Rethinking Iraq

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Fawaz Turki, the prominent Palestinian-American writer whose views of the Iraq war could hardly have been more disdainful, has changed his mind.

He writes in the English-language Arab News that, "I'm convinced—and berate me here from your patriotic bleachers, if you must—that what we have seen in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates in recent months may turn out to be the most serendipitous event in its modern history."

Noting that he has "no illusions about the shenanigans and hypocrisies of a big power like the US," he nevertheless concludes: "Washington may not succeed in turning Iraq into a 'beacon of democracy' but it will succeed, after all is said and done, in turning it into a society of laws and institutions…."

Turki's column is noteworthy to an Arab audience not only for its content, but for his Palestinian credentials. Arab intellectual opinion often hinges on the Palestinian issue; celebrating the overthrow of a figure like Saddam can be interpreted as a betrayal of the Palestinians, whose cause is expected to take precedence. Of course, the complexities of Arab cultural identity has been a theme of Turki's, one that may now be playing out in his political commentary.

Link thanks to: Glenn Reynolds

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  1. I like the Arab News but it is an English-language publication with one foot in Saudi Arabia and the other in London. It will be interesting to see if this article — and its take on things — finds its way into the Arabic-language Arab press.

  2. “While rating possible future regimes vs. the status quo ante, keep in the mind the functioning democracy that existed in Kurdistan from 91-03.”

    What? It’s gone?

  3. Paul Flemming,

    America lecturing the world on civil rights and such is rather ironic; given the fact that until thirty years ago, black people in the U.S. were third class citizens.

    And let’s not even get into how the U.S. (and the UK might add) rammed a baseball bat up Poland’s ass in 1944 to please the USSR. de Gaulle and the Free French remained true to the Polish cause well after the U.S. and the UK got cozy with Stalin.

    France has its faults of course; but its the U.S. that tries to protray itself as the paragon of virtue.

  4. No, still there, apparently. May just continue into 04. May break off, and continue indefinately. May be the model for the rest of the country. May be abolished in favor of a more cooperative Saddam-type dictator.

  5. les,

    You see, you would make the trade because your ass isn’t in the middle of the situation.

  6. joe,

    Without Baghdad, the heart of the resistance right now, there is no Iraq. Everyone talks about how the Sunni triangle is small area of Iraq, but it also happens to be where the bulk of the population is as far as I recall.

  7. Why are there trees in Paris?
    So the Germans can march in the shade.

  8. JB – Nice, now how about those poor girls who are gang raped in Franch cities without the autorities to lift a finger?

    You can’t stomach the fact that an ARAB thinks this invasion is a good idea, so you’ll pick some nonsense? Sure, it’s not nonsense to the guy involved, but hey, he’s not an american citizen. Unlike the french citizens who are anally raped and then the rapist partents think it;s no big deal since virginity is intact?

    I’d say you have a plank in your eye while compalining about the mote in the US’s.

    That culture is WRONG, as much as parts of american culture were wrong from the 1880s to the 1960s in treating blacks as second class citizens. However, even at the time it was occuring, there were many voices raised against the problem, and the US finally changed it’s ways.

    The Muslim culture is lauded in the press as being authentic and that islam is a religion of peace. Perhaps the religion is, but the culture is EVIL, MEDIEVAL, and WRONG!

  9. I don’t understand why the most sinister motives must be assumed by the anti war crowd. There is a terrible tendency to treat pre-existing state of brutality as acceptable and then call the US to task for any individual act with adverse consequences. Take two steps back from the mantra that the use of force is ALWAYS wrong, and this sort of moral equivalence looks fairly ridiculous.

    Inaction in the face of abuse IS a choice with moral consequences. There is no superior moral quality in watching a stranger getting beat to death when you have the ability to stop it. Further, it doesn’t matter if you also planned on asking the victim for some cash after you saved his bacon. That is a mixed motive that still results in a situation better for the victim.

    The application of the “non-initiation of force” argument is inappropriate when the target is a thug himself. He is not elected, he doesn’t represent the Iraqi people, and he tortures ‘his people’ for kicks. The UN can’t seem to make this distinction, and so we wind up with Syria on a human rights council. Heaven forbid we call a spade a spade and stop treating dictators as legitimate representatives of their countries.

    Finally, it doesn’t follow that if you can kick one dictator’s butt (with mixed motives), that morality compels you to initiate similar actions for every dictator on the planet irrespective of their geopolitical and military situations. Morality and consistency only compels you to get them gone if you can get away with it for similar costs.

    There may be many reasons to oppose military actions, but these are the most abused.

  10. Jean Bart:
    No question about it that America and her Anglo-Saxon Brethren have problems and have messed up on beaucoup occasions. Going in and trying to do some sort of good and making more of a mess. Besides sounding like my last remodelling project, America has its share of ADHD in do-godding activities. My feeling is that although I do take some delight and Schadenfreude with that article, it is for malicious grounds started by a bad relationship. Even though France and America have differences on this War, the France-bashing is something I find to be inappropriate. I find it laughable when the Paragon of Virtue has a sex scandal and when many of the opponents were embroiled and entangled in their own sex scandals. As a huge Andrew Sullivan fan, as you probably already guessed, the attitude towards the Homosexual “community” in America is atrocious. Not behavior of a virtuous, Liberal nation. As I feel that France has no threat from Iraq, she is fully justified in not being involved in the war.

  11. “France has its faults of course; but its the U.S. that tries to protray itself as the paragon of virtue.”

    No, France portrays its positions in terms of moral rectitude to no less an extent. The differrence is one of projectable power. France doesn’t get called on its hypocrisy (err, like in Africa) in Europe because any opposition to American (my favorite over used word) hegemony is deemed to be a good in and of itself.

  12. The Prophet Mohammad,

    You ought to know that posting under that name is highly offensive to Muslims.

    Actually, I’ve no issue with an Arab thinking it is a good idea or a bad idea; in fact, the fact that he is an Arab hadn’t really crossed my mind. I disagree with people because of their ideas, not because of their ethnic origin. πŸ™‚

    As to French women being raped in the outer Parisian arrondisements, yes, this is wrong. Of course you don’t see me telling the world that France is somehow unplagued by problems. And if you think that America’s problems are a mere mote, then I think you’re fairly blind.

    Don’t expect to attract many bees with that vinegar you are offering regarding Muslim culture. πŸ™‚

  13. Jason Ligon,

    What hypocrisy in Africa? You mean the U.S. sending arms to the Gambian government that were used to arm Liberian rebels? πŸ™‚

    Or do you mean Cote d’Ivorie? Where the only thing stopping a Rawandan genocide is a thin line of French soldiers?

  14. Not only are Fawaz Turki’s hopeful visions probably unfounded, at least, in the long run; if the US government made war on every regime where its:
    “citizens, along with high-school kids, are (subject too) arbitrary arrest, incarceration, torture and execution.” we would be at war with a number of governments that now receive US tax dollars. These conditions are not sufficient to force US citizens to support war.

    “I don?t believe that by going to war, America had dark designs on Iraq?s oil or pursued an equally dark conspiracy to ?help Israel.?”

    So then; why all the lies and duplicity by the US government to justify the war?

    “Look, I have no illusions about the shenanigans and hypocrisies of a big power like the US, including its neocon ideologues, who are more cons than neos.”

    But, strong support for the Sharon regime and it’s agenda is a major neo-con tenant and arguably the chief reason for their long standing advocacy of a war with Iraq:
    http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

    “Lest we forget, at the height of Saddam?s bloody reach in the 1980s, which saw the Halabja atrocities, Washington not only uttered nary a word of criticism of the Iraqi leader, let alone called for his overthrow, but provided him with political, military and economic assistance that, in effect, underwrote his survival and made possible the very repression that American officials now claim they want to banish forever from the land.”

    Too true.

  15. No blood for Cocoa! French out of Ivory Coast, oh sorry, Cote d’Ivoire, the name the colonialists gave it.

  16. I would be referring to the coddling of Mugabe and the incessant accusations of cololialism while maintaining a military presence all over the African continent. I am referring to France’s claims to be the protector of African interests while simultaneously blocking protectionist EU measures that the French know will allow more people to eat on the continent. Oh, let’s not forget Rwanda where French ‘advisors’ protected the Hutu establishment.

    One could also point to the level of military support given to Saddam by France when compared to that given by the US. Yet the US is the country facing charges of having armed Saddam.

    My point is not that the US is clean, but that the perception that the US is somehow unique in its claims on moral grounds is fallacious. France gets away with it on the world stage because the world is terrified of the US military.

  17. “I am referring to France’s claims to be the protector of African interests while simultaneously blocking protectionist EU measures that the French know will allow more people to eat on the continent.”

    This didn’t make any sense. Make that ‘… while simultaneously blocking EU efforts to reduce protectionist measures that the French know kill Africans.’

  18. Jason Ligon,

    France has two bases in Africa; that’s hardly all over the African continent. And those bases are there because of the free will of the African governments not because of French dictates. France pays those countries quite a large amount of money to keep those bases functioning; and the U.S. appreciates this – in fact, it has encouraged and continues to encourage a French presence in Africa – because it frees the U.S. to be in other places. In fact, I am sure that if Chirac and Bush were on better terms, he might call him the “sheriff” of Africa, like he called Howard of Australia the “sheriff” of the Pacific.

    France blocks protectionist E.U. measures? That would be a good thing I think, if it were true. πŸ™‚ What you are likely talking about is CAP reform, which is hardly a France-only issue – if you think that CAP reform was hard, wait until Poland gets involved. From what I can tell, African countries are just as angry about U.S. cotton subsidies than anything that France does. On his recent visit to Africa, in Mali I recall, thousands of Malians chanted “Chirac! Chirac!”; they also shouted “Visas! Visas!” They want to come and work in France.

    France sold Iraq about 17% of its pre-1990 arms; the U.S. around 1% (mostly bell helicopters); the U.S. contribution was more in the way of intelligence from satellites. But as they say, in for a penny, in for a pound.

    And when did I ever write that France was “clean?”

  19. Man, thanks to Jean I want to move to French controlled Africa. It all sounds so great there. I’m sure it would afford me so many more opportunities than the US. CHIRAC! VISA! VISA!

  20. JB:

    “France has its faults of course; but its the U.S. that tries to protray itself as the paragon of virtue.”

    This was the quote that got that ball rolling. France portrays its positions in terms of virtue just as much as does the US. Did you not see any of the UN speeches? The difference is that Europe is willing to call the US on its hypocrisy while giving France a pass.

  21. Jason Ligon,

    You don’t read much of the European press then obviously. The main reason why you know about the Mugabe issue is because of the tremendous criticism that Chirac got about it in the European press – the French press included.

  22. joe mama,

    We don’t control any parts of Africa; and if Africa has problems, they are primarily the fault of Africans.

  23. Uh huh, sure. I guess we’ll see the next time a “former” colony acts up. Hey, I’m taking my wife out to a French restaurant for our anniversary on Saturday, I hope I don’t have to eat in of that blood soaked Ivory Coast cocoa. The restaurant is run by people from France. I wonder why they don’t live there anymore…

  24. joe mama,

    For the same reason why there are so many U.S. expatriates in France.

    The last time a U.S. colony (*cough* – Venezeula) acted up, you tried to foment a coup d’etat; it blew up in your face of course.

    Hmm, are you implying that France caused the civil war in Cote d’Ivorie? If so, you are out of your fucking mind. The main reason that as little bloodshed has been there is due to French soldiers keeping the peace.

  25. So there are French people living in the US because they don’t like living in the US? That makes a lot of sense. By the way, I seem to remember the Afghans asking the Soviet Union for “help” in 1979. Well, I have to go, it’s lunch time. I’m going down the street to the Vietnamese restaurant. I wonder why they left their workers paradise to come here, after how horrible we were to them?

  26. JB:

    If we agree that France positions itself as being virtuous while not always being virtuous, and the US does the same, I think we agree on the bulk of this issue.

    Arguments directed against US policy seem to make the US out to be uniquely hypocritical (as in the ‘paragon of virtue’ comment), but I see everyone else doing the same things. I don’t see much European media (BBC and The Guardian sometimes are all I see from that side of the pond), but on the international stage, I never hear similar charges leveled at EU member nations.

    My only point here is that the european ire raised by the US is much more closely tied to the power of its military than to its unique status as global hypocrite.

  27. And let’s not even get into how the U.S. (and the UK might add) rammed a baseball bat up Poland’s ass in 1944 to please the USSR. de Gaulle and the Free French remained true to the Polish cause well after the U.S. and the UK got cozy with Stalin.

    And, JB, as Americans, let us not forget what the French Navy did in 1942 off of North Africa. You do know what they did, don’t you, JB?

    Anyhoo, of course we’ve got our self-interest at heart in Iraq. However, that does not change the objective fact that more likely than not, the Iraqis will be better off.

  28. Or do you mean Cote d’Ivorie? Where the only thing stopping a Rawandan genocide is a thin line of French soldiers?

    I don’t know, I guess it’s good and all that the French are trying to help those people; but, doggonit, I just don’t like their unilateralist approach. πŸ™‚

  29. Well, I for one am glad a Palestinian arab has changed their mind about the usefullness of the america invasion of Iraq.

    Good or Bad, the die has been tossed and better to win hearts and minds than to pull out prematurely.

  30. joe mamma,

    Yes, there are Americans living in France; whether its because they dislike the U.S. or not, I cannot say. As far as I can tell, the American expatriates I know France live there because of fat research oppurtunities at companies like Novartis. And of course we’ve always had our crowd of American writers since the days of Henry James.

    Mike H.,

    Yes, I know what they did; I also know that the Free French navy was involved in the bombardment of the Normandy coastline in the run-up to D-Day, that one hundred thousand Frenchmen fought in the Italian campaigns of 1943-1944, that the repulse of the Germans from Egypt in 1942 was partly due to the heroic efforts of Free French forces – whose efforts Churchill praised, and that the Rhone river campaign that followed the French riviera landings of August 1944, where half the force was French, was critical to the allied war effort in WWII in that it opened important ports for allied supplies that had not become available in Holland due to stiff German opposition. I also know that Free French fighter pilots like Pierre Clostermann fought bravely in WWII, and escorted many American bombers to safe bombing runs.

    And the U.S. & the the UK did fuck the Poles over; “deep and hard” as they say. Once the siege of Warsaw was over, the Free Polish government in London was virtually ignored and the Poles backed by the Soviets were the ones entertained by London and Washington. You can read about in Norman Davies history of Poland. How you can compare rather token resitance to the Torch landings to the screwing over an entire nation to Soviet tyranny is beyond me.

  31. This thread is titled “Rethinking Iraq”, right ?. Not “rethinking US-French relations since WW2”. Or “Who’s the world’s most hyprocritical hegemonist ?”

  32. Wow, I was just going to write the same thing. When did this turn into France rules blog?

  33. Can’t we go further back historically? I mean if we are going to criticize an entire nation of people alive today for actions of people who have long since died, lets just blame the U.S. for the horrible positions of the Polk administration!

    I also think the French have a lot to answer for with their entire Vietnam fuster cluck, and let’s not forget the horrible treatment of Native Americans by the French in Canada!

    You sound like a bunch of school kids who have decided you either approve or disapprove of current foreign policies based upon what was done historically. Do you have any idea how stupid your ideas sound? By all means let’s set up our entire nation’s foreign policy based upon how well the French historically have handled the awful colonial decisions they made in Africa.

    Some of you seem to think the French as a people are awful because Chirac has different motivations to his foreign policy. I hope when you grow up you don’t make all of your decisions based upon what particular people do to you. A Canadian may insult you someday and you will decide to never see Quebec! Even worse, the French didn’t support our position in Iraq, or Kosovo for that matter, therefor we will never eat brie!!!

    Not much different from people who claim the United States is corrupt because of poor intelligence decisions and one administration’s clumsy handling of the United Nations. By all means, write us off, we Americans, you just can’t trust this country!!!

    petite morons…

  34. joe mamma,

    It started with Joe2’s remarks about France via the webpage he linked to.

    I didn’t bring the subject up; in fact, as far as I can tell, because I am French, the American posters feel compelled to insult me for no good reason, which in turn I defend myself against.

  35. Ratherworried,

    Actually, the Kosovo campaign was heavily supported by France; in fact, we were the first country to send a large military contingent into the Balkans (10,000 troops) in the 1990s. I can still remember both Mitterand and Chirac begging Clinton for help in the region.

  36. Jean:

    That would be why the U.S. couldn’t get action on it through the United Nations…because France supported it…right?

  37. How you can compare rather token resitance to the Torch landings to the screwing over an entire nation to Soviet tyranny is beyond me.

    I’m not comparing them as much as I’m providing facts that are entirely irrelevant to the conversation at hand; such as what you posted at the beginning of the thread, my friend. I’m sure we can both keep this up, but what’s the point? Both of our countries behave in a self-interested way.

    I believe the point of the thread is whether or not the invasion of Iraq as a whole will be good or bad for the average Iraqi – and I think it’s fairly safe to say that we both hope they’re better off than before, and that there’s a much better chance of that happening now that Saddam is out of power.

    Do you disagree?

  38. JB:

    You don’t think the first comment in this thread had anything to do with it? πŸ˜‰

    You catch a lot of flak around here because you are generally left of the crowd in addition to being from France, which is (rightly or not) perceived by many libertarians to be a horrific nanny-state.

    But, by the same token, you have a barrel full of ugly Americans to make fun of, I suppose.

  39. LOL, Jean. My link was a response to your post. I didn’t really expect anyone to read it (I sure as hell didn’t!)- just what I found with a “french atrocities” search on google. You are absolutely correct – it had no bearing on the subject at hand. That was the whole point! Kind of like this:

    “US sends Canadian to Syrian torture chambers:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk

  40. “It will be interesting to see if this article — and its take on things — finds its way into the Arabic-language Arab press.”

    a number of journalists in the arabic-language press have long been celebrating the downfall of the baathists, and writing in support of a liberal order in iraq. the most outspoken (outside iraq itself) has been the editor of the london-based “al-sharq al-awsat.”

  41. Ratherworried,

    The opposition in the UN to the Kosovo campaign, intervention in the Balkans, etc. came from Russia.

    Jason Ligon,

    “Left” of the crowd? *chuckle* And, as far as their attitudes concerning France are concerned, they are largely based on ignorance as far as I can tell.

    Mike H.,

    Let me understand you; we are supposed to only write about the “topic?” He he he. When does that ever happen here? Somehow I think complaining about the way a conversation turned is a bit strange; no one forced you to go with the conversation the way it went after all.

  42. http://www.pcextreme.net/sunbeam_acrylic_case.php

    I just put a case together like that one for my PC. Pretty cool huh? Its got an Epox 8RDA3+ mobo, all-copper cooler with 80mm to 60mm fan adapter, XP2500+ running at almost XP3200+ speeds, 1 Gig DDR400 memory (can’t quite seem to get it to run at 200 mhx without increasing the chipset voltage to 1.8 volts), 120 gig drive, DVD drive, DVD burner,2 floopy drives (what the heck), Geforce FX 5600 Ultra video card, violent games, etc. Only bummer is having to wear cotton gloves when working on it (fingerprints are very visible if you don’t wear the gloves). I’m looking to unload my mediocre ram on somebody who isn’t into overclocking, so I can buy some Kingston HyperX or other DDR433 stuff – maybe Corsair? I’m using the built-in sound, but would like to get a “real” soundcard if someone can recomend a good one. (want one with low CPU overhead if possible) Also thinking about a 10,000 rpm S-ATA drive. Any thoughts?

  43. You see, you would make the trade because your ass isn’t in the middle of the situation.

    And yours is?

    Somehow I think complaining about the way a conversation turned is a bit strange . . .

    “Turned?” Yours was the first post. Rather a sharp turn, no?

    Remember, kids, in JeanBartLand, any good things France does mitigates all the bad things it has ever done; any bad things the U.S. does negates all the good things it has ever done. That sure seems fair.

  44. Phil,

    Oh that’s fucking bullshit. I have never implied or explicitly claimed such. I do get sick and tired of sanctimonious Americans who get wounded over the fact that maybe, somewhere, someone doesn’t particularly think that their government is the paragon of virtue.

  45. Phil,

    And as I said, no one had to comment on what I wrote; the fact they did, and now complain about it only points to their hypocrisy.

  46. hey Jean Bart

    are you bummed that you have your email up there now? πŸ™‚

    you and joe have gotten quite a sticking to your guns here…

    um. okay.

    now had howard dean done the same thing….

    how much of this francophobia is from tv and popular perception, how much is from actual travel and work and life’s experiences in france?

    kinda makes you wish the simpsons had some more portuguese or liechtenstein jokes or something.

    drf

  47. JB,

    “because I am French, the American posters feel compelled to insult me for no good reason, which in turn I defend myself against”

    You are a LIAR. You started this comment section (about an arab thinking the ouster of Saddam a good thing) blaming the US for sending a Syrian to SYRIAN toruture chambers.

  48. Seeing as how Tootles ran off the track of this thread at the beginning and is cavorting in the meadow, I’m sure no one will mind me answering Gordon Shumway, who said, “Ruthless, You are the government. Some anarchist, HA.”

    Well, Gordon could be right, but I’m pretty sure my wife would have told me by now.

    Hey, does anyone have an image of Gordon entering or exiting a porn shop?

  49. JB:

    You don’t perceive yourself to be something closer to an Amercan liberal than most folks in these here H&R hills?

  50. what — does canada have socialized torture chambers too, so the waiting lists are too long?

    inappropriately,
    drf

  51. Hey, at least they’re not being tortured by the U.S. postal service.

    Cliff Clavin: “I can deliver the postal workers’ vote.”

    Carla: “Unfortunately, he’ll deliver it to the wrong address.”

  52. nice one Kevin Carson.

    The Anal Intruder from Top Secret would be another bad torture device: “our surgeons did what they could, but it took them two hours just to get the smile off his face…”

    cheers,
    drf

  53. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=32276

    Makes about as much sense as Jean’s post in this thread…

  54. This string is getting off to a limp start, and this ain’t gonna help:
    As an anarchist, I’m not impressed by either beacons of democracy nor laws and institutions.

  55. JP,

    Why change the subject? Will you never understand the people of Iraq and the US will be much better off because of the war? And by the way, what was this silly link supposed to mean? Do you have something against Canda now?

    “Arar’s family and Canadian lawyers accuse Canadian security agencies, particularly the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, of providing information to American authorities, who eventually deported Arar.”

    And God forbid, don’t blame the Syrians for being torturers, blame the US for sending him to his birthplace.

  56. I’m not sure how one guy, one guy the Candians wouldn’t take back, has anything to do with Freund’s post. Those rubber hose beatings hurt brain.

  57. Hick American,

    Trying to fob this onto the RCMP is a fucking joke; sure the Canadians were involved, but the point is that America, that suppose paragon of virtue, fucked this man over.

    Read the man’s personal statement – the US authorities knew he was headed off for Syria’s torture chambers, and they didn’t give a shit about it.

    “Will you never understand the people of Iraq and the US will be much better off because of the war?”

    Every colonizer and imperialist which has ever occupied this planet has said its intentions were true; somehow I doubt that the U.S will break away from the track record of those intentions falling to dust.

  58. Hick American, R.C. Dean, et. al.,

    BTW, when I hear things from the Bush administration that its better to fight the terrorists in Iraq, I know the U.S. does not have the best interests of Iraqis at heart. This is another way of sayin that its better for Iraqis to do die via terrorist bombs than Americans. Which is a perfectly reasonable argument, but it completely undercuts the bullshit about “helping Iraqis.”

  59. I can see how people of the US are greatly better off as a result of the war.
    — 300 + dead
    — 170 Billion dollars spend
    — An open ended committment in IRaq
    — A recruiting poster for Al Qaeda
    — SPoiled relations with all our allies

    What have we got in return ?
    — 0 Weapons of mass destruction
    — A singularly unintimidated North Korea.
    — No progress on the Palestinian issue

    The only good thing from the US for the war is
    the removal of a brutal regime oppossed to the US (good), but likely to be replaced by a regime that is at best mildly favorable to the US. [ ACtually, I think the regime that would come would probably be an uncertain ally like Pakistan]

  60. Ruthless,

    You are the government. Some anarchist, HA.

  61. While rating possible future regimes vs. the status quo ante, keep in the mind the functioning democracy that existed in Kurdistan from 91-03.

  62. Excerpt out of Joe-2’s Article:
    “Gallic hauteur and pride is so universally accepted as part of their national character that its display goes almost without any notice, except for a shrug ? even by the French themselves. It is this untoward pride of place along with their own self-awareness of their habitual, almost casual misdeeds that prompt them to malign America. It is because they truthfully cannot tolerate the notion of a country with standards of ethical conduct better than their own well-documented, venerable thuggish, murderously thieving and oppressive behavior.
    While we are far less than perfect, pray we never sink to the level of the French”

    Two reactions: First, “Good article”. Second, “Something is amiss here.”

    Does pouring out French wine, renaming French Toast, listening to people who cannot place France on a map etc.etc.etc, count as sinking to that level? As a non-fan of La France for personal reasons (okay, it was a “she”), our American reactions to France were way over the top. Very much in the model of the stereotypical “French Attitude”. I have met more obnoxious, dishonest people from India in my work and travel (Strategic Business Development) than I have Frenchmen. India was not a gung-ho supporter of the war. Should Cleveland rename its Baseball Team? Shall I foster a negative prejudice against that fine nation? And all of this jingoism on both sides should not take away from the fair disagreement our two nations have over the Iraq war. We were the nation threatened with the WMDs, France was not. We were the ones who were attacked by Islamoterrorists. We were the ones who have to relive the terror of watching the Towers fall. We have the fear of “oh my god! was my brother Jim at work already???”. We do not get in France’s way when She deals with Algerian terrorists. That is their fight. This one is ours.

  63. Jean: Id trade some terrorist choas in a part of my country to be rid of a despot like saddam. Anyone should.
    Iraqis are getting the best part of this deal.

  64. >France has its faults of course; but its the U.S. that tries to protray itself as the paragon of virtue.

    There are bigots and idiots everywhere. A sweeping generalization like you make is a complete waste of time.

  65. To Mr. Juzlak,

    Among positive side effects of the war should be mentioned the removal of US troops from Saudi Arabia. Didn’t Wolfowitz make the point for years that regime change would effect an ultimately reduced US military presence in the Gulf?

    Whence all this nationalistic (and off-topic) bickering? Can’t we all just agree that the French and the British fucked the Middle East forever and be done with it? πŸ™‚

  66. Jason Ligon,

    No I do not see myself as an American liberal. American liberals support affirmative action for example, I do not. Well, so do American conservatives as far as I can tell too – they just do it when the person of color, etc. happens to agree with their ideology or at least their choice of political party.

    And I am certainly not an American conservative in mindset; I don’t want to start-up some strange theonomist “Christian state” as they appear to want to do.

    I’m a neo-Gaullist; that doesn’t translate into American political life very well, however.

    Suffice it to say, I support the French civil unions law, support the lower taxation schemes of Prime Minister Raffarin, support integration into the E.U. and breaking down trade and regulatory barriers, support France as a nation which supports its interests amongst other things, support a strict seperation of church and state as enacted in 1901 (meaning no headscarves in classes, as well as no Catholic, etc. objects), and support Sarkozy’s successful efforts to crack down on crime in France.

  67. Jason Ligon,

    In fact, I will likely vote for Sarkozy in 2007 for President, if he is the candidate of the Rassemblement pour la R?publique.

  68. JB

    Interesting. In the reduction of taxes, which government programs are you interested in seeing gone?

  69. Jason Ligon,

    Well, we need less government mandated holidays in France; we are set to get rid of one starting in 2005. I don’t know if this a program, but it is something I want to see less of. Right now (before losing Pentecost as a holiday) we have eleven mandated holidays. That’s not the highest in Europe, by the way. I think it can be reduced to at least six or seven.

    The government also needs to quicken its divestment from state owned industries; it is going well, but it needs to go faster. The government just sold its last remaining shares of Thomson, SA (they make RCA televisions) as I recall. Cutting and eventually ending subsidies to farmers would be good too; or at least the way it works now could change to support what French people want to support – not food exports but the preservation of rural life in France.

  70. I think Jean Bart is really Bill Clinton!

    He’s not as busy and so has some time on his hands to troll around H&R and keep in practice tweakling noses.

    Hey, Bill, I saw you in the Bronx Zoo last month in that new tiger exhibit! How’s it hanging?

  71. hey Jean Bart:

    “I’m a neo-Gaullist; that doesn’t translate into American political life very well, however”

    funny, grin, i had you pegged for a pirate or an early day “john paul jones” in service of Louis the 14th… grin.

    happy friday,
    drf

  72. drf,

    Well, Jean Bart is a hero of France. πŸ™‚

    I am not Bill Clinton. πŸ™‚

  73. Hi Jean Bart!

    you betcha. didn’t he cause havoc for the loyalists during the english civil war by raiding skye and keeping the irish sea hot and de facto helping out cromwell? damn. it’s been a whole bunch of years since history class. did he do much in the carribean, too?

    “not bill clinton” — however, his strong support of the eu gives him some positive press in europe… plus, how much you wanna bet that the euro-politicians liked that an american office-holder was gettin’ some?

    c’est vendredi….. dieu merci…..

    cheers,
    drf

  74. drf,

    Well, Jean Bart was an effective corsaire certainly; in fact, his exploits were one of the major reasons why France gained territory in what would have otherwise been Belgium – Dunkerque was his major base of operation and such a problem that the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) required that the port be filled in. The areas captured turned into one of the industrial hearts of modern France. He wasn’t involved in attacks on Cromwell’s England, but he did cause a lot of problems for the Dutch and Willaim & Mary. He also saved Paris from starvation, by raiding English Baltic shipping that had commodities on it – grain specifically. On that occassion he captured about 150 vessels.

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