Rational or reasonable ? The project of an impending military intervention

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Firstly, it is necessary to distinguish between rationality and reasonableness, as well as several kinds of levels of rationality – true to life or rebuilt, subjective or objective, actual or apparent, political or legal… Second, such criteria have to be applied for the analysis of the American project for an early military intervention against Iraq – through the identity of the actor or the actors of such an intervention ; through its motives, visible or secret ; through its goals, advertised or hidden; through its means, military or political ; through its procedures and the international debate which has followed. The United States have indeed accepted a very large international debate on this matter, unprecedented under such circumstances. To conclude, a successful process of renewed inspections in Iraq would be the most reasonable way out. If not, a multilateral coercive intervention would be rational, and European states themselves would have contributed to build the coalition within the Security Council. On the other hand, a unilateral and premature intervention by the United States would be unreasonable, but one may anticipate that they risk to be locked into such rationality. –Summary AFRI-2003