Ok, I see a lot of conjecture going on about why countries are doing what they are doing. Here's the skinny (imho).
France doesn't care a whit about Iraq. It also doesn't care very much about Iraq's oil. The ONLY reason France is currently going against the US is political opportunism. You see, the French government absolutely hates the fact that they no longer amount to anything worth considering in world politics. It really ruffles their feathers that there are even (a lot of) countries that are questioning why France is a permanent member of the security council anyways, since India, quite frankly, is much more deserving of that position (on the account of also having nukes, and of being about 7billion times larger and more populous than France is).
Furthermore, Russia is going to be joining the European Union soon. This scares France, for the very simple reason that France wants to be recognized as the leader of Europe. Germany also wants this, but France can claim a few minor upper hands on Germany (which is a very long political debate that I won't go into here). However, Russia is, ofcourse, even in its pathetic state, a VERY powerful country, and it's very likely that after a few years, Russia would assume a defacto position of leadership in the European Union.
So, France can either sit back and watch what little they have left (very very little) dwindle away into totally nothing, OR they can take action and try to puff up their image in the eyes of the rest of the world, and more importantly, Europe.
So, this whole Iraq deal is nothing more than political opportunism on France's part. Had the US been clamoring for a resolution against North Korea, France would have opposed that as well. It wants to show that it's not afraid of standing up against the lone remaining superpower, and that it can get its will done on a grand political scale. If it succeeds, this will ofcourse impress the rest of Europe (who are actually pretty easily impressed), and would pave the way for France leadership in the EU.
And, considering the fact that Chirac and Putin have been having a LOT of conversations lately, it wouldn't surprise me if they had already put a sharing power deal into place for later, once Russia joins. The UK ofcourse won't appreciate this very much, but since they're a bit of a "hanger-on" member, I don't think they'll have the clout necessary to stop this. Germany has apparently already accepted and relented to French leadership, since all I see Schroeder do is repeating what Chirac says. Nice to see a "leader" with some backbone...
Ofcourse, France tries to hide this fact by blabbling about how it's the "conscience of the UN" and other such drivel. I won't even bother taking up space here to debunk that theory, I think anyone who remembers nuclear tests in the Pacific, Albania, the Rainbow Warrior etc can see for themselves that whatever France has, it's not generally considered to be a conscience.
Now, as for Russia, this is very simple. For Russia it's the oil. Russia has many billions of dollars in contracts to exploit Iraq's oil fields, and it simply fears that once the US takes over, the US will simply deny it any oil.
If the Russians had some courage, however, they would actually just come out and say this. (much like the French).
China, simply enough, doesn't want the US to have a base of operations in such a strategic area as the Middle East, and it most definitely does not want the US to gain any strenght while it is building itself up to become the next superpower. (both militarily and economically).
China, however, is at least honest about this, as they have said this a few times already.
As for what the US wants out of this, this is a difficult one. A lot of people blindly bleat that this is all about oil. However, simple mathematics and logic would show that if this is indeed the reason, it's a very stupid one. Iraq, for all the oil it has, does not have ENOUGH oil to sate the US desire for it. The US uses / wastes 20 million barrels of oil a day (at 159 liters a barrel...). Iraq's output is roughly estimated at a maximum capacity of four million barrels, but presumably this output could be doubled or even tripled. However, it CANNOT be quintupled. There simply aren't enough oil fields for that, and you can only pump up so much oil out of a rig.
So even if they took control of ALL the oil (telling the rest of the world to fuck off), they'd be 8 million barrels short under the best of conditions.
Where are we going to get the rest of all that oil? Because you can be DAMN sure that OPEC will refuse to deliver another DROP while the US maintains single control over Iraq's oil fields. So then we're sunk. However, I think that smart people in Washington (and yes, there are a few) will also realise this?
So there has to be another reason for it. The threat thing I don't buy. Sure Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction (WoMD), but so does everybody else, and quite frankly, I find the idea of a nuclear north korea MUCH more frightening than Saddam with some Anthrax. Because North Korea has already SHOWN that they will sell their shit to whomever has the money, no questions asked.
So why are we so gung ho about Iraq and are we letting the whole North Korea thing just sit there? I don't mind the fact that we're not giving in to that fucking slanty eyed lunatic up there, but we could AT LEAST pressure the damn UN into doing something about it.
Presumably, we're ignoring North Korea for now because it's a stupid idea to divide your attention into two fronts, and Iraq simply "happened" sooner.
Getting rid of Saddam Hussein is an admirable cause, but I don't think that anybody will thank the US for it, and do we really want to be the ones to have to pay for rebuilding Iraq? Because George W isn't telling us, but it's going to cost a fucking SHITLOAD of money to get their country back on its feet, and it's money we quite simply DO NOT HAVE.
So, in the end, all I can come up with is some form of the Doctrine of Fear. After kicking the Taliban and Bin Lama out of Afghanistan, and now going to kick Saddam out of Iraq, I think the US wants to send a message (specifically to the Middle East) that says "if you so much as condone terrorism, this is what happens to you."
If used consistently and effectively, the Doctrine of Fear (Rommel, 1941) can work quite well. However, an unfortunate side effect is that it also scares your allies. In this case Europe. Which is NOT
a good thing, despite what we think.
This has gotten long already, so I'll stop. Thanks for reading
Edit : Thank God that they found that girl. I hope that bearded fucker who allegedly kidnapped her gets the Electric Chair...This comment was edited on Mar 12, 17:56.