que je fais un parallèle mais juste sur un point bien particulier qui n'en est pas pour autant d'une moindre importance du point de vue moral.
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Now, if you really insist that Chirac was morally corrupt for opposing the Iraq war, maybe will you find confort at thinking that he sent the French army in Afghanistan in support of the U.S.

To this day, 78 French soldiers have died in Afghanistan and Chirac is indeed personally responsible for their death.

Isn't it ironic that at the same time when the French army was siding with the American one in Kaboul and elsewhere, the American media and politicians from all sides were spitting and pewing on the French surrender thing etc. in general. One feels always stronger and upbeat when accompagnied by a true, faithful friend that can be relied upon.
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""responsibility" carries a strong implication of "answerable to someone." I suspect you don't see it the same way."

Pour ce qui est de la responsabilité (being accountable to someone for one's acts and behaviour), what about the responsibility of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair and all the warmongers who qualify as war criminals?

How many people died because of their morality-in-action and how much responsible are they?

The irony of History: Ces criminels en cravatte n'ont de compte à rendre à personne alors que Chirac eventually was sentenced for having a dozen or so militants of his party enrolled by the Paris city hall some 25 or 30 years ago.

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon:

//Par son soutien affirmé à la guerre d'Irak de 2003, Vaclav Havel est moralement responsable des 4.800 soldats morts là-bas et des 100.000? 200.000?//

I hesitated to take up this conversation again, because I think that our concepts of moral responsibility are too disparate to allow much discussion.

In my view, Havel is responsible for his actions. He is responsible to the civil authorities appointed over him, and ultimately to God.

His responsibility to civil authority is determined by application to the familiar legal concept of proximate cause, common to all Western tort and criminal law. Whether Havel's action amounts to the proximate cause of these deaths is debatable.

But, in any case, it is not necessary to appeal to morality for a legal result. The legal positivist simply asserts that all that is required is a rule that a sovereign is both willing and able to enforce. "Right" or "Wrong" only means "in accord with the rule", or "not in accord with the rule".

If we are to go beyond this sterile legal result to the question of moral responsibility, I think we have to show what standard applies to Havel and his action, and answer the question: To whom is Havel morally responsible for his action?

Ned has made her position clear. We have no free will. So the conditions for moral responsibility never arise.

I assume that you and I agree that Havel had free will when he signed the letter. But I am not at all clear on how you hold Havel morally responsible for these deaths.
SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

Semper,

"I hesitated to take up this conversation again, because I think that our concepts of moral responsibility are too disparate to allow much discussion."

Quite the opposite from my point of view. If we were agreed, there would be no discussion at all. The idea isn't to convince the interlocutor but to expose one's own take on that particular topic, or any other for that matter.

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"In my view, Havel is responsible for his actions. He is responsible to the civil authorities appointed over him, and ultimately to God."

La question de la responsabilité individuelle est liée à la question du libre arbitre. Je ne crois pas une seconde à la moindre possibilité d'un millième de libre arbitre dans quoi que ce soit que nous fassions.

Responsabilité et libre arbitre sont des fictions sociales nécessaires pour réguler les sociétés, que ce soit chez les aborigènes d'Australie ou les inuits du Canada, les Chinois d'il y a 4.000 ans ou probablement les cavemen d'il y a 30.000 ans.

We are indeed responsible for our acts because they actually realize what our individuality is. Hence we are responsible for what we are, our acts merely depend on what we are. My neighbour isn't responsible for what I do of course nor is he responsible for what I am. Nobody in the whole world is responsible for what I do, that is what I am, save me.

Pour ce qui est de la responsibilité vis-à-vis des autorités civiles, voilà ce qui s'appelle une fiction juridique! It all depends on which side of the fence politicians are and being on the winner's one is a guaranty for irresponsibility and impunity.

G.B held a mock inquiry commission re Blair's decision to go to war and... surprise surprise, nothing ever happened.

In France there was the Riom trial you may have heard of. Now, the politicians held responsible for the war and the defeat were on the loosing side.

Just a few days ago, Mubarack has been held responsible for the death of 850 protesters and the death penalty has been asked against him. Too bad he's on the loser's side now.

Les politiciens en général ne risquent absolument rien puisque les institutions les rendent à peu près toujours unaccountable as individuals.

Theorically they're responsible to the civil autorithies. In reality they never are.

Flocon a dit…

"His responsibility to civil authority is determined by application to the familiar legal concept of proximate cause, common to all Western tort and criminal law."

I had to look on the English Wiki to see what the proximate cause concept is. Strangely enough, there are only two other languages that have an article on this concept. Thai and Korean, which are mere translations of the English page. It may be common to all Western tort and criminal law but actually, only two Asian countries seem interested with the concept (or two individuals who just had fun translating the English article).

Mes souvenirs de droit sont trop éloignés maintenant mais cela ressemble probablement à la notion de responsabilité directe ou indirecte, elle-même conditionnée par la notion de causalité et particulièrement la notion de lien de causalité.

"it is not necessary to appeal to morality for a legal result."

Je crois que là est le point de divergence majeur entre vous et moi.

Dans le billet il est question de responsabilité morale de Havel et non de sa responsabilité juridique laquelle est tout à fait dépendante de ce qu'est la loi à un moment donné, loi conçue, votée et mise en oeuvre par des individus en chair et en os avec leurs propres valeurs.

La responsabilité juridique est socialement et culturellement conditionnée, la responsabilité morale ultime ne l'est pas, ou du moins pas de la même façon.

Since Julius Caesar, some million laws have been voted and implemented and a bad guy has always been a bad guy (on a scale from 1 to 10 of course...).

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"If we are to go beyond this sterile legal result to the question of moral responsibility"

Bien vu en effet. You're reading my post from a jurist's point of view whereas it was written with morality as a foremost issue. The two are hardly compatible.

Notons que ce sont précisément ces deux domaines qui sont probablement le plus souvent en conflit dans les affaires humaines puisque tous les deux traitent du même objet à partir de deux entités totalement incompatibles : le réel et l'idéal.

"we have to show what standard applies to Havel and his action, and answer the question: To whom is Havel morally responsible for his action?"

To him essentially, which opens another huge inexaustible well of thoughts. The starting point -among many others- could be Socrates's « no one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly ».

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"Ned has made her position clear. We have no free will. So the conditions for moral responsibility never arise."

Nous sommes responsables non de ce que nous faisons mais de ce que nos sommes (qui nous fait faire ce que nous faisons). Cela peut sembler paradoxal à première vue mais on second thought it makes sense.

La responsabilité morale vis-à-vis de la collectivité est une fiction juridique de mon point de vue, fiction nécessaire certes mais que je pense être sans fondement d'un point de vue absolu. Granted idealism and reality don't go together well though...

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Flocon a dit…

"I assume that you and I agree that Havel had free will when he signed the letter".

Hmmm... non. Ce qui définit le libre arbitre c'est le caractère inconditionnel d'une action. I could do this ... or just the opposite. Yes and what do you eventually chose to do? And for what reason?

Havel, pas plus qu'un autre, ne dispose de cette illusion de l'esprit qui s'ignore lui-même.

But maybe do you understand free will like nobody put a gun on his head so that he would sign the letter?

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"I am not at all clear on how you hold Havel morally responsible for these deaths."

La guerre et les États sont des « acteurs » d'une taille peut-être trop importante pour cette échange, let's reduce the scale of the act...

Si Havel donne son accord à une bande de hors la loi pour dévaliser une banque (tout en restant, lui, dans son bureau) et qu'at the end of the day il y a des morts dans la banque (notwithstanding among the attackers) I wonder how he cannot be held morally responsible for the dead. No class 101 in philosophy required here.

Flocon a dit…

The current Iraqi regime's persistent attempts to threaten world security.


The Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction represent a clear threat to world security.


we would rid the world of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.


Europe has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Indeed, they are the first victims of Iraq's current brutal regime. (but 200.000 of its population will die following our "intervention" like the Russians said when they invaded Tchecoslovakia in 1968)


Our goal is to safeguard world peace and security by ensuring that this regime gives up its weapons of mass destruction.


Our governments have a common responsibility to face this threat.

Failure to do so would be nothing less than negligent to our own citizens and to the wider world. (yeah, the Chinese too were very afraid of Saddam's wmd)

If they are not complied with, the Security Council will lose its credibility and world peace will suffer as a result.


Extrait de la lettre écrite par Murdoch, Cheney, Rumsfeld et all that Havel signed.

What an imbecile!