Vile Betrayer, New Superpower, or Both?

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So, how did that whole Fuck-France publishing boomlet go? Not so good, if you risk karmic blowback by looking at Amazon sales rankings. The four main titles to come out in the last two years are not exactly flying off the virtual shelves:

#31,014: Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France, by John J. Miller and Mark Molesky (October 2004).
#111,921: The Arrogance of the French: Why They Can't Stand Us–and Why the Feeling Is Mutual, by Richard Chesnoff (April 2005).
#202,288: The French Betrayal of America, by Kenneth R. Timmerman (March 2004).
#203,729: Vile France: Fear, Duplicity, Cowardice and Cheese, by Denis Boyles (March 2005). (Despite a glowing testimonial from Victor Davis Hanson!)

Compare that to the genre's inverse—Why Europe Is Gonna Kick Our Ass, Despite Decades of Evidence to the Contrary. The four recent examples of note are faring significantly better:

#10,103: The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, by Jeremy Rifkin (August 2004).
#16,059: The United States Of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy, by T.R. Reid (November 2004).
#59,669: Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century, by Mark Leonard (February 2005).
#182,868: The Next Superpower?: The Rise of Europe and Its Challenge to the United States, by Rockwell A. Schnabel and Francis X. Rocca (September 2005).

Twelve months ago, I argued against the significance of the Transatlantic Rift here.

NEXT: The Boy (and Girl) in the Bubble

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  1. The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, by Jeremy Rifkin (August 2004).

    Rifkin… Why am I NOT surprised?

  2. Is it really any surprise that the people with the “Boycott France” bumper stickers aren’t big on books?

  3. My favorite is the “quietly” in Rifkin’s subtitle…. I’ll say!

  4. anybody looking at Europe’s fertility rates should quickly realize a “kickass” Europe is a pipe dream…

  5. rob — France is popping out babies in pretty good style.

  6. None of them are selling very well. The only thing that this proves is that there are more left-wing pointed-headed intellectuals then there are right-wing pointy-headed intellectuals. No surprise there.

  7. where do you get such reliable info?

  8. amen, hillbilly. leftwingery still sells better worldwide. what does this prove again?

  9. Considering that Jared Diamond’s Collapse is ranked #7 in political books, I wouldn’t put too much credence in the buying habits of Amazon buyers.

  10. jf, Hillbilly, rob — It’s a laff; I don’t think it proves a thing.

    rob — It’s Something I Know. A quick Google News search will confirm it, though I’d thought the birth rate was more like 2.3 per woman than 1.9.

  11. And while Europe and America are bickering over whose the best, the Chinese are gonna rise up and kick everyone ass. At least that’s what these fine folks have to say…

    #1,255 – China, Inc. : How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World
    by Ted C. Fishman

    #23,648 – China: The Gathering Threat by Constantine C. Menges

    #3,702 – The Chinese Century : The Rising Chinese Economy and Its Impact on the Global Economy, the Balance of Power, and Your Job
    by Oded Shenkar

  12. Matt Welch —

    France’s fertility rate in 2004 was 1.85 children per woman, well below replacement (2.10). And that’s including immigrant populations, which tend to have higher fertility rates than ethnic French.

    More ominously, it looks like the US has just dipped below replacement as well (at 2.08).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_territories_by_fertility_rate

  13. Matt, 1.9 children per woman is not “popping out babies in pretty good style,” it’s more like “depending on immigration to prevent depopulation.”

  14. @joe

    Is it really any surprise that the people with the “Boycott France” bumper stickers aren’t big on books?

    Books are fine — just as long as they have lots of pictures.

  15. More ominously, it looks like the US has just dipped below replacement as well (at 2.08).

    Other than how this will eventually undermine the social welfare system (a good thing, IMHO), so what?

  16. My Republican inlaws served brie and gouda on Christmas Day.

    The European plot to take over our country is obviously much more advanced than we realized.

  17. crimethink — Not if births outnumber deaths, as they’ve been doing by a sizeable and growing margin the past few years. Also the “cumulative birth rate” — whatever the hell that is! — is currently above 2 per female. And the trend lines suggest that calling this recent production a “baby boom” might not be as silly as it sounds.

    More crap here.

  18. Matt,

    If births outnumber deaths, but you still have a below-replacement fertility rate, that means your population is steadily aging. Which, callously speaking, is even worse than depopulation, since a small, young population is economically preferable to a large, old one.

    The cumulative birth rate is the fertility rate of women who were born 50 years ago, and is irrelevant to this discussion as far as I can tell.

    I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I was kind of put off by how you dismissed rob’s question by saying that Google news confirmed your assertion, when in fact it refuted it.

  19. Not if births outnumber deaths, as they’ve been doing by a sizeable and growing margin the past few years.

    Sounds like the French need more heat waves. They should welcome GW.

  20. Why am I not supposed to dismiss this entire argument with an observation about immigration keeping the country both populated and young?

  21. crimethink — I said France is “popping out babies in pretty good style,” not that it’s “maintaining a birth rate sufficient to ensure population growth regardless of immigration figures.” I said I “know” this, because 1) I was asked how I know this, and 2) I’m surrounded by French people in my daily life, especially those of child-rearing age, and this is one of many things they talk about; and 3) I am supposed to be working on something else right now, and was hoping someone else might do the heavy lifting of clicking http://www.google.com.

    Nevertheless, at your good-spirited urging, I looked at Google News, and indeed “confirmed” that France has the highest birth rates in continental Europe, that it’s gaining population, that births outnumber deaths, that these trends are increasing, and that the phenomenon is widely referred to as a “baby boom.” Apparently this does not satisfy your definition of “popping out babies in pretty good style.” I guess good people will have to disagree. (Assuming for the sake of argument that I’m good.)

  22. These people who say France is our “enemy” because they disagreed with us on matters like the Iraq War–do these fools ever think before they speak? Who really thinks that France would invade and destroy us, even if they could? Who seriously thinks that France wouldn’t help us if we ever faced a genuine emergency?

    Jesus, save me from people who think that anyone who ever disagrees with me on anything must therefore be my “enemy.” Save me from people who can’t distinguish between a friend and a yes-man.

    I am supposed to be working on something else right now

    Oh, hell, don’t let that stop you. It never stops any of us.

  23. The whole question of “why is France the way it is” is an interesting one, though. I think you can trace it back at least to Napoleon: Napoleon stomps on Prussia; the Prussians kick French ass in the Franco-Prussian war; the French gleefully stick it to Germany after the Great War; the Germans humiliate France in WWII and then the French feel humiliated by everybody; they still had the colonies to kick around but then even that starts going sour. That would be enough to make any country feel defensive. And I’m sure you can trace it back further – why was Napoleon able to rise and lead the country to war? – but my knowledge of French history isn’t that good.

  24. Who seriously thinks that France wouldn’t help us if we ever faced a genuine emergency?

    They’re helping us in Afghanistan. They’re helping us crack down on Al Qaeda cells in the West, and sharing intelligence.

    The French are our oldest ally, even if it has been a strained alliance at times. They helped us kick the asses of the British. When I went to a physics lecture at their embassy in September, outside their auditorium they had a display on the Statue of Liberty.

  25. Jennifer, They’re the same people who think that they are being “persecuted” when they’re not allowed to use the government to advance Christianity. They consider the expansion of their power (that of the God-endorsed Christian United States of America) to be their right, and interference with that expansion to be a violation of their rights.

    And I mean this literally. They’re the same people. Just ask them.

  26. (that of the God-endorsed Christian United States of America)

    If it wasn’t for that endorsement, Santa would be in jail right now.

  27. I actually read “our oldest enemy” and I found it very interesting. Clearly, it is selective in its examples, but how many people know that the French Army actually blasted apart an American/British landing force in Africa? Then charged the survivors a “landing fee”…

    It’s an overstatement to say that France is an active enemy, but it would be helpful for more people to realize that France is a sovereign nation that acts only in its own interests. Only in its own interests.

    I am amused when an individual can point out all the self-serving flaws in the US (War for Oil!) but claim that France has only noble motivations when it acts against our foreign policy interests.

    I believe it was Patton who said he’d rather have a German division in front of him, than a French division behind him.

  28. With respect to Frances birth rates, aren’t they expected to be majority Arab/Muslim within 40 years?

  29. It’s an overstatement to say that France is an active enemy, but it would be helpful for more people to realize that France is a sovereign nation that acts only in its own interests. Only in its own interests.

    Those motherfuckers. How dare they act in their own interest, rather than keeping our needs first and foremost in their minds?

  30. France-bashing is almost as fun for us as America-bashing is for the French, but most people are too dense to get that it’s more a joke than anything serious. Sure, both countries rub the other the wrong way fairly often, but we’re actually pretty strong allies. Even if we really hated each other, they have very close ties with the UK–just like we do. So what if they’re obstinate about their independence? That doesn’t sound familiar to anyone living in the U.S.? Besides, they make great cheese and wine 🙂 And they gave us the setting for Casablanca.

  31. Jennifer, They’re the same people who think that they are being “persecuted” when they’re not allowed to use the government to advance Christianity.

    Doesn’t stop with them, Joe. I’ve got plenty of conservative friends and family who are agnostic or atheist who are just as likely to feel ‘persecuted by liberals.’

    I also know plenty of…well, I’ll call them ‘opportunity Christians’. They don’t go to church or practice any lifestyle that comes close to according itself with any conservative Christian discipline. (In my former partyin’ days, they were some of the biggest drinkers). But give them an opportunity to weigh in on a moral issue and they are all of a sudden ad hoc bible scholars.

    They can’t quote scripture, mind you. Nor do they know anything about Christian thought that they didn’t get from Bill O’Reilly (a towering voice in Christian circles, let me tell you). And their bible (if they even have one) is rarely – if ever – opened.

    No…the Republican Persecution Complex doesn’t end – or even start, mind you – with Christian zealots (Full Disclosure: I am very much a Christian).

    Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the pundit-sphere has gained remarkable traction with Conservative Christians despite being almost devoid of any Christian message or example. Most of these guys don’t even mention Jesus or quote him let alone go to church or write books with Christian messages.

    The saddest of all, is that most of the “Conservative Christians” are completely unable to tell that they are being played like fiddles by cynical bastards who rile them up for ad revenue.

  32. madpad, you mean like people who think it’s an insult to Christians not to have a Christmas tree?

    They’re not working to advance a school of philosophy and theology. They’re working to mark more turf for their gang.

  33. bubba,

    Out of curiosity, did “Our Oldest Enemy” mention that the Germans were holding 1,000,000 Frenchmen as POWs as hostages at the time? Or that the cease fire that ended the Germans’ rampage through the country included the condition that the French military defend the territorial integrety of its holdings against foreign militaries?

    These would seem to relevant facts when considering the French army’s actions in 1942, and I’m wondering if the author considering them, or even presented them to his readers for their consideration.

  34. Joe,

    Exactly.

    Pentacostal Christians tend to pray for “gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

    I can’t find a list of these gifts in the bible but some Charismatics can bust out with a list of 7 or 8 at the drop of a hat.

    On most lists is the gift of ‘discernment’ which I’ve always been told is an ability to tell what’s righteous or not.

    As many of the Charismatic, Pentacostal or Assembly of God followers tend toward conservative politics (while I tend toward more moderate and less intrusive views) I occassionally wonder…is it them that’s got it wrong? Or me.

    In every case, I eventually decide it’s them.

  35. By the way, the guy posting as “rob” – down to the same lower-case “r” is not me.

  36. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah, by the way.

    Look, I like the French, with the exception of some snotty Parisians (and I feel the same way about the East Coast and New York).

    But let’s face it, joe is seriously wacky with some of his statements:

    “the Germans were holding 1,000,000 Frenchmen as POWs as hostages at the time?”

    Yeah, because when the other side takes POWs and holds them as hostages, that means you are dealing with an enemy who can be negotiated with, therefore you should surrender.

    Speaking of surrender: “Or that the cease fire that ended the Germans’ rampage through the country included the condition that the French military defend the territorial integrety of its holdings against foreign militaries?”

    Cease-fire? You meant surrender, right? I know you’re probably thinking that surely there’s some less-offensive term? There’s not. Why not just go whole hog and call it a French “victory”? Orwell is spinning in his grave…

  37. Rob, what is your point? Are you saying we should view France as an enemy because they surrendered to the Germans in World War Two?

  38. I didn’t think I would have to explain this any simpler, but then, there’s always rob.

    rob, the continued holding of 1,000,000 Frenchmen, conditioned upon the French army’s agreement to fight off an allied invasion, made that army’s efforts to resist the Torch invasion more undertandable, as the cost of failing to fight could have been the mass slaughter of those hostages. Did you get it that time, or would you perfer monosyllabic words and hand gestures?

    And, military genius, a cease fire and surrendur are two different things. First the French surrendured, then they and Germans signed a cease fire.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand how you manage to work a computer.

  39. Why is it that any discussion of France on this forum must involve somebody defending France while calling another person stupid?

  40. Jennifer,

    I believe rob’s point was, “joe coward not say cheese-eating surrender monkey.”

  41. Sorry for OT comment. I think you all will like this, and the “War on Christmas” threads are all dead:

    I flew from O’Hare to Charlotte, NC on Friday. As we landed, the pilot welcomed us to Charlotte, thanked us for choosing United, and then said, “I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas, or, if not, a Happy Hanukkah. And if any of you are offended by that, then have a Happy Festivus!”

  42. joe: And the Germans executed Case Anton anyway, despite the Vichy fighting the Allies. The Germans did not, however, as far as I have ever heard, execute their thousands of French prisoners. It’s really not at all clear what the actions of the Vichy forces against the Allies bought France.

  43. Jennifer – No, it just creeps me out to see someone call what was essentially a complete capitulation a “cease fire.” You must have missed the part where I said that I LIKE the French, in general.

    joe – “as the cost of failing to fight could have been the mass slaughter of those hostages.” Yep, I’m thinking my only option at that point is to continue to fight, since it’s obvious that I’m dealing with an enemy that isn’t remotely open to rational negotiation. Since when does a nation surrender because it’s soldiers are being held hostage? Ah, when it’s France during WW2.

    joe, you’re wrong.

    A cease-fire is a cessation of hostilities while an attempt to reach some sort of an accord is made. Surrender can be one of those accords, however, the negotiation to do so is negotiatedDURING a cease-fire.

    Here’s how it works: Combatants are shooting at each other. Cease-fire is declared. Negotiations ensue. Successful negotiations = no more shooting. Unsuccessful negotiations = more shooting. And you’re calling ME an idiot?

    Part of the acceptance of the French surrender was, undoubtedly, “conditioned upon the French army’s agreement to fight off an allied invasion.”

  44. “A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war, or any armed conflict, where each side of the conflict agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions.

    Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces. For example, on December 25, 1914, during World War I, there was an unofficial ceasefire as both the Germans and the British sought to observe Christmas (the “Christmas Truce”). There was no treaty signed, and after a few days the war resumed. [ 1 ]” Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cease-fire

    Either way, I’m right, joe’s wrong.

    Just because the French had reason to be ashamed of a big chunk of its citizens & soldiers in WW2, doesn’t mean that they didn’t also have a big chunk of its citizens & soldiers to be proud of. That’s true of the U.S., as well, and of any nation during ANY conflict.

    For the record, it’s not a sweeping indictment of the French, but of joe’s bizarre terminology and sloppy, backwards thinking.

  45. Either way, I’m right, joe’s wrong.

    Perhaps Joe used a word incorrectly. But does that refute his primary point–namely, that the French had a damned good reason for shooting at us in Africa? Or would you rather indulge in linguistic nit-picking and hope that this will confuse some people into thinking that his primary point was also incorrect, and the French shot at us purely for the hell of it?

  46. Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Reality (which is mostly pro-American) ain’t doing so bad…

    Amazon.com Sales Rank: Today: #14,630 in Books

  47. Who really thinks that France would invade and destroy us, even if they could? Who seriously thinks that France wouldn’t help us if we ever faced a genuine emergency?

    I’m working on my on sci-fi RPG setting where the EU intervernes on during a second American Civil War. Does that count?

  48. EDIT: take out that “on” between “intervenes” on “during.”

  49. rob, you either excel at playing dumb, or you shouldn’t be allowed to use a fork.

    1. The cease fire and the surrender were seperate events. One occurred several days after the other. Which means,

    2. The Germans’ announcement that they were going to continue holding those prisoners came several days after the French had already surrendered.

    “however, the negotiation to do so (surrender) is negotiatedDURING a cease-fire.” Uh, no, not in this case. The French surrendered, and the Germans agreed to a cease fire afterwards, threating to continue fighting all the time.

    I’m sorry you don’t know anything about the subject, but that doesn’t make me wrong. In reality, the Germans continued to advance, to attack enemy positions, and to shell their cities while the terms were drawn up. There are numerous history books you could consult, if you decided you would like to understand something you’re posting about, for a change.

  50. Jennifer – I never said that the French shot at us “for the hell of it.”

    Not only did joe use a word incorrectly, he’s arguing with someone else, that he believes is arguing “joe coward not say cheese-eating surrender monkey.”

    Which makes him look like a (to quote Capt K
    irk) “double dumb-ass,” since he’s wrong on terminology, wrong on analysis of my post.

    I’d think that if someone is going to mock someone else’s “military genius,” and call them an idiot for pointing out that he’s wrong, then try to claim I’m making some sort of cliched surrender monkeys argument makes me think joe is arguing with someone in his head, rather than reality.

  51. joe,

    Either way, the French surrendered. The Germans may have brokered a cease-fire after their surrender, but that’s pretty much part of any surrender deal. “We surrender! Stop shooting at us!” is not a cease-fire. It’s a surrender.

    In other words, your argument boils down to parsing it so that there wasn’t a cease-fire until after the surrender.

    What does it matter? The surrender is certainly more important than the cease-fire. Besides, it’s certainly not uncommon for battles to be waged after a cease-fire has been called, or even a surrender declared. Communication is tricky in war… And apparently in communicating with people like you, joe.

  52. How high do books about the future of geopolitics usually rank on Amazon? How high did books about Bin Laden rank on Sept 10, 2001? I’m not sure this is a very useful method of determining what will matter in the future.

  53. “”We surrender! Stop shooting at us!” is not a cease-fire. It’s a surrender.” Exactly right. First the French surrendured. Then they negotiated the terms of a cease fire. That’s my point.

    “What does it matter?” It matters, rob, because you made the accusation that the French decided to surrender knowing that the Germans were going to hold 1,000,000 of their POWs as hostages. They did not, as that little item was “negotiated” after the surrender took place.

  54. So, we all agree that the French surrendered to the Germans. joe referred to the formal agreement as a “cease fire”. This may or may not be the correct usage of the word (maybe Cathy Young could write an article about it?) but everybody here, joe included, agrees that the French gave in, surrendered, ceased firing, capitulated, rolled over, or whatever term you like.

    Does that settle it?

    If not, could we at least agree that when danger reared its ugly head they bravely turned their tails and fled?

  55. Jennifer – I never said that the French shot at us “for the hell of it.” Not only did joe use a word incorrectly, he’s arguing with someone else, that he believes is arguing “joe coward not say cheese-eating surrender monkey.”

    That doesn’t answer my question, Rob: even assuming Joe used the word incorrectly, does that negate the point he was trying to make?

  56. If not, could we at least agree that when danger reared its ugly head they bravely turned their tails and fled?

    Just like we did in Vietnam! That makes us pathetic hamburger-eating surrender monkeys, right? After all, once a nation has suffered a military defeat it need never, ever be taken seriously again, right?

  57. Forgive a possible triple post, but I just wanted to make a friendly reminder to all reading this: you, personally, contributed to our victory in World War Two. So you are quite justified in feeling proud of yourselves, seeing as how this reflects upon you. Likewise, modern Frenchpersons (with the exception of the lovely and talented Mrs. Matt Welch) are personally responsible for their country’s having done poorly in World War Two. Feel free to insult them for it. “Cheese-eating surrender coward” is a good one; I guarantee they’ve never, ever heard it before.

  58. Those motherfuckers [France]. How dare they act in their own interest, rather than keeping our needs first and foremost in their minds?

    I have no problem with France acting in its best interests. That’s only reasonable. I just can’t take seriously the bizarre argument that France is some loyal, boon ally of the United States. Or vice versa.

    Think about it this way: France is that guy over there, America is this guy here, and sometimes they work together on things that will benefit them both. Both are willing to do things that will inconvenience the other if their interests conflict and they won’t piss the other one off too much (or are willing to deal with the flak).

    We’re talking about a series of relationships that date back to when the French monarchy thought helping the American Revolution would be a pain in the British ass. Through bloody revolutions, dictatorships, conquests, and republics, various French governments have happened to find more areas they wanted to work with the US than areas they wanted to oppose or compete with the US. That’s all it is, and it’s irrelevant to whether the French like the Americans or vice versa.

  59. Forgive a possible triple post, but I just wanted to make a friendly reminder to all reading this: you, personally, contributed to our victory in World War Two….Likewise, modern Frenchpersons (with the exception of the lovely and talented Mrs. Matt Welch) are personally responsible for their country’s having done poorly in World War Two.

    That’s the sort of argument that would make a lot of sense to the people who gave impassioned paeans to how the French helped America and how we should be grateful. 🙂

  60. so what happened to “of paridise and power”

    i always thought that was the most reasoned anti-french book.

  61. That’s only reasonable. I just can’t take seriously the bizarre argument that France is some loyal, boon ally of the United States. Or vice versa.

    They may not be our strong ally, but they damn sure aren’t our enemy. And these “virtue-in-hating-the-French” fools need to learn the difference between an enemy and a disapproving friend.

  62. Never mind the meaning of cease-fire, joe’s actual argument is nonsensical. If a madman were holding your family hostage, and threatening to kill them unless you kill someone else, would you be justified in killing that person?

    More to the point, if the roles were reversed, can you even imagine the US firing on an ally’s troops to (possibly) save some of our POWs? At the very least, the incident reeks of French cowardice, if not malice.

  63. Why is it that any discussion of France on this forum must involve somebody defending France while calling another person stupid?

    The Bart Effect? 😉

  64. They may not be our strong ally, but they damn sure aren’t our enemy.

    Never said they were. They’re just not a “friend” in any meaningful sense.

    And these “virtue-in-hating-the-French” fools need to learn the difference between an enemy and a disapproving friend.

    There is virtue in realizing that “France” is not any sort of friend, but just another country watching out for itself. Many people moralizing about or mocking the “mistreatment” of the French by irked Americans need to learn that difference just as much as the melodramatically irked do.

  65. Crimethink–

    Can you think of any warfare situation wherein innocent people were not killed? Even our country is currently (albeit accidentally) killing various innocent foreigners to protect our own country. By that way of looking at it, you could say that at least the French were shooting at people who had the ability to shoot back.

    Not that what they did was admirable; just that the situation is not as cut-and-dried as you might make it out to be.

  66. There is virtue in realizing that “France” is not any sort of friend, but just another country watching out for itself.

    Is there any country, including our own, whose primary concern isn’t “watching out for itself?”

    If nothing else, our country has enough legitimate enemies in the world, by which I mean people who really would destroy us if they could. I don’t know what the Francophobes hope to gain by trying to invent more.

  67. For some reason, there seems to be an assumpton here that all the “pro-European” books are by leftists. Look carefully at the Amazon.com page for *The Next Superpower?: The Rise of Europe and Its Challenge to the United States*, by Rockwell A. Schnabel and Francis X. Rocca and you will see that for that book at least it is not true. (Most of the laudatory reviews are form conservatives, and one of the authors works for the *American Spectator*.)

  68. Is there any country, including our own, whose primary concern isn’t “watching out for itself?”

    That’s exactly the point, Jennifer. I’m saying that we should be looking as France as a country, not some anthropomorphic stand-in like “asshole we helped out twice when he had trouble with that Germany guy and who won’t help us now” or “older, sophisticated friend who’s trying to counsel us out of unwise decisions”.

    by which I mean people who really would destroy us if they could. I don’t know what the Francophobes hope to gain by trying to invent more.

    I can’t speak for hysterical remainered cash-in books, but all the times I’ve heard or read people bitching about France, even at length in hawk blogs, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone suggest that France wanted to destroy the US. The worst accusations I’ve heard have been that 1) France’s opposition to the Iraq invasion was based on that government’s wish to preserve oil-for-food trade and 2) the French government wants to “trianguate” diplomatically between the US and militant Islam just as it did between NATO and the Warsaw pact (before the Soviet Union fell and France joined NATO).

  69. Er, “triangulate” would be a more correct spelling.

  70. Oops, and I almost forgot accusation 3) the French government is terribly scared of militant Islam (especially with all those not-terribly-happy Muslims in its own country) and would rather other nations be bigger targets and do most of the work in fighting that movement.

  71. “They’re not working to advance a school of philosophy and theology. They’re working to mark more turf for their gang.”

    there’s a difference?!?!?!

  72. I loof zhoze krrazee freensh pipple.

  73. “They may not be our strong ally, but they damn sure aren’t our enemy. And these ‘virtue-in-hating-the-French’ fools need to learn the difference between an enemy and a disapproving friend.” – Jennifer

    Alliances aren’t friendships, and they’re not some sort of elementary school “Best Friends 4-Ever!” deal. I think the French have always been more an ally and very rarely an enemy. Having said all of that, I just want to clarify that you’re not including me in this whole ‘virtue in hating the French’ routine.

    “just wanted to make a friendly reminder to all reading this: you, personally, contributed to our victory in World War Two. ” – Jennifer

    BTW, no one here is claiming that they personally had some hand in winning WW2, what is that all about? Or are you just creating that absurd argument so you can slap it down?

    “That doesn’t answer my question, Rob: even assuming Joe used the word incorrectly, does that negate the point he was trying to make?” – Jennifer

    Which point was that? You mean your generous re-interpretation that “–namely, that the French had a damned good reason for shooting at us in Africa?”

    Nope. I don’t think I addressed that point. But crimethink’s post at December 27, 2005 02:42 PM does a good job of demolishing it. For more on this, see my response to joe, below…

    “you made the accusation that the French decided to surrender knowing that the Germans were going to hold 1,000,000 of their POWs as hostages. They did not, as that little item was ‘negotiated’ after the surrender took place.” – joe

    I never made this claim. Just admit that you’re arguing with some delusional version of me that only exists in your head, as you so often accuse others of doing.

    What I actually wrote was “Yeah, because when the other side takes POWs and holds them as hostages, that means you are dealing with an enemy who can be negotiated with, therefore you should surrender.”

    Sarcasm doesn’t translate well, that’s my bad.

    What I should have said was – when the Germans hold your soldiers as hostages rather than POWs, it means you really have no choice other than to go back to war. Well, I suppose you COULD bend over and grab your ankles like Marshal Philippe Petain, WW1 hero/Nazi collaborator/French traitor, and start rounding up the Jews for your Nazi overlords. Which option do you support, joe?

    Surrendering under those circumstances is reprehensible, continued failure to fight under those circumstances is also reprehensible.

    Of course, the U.S. letting the S. Vietnamese suffer the conquest of the N. Vietnamese was pretty reprehensible in my opinion, too, but apparently the defeat of the S. Vietnamese forces after the U.S. pullout (because we wouldn’t provide air power) is somehow a U.S. military defeat in Jennifer’s worldview:

    “Just like we did in Vietnam! That makes us pathetic hamburger-eating surrender monkeys, right? After all, once a nation has suffered a military defeat it need never, ever be taken seriously again, right?”

  74. Of course, the U.S. letting the S. Vietnamese suffer the conquest of the N. Vietnamese was pretty reprehensible in my opinion, too, but apparently the defeat of the S. Vietnamese forces after the U.S. pullout (because we wouldn’t provide air power) is somehow a U.S. military defeat in Jennifer’s worldview:

    Are you saying it was a U.S. military victory?

  75. Not that what they did was admirable; just that the situation is not as cut-and-dried as you might make it out to be.” – Jennifer

    You and joe are working the same “equivocation isn’t the same as lying” angle. Is any situation cut and dried? No. Are there fairly clear moral choices that require courage and sacrifice to make? Yes. But the Vichy gov’t is an example of people (not an entire country!) failing to make that moral choice.

    Doesn’t mean that France is the enemy of the US, or that all French are a bunch of “surrender monkeys.” But some of them failed the test of history for certain, and some of them passed because they fought on bravely.

    Here were the choices available to France:

    1) “Surrender. Then help the Nazis round up France’s Jewish citizens for extermination, because hey, this isn’t a cut and dried situation and they’re holding our soldiers hostage!”

    2) “Hey, we’re going to have to go back to war with these guys because they want us to round up our Jewish citizens for extermination AND they’re holding our soldiers hostage!”

    I’m starting to think you and joe would choose #1 because it’s a more NUANCED position…

    “Can you think of any warfare situation wherein innocent people were not killed? Even our country is currently (albeit accidentally) killing various innocent foreigners to protect our own country. By that way of looking at it, you could say that at least the French were shooting at people who had the ability to shoot back.” – jennifer

    Sheesh. It’s amazing. I call out joe for claiming the French had a “cease-fire” not a “surrender” and people think I’m being picky. Jennifer argues that it’s OK to turn over your own citizens for execution because there are nuances like soldiers being held hostage? And shooting at your allies is actually somehow nobler than what the US is doing in Iraq because the US soldiers were able to shoot back at the French?

    Un-be-freaking-lievable.

    I guess there’s an apologist for everyone. I suppose there are some people who will say that Stalin guy wasn’t so bad after all… Why should this be a surprise?

  76. “Are you saying it was a U.S. military victory?” – Jennifer

    Nope. Are you claiming that the N. Vietnamese won a military victory against the U.S.? Because I’ll gladly school you on the inaccuracy of that claim just like I did joe’s “military genius” claims regarding surrender vs. cease-fire.

  77. Jennifer argues that it’s OK to turn over your own citizens for execution because there are nuances like soldiers being held hostage?

    No, I have not, and I don’t know where you got that from.

    Nor do I particularly care, truth to tell.

  78. “No, I have not, and I don’t know where you got that from.” – Jennifer

    So you’re NOT arguing it was understandable for the French to surrender to the Nazis? You’re not posting here helping joe try to defend the reprehensible position that POWs mean you never have to say you’re sorry for capitulating to the Nazis? Well, even France did that – sort of -when they convicted Petain of treason after the war.

  79. So you’re NOT arguing it was understandable for the French to surrender to the Nazis?

    The Nazis had a stronger army, and they could have completely destroyed France. You may as well insult a small, skinny woman for being unable to fend off a would-be rapist twice her size.

    Also, remember to insult those Americans who became POWS in the first Gulf War. Just because they were vastly outgunned and outnumbered doesn’t mean they should have surrendered, I suppose.

  80. Just for the record,

    French People I Think Are Groovy, or, Why I Could Never Hate the French:

    Good Science:
    Henri Becquerel (Physics Nobel prize laureate in 1903 who ushered in the nuclear age.)
    Marie Curie
    Renee Descartes
    Louis Pasteur
    Jean Bernard Leon Foucault

    Beautiful Actresses:
    Julie Delpy
    Bridget Bardot
    Isabella Adjani
    Juliette Binoche

    Brilliant Architects, Sculptors, Authors, Philosphers:
    Gustave Eiffel
    Frederic Auguste Bartholdi
    Albert Camus
    Gaston Leroux
    Michel Foucault
    Bertrand Russell

    Etc etc etc…

    Even on this list there are people I admire for their contributions in one arena, but who fall sadly short in other areas. Humans being fallible and imperfect and all… and nations being made up of humans, well, I think you can see where I’m going with this:

    The French people, like those in the U.S., aren’t perfect.

    So what’s wrong with praising those who deserve it (when it’s deserved) and criticisizing similarly – even if they happen to be French? Just because I don’t think that it’s cool to downplay the wrongs that the French have committed, I don’t think it means they are “surrender monkeys” or some other silliness. But the defense of the actions of the Vichy gov’t and claiming that those who decry them (which include many of the French) is just silly.

    “The Nazis had a stronger army, and they could have completely destroyed France. You may as well insult a small, skinny woman for being unable to fend off a would-be rapist twice her size.” – Jennifer

    So Jennifer, you ARE arguing that it was OK? I’m sorry I need a scorecard. You are or aren’t for Option #1?

    “Also, remember to insult those Americans who became POWS in the first Gulf War. Just because they were vastly outgunned and outnumbered doesn’t mean they should have surrendered, I suppose.” – Jennifer

    And no, Jennifer, just because you personally surrender on the battlefield doesn’t mean your entire nation bends to the will of the enemy. That only happens when you allow spineless traitors to start running your country. Even so, there were plenty of French people with the backbone to fight on despite the Vichy gov’t.

    Also, stop trying to equate my position to things it simply isn’t. Those analogies are TERRIBLE. Maybe it would help you to think of the relationship between the US and France as that of ALLIES, rather than FRIENDS. Maybe it would help you to think of France as a nation with its own Army, Navy, and ass-kicking Foreign Legion rather than as a defenseless rape victim… Like I said, your analogies SUCK.

    Surrender can be honorable, and the US has repeatedly accepted the honorable surrender of its enemies – and some of our soldiers have been forced to surrender during various conflicts. Honorable surrender is what allows surrender to take place at all, after all.

    However, I certainly expect that the US would fight on – regardless of consequence – if the terms of surrender were as unthinkable as those France were faced with. Any other option is reprehensible, and calling it that is something that even many French people are comfortable with. Remember the guy who orchestrated that whole surrender thing? Yeah, convicted as a traitor by the French:

    Marshal Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph P?tain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe P?tain or Marshal P?tain, was a French general and war hero, later Head of State of Vichy France, from 1940 to 1944. Due to his military leadership in World War I, he was viewed as a hero in France, but his actions during World War II resulted in his being convicted and sentenced to death for treason, which was commuted to life imprisonment by Charles de Gaulle. In modern France, he is generally considered a traitor, and p?tainisme is a derogatory term for certain reactionary policies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petain

  81. The Nazis had a stronger army, and they could have completely destroyed France. You may as well insult a small, skinny woman for being unable to fend off a would-be rapist twice her size.

    I’m afraid that comparison doesn’t quite work. One of the key things investigators of rapes look for are signs of a struggle. In other words, yes, the woman is expected to do her best to fight back, escape, etc. It doesn’t mean you blame her if she fails. But if a woman just lies down and spreads her legs, that’s not rape.

  82. Here’s an example of a good analogy, Jennifer:

    “Never mind the meaning of cease-fire, joe’s actual argument is nonsensical. If a madman were holding your family hostage, and threatening to kill them unless you kill someone else, would you be justified in killing that person?” – crimethink at December 27, 2005 02:42 PM

    linguist makes a decent point, as well.
    Here’s a good analogy if you were to use France as a defenseless, frail woman:

    If you fail to fight off a rapist when you have the opportunity, would you also then fail to fight when the rapist decides to slaughter your children (Jewish French citizens)? Or would you help the rapist/murderer bare your children’s throats for the knife?

    Even were I a defenseless, physically frail person, I’d fight like hell to protect my family. Hey, I’d fight like hell to protect YOURS.

    There’s simply no defending French surrender to Germany under those terms. Using POW hostages as an excuse for lining up your civilians for the extermination camps just makes it worse, not more understandable.

  83. In other words, yes, the woman is expected to do her best to fight back, escape, etc. It doesn’t mean you blame her if she fails. But if a woman just lies down and spreads her legs, that’s not rape.

    Suppose the woman just lies down and spreads her legs because the man is holding a gun to her head or a knife to her throat?

    just because you personally surrender on the battlefield doesn’t mean your entire nation bends to the will of the enemy

    So in addition to hating France because they surrendered to the Nazis, should we also hate the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Norway, the former Czechoslovakia (those fuckers never fired a shot), and all the other countries who surrendered to the Nazis? Or is it only France that deserves such scorn, do you think?

  84. rob, you did fine with your list of french celebres until you got to Bertrand Russell, who was English not French.

    Other than that minor quibble your list is fine. my list would include my cousins, the sons of an Hungarian father and American mother, as 100% French as they come, and fine fellows too.

    linguist, I’m not sure your example works either. After all the French covered the retreat and evacuation of the British and then held on for almost another month against one of the most unrelenting military assaults in history.

  85. In other words, yes, the woman is expected to do her best to fight back, escape, etc. It doesn’t mean you blame her if she fails. But if a woman just lies down and spreads her legs, that’s not rape.

    yeah that is completely stupid.

  86. I’m too lazy to actually do the required clicking, but I’ll bet anything that the “Lord of the Rings” cycle is far outselling any of the books cited above.

    Therefore, what we really should be worried about is the looming threat from the Sauronofascists. (Anyone know the current birthrates in Mordor?)

  87. anyway i always thought we are supposed to pretend to hate the french but in reality eat thier food drink thier wine watch their movies and listen to thier music…just like they do to us.

    The problem now is that thier culture has stagnated and all there is left is our pretend hatred.

    I mean god pull your head out of your ass france…Le fem nakita and the delecatesin came out like 15 years ago.

    My suggestion would be to go get some of those second generation french africans you have living in the suburbs of paris and give them some pots, a few viniards, some cameras and musical insterments.

    oh yeah and abolish the minsistry of lanuage.

  88. You know, a few years back our hawkish posters used the phrase “drain the swamp.”

    What about the Dead Marshes?

    And didn’t Ar Pharazon declare that you’re either with him or against him?

  89. I find all these endless debates over the legacy of the Second World War awful tiresome. Not only do they seem awful meaningless (after all, if we are still going to castigate the French, then why on earth did we support German reunification?) but I seem to recall that the United States sat on its ass for three years after the French were overrun before we decided to lend a hand.

    I did note with interest though, that the Tribunal on the Rwandan Genocide began a formal investigation of the collaboration between French forces and Hutu Power this week. Whether or not they are cheese-eating surrender monkeys, they do have about 100,000 dead Tutsis to answer for.

  90. if we are still going to castigate the French, then why on earth did we support German reunification?) but I seem to recall that the United States sat on its ass for three years after the French were overrun before we decided to lend a hand.

    Excellent points.

    the Tribunal on the Rwandan Genocide began a formal investigation of the collaboration between French forces and Hutu Power this week. Whether or not they are cheese-eating surrender monkeys, they do have about 100,000 dead Tutsis to answer for.

    THAT is worthy of criticism, but not stuff that happened sixty years ago. It’s like the difference between people criticizing America because they dislike the Iraq War, versus criticizing us because we didn’t give full citizenship rights to black people in the 1940s. The former may reflect badly upon Americans now alive, but the latter does not.

  91. Stevo-

    As far as birthrates in Mordor, you obviously haven’t spent any time on a Tolkien message board. (I used to, long ago.) Otherwise, you would know better than to raise the thorny question of how Orcs reproduce.

    Hell, you might as well just go to Hit and Run and declare that Democrats are the lesser evil. The response would be equally civil.

  92. thoreau-

    What I would have liked to know is why the elves seem so reluctant to breed. Galadriel and Celeborn are immortal and beautiful, are married for hundreds if not thousands of years, and have two kids. Sure, I understand the passion goes out of a marriage after the first couple centuries, but c’mon! Do your patriotic duty to Lothlorien and get in on already!

  93. Yeah, but their pregnancies last for the Elvish equivalent of 9 months. Which works out to be decades.

    Hence the first device invented by the Noldor was actually a condom. But Tolkien was a Catholic, so he deliberately kept it out of the Silmarillion.

  94. “So in addition to hating France because they surrendered to the Nazis, should we also hate the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Norway, the former Czechoslovakia (those fuckers never fired a shot), and all the other countries who surrendered to the Nazis? Or is it only France that deserves such scorn, do you think?” – Jennifer

    Why do you continue to act like I’ve said I hate France? I haven’t, you know.

    I’m not a fan of the Vichy gov’t, or their surrender to the Nazis, or any of the collaborationist crap that French traitors got up to including turning over Jewish Frenchman to be killed off (which you are oddly silent about). The French still had the capability to fight, and should have. Were someone to invade the US and run me out of DC I’d probably not only thank you for it (just kidding!) but I’d come back with all of my friends from the Resistance Americain to make it hell for them.

    You know what, tho? I’ve probably spent more time with the French military than Jennifer. For the record, I spent 50+ days working alongside coalition forces during the most-recent Haiti debacle when Aristide was forced out of the country. That coalition included the French Army and the French Foreign Legion. I’ve got no complaints about either, they are professional military organizations of the first order. They’re excellent in the field and actually spoke one of the two primary languages of the locals. Well, sadly, that was because it was their former slave colony but the French did a lot to help during this go-round despite a lot of angry Haitian cries for reparations and even modestly took down their flag to keep from offending Haitians.

    Of course, the US forces could definitely learn about how to eat (and drink!) during a deployment from the French!

    “If you are English and someone says to you, ‘The French are your brothers’, your first instinctive feeling will be, ‘Nonsense. They shrug their shoulders, and talk French. And I am even told that they eat frogs.’ If he explains to you that we may have to fight the Russians, that, if so, it will be desirable to defend the line of the Rhine, and that, if the line of the Rhine is to be defended, the help of the French is essential, you will begin to see what he means when he says that the French are your brothers. But if some fellow-traveller were to go on to say that the Russians also are your brothers, he would be unable to persuade you, unless he could show that we are in danger from the Martians. We love those who hate our enemies, and if we had no enemies there would be very few people whom we should love.”
    – Bertrand Russell, Englishman not Frenchman (as I thought)

  95. I’m not a fan of the Vichy gov’t, or their surrender to the Nazis, or any of the collaborationist crap that French traitors got up to including turning over Jewish Frenchman to be killed off (which you are oddly silent about).

    I’m also oddly silent about the Spanish Inquisition, since neither topic was previously mentioned on this thread. Yes, the French collaborators were loathsome, as were the collaborators in Norway (which gave our language the word ‘Quisling’), Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, the Netherlands. . . but let me rephrase my earlier question. Whatever negative feelings you have toward the French due to World War Two, do you share these feelings with all the other European countries which capitulated to the Nazis? What makes France so special?

  96. “I’m also oddly silent about the Spanish Inquisition, since neither topic was previously mentioned on this thread.” – Jennifer

    It’s funny, you seem to be saying that just because you haven’t come out against something doesn’t mean you’re defending it. So what is it that you ARE defending so vehemently here?

    But the REALLY key thing about your Inquisition example: We’re discussing France, NOT Spain’s shameful Inquisition. If you or joe were equivocating about the Inquisition, trying to cut Spain or the Catholic Church slack for the Inquisition by citing mitigating factors, I’d take issue with you on that.

    BTW, you know I’ve been bringing up the extermination of Jewish French citizens with the willing help of the Vichy for a while on this thread, and you’ve studiously ignored it until now.

    Despite the fact that we’re talking about France and not Spain, (smokescreens aside), if someone mentions the Spanish Inqusition, I usually have something negative to say about it, especially if asked pointedly about it.

    Glad to finally hear that you’re against that, at least.

    “Whatever negative feelings you have toward the French due to World War Two, do you share these feelings with all the other European countries which capitulated to the Nazis? What makes France so special?” – Jennifer

    The only thing that makes France special is that we’re discussing it here. We’re not discussing Norway, Poland, Czechoslavakia, Belgium, the Netherlands, altho we have discussed nations represented as bad analogies to rape victims.

    Since you mention those nations, I also have a deep disdain for the govts of any nation that would surrender to terms like those France agreed to, ameliorated only by the reality that unlike the French, some were more truly conquered rather than surrendering when they could have (and actually did for a while) continue the fight.

    We all know that many of the French resisted their new Nazi overlords, rather than welcoming them as some did. Other countries also had resistance movements, and they were also worthy of respect.

    Hell, I’m not the one who even broached the shameful affairs of France during WW2. I just pointed out that trying to cut the French Vichy gov’t slack for surrendering, attacking US forces, and turning over for slaughter its own citizens was unequivocably loathsome. Oh, I also pointed out that in addition to making the ludicrous equivocating claim that there were mitigating factors, joe doesn’t understand the concept of a cease-fire vs. a surrender.

    I took issue with how you and joe seemed happy to nuance the French collaborationists, their surrender and subsequent use of their military against their US allies, for quite a while on this thread. Is it really that important for you to attack a “surrender monkey” straw man that no one has actually put forth on this board? If so, why is France so uniquely deserving of your support?

    Why do you readily condemn them the French for possible (but as yet unproven, I think) complicity in Rwandan massacres, but give them a free pass in helping the Nazis with turning the Holocaust onto French citizens?

    I’ve also pointed out that I’ve got great respect and affection for France – which you seem to selectively be unable to read. I’m not some knee-jerk “surrender monkey” bumper sticker guy, but you don’t really seem prepared to discuss this with someone who doesn’t espouse bumper sticker philosophical strawmen for you to club down.

    You and joe seem to have the “rob that exists only in your head” thoroughly sketched out. Too bad that creation bears no resemblance to reality.

  97. Why do you readily condemn them the French for possible (but as yet unproven, I think) complicity in Rwandan massacres, but give them a free pass in helping the Nazis with turning the Holocaust onto French citizens?

    Please quote me, as to where I said that.

    you seem to be saying that just because you haven’t come out against something doesn’t mean you’re defending it. So what is it that you ARE defending so vehemently here?

    I am not defending anything; I am attacking the notion that France deserves to be singled out for special disdain (which is, you’ll remember, the original topic of this thread), especially based on its actions in World War Two.

    Since you mention those nations, I also have a deep disdain for the govts of any nation that would surrender to terms like those France agreed to, ameliorated only by the reality that unlike the French, some were more truly conquered rather than surrendering when they could have (and actually did for a while) continue the fight.

    Great. That wipes out most of Europe, though it’s nice to know you’ll have more sympathy for those who allowed their cities to be destroyed before giving in to the inevitable. Just as linguist, in her earlier remark, has more sympathy for a rape victim who lets herself get beaten up before she gives in.

    I just pointed out that trying to cut the French Vichy gov’t slack for surrendering, attacking US forces, and turning over for slaughter its own citizens was unequivocably loathsome.

    Of course Vichy France was loathsome, but what has that to do with this thread’s topic? Vichy France is not the ancestor of the modern French government; that’s like criticizing the modern Virginia state government because Virginia was the traitorous capital of the Confederacy.

  98. By the way, Rob, what percentage of a country’s cities must be destroyed by a more powerful invader, and what percentage of its citizens either killed or made homeless by a more powerful invader, before they can respectably surrender, in your view?

  99. What makes France so special?

    It’s a convenient propaganda symbol for all things un-redneck.

    …It fits in well with the latte-swilling, french-like, sophisticate caricature some people love to hate.

    It seems strange because the charge isn’t really focused on the French, I think. Rather, I suspect, the associate the enemy with France tactic has a domestic target in mind. …See last campaign’s references to Kerry as “French looking” as an example.

    Speaking of WWII, they used to use such caricatures for war posters way back when. Our PC sensibilities keep us from making blatant physical depictions of such people now; still, the sophisticate caricature scores big points with people who are swayed by such things.

  100. “Please quote me, as to where I said that.” – Jennifer

    Here you go: “THAT is worthy of criticism, but not stuff that happened sixty years ago. It’s like the difference between people criticizing America because they dislike the Iraq War, versus criticizing us because we didn’t give full citizenship rights to black people in the 1940s. The former may reflect badly upon Americans now alive, but the latter does not.”

    Sound familiar? Especially that first sentence? That’s all you… “Posted by Jennifer at December 27, 2005 06:10 PM”

    Now, find a post from me where I argue “the notion that France deserves to be singled out for special disdain (which is, you’ll remember, the original topic of this thread), especially based on its actions in World War Two.”

    Good luck with that one… And no, sorry, I won’t hold my breath while I wait.

    “Great. That wipes out most of Europe, though it’s nice to know you’ll have more sympathy for those who allowed their cities to be destroyed before giving in to the inevitable.” – Jennifer

    If you have to scuttle your own Navy, and have enough of an Army left to attack your former allies, you have the ability to continue the fight. Not to do so, when faced with such reprehensible surrender terms, is worthy of disdain – not to mention all the genocidal assistance crap the Vichy got up to.

    Also worthy of disdain: joe’s claims that there were mitigating circumstances for the French firing on their US allies, or that France’s Vichy govt’s acceptance of the German terms of surrender were not reprehensible when they had the capability to continue the fight.

    “Of course Vichy France was loathsome, but what has that to do with this thread’s topic?” – Jennifer

    Ok, now we’re getting somewhere, since we agree about the Vichy! Can we also agree to the paragraph above where I just quoted you?

    “By the way, Rob, what percentage of a country’s cities must be destroyed by a more powerful invader, and what percentage of its citizens either killed or made homeless by a more powerful invader, before they can respectably surrender, in your view?” – Jennifer

    Depends on the terms of surrender. Give me the terms that Nazi Germany offered France, and my response is the planned Japanese resistance to US invasion: To the last man, woman and child. Give me the terms the US offered Germany and France? I’ll take those and save my cities and its people as best I can.

    Let me make myself clear: I’m not claiming that France should be vilified because of the actions of the Vichy govt. Haven’t ONCE claimed that France should be vilified AT ALL. (Ok, not on this thread… I may have made a joke or two elsewhere, but ONLY in jest.)

    My problem was with equivocating claims of mitigating circumstances regarding the actions of the Vichy govt, made by joe and (at least apparently) defended by you. I bear no animosity to France because of the Vichy. That would be silly. But I’ve got a problem with apologists for the Vichy – like joe – just like I would with apologists for the Inquisition or Stalin’s purges.

  101. Oops. Previous should have read: “Give me the terms the US offered Germany and JAPAN?”

  102. Not that I care about any of the arguments here, but the government of Norway never surrendered.

    It’s something they like to rub in the faces of the Swedes.

  103. OK, rob, holding it against the French for surrendering is one thing, but holding them especially responsible for having enabled the Holocaust ends up with everyone except the Danes sharing blame. The United States turned back boatloads of Jews from Europe – the lucky ones sank at sea before they reached the crematoria. Hating the Jews is hardly a game the French played by themselves.

  104. All those who really care about the French behavior during World War II, especially its quick capitulation to Herr Nazi Dude, should really read William Shirer’s “The Collapse of the Third Republic.” He makes a pretty convincing case that amazing military incompetence, societal malaise, political rot & suchlike played crucial roles in leading to an avoidable catastrophe.

    And Jennifer, the comparison with Czechoslovakia, for one, is not apt. The Czechs were ready to fight, and thought they had the West on their back with treaty-level commitments, but then the West sold ’em down the river. I forget who if any countries failed to rally around the Maginot Line (probably Britain), but even that failure (if my memory isn’t playing tricks on me) was due in no small part to French incompetence.

    Anyway, whatever. I think the Galadriel/Celeborn reproduction riddle, like many things in the affairs of Elves & wearers of the Three, were simply Tolkein’s way of explaining how material success leads to drastically reduced population rates. Though I spose hobbits disprove that rule…. Unless of course the point was that Elrond & Co. were *too* successful, and wrote themselves out of the plot of the Fourth Age, while the sturdy, more humble hobbits showed that by smoking pipeweed, drinking ale, and sensibly slaying a dragon now and then, you can perpetuate the species and slay the Dark Lord.

  105. And Jennifer, the comparison with Czechoslovakia, for one, is not apt. The Czechs were ready to fight, and thought they had the West on their back with treaty-level commitments, but then the West sold ’em down the river

    Just to clarify, Matt: I think no less of the Czechs for having been overrun by a superior (in military terms) power; the point I was trying to make was that it’s ludicrous for Rob or anyone else to hold a country in contempt for surrendering to a considerably more powerful army without first allowing said army to bomb them into dust.

    Had the French put up what Rob deems a worthy fight, what difference would that have made? The Nazis still would have taken over France, only threre would have been far more dead or homeless Frenchmen, and more destroyed French cities.

  106. Chickenhawk rob assures us that HE would never would have surrendered. (Takes gulp of Slurpee). HE would have kept fighting, no matter how much destruction Germany kept raining down on French cities. (Scratches generous ass). No way would HE have been a Surrender Monkey (Opens up another Twinkie). And he would have hidden Jews in his attack, joined the Resitance and (Belches up Mr. Pibb) distributed leaflets.

    The French were beat. The gave up, because the other choice was the annihilation of their military and the destruction of their country. But there are always American like rob, willing to fight to last Frenchman.

  107. I have explained the difference between France’s surrender and the cease fire conditions the Germans imposed about five times alread, rob.

    If you don’t, or won’t, understand them by now, I’m not going to explain them again.

    But everybody else reading this understands the point just fine, and you look mighty silly when you keep drawing attention to your ignorance.

  108. …And no one has come within a thousand miles of defending collaboration with the Gestapo, you reprehensible piece of crap.

    When you’re losing, I guess playing the Nazi card is a good last resort.

  109. I forget who if any countries failed to rally around the Maginot Line (probably Britain),…

    I recall hearing somewher that a lot of the blame goes to Belgium for not allowing French and British forces to move into forward positions in Belgium earlier to aid the Belgian defence. Apparently the Belgian government believed that there was still a chance the Germans would not attack and that allowing the French and Brits to cross the border would be a provocation to Hitler.

    It didn’t help that the King surrendered while the military leadership believed they could still mount a credible defense. This led to the King’s abdication and in fact created a crisis for the whole Belgian royal family. (Some say it also led the Swiss leadership to issue orders to batallion and company commanders to treat any stories of surrender by the National govt as propaganda and to fight to last man in the event of a German invasion.)

    The Vichy regime might have been contemptible and the collaborators simply beneath contempt, but it is hard to fault the French for capitulating having been left alone after Dunkirk to face the German onslaught.

    It is also hard to fault the British for withdrawing to safety across the Channel in the face of the same onslaught.

    Second guessing history might be fun but many people simply made the best choices they thought were available under the circumstances.

  110. …the point I was trying to make was that it’s ludicrous for Rob or anyone else to hold a country in contempt for surrendering to a considerably more powerful army without first allowing said army to bomb them into dust.

    In a recent thread, I asked rob whether “waterboarding” was torture or “cruel, inhuman or degrading”…

    …his response was, “Nope.”

    Once, when arguing the meaning of an infamous document, rob suggested that I made an appeal to authority for quoting the document.

  111. Jennifer’s questions regarding the comparability of France to other European nations at the time seems a valid one to me. If not Czechoslovakia, what about Denmark? Sure, the Danish people resisted from the grass roots during the occupation, but weren’t there only a handful of Danish soldiers killed during the invasion?

    …Why don’t would be populists here in America smear the Danish as eager to surrender?

    I still think the smear has little to do with the facts and more to do with the feeling that French culture is something sophisticated–something repulsive, that is. …I think the smear has to do with appealing to those who find sophistication repulsive, President Bush’s affected drawl being an excellent counter-example.

  112. “Chickenhawk rob assures us that HE would never would have surrendered.” – joe

    You’re a funny guy, joe. Ever been under fire? No? Then I know a few things about myself that you don’t know about yourself. Personal insults about whether or not I’m brave enough to do what I say I will aren’t winning your pathetic claims. It just makes you look more like a “double-dumb ass” than being wrong about the difference between a surrender and a cease-fire.

    “The French were beat. The gave up, because the other choice was the annihilation of their military and the destruction of their country. But there are always American like rob, willing to fight to last Frenchman.” – joe

    No, the French surrendered tho they had the capacity to fight on (they scuttled their own Navy and had enough of an Army to fight Operation Torch.)

    “it’s ludicrous for Rob or anyone else to hold a country in contempt for surrendering to a considerably more powerful army without first allowing said army to bomb them into dust.” – Jennifer

    For the last time, in all caps, so you can read it: I DON’T HOLD FRANCE IN CONTEMPT, particularly not for something that happened during WW2. But defending the Vichy gov’t, its decisions and its collaboration IS contemptible. And Jennifer, if capitulation to a superior force was the only option, you’d probably be a British citizen right now. Sometimes you have no better choice than to fight on against insurmountable odds. For the French, the odds weren’t insurmountable, they were just unpleasant. In fact, surrender wasn’t inevitable, there were other options, and in this case surrender was a BAD idea because of the terms.

    “Had the French put up what Rob deems a worthy fight, what difference would that have made? The Nazis still would have taken over France, only threre would have been far more dead or homeless Frenchmen, and more destroyed French cities.” – Jennifer

    Had the French put up more of a fight, rather than being sold out by the traitorous Vichy, a lot fewer of their citizens might have been turned over to the Nazis.

    “Once, when arguing the meaning of an infamous document, rob suggested that I made an appeal to authority for quoting the document.” – Ken Shultz

    No, I claimed that the document didn’t support your claims. That’s been borne out repeatedly. Get over it.

    “…And no one has come within a thousand miles of defending collaboration with the Gestapo, you reprehensible piece of crap.” – joe

    Really? So defending surrender to the Nazis, when all of the collaborationist crap is the natural outcome isn’t the same as defending collaboration? Dude, the only reprehensible person here is you, defending the Vichy. Even the French despise the Vichy, and convicted Petain of treason.

    joe, you seem to be spending a lot of time and effort on what amounts to name-calling, lately. It seems like you’re calling people morons on other threads, pieces of crap on this one… Are the holidays not going well for you?

  113. Some say it also led the Swiss leadership to issue orders to batallion and company commanders to treat any stories of surrender by the National govt as propaganda and to fight to last man in the event of a German invasion.

    Not to cast a judgement on any country invaded at the time, but that is hard-ass. Just saying.

  114. I’m still waiting for someone to come up with a quote from this thread that shows me being contemptuous of the French, rather than the Vichy.

    Over to you, Jennifer?

    Or maybe joe could quote me saying something that remotely justifies his claim that what I say boils down to “joe coward not say cheese-eating surrender monkey.”

    I guess his claims that I’m a cowardly chickenhawk seem a bit more reasonable if you assume that he thinks I was calling him a coward first… But he’s the first guy on this thread to use the term coward, so I guess it’s just the voices in his head again.

  115. “Not to cast a judgement on any country invaded at the time, but that is hard-ass. Just saying.” – Eric the .5b

    “Not that I care about any of the arguments here, but the government of Norway never surrendered. It’s something they like to rub in the faces of the Swedes.” – Happy Jack

    Well, there’s two govt entities that, unlike the Vichy French, passed the test of history.

    Why do the French and the Swedes always get the historical short straw?

  116. I DON’T HOLD FRANCE IN CONTEMPT, particularly not for something that happened during WW2.

    Then why are you working yourself into such a froth over people here who are saying we shouldn’t hold France in comtempt for what happened in World War Two? Particularly considering how much of your anger is based on false pretenses; I say “I can see why the French fired on us in Africa” and you translate that as “I don’t blame France for turning Jews over to the Gestapo.”

    Had the French put up more of a fight, rather than being sold out by the traitorous Vichy, a lot fewer of their citizens might have been turned over to the Nazis.

    But a lot more of their citizens would have been dead. Do you actually think the French had a chance of beating the Nazis? If not, then why are you criticizing them for backing out of a futile fight?

    It’s like the “rape” analogy I used earlier; if I face a would-be rapist who is far bigger than me and also has a weapon, I know I’m screwed (pun intended), and so I would go for the Path of Least Resistance and hope the sonofabitch didn’t kill me. Whereas anyone who held me to the same standard that you are holding the French would say I shouldn’t have given in until after I suffered a few stab wounds, broken bones or knocked-out teeth. (And Linguist would apparently say that my lack of injury proves I wasn’t really raped at all, but that’s another matter.)

  117. “Then why are you working yourself into such a froth over people here who are saying we shouldn’t hold France in comtempt for what happened in World War Two?” – Jennifer

    I’m not. I’m just not cool with apologists for the Vichy.

    ‘I say “I can see why the French fired on us in Africa” and you translate that as ‘I don’t blame France for turning Jews over to the Gestapo.'” – Jennifer

    Is that a direct quote of something I’ve written? No. Just like everything else you’ve taken issue with, it’s something I DIDN’T say.

    “But a lot more of their citizens would have been dead. Do you actually think the French had a chance of beating the Nazis? If not, then why are you criticizing them for backing out of a futile fight?” – Jennifer

    They had a better chance than Norway and Switzerland.

    I’ve already pointed out that your rape analogy doesn’t work, and I’ve given you the counter analogy, that is essentially this: Is it OK for you not to fight the rapist when you know that he’s also going to require that you allow him to kill off your children?

    I’m still waiting for you to quote me on some of the things you claim that I’ve said. You and joe didn’t happen to go off your meds at the same time, did you?

  118. Rob, considering the way you keep shifting arguments and taking quotes out of context I have to ask: are you a troll? Or are you really thatg incapable of understanding opinions that differ from your own? (To say nothing of the concept of the “paraphrase.”)

  119. Initially, I thought he was just another garden-variety, propaganda victim/troll myself–he doesn’t seem to understand any argument that–I’m guessin’–he hasn’t heard on the radio or somethin’.

    …but he’s so willfully persistent in his mistakes. …I started wondering, after a while, maybe somebody does pay him to do this. …That would explain some things.

    On the other hand, if you were the one payin’ him, wouldn’t you expect a little more for your money?

    …and besides, who says trolls have to make sense? I’m stickin’ with troll. …with Ferrous Cranus being the dominant trait.

  120. the point I was trying to make was that it’s ludicrous for Rob or anyone else to hold a country in contempt for surrendering to a considerably more powerful army without first allowing said army to bomb them into dust.

    Except the German Army was not considerably more powerful than the French. Just considerably better led. The French (with their British allies) had many more men under arms, more tanks, more artillery, etc. than the Germans. Where French commanders actually adapted to blitzkrieg and put up a fight (DeGaulle distinguished himself here) they did quite well.

    No, the French weren’t hopelessly overmatched by the Germans in any military sense. Sorry, but their surrender can’t be justified on that basis, Jennifer.

  121. No, the French weren’t hopelessly overmatched by the Germans in any military sense.

    Except for leadership, morale and tactics…

    And while there was no literal element of surprise the Germans certainly kept striking where least expected.

    It is possible that a credible defense might have been mounted had the British, French, Belgians and Dutch gotten their acts together and formulated a coherent united front.

    By the time the French surrendered they had few choices.

  122. Another thing that is overlooked is the appeal that Nazism/Fascism had in Europe after the perceived decadece and decay of the 20s and 30s. Especially among the young.

    This left many european countries with sizable fifth columns looking to be “liberated” by the Germans. By the time those who had any qualms about it realized the full implications of the bizarre racial/militaristic elements of Nazism (to be fair anti-semitism was absent from Mussolini’s fascism untill it became utterly dependent on Hitler and Il Duce was reduced to a puppet) it was too late.

    The Germans were able to recruit 3 or 4 Regiments of special SS troops in Denmark alone (even more in France and more again in Eastern European countries). These were some of the hardest fighting troops in the German War Machine. One Danish Regiment fought to very last man at the fall of Berlin. Though, of course, given the fate they faced if captured by the Russians it is likely they decided they had no choice.

    Combine the idealists with the usual opportunistic scumbags who would turn over a jew or any of their other fellow citizens for personal gain and you had a disaster.

  123. Sorry, but their surrender can’t be justified on that basis, Jennifer.

    I’m not sure Jennifer tried to justify surrender as much as she tried to explain it. …and in the context of other nation’s behavior around that time, I’m not sure I understand why a serious analysis would single France out.

    Don’t like the question about Denmark? What about the Anschluss? Why don’t we hear American populists point fingers and laugh at the Austrians? My answer is that it has little to do with the history and more to do with the propaganda value. Are you familiar with “Redneck Woman”, that Gretchen Wilson song?

    …I suspect the lyrics of that song do more to explain our present attitudes toward the French than the history of World War II.

  124. “Paraphrasing is the act in which a statement or remark is explained in other words or another way, as to clarify the meaning. Often, a paraphrase might substitute a euphemism for an actual statement, in order to avoid offense.”
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraphrase

    Jennifer,
    As you can see from this definition of paraphrase, you’re actually doing the opposite of paraphrasing – you’re taking my statements and willfully misrepresenting them to make it easier for you to argue against it. (See also, “straw man.”)

    When Jennifer says this, I can only laugh: “Rob, considering the way you keep shifting arguments and taking quotes out of context I have to ask: are you a troll? Or are you really thatg incapable of understanding opinions that differ from your own? (To say nothing of the concept of the “paraphrase.”)

    I guess anyone who doesn’t agree with her “paraphrasing” of their posts is because that person is “shifting arguments.” It wouldn’t be that she is twisting those arguments in order to better suit her “people who say surrender monkeys are idiots” line of argument (which I agree with) the better to apply it to people who haven’t espoused any such sentiment.

    “…but he’s so willfully persistent in his mistakes. …I started wondering, after a while, maybe somebody does pay him to do this. …That would explain some things.” – Ken Schultz

    You mean willfully persistent about mistakes such as continuing to link to documents that don’t support your claims? Don’t blame me for the fact that you’re still holding a grudge because nothing you’ve posted about Abu Ghraib held up to simple scrutiny of the documents you claim support your position.

    When you’re casting claims of troll about, make sure you don’t catch your reflection in the mirror. I don’t get paid for this, but since I do regularly rhetorically flog you for the simple joy of the discussion, I’d be willing to take the money.

    Why is it that anyone who persistently disagrees with you folks is a troll, an idiot, etc.? Face it, casting accusations like that are just another blind alley you try to run down when you’re cornered by your own buffoonery.

  125. “Are you familiar with ‘Redneck Woman’, that Gretchen Wilson song? …I suspect the lyrics of that song do more to explain our present attitudes toward the French than the history of World War II.” – Ken Shultz

    McCarthy saw Red Commies under his bed, apparently Schultzie sees Rednecks under his bed. Yep, rednecks sure are scary… Booo-oooo!

  126. “So defending surrender to the Nazis, when all of the collaborationist crap is the natural outcome isn’t the same as defending collaboration?”

    The straw! My God, the straw!

    No, the French Republic’s army’s surrender to a superior force, to prevent the destruction of their country, is not the same thing as cooperating with the Gestapo in the deportation of French Jews.

    I agree that rob’s density, his incapcity to understand simple arguments and his eargerness to miscast them, are too contrived and too selective to be genuine lapses in reading skills.

    He’s a troll. Buh bye, rob.

  127. Ken did provide a great web-site tho.

    There’s joe:

    “The most common variants of Ideologue are conservative and liberal. Smug and self satisfied in their certitudes, Ideologue’s opinions are merely a loose collection of intellectual conceits, and e is genuinely astonished, bewildered and and indignant that his views are not universally embraced as the Truth. He regards the opposing point of view as a form of cognitive dissonance whose only cure is relentless propagandizing and browbeating. The conservative iteration of Ideologue parades himself as a logical, clear thinker, while the liberal version trumpets his higher level of mental, spiritual and social awareness. Troglodyte is the natural ally of conservative Ideologue, and for liberal Ideologue it is Weenie. Ideologue is a fierce, but very predictable Warrior..”

    There’s Ken:

    “Palooka will battle anyone, anytime, anywhere – he seems to love it, even though he always takes a beating. After a terrific pounding at the hands of, for example, Kung-Fu Master, he’ll just struggle to his feet and wobble back into the ring. His astonishing ability to absorb punishment leads one to suspect that during his long Warrior career Palooka has taken a few too many punches. Often, as an act of mercy, Nanny will step in to stop the fight.”

    Although he probably thinks of himself as one of the

    “In a perpetual personal feud, Duelists generally don’t menace anyone but each other, unless, of course, another Warrior foolishly gets between them. They may not even remember what started the fight, but not they cordially loathe one another and seize every to go at each other. When the other Warriors eventually weary of their endless kvetching the Duelists will be shouted down or Nanny will ban them. Even after getting the heave-ho from one forum, however, it is not unusual for them to seeking each other in other forums to renew their fight.”

    Sadly, he falls more along the lines of the classic “battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.”

    I don’t really know Jennifer well enough to pick out her “type”…

  128. “He’s a troll. Buh bye, rob.” – joe

    Yep. Whenever joe & Company start jumping up and down and pointing their fingers at someone claiming they’re a troll, you know they’ve run out of the ability to do anything except resort to personal attacks.

    Weak.

    Oh, wait, I think I was supposed to write this instead:

    “Gee, now that the tribunal has passed judgement on me, what can I possibly do to get back in their good graces so that I can be invited back into their “clique” and come back to the island??? I’m sorry I ruined your Panther Party!” (It helps to read it with a Forrest Gump accent.)

  129. Rob, for your sake I hope you really are a troll. Because if the misunderstandings and lack of ability to understand context that you’ve demonstrated here are sincere, that is a terribly, terribly sad thing.

    I’ll not waste my time in debating you anymore. Tell yourself that’s because you won, if it brings you happiness. And feel free to direct personal insults at me, as well.

  130. Jennifer,

    I really hope that you’re as sensible as you sounded in your last post. As for not debating anymore, I can only say, “Cool.” (I’ll even try not to break my own arm patting myself on the back that “I won.”)

    My biggest complaint about the threads I argue with joe and Ken on, is that they turn into flame wars where sensible discussion gets drowned out by personal insults.

    It only makes it worse when I fire back, and then we’re off to the races. It’s more tiresome than anything else.

    Besides, the time I’ve spent on this thread could’ve probably been better spent at the gym, working off all the Christmas/Chanukah grub I’ve eaten…

    Cheers!

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