Invasion of Iraq: The Americans “were wrong”, maintains Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien and George W. Bush (File photo)
Twenty years after the American invasion of Iraq, former Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien testifies to the reasons that led him not to follow the Americans in this adventure.
In an interview with Julie Drolet on the show Live with Patrice Roy, Friday, Mr. Chrétien asserted, prima facie, that the Americans were wrong.
The former prime minister said talks with ex-US President George W. Bush and ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair had gone on for months. But the two leaders failed to convince him.
Mr. Chrétien's decision was based on two arguments: the lack of United Nations consent and the lack of evidence.
He said that all the documents he was able to consult at the time and the information he had access to showed no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, as claimed by Washington.
Mr. Chrétien said he announced to his American counterpart his decision not to engage Canada in this war during a meeting at the border between the two countries, during the month of August preceding the war. /p>
The session had lasted an hour and a half, but Mr. Chrétien pointed out that the matter had been resolved within minutes. Afterwards, we talked about other things, football, baseball, saying that George W. Bush was disappointed. He didn't think Canada was going to say no, the former Canadian prime minister recalled.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien had resisted American pressure to participate in the war in Iraq. In an interview with Julie Drolet, he recalls certain highlights of the month of March 2003.
Mr. Chrétien recalled that this was the first time that Canada had not participated in a war with the Americans and the British.
“C&# x27; was a good decision. History has proven us right.
— Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada from November 1993 to December 2003
On the home front, the former prime minister recalled that opinions were divided, including within the Liberal Party of Canada.
He added that he was also under pressure from businessmen who were afraid that the Americans would take revenge.
As for the reasons that prompted the Americans to invade Iraq, Mr. Chrétien noted that MM. Bush and Blair were making different arguments.
On the American side, Mr. Bush based his speech on weapons of mass destruction, the evidence of which was rejected by a municipal judge in Shawinigan, according to Mr. Chrétien.
As for the British , Mr. Chrétien recalled his meeting with Mr. Blair in South Africa, during which the former British Prime Minister had told him that it was absolutely necessary to get rid of Saddam Hussein.
< p class="e-p">On this, Mr. Chrétien said he replied: There is [Robert] Mugabe [the president of Zimbabwe at the time, editor's note] who must be got rid of too. But Mugabe has no oil, Mr. Chrétien added, pointing out that the British prime minister did not speak to him for a year after the exchange.
Jean Chrétien think one of the reasons for this war was oil. He recalled that Dick Cheney, the American vice-president, was an oil guy. But we will never know, he said.
Internationally, Mr. Chrétien assured that former Mexican President Vicente Fox and his Chilean counterpart Ricardo Lagos contacted him for advice about this war. The two leaders had finally made the decision not to participate. And they both thanked Jean Chrétien for his advice.
The former prime minister said President Bush's chief of staff told him: We saw you doing it, we were taken by surprise. But you haven't betrayed us like others have.