USD faculty: Europe opposes war with Iraq

USD faculty: Europe opposes war with Iraq University of South Dakota professors Donald Pryce, Elizabeth Smith and John Fremstad noted that several European countries, including France and Germany, are opposed to U.S. military intervention in Iraq. by David Lias "Is the U.S. losing its European allies over Iraq?"

That was the theme of an hour-long noon forum Monday conducted by University of South Dakota professors John Fremstad, Elizabeth Smith and Donald Pryce.

The three noted that some European nations, such as Great Britain, are allied with the U.S. as it focuses on possible military action in Iraq in the near future.

But, they added, key nations, such as France and Germany, are strongly opposed to U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

Pryce said in advance of Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the United Nations this week that any claims that Iraq is linked to al Qaeda terrorism will only weaken the U.S. case to go to war.

"It makes everything that the Americans are saying look like a lie, when probably some of it is a lie and some of it isn't," Pryce said. "It's very easy to dismiss the whole thing because Bush is dumb, Bush is inarticulate, Bush is lying and therefore we will pay no attention to what Bush is saying. And that's the danger."

Fremstad said he hopes that military action in Iraq can be avoided. "But if it comes to that," he said, "I hope it comes under the circumstances that actually have the endorsement of more of the European countries, so they can be involved in the next very long step which will certainly involve some patience."

That long step, he said, would be formation of new stable government in Iraq and a rebuilding of its infrastructure.

"I think there is a great deal of posturing going on," Fremstad said. Both the U.S. and the European nations may be taking extreme bargaining positions, he said, on the notion that they eventually won't get all that they ask for.

Smith noted that France is strongly opposed to U.S. military action, in part because of a distrust of Bush, and in part because of its longstanding relationship with Iraq.

"France has relied on Iraq's oil reserves. Since the food for oil rules have been in place, France has been one of the biggest buyers of Iraq oil," Smith said.

The French view the United States as being impatient, and don't believe that any military action by the U.S. will be justified, she said.

France wants United Nations inspections in Iraq to continue for at least another two months, Smith said, before war is considered.

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