Lafayette, We Are Here

|

Jean Bart, one of our most reliable and interesting commenters (and France's most stalwart stateside defender), has been vindicated at last: U.S. requests French help for international protection force.

Time to suit up and get back in the game, JB!

NEXT: Ashcroft=Porn

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yeah, JB, follow US into the quagmire.

  2. Silly me. I thought we’d asked for help awhile ago.

  3. Call it payback for Vietnam. 🙂

  4. You know, this sort of thing only encourages le Bart.

  5. Actually reading the first paragraph, it’s asking for the French to help protect the UN in Iraq.

    Which is more like asking for a babysitter than for a bodyguard.

  6. Fred: there is much irony there. Might this be the opposite of Viet Nam, when the US did the following? (I jest)

    Having France as an Ally is a good thing. They have no qualms about killing the enemy, and getting rid of a pocket of resistance by killing everybody does not get bad press there. Those are some tough guys they have. Very Efficient.

    Fox News will have to retract those asinine “French cowards” stories, they were so proud of last year.

    Regards,
    KK

  7. I look forward to the return to the proper order of things, when Americans can mock the French without having a political message read into it.

  8. Aren’t French politicians worried they might cause riots in the islamic ghettos outside of French cities?

    There was a recent article referenced in H&R (last week?) which stated that those folks are well armed.

  9. Why should the UN be let back into Iraq?
    Won’t they try to set up another scam like the oil for baby food one they had going for years?

  10. Regardless of the exact role the French may assume, to the terrorists they will be “in” Iraq. The Japanese troops are basically digging latrines and such, I understand. But the terrorists have made a target of Japan with the recent kidnappings.

    Maybe Bush does not look so silly…US policy is inevitably drawing all of the Free World IN– something an approach such as Kerry says he would have taken likely wouldn’t have accomplished.

    Bush the “unilateralist” may have done more to ACTUALLY forge a “coalition” that gets something done, than Kerry the “multilateralist” who would have left us stalled in no consensus to act.

  11. So, does this mean it’s okay to say *French* fries again, without having your patriotism called into question?

  12. Andrew-when you mentioned the recent kidnappings you forgot to mention the most asinine part of all–the kidnapped Japanese civilians were actually on the Iraqi’s “side,” in that one was a journalist writing about some nasty things the US was doing over there, and one was part of a charity organization.

    I still maintain that the Iraqis who attack soldiers in their country are not terrorists, but those kidnapping bastards are.

  13. Andrew,
    The only coalition I read about forming is between Sunnis and Shiia.
    The “democratic colition” is desolving rapidly.

  14. Does it strike anyone else as odd that the UN will only go into a place if they can be totally assured of their saftey? I mean, how are you supposed to help keep the peace if you will only go into an area that is peaceful?

    Anyhow if France really wants the UN to get involved in Iraq they should send some security forces at least, seeing as the UN will never get involved otherwise.

  15. I believe the French will have a critical role to play in Operation Human Shield.

  16. So, does this mean it’s okay to say *French* fries again, without having your patriotism called into question?

    No. 🙂

    I still maintain that the Iraqis who attack soldiers in their country are not terrorists, but those kidnapping bastards are.

    Well said.

  17. Nous vous aimons, Jean Bart!

  18. Somebody tell me this is a joke.

    This was supposed to be posted on April 1, but there was a mistake, and this didn’t really happen. It’s a joke, right? So where’s the punch line? A good joke needs a punch line, you know.

    Somebody? It’s a joke? Right?

  19. Andrew –
    “US policy is inevitably drawing all of the Free World IN”

    Inevitably ?!! Care to explain how you arrived there ?
    This I gotta see.

  20. Tim,

    I laughed when I read your comment. What Chirac does about this is unknown to me, however, I can say that the French “general staff” has been arguing for sometime now for the introduction of a sizeable force into Iraq. Some arguing for specific introduction into the Sunni triangle. So perhaps you will see poilus screeming “ils ne passront pas!” soon in Fallujah! 🙂

  21. You like me!
    You REALLY like me!

  22. I’d be delighted to see French forces in Iraq. The French have much to atone for in that country, given their history of dealing with, supporting, and profiting from the Hussein regime.

    French administrators, on the other hand, not so much.

    Having the French protect the UN is . . . poetic, somehow, and altogether fitting.

  23. Yeah, right. Everone else has clean hands when it comes to Saddam. Speaking of hands, I seem to recall a seeing a photograph of the Defence Secretary of an unnamed hyper-power shaking hands with Saddam Hussein (brutal dictator, gassed kurds, hitler, shredder etc,etc,etc).

  24. Like me? I don’t understand.

  25. Blame the French for Iraq? I dunno; back when we thought Iraq had WMD, the old joke was:
    Q. How does the United States know Iraq has weapons of mass destruction?
    A. Because we kept the receipt.

    Christ, at least when the French colluded with Saddam they made a few bucks off of it. What did WE get in exchange for cuddling up to Saddam? We got his help against the scary Islamic republic of Iran, in hopes of freeing the world from the threat of Muslim terrorism. And we can all see today how wonderfully well that worked out.

  26. Jean Bart,
    In the future, when you are responding to eager beavers here who probably deep-down can’t speak French any better than moi, could you provide subtitles so we can share and rejoice in your put-downs?

    Just for the record, I was semi-conversational in Vietnamese many years ago.
    Come to think of it: You’d appreciate this: My buddy who went to Vietnamese Language School with me in the Marine Corps and I happened to converge for a time in Vietnam: We were communicating pretty well with this Vietnamese military person when my friend said, “Do you speak French?” (in Vietnamese)
    Naturally he could, and I was “out of it” from then on.
    Still out of it today.

  27. Jennifer,
    We had simultaneous posts.
    Was it as good for you as it was for me?

    Good Friday.

  28. Ruthless –

    Using my meagre french –

    “ils ne passront pas!”

    tranlates to
    “they shall not pass” ?

  29. “I’d be delighted to see French forces in Iraq. The French have much to atone for in that country, given their history of dealing with, supporting, and profiting from the Hussein regime.”

    Actually, RC, this helps clear up why you’re so eager to see Americans there, as well.

  30. Yeah, it’s “they shall not pass.” It’s either a WWI or WWII reference.. I’ve forgotten exactly which, but I remember my history well enough to remember the phrase. Was it Verdun?

    I like Sauve qui peut! myself.

  31. Me, I’m going with “Merde!”

    Even better than, “Nuts!”

    Stop looking at me like that.

  32. SM says,
    tranlates to
    “they shall not pass” ?

    Are you a teach, SM?

    If so, you bring back bitter memories.

  33. JB may be using the French translation of “no pasar?n”, the slogan used during the Spanish Civil War.

  34. Speaking of old jokes, how is a drum solo like premature ejaculation?

    You know it’s coming, but there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

  35. My apologies. “They [the Germans] shall not pass!” It, along with on les aura!, was a popular war cry at Verdun; and was also popular along the maginot line in 1939-1940, as well as at Dien Bien Phu; in this way I was making a bit of dark humor.

    “War is less costly than servitude … the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau.” — Jean Dutourd

  36. Rick,

    I do not have friends in the upper echelons of French government (you make into more important than I really am); I do have military comrades who are in military and government positions and we do correspond. It should probably be noted that the general staff was largely in favor of the invasion and wanted to be part of it.

  37. Rick Barton,

    I do support such an effort (Andrew and I apparently agree here); at first I felt that the U.S. could do this largely by itself; but now it is apparent that it cannot; and though the invasion was foolish and dangerous and wronghead, America has created a situation – put itself into a corner that need not be in – that would be foolish and dangerous and wrongheaded to leave from; I believe it is time now for France to get directly involved.

  38. Right on, Rick Barton! But we were in this position, supporting bad guys, all through the Cold War. The people who run this country seem to have a penchant for dealing with scum all over the globe and then kicking the Europeans in the balls every chance they get. Sorry folks, couldn’t resist the hyperbole, but you get my drift.

    This would be a much better country if we had people like Rick, people who tell the truth, running this joint.

  39. Jean Bart may want the French military to join the US in Iraq, but it’s hard to believe it’ll happen just at the time Japan, Thailand, Spain, (and others) will be headed in the opposite direction.

    And as Jean Bart admits: the set-up for this Iraq incursion was wrong, so now things have gone so badly I can’t see any military action that could pull our chestnuts out of the fire.

  40. Jean Bart,

    Wow. I’m pretty shocked. OK, now I’m glad that you don’t really have friends in the upper echelons of French government. 🙂 Just watch, if the French go in, the war supporters will claim vindication…about on par with the caliber of arguments that they’ve made for the whole pathetic mess from the beginning.

    “the invasion was foolish and dangerous and wrongheaded…

    Right

    “that would be foolish and dangerous and wrongheaded to leave from”

    Not near as dangerous as staying. 40 Americans died just this week. How could it be wrongheaded to leave since we were lied into the war in the first place. To stay is to reward the liars.

    Those that want us to stay are just using “a freer Iraq” as a pretext. Please see my posts in the: “Top Papers to Bush: Stay the Course in Iraq” thread. What they want is permenent bases.

    If the US government was really concerned about instilling “liberal values”,U.S. administrator Paul Bremer wouldn’t have shut down the Al Hawza newspaper. If the newspaper had called for attacks or assassinations on specific targets, the United States government might have been on better ethical ground, but it did not. Thousands of Iraqis showed up outside the shuttered offices to protest, some yelling “No, no America” and “Where is democracy now?” The reaction of the Iraqis was predictable and justified.

    If the US government was really concerned about instilling “liberal values”, the military wouldn’t be using “soft torture”, torture methods to extract information from Iraqis. Or, as it is called by the Israeli military, “physical pressure”. Whatever information is extracted, a bitter and enduring hatred is the by-product.

    When our government does turn over control we can hope, in the name of decency, that those new in power don’t emulate Bremer’s occupation regime.

    And, if we allow American military bases to be left there, the neo-cons who lied us into this tragedy will have gotten their ultimate goal and be rewarded for their duplicity.

    Bases in Iraq will only act as a very expensive trip wire for further American deaths with out just cause when the neos become persuasive that yet another nation’s conquest is worth American blood and gold.

  41. Jean Bart,

    The French were right to resist the American government’s attempts to ensnare them in the killing fields of Iraq with the same wild duplicities and scare tactics (WMD being the most egregious) that they used to win the compliance of the American people.

    If the French now agree to help those who lied us into this war achieve their further goals, the blow that the French struck for sanity will be diluted.

  42. SM at 04:42 AM:

    “Their reaction is predictable only in the sense that they know or have heard that the USA plays by Star Trek rules, OK.”

    True, but it’s just those “rules”; individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise, freedom of expression and the rule of law that are the point. Hopefully, the Iraqis will come to embrace these values as their own individual rights.

    When Paul Bremer exercised this power in the “rule of men” fashion, that Iraqis are all too accustom to, it perverted the these values since his edict attacked both free enterprise and freedom of expression in shutting down Al Hawza.

  43. If promoting liberal values were really the goal of the US government foreign policy, they would be doing something about those nations where US tax dollars assist very illiberal regimes, such as:

    The brutal Egyptian regime that gets billions of US tax dollars every year,(second only to Israel) where there is little freedom of political expression for most people and rampant human rights abuse.

    The Israeli government’s thieving and murderous administration of occupied Palestine where widespread deprivation of individual rights and malnutrition go hand in hand for the Palestinian people.

    Uzbekistan, where the government of President Islam Karimov has arrested and tortured thousands of nonviolent Muslim dissidents who practiced their faith outside state-controlled mosques. Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that this regime has one of the most deplorable human rights record extant. (a per capita torture tally far worse than even Sadam?s) and the US government is the regimes main financial backer

  44. “Thousands of Iraqis showed up outside the shuttered offices to protest, some yelling “No, no America” and “Where is democracy now?” The reaction of the Iraqis was predictable and justified.”

    Don’t overdo it, Rick. You are talking about people who until quite recently were suppressed by Saddam and kept their mouths shut under much greater provocation. Their reaction is predictable only in the sense that they know or have heard that the USA plays by Star Trek rules, OK.

  45. Even if
    contrary to evidence, the government was sincere about bringing liberty to the Iraqi people and that was really now their ultimate goal and even if, the government was not doing things to the Iraqi people in the occupation that are antithetical to promoting liberty for them and even if the US government was not there in the first place under fraudulent circumstances…

    The government should still not be engaged over there at all, because not I, nor anyone has the right to force other Americans to participate in seeing the fruition of my values of greater liberty for the Iraqis and for all peoples of the world come to pass. Bring the troops home now.

  46. JB

    Of course it is all speculation…but IF?

    My original point, the Islamokazes will feel nearly “honor-bound” to do something in metropolitan France. Originally, bin-Ladin wanted to in the mid-nineties. Security is daunting, but they have the off-setting advantage of the huge Arab population to work through.

    It is sad to muse on this, as it is difficult to believe they won’t slip SOMETHING past.

  47. Who’s bin-Laden? I thought Iraq’s where the terrorists are.

  48. Rick Barton,

    I support your position in this with vigor. You do a much better job of articulating very basic, unclouded reasons than I, in my frequent hysteria, do. ;>

    One grows weary of the “well, we’re in this, despite the reasons we were told we’re in this, so we might as well finish the job and enlist others to help carry the burden we created” argument. Balderdash. We have no business (no pun intended) in Iraq, so let’s get out. And bring home all those billions of dollars pouring out of our wallets and into the coffers of corrupt governments like Egypt’s. If terrorists view unconditional withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq as appeasement, then appease away. The self-perpetuating cycle of grandstanding has gotten us nowhere; rather, it gets us killed, our allies killed, and the victims of our occupation killed (in far greater numbers).

    Time to stop pussyfooting around, focus the terror war on actual terrorists, and drop the pre-emption policy immediately. It is not borne of a libertarian promise, so why do we (here in H&R) spend so much time supporting or rationalizing it?

    If the average American voter could sway the average French voter, then heed this: tell your government to refuse American pleas for assistance. Require the U.S. to take responsibility for its actions, to live up to the massive mouthful it bit off. Why is that position so difficult for libertarians to swallow?

    We did the wrong thing in Iraq…let’s pay for it, make amends where possible, and get back to a model of American interests and prosperity that doesn’t require ill-conceived invasions.

    Please, bring on the “I guess you liked Saddam in power” rhetoric. It makes me giggle.

  49. Mr. Lynch, kudos. I recall you as being a drafted, 20 year veteran first believing the President out of in-born allegiance and now realizing the betrayal.

    It really hurts.

  50. Gadfly,

    I’m afraid I don’t understand your post.

  51. Mmm. Maybe wrong guy.

  52. $28 million has reportedly been added to the 2004 Selective Service System (SSS) budget to prepare for a military draft that could start as early as June 15, 2005. SSS must report to Bush on March 31, 2005 that the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation.

    see website:
    http://www.sss.gov/perfplan_fy2004.html to view the SSS Annual Performance Plan – Fiscal Year 2004.

    The Pentagon has quietly begun a public campaign to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide. Though this is an unpopular election year topic, military experts and influential members of Congress are suggesting that if Rumsfeld’s prediction of a “long, hard slog” in Iraq and Afghanistan [and a permanent state of war on “terrorism”] proves accurate, the U.S. may have no choice but to draft.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5146.htm

  53. Gadfly,

    The only way a draft is going to move like olestra through American voters is if the administration in power at the time it’s considered does as good a job as the current one of telling astonishing tales to woo and confuse. Draft is possible, I’ll give you that, but eminently preventable.

    First, we can just get out of Iraq. Really, we can. We won’t need to draft anyone if we’re not at war, right?

    Jean Bart, what’s the French position (or the European position in general, if you can speak to that) on conscription?

  54. Just as the invasion of Iraq was never voted on, bringing back the draft won’t, either.

  55. Jean Bart,

    Please tell your many friends in the upper echelon of the French government not to send troops. If they do, French people will die with out good cause in this fraudulent war just as Americans have.

    Also, if the French government sends troops, can’t you just hear the war supporters in the US…” Why, even the French have seen the value of the mission…”

  56. Ruthless and Jennifer @ 08:53. That was hot, you two. Very hot.

  57. kwais,

    “The surest way to fuel an antiwar movement is to force people into the military that don’t want to be military, and don’t want to go to war.”

    I agree that people who join the military
    “want,” at least at some level, to be there (perhaps in the same limited way any of us “want” to be at our jobs). But that sure as hell doesn’ t mean that they actually “want to go to war”!! And if you think I’m quibbling, I don’t think so, because whether or not you really meant that or were just choosing your words poorly, I’ve definitely heard the sentiment expressed that we may as well send our military to war cause that’s what they joined for, and I think that’s a fallacious argument, to put it mildly.

    That said, I certainly agree with your larger point that an all volunteer military is far preferrable to a draft, primarily just because of the simple principle of the matter. And as we can see, it doesn’t keep us from being able to fight effectively.

  58. Bringing back the draft would be the dumbest idea for the administration and for the military.

    The surest way to fuel an antiwar movement is to force people into the military that don’t want to be military, and don’t want to go to war.

    Also the best way to reduce the capabilities of true warriors is to force them to be around and with people who don’t want to be there. You lower the morale, lower the minimum requirements, and pretty much eliminate the excitement of challenge from training.

    There are plenty of eager blood thirsty Americans to cover any war. We are a naturally violent people. If you force people who don’t want to participate into the mix, you just screw everything up.

    Also the draft is equivalent to slavery.

  59. Perhaps…. just perhaps… if the French send in troops… the U.S. will quietly “lose” all of the evidence of high-level collusion between the French government and the Iraqi Baath regime.

    Perhaps GW will even lose the evidence of bribes being paid from Saddam to Chirac shortly before the invasion.

    Perhaps the French now have little choice but to send in troops.

  60. For every example of Hitler killing Jews I can give you an example of Jews helping Hitler kill Jews.

    What this statement leaves out is ther level of complicity. The amount if you will. It treats all quantities as morally the same. One death equals a million deaths. One dollar equals a million dollars.

    Thus we are not allowed better or worse. Just bad is bad. Cutting off a man’s finger is the same as cutting off his head.

    You know I thought only lefties were supposed to think like that. I have maintained all along that libertarianism since 9/11 has turned out to be a branch of the hard left. I had not realized it had gone so far.

    Funny thing is I had left the communists in the early 80s because of their foreign policy. Then it follows me into the Libertarian Party. Next thing you know the Republicans will be the party of the big spenders.

  61. Jennifer,

    No need to worry. If America crashes and burns Islam has a plan for us.

    I’m told most women look really good in a burka.

  62. M. Simon,
    I used to think the same way as you. But I am sick and tired of this idea that we should all shut up and tolerate everything bad here, because it’s so much worse everywhere else. This could have been the greatest country in the world but it’s dying from the inside out, not even because the everyday people are corrupt but because they’re intellectually lazy. Singing a round of “God Bless the USA” and sticking a “Love it or leave it” bumper sticker on your car’s a lot easier than facing what’s wrong and trying to fix it, huh? Or even facing what’s wrong and hoping someone else will fix it. No, no, just hum a cheerful tune and tell yourself either that everything is fine, or that our problems are ALL the fault of outsiders, not those in command.

    America now is like Victorian England in the 1890s: from the outside we still look strong, but we’re being eaten away fromwithin and are bound to collapse sooner or later. Realistically, I am not worried about radical Islam taking over the world; either China or the European Union will likely fill the power void. (This, incidentally, is why I think we should refuse trade with China until they get more democratic and more respectful of human rights–try to turn them into a decent country before they become our overlords.)

  63. For every truthful comment you can make about French collusion with Iraq, I can make an equally truthful comment about American collusion. Face it, people: we’re idealistic virgins in a world run by syphilitic whores. I support the idea of a draft, for the Machiavellian reason that I think America is beyond hope of repair, so all we can do is encourage the future crash-and-burn to cme as soon as possible. Maybe something better will rise out of the ashes.

  64. Look on the bright side–maybe the draft will be the straw which finally breaks the camel’s back. People have been too complacent for too long.

  65. > does this mean it’s okay to say *French* fries again,

  66. KK,

    I found your comments interesting, and even inspirational. I am proud to be an American although, for reasons that Jennifer gives, it is a different type of pride than one would have for their own accomplishments or those of their children.

    I am “proud” or perhaps “delighted” to be part of a nation with such a rich heritage and enduring legacy of individual liberty. I am delighted that we all still have the freedom to work to roll back the government and further capitalism and civil liberties.

    Perhaps we can reverse some of the loses that liberty has suffered, and restore the luster to which you refer. This would be an accomplishment that all who participate in should indeed take pride.

  67. The French fought along side of me at Chipyongni in February 1951 when 5 Divisions of Chinese had one reinforced Regiment [23rd Infantry]surrounded. They fought well there and then. Chinese blood must have fertilized the drops for years there. It must be the French REMFs that make them look bad since. I understand – the U.S. Army has had just such “contributions” to their reputation from our politicians.

  68. Oh, I forget to comment that the rest of your (good) stance on wondering why Bush and-or War supporters cannot second guess their positions. Some have been, but oftentimes it appears, as though Ad Hoc reasoning falling back on “Iraq and the world is [at present] better off”.

    Then you on an other time suggested, that those nations or cultures that claim to “have the interests of Women”, usually treat women like tertiary-class citizens. Without stretching this too far, this is what the Religious Conservatives seem to be like in the US. Taking a break for people to say “well, the Taliban will kill you”.

    The flag waving, which does not exist in that way here, as there are here still some bad memories of cheering masses with flags, from those who sing “Proud to be an American” while hailing the PATRIOT Act, would be perfectly happy to be the ferverent overclass for this Post Victorian America you describe.

    There are many, many things that are positive in America. As a model for Liberalism, America has lost much of her lustre of late, but the basic restrictions on Government intrusion and on Individual Liberty are still the envy of the world. There are indeed still reasons to wave the Flag there.

    regards,
    KK

  69. “I am not worried about radical Islam taking over the world; either China or the European Union will likely fill the power void. (This, incidentally, is why I think we should refuse trade with China until they get more democratic and more respectful of human rights–try to turn them into a decent country before they become our overlords.)”

    The EU? You have to be kidding.

    The thing is, free markets are superior to any type of central planning. That’s why welfare states–in Europe or the far East–will not be able to outcompete the US (and our relativily free market). In order for China to compete with us, we either have to degrade our capitialist system further, or they have to adopt more free market reforms.

    Besides, engaging in trade with China benifits us. It also benifits them, but if they are indeed overtaking us as you think, avoiding trade with them won’t help.

  70. “Singing a round of “God Bless the USA” and sticking a “Love it or leave it” bumper sticker on your car’s a lot easier than facing what’s wrong and trying to fix it, huh? Or even facing what’s wrong and hoping someone else will fix it. No, no, just hum a cheerful tune and tell yourself either that everything is fine, or that our problems are ALL the fault of outsiders, not those in command.”

    I’m not quite sure what you think is so wrong. Things are not perfect, to be sure, but all in all we are still the best country on the planet.

    From my perspective, what we have that’s wrong is too much government intervention, and this started with good old FDR. But it has happened with the consent of “the people”, and in any case it is worse just about every place else.

  71. In the above post, I probably should have said “started in a big way with FDR”.

  72. KK_
    YOu are fogetting, though that the folks here who wave the flag are NOT thinking of the noble ideals it’s supposed to represent; they’re thinking “As an American I’m inherently better than you!”

    I was never ‘proud to be American.’ Grateful, yes. But proud? Why? I’d be proud if I were a foreign immigrant who worked hard to become an American, but it’s silly to be “proud” of the fact that my mom’s legs were in THIS country when I came out from betweeen them. As an American woman I am LUCKIER than ninety percent of the women in the world: I am not BETTER. Unfortunately, most of our patriots here have minds too coarse to make such fine distinctions.

    (By the way, I never tried to say that EU is Utopia. I’m just saying it’s a damned sight better than CHina.)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.