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US looking for a way out

  1. FallGuy

    2,070 posts.
    US position on regime change shifts
    AM - Friday, October 4, 2002 8:20

    LINDA MOTTRAM: Notable in the debate over Iraq has been a gradual change of US rhetoric, raising the question of whether the Whitehouse is tiptoeing away from its declared policy of "regime change".

    The question has come into sharper focus after the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told the newspaper, USA Today, if you get inspectors back and disarm Iraq, then you will have a different type of regime no matter who is in Baghdad.

    The shift is seen as a way of placating US (United States) allies at the UN (United Nations).

    This assessment from our correspondent in Washington, John Shovelan.

    JOHN SHOVELAN: Is Washington disarming its rhetoric?

    For months the US Government has chanted its mantra of regime change for Iraq. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the cornerstone of US policy. But today the Secretary of State Colin Powell said quote:

    "If you can get weapons inspectors back in that can make sure under a tightened tough regime, with consequences for failure to perform then you can disarm this society then in effect you have a different kind of regime, no matter who's in Bahgdad."

    No matter who's in Baghdad?

    Secretary Powell is the most senior administration figure to suggest life could go on with Saddam Hussein still in power. But even the President over the past few days has toned down his rhetoric with disarmament now at least publicly his focus.

    GEORGE BUSH: Saddam must disarm.

    A military option is not the first choice, but disarming this man is. I have called upon the United Nations to disarm him.

    JOHN SHOVELAN: And today speaking at a US-Russia business council meeting, Colin Powell re-inforced his comments to the newspaper USA Today that disarmament is the goal.

    COLIN POWELL: We share a strategic goal of an Iraq disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction.

    JOHN SHOVELAN: But the Whitehouse spokesman Ari Fleischer denies there's any shift.

    ARI FLEISCHER: Regime change is the law of the land for the United States, as spoken by the Congress, as signed by President Clinton and supported of course by President Bush.

    JOHN SHOVELAN: For months the war rhetoric of the whitehouse has had the President cornered on Iraq. His success could only be measured by the demise of Saddam Hussein.

    The President and his most senior officials have personalised the dispute, just as they did initially with Osama bin Laden.

    The toned down rhetoric is also being seen as a way for the administration to curry favour with other security council members.

    The administration's blunt demand of regime change or overthrowing a government stiffened the resistance of the French and Russian governments to the US draft resolution.

    Now as the US lobbies the other permanent members of the council regime change has become submerged in the more internationally desirable pursuit of disarmament.

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