French President Jacques Chirac made a
mistake in handling the Iraq situation because he doesn’t understand
that the United States is an 800-lb gorilla. As in “Where does an 800-lb
gorilla sit? Anywhere it wants.”
The United States has done its gorilla
act off and on during the last century in the Western Hemisphere. From
President Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to help the Panamanians to become
independent country for him to build a canal through to the President Bill
Clinton’s effort to change the regime in Haiti, American Presidents have
used troops in Latin American countries whenever they wanted to.
American actions outside the Western Hemisphere
involved international wars including the World Wars and the Cold War.
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait marked a change
with the United States under President George H.W. Bush taking a leadership
role in a limited conflict. President Bill Clinton continued this role
in Kosovo and Iraq. Although in Iraq the Gorilla only sought to show Iraq
who was boss because Iraq didn’t seem to pose that serious a threat at
9/11 changed that. The Gorilla decided
it could no longer put up with international terrorist groups and those
who supported them. The attack on the Gorilla’s lair made the situation
personal and the Gorilla had to act.
Once President George W. Bush became convinced that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, the only way to prevent the Gorilla from acting was to prove that Iraq didn’t have such weapons. Iraq had to either destroy those weapons or the UN had to set up an inspection program to conclusively determine if Iraq had WMD. Neither thing happened so the Gorilla decided he had no alternative to protect his lair but to sit on the Iraqis.
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