Pro-War France


Le Nouvel Observateur, a leading French political-intellectual magazine, runs a brief piece (French-language link) in its current issue identifying some prominent French figures who support American military action against Saddam Hussein. The rundown includes some predictable names from France's center-right establishment, such as pro-U.S. free-market politician Alain Madelin. But it also includes some surprises from the French left.

Bernard Kouchner, for example, a founder of Doctors Without Borders and the UN's man in Kosovo, backs the U.S., as does the intellectual critic Andre Glucksmann. Some of these figures support a war despite their distaste for the U.S. and the Bush administration. Filmmaker Romain Goupil, for example, sees the issue entirely in terms of Saddam. "My problem is simple," he says. "There's a dictator in Iraq. He massacres his people. He threatens his neighbors … We should have gotten rid of him in 1991. I don't see why we should hesitate this time."

Journalist Pascal Bruckner, however, sees a European problem as well. Bruckner has made a career out of criticizing intellectual sophistry; his best-known work here remains The Tears of the White Man: Compassion as Contempt (1983), an examination of the corrosive concept of the "Third World." He says,

"I see today in France a kind of destructive other-worldliness. Certain Europeans imagine they can escape History's difficulties by making a show of their finer feelings, as if they can create a progressive ideology out of demonizing the United States. They compare Bush with Hitler while accommodating the Islamists. There hasn't been much [European] intellectual progress since the fall of communism. Rather, things have gotten worse."

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  1. If she was, is was strictly an accident.
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  2. “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

    Except in Venezuela.

  3. so true 🙂

  4. Actually, I have to hand it to the French – and the Turks. Despite the cash and oil contracts the U.S. dangled in front of them they actually represented their constituency’s overwhelming opposition to an unprovoked war.

    Imagine that.

  5. Actually, more than 50% of the turkish mps voted to support the US. It was the technicality that nulled that vote. If it was a true representation of their constituency, it would be only 10%.

    As for France, first of all it’s a bitch! Second of all, may be France’s price was just too high. Have you thought about that?


  6. No, Lefty, it was more like the French said, “We do not need ze filthy American swine helping us with ze oil contracts — we have plenty locked up on our own!” You need to acquaint yourself with the word “TotalFinaElf”; then you will realize that the French rallying cry is not “No Blood For Oil!” but rather, “No Blood? More Oil!”

  7. Shrub’s in the Whitehouse from the same type of “technicality”.

    And yeah, a month ago I predicted that France would heel when they got their spoils sorted out. I haven’t heard a whisper, though, of any demands of theirs in that area.

    Even I can be wrong sometimes.

  8. Shrub’s in the Whitehouse from the same type of “technicality”.

    I do agree with 100% on that. But what I don’t get from some people is that they are so eager to doubt any american motives, but give a free pass to any other anti-us propaganda.

    France’s real motive is “No War for Iraqi OIL because it’s ours!!”.


  9. Our reasons for attacking Iraq have been ever-shifting over the past year. I’ll spare you the litany as you seem like you keep up with current events.

    Let’s assume you’re correct about France’s motives (I don’t see it but let’s assume it anyway). Given that, please, Mr. Madman, in one coherent sentence explain why we are pre-emptively attacking Iraq now.

  10. Just like that French dude said, Saddam should have been taken care of back in the 90’s. I don’t see this as a new war rather a continuation of last one.

    I hope the administration comes clean on their real motives and stops making different excuses in different times. I am more interested in the end result as opposed to how and when it’s done.

    Coming from a dictoratial 3rd world country myself, not as bad as Iraq though, I can feel the pain of Itaqi people. With Saddam gone, you know and I know they will be a lot better.

    Why not now? Clinton wanted to do it in ’98. It’s been a very long and painful war as far as I am concerned. It’s got to end someday. Tomorrow may be a little too late. Or, should we just wait for another half a million brown kids to die?


  11. madman,

    The people here are libertarians. To them only Americans count. All the talk about reason, liberty, individualism, civil rights, etc. are only non-negotiable for people who live in this country. If you were born in the third world, those things are just nice extras.

    The saying is “give me liberty or give me death.”

    “Me,” not “you.” See?

  12. The irony is that I consider myself a libertarian.


  13. Gee, I guess Molly Ivins was wrong: not all French are enlightened and progressive, heh heh heh…

  14. You mean Molly Ivins was right about something at some previous time?

  15. Lefty, that technicality was built into the Constitution.

  16. I fully agree, Saddam is a very bad boy and has to be taken care of. And the Iraqis will be far better once he’s out. but it seems like Americans and French altogether just forgot that some 15 years ago, the same butcher was considered as a courageous civilized guy standing up against tyranny. It was during the first gulf war, against Iran, and Donald Freedom-Fighter Rumsfeld was happily visiting him and was providing him with biological and chemical weapons. Those bios and chems tattattatta… And at the same time, he was gazing Halabja, and Americans, French, Brits were fully aware of it. So the point is not that the guy should have been removed ten years ago, but that he should never have been described as a civilized leader, and should have been removed at least 20 years ago, when he attacked a neighboring country for the first time : Iran. I hope that somebody will ever remember that America and Europe are basically, since 911 paying the expensive bill of 30 years of blind policy and misalliances. I hope the same mistakes will not be made again, but I don’t believe that actually.

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