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Explaining reality to a few members of the "reality-based" community, part II

Our second refugee from reality is Luke, from France. Luke described himself as French, a "regular cheese-eating guy" (somehow he forgot "surrender monkey" to complete the phrase -- thank you, Matt Groening and Groundskeeper Willie for THAT particularly brilliant turn of phrase), and went on to put forth his take on US-French relations.

...I am french... regular cheese eating guy from the second oldest democracy in the world, which used to be America's best friend ...

But that seems to be a long time ago, a very long time ago....

You may know what it feels when you see your best friend doing a huge mistake. And you try to explain to him why, in you point of view, honestly, he dead wrong. But you best friend won't listen. Maybe because you found yourself unable to find the right words. Whatever. The thing is, you realize suddently your oldest friend and you are all of a suddend living on two different planets.

And that's a sad awakening, I can tell you that.

Julie did a particularly fine job of handing Luke his own derriere, so I'll simply deconstruct the basic, wrongheaded take on the history of US-French relations.

Before I begin, however, I must pay tribute to one of the finest pieces ever written on any blog anywhere. I call your attention to Bigwig's Military History Of France, which does the best job I've ever seen anywhere of outlining the French's role in the world. The only thing I've ever seen to even come close to this in sheer brilliance is Laurence Simon's post-9/11 warning to the world, "Only a Crazy Person Picks a Fight With Someone Who's Nuts."

There is a certain mentality I've noticed that is getting more and more common. It's based on the drive to succeed. There are certain people who are not content to simply succeed, but can only feel satisfied if others fail. They seem to think that the only way to rise to the top is if they can drive others to the bottom. That the successes of others is a direct threat to their own chances to succeed. That seems to be the prevailing attitude of the French.

But back to the topic of French-American relations...

Yes, during the American Revolution, the French were of invaluable assistance. But as others have so ably pointed out, that wasn't so much helping us as sticking it to the British. Likewise, during the War of 1812.

During the American Civil War, France favored the Confederacy, but remained officially neutral. They were interested in establishing a puppet state in Mexico, and liked the US being too distracted to intervene.

In World War I, the main French contribution was mud and brothels. After requiring the US and England to save their asses, they were major proponents of imposing crippling reparations on Germany, setting the stage for Big Mistake II 25 years later.

In World War II, the French surrendered so fast, some thought they might have actually violated the laws of physics. They cheerfully set up a puppet government and started collaborating their little hearts out. De Gaulle, the leader in exile, finally condescended to allow the Allies to liberate France from the Nazis. Postwar opinion polls showed not only did the Vichy government never exist, but that approximately 163% of the French population had been active members of the Resistance.

France didn't forgive the US for liberating them from the Nazis. They resisted joining NATO, and at one point presented the alliance with a "us or them" ultimatum. When the rest of NATO chose to stick with the nation that had a record of actually WINNING wars, France went it on their own. They later allowed themselves to be persuaded to return.

France had been a bit of an also-ran on the whole empire-building. It turns out they were as inept as building an empire as they were at standing up to Germans. The worst hell-holes in Africa right now are former French colonies. But the crown jewel of France's empire was French Indochina -- or, as the rebels who wanted to throw out the French called it, Viet Nam.

When it became obvious that that they were going to lose, the French did the only logical thing they could do -- the called in the US to help. And, naturally, we said "sure!" and promptly poured 58,000 American lives down that drain while the French cut and ran, not even taking the time for their customary surrender. Merci beaucoup, mes amis.

France did have one great military victory, however. In July of 1985, Greenpeace (the annoying enviromental activists) sent their ship, the Rainbow Warrior, to the South Pacific to discourage the French from conducting nuclear tests. French agents bombed and sank it, killing a photographer.

And that brings us up to the current war in Iraq. The French government (and certain key individuals close to government officials) made untold millions, perhaps billions of Saddam, both before and after the first Gulf War. France supplied with 13% of its total weapons purchases, second only to Russia/the Soviet Union (57%) and well head of the US, which came in 11th with about 1%.

For once, the French found an honest bone in their bodies. Once bought, they stayed bought. When the US went to the UN to get it to get off its collective ass and put the "resolve" into its resolutions, France did everything they could to prevent it. They attempted to strongarm the newly-free nations of Eastern Europe, telling them that they "missed an excellent opportunity to shut up," and deployed every bribe in their arsenal to sway their former colonial holdings in Africa. Too bad for them, however, that they didn't figure on a US president who had the testicular fortitude (a concept foreign to the French government) to see the UN vote for what it was and give it all the respect it was due -- to wit, none.

Jed Babbin, who had served as an undersecretary of defense during the late 80's, put it best back in 2003: "going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind."

So, Luke, you claim that France "used to be America's best friend." With friends like that, who needs enemas?



Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Explaining reality to a few members of the "reality-based" community, part II:

» MuD & PHuD linked with Ah, The French

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Comments (57)

Speaking of dumbasses.... W... (Below threshold)

Speaking of dumbasses.... Why not

a) learn html

b) Check the blog after to save to make sure you did not screw it up.


c) thank me for saving your techno-illiterate ass again!


One more time, with feeling... (Below threshold)

One more time, with feeling:
The aid that we recieved form the French during our Revolution was indispensible, and it and the political recognition that went along with it were the tide-turner for our Revolution.


That aid came from Imperial France: from the Empereror Louis, from the Imperial Court. The majority of the Frenchpeople who applauded and aided the newborn American Nation were slaughtered during the French Revolution... which Modern France proudly traces its ancestry to. We owe our national freedom to the Empire, not the Republic. To the descendants of those who brutally murdered our benefactors (and their whole families, in many cases) we owe at best the back of our hand and the contempt all civilized peoples feel for savages.

Hello, my name is Lou. I am... (Below threshold)

Hello, my name is Lou. I am 6 years old. I am blind from birth, and
profoundly different in my head...
One year ago, my daddy decided to create a webblog to share with people the slightly crazy experience of my discovery of life. Now, after a great success in french (I'm french speaking), this blog start to be translated in english progressively, but it's very difficult to let it discover to the english web community.
So, if you are curious, let come visit my blog and if you like it, refer it.
Thank you.
Lou (through daddy's words)


While I haven't been in a f... (Below threshold)

While I haven't been in a fight since grade school, I can safely say I know more about warfare than any of those weenie French.

My experience with combat goes way back to when I first started reading the combative words of fighting men like Wm. F. Buckley, a distinguished veteran himself in rhetoric, and today I continue to learn from experts in warfare like Richard Cheney, who has made more money selling weapons and materiel than any of those Liberals like Shalishkashvili, Clarke, or even Kerry will ever see in their lives. Unless Kerry gets it from his (French-speaking!) wife, of course, which doesn't count since he wasn't born with it himself like President Bush was.

You see, I was lucky enough to be born in this country, and that gives me a natural edge over people born in certain (French!) countries. My flag is prettier, too, and I get such a warm feeling from considering that.

Now, most of my warm feeling, admittedly, comes from considering myself as part of a group (Americans) and the juxtaposition of that group with another (the French), who I like to denigrate. It is mainly that exercise, and listening to my favorite Conservative commentators, which gives me the warm, swelling pride that conquers my feelings of inadequacy from not having fought or even tried to sign up to fight, or really done anything except be born here. But I know, in my heart, that I'm a better fighter.

Stupid French.

You forgot Algeria. Their l... (Below threshold)

You forgot Algeria. Their losses there are presumably why they are trying their best to persuade us from making a similarly horrible mistake. Just looking out for our best interests, ya know? Problem is, that war is about as comparable to this one as Vietnam.

I love the fact that you pi... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I love the fact that you pick people out of your comments to demonstrate how crazy the left is... as if every left leaning site in the world couldn't cherry pick their comments and find idiotic statements from the right.

Oh come on Bill, admit it..... (Below threshold)

Oh come on Bill, admit it... The left to right kook ratio is heavily skewed to the left.

Even many DUers are now admitting that.

Bill K is right, what if so... (Below threshold)

Bill K is right, what if someone on the left were to cherry pick, say, this moron:

The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman - the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress - mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

"I don't know why you're talking about Sweden," Bush said. "They're the neutral one. They don't have an army."

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: "Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army." Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. "No, no, it's Sweden that has no army."

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

Why would I admit it. The ... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Why would I admit it. The rights have just as many kooks. Just not as many on the internet.

Ron Suskind is a moron and ... (Below threshold)

Ron Suskind is a moron and posts on Wisbang? Okay. Sweden has an army? Hell, we have more Boy Scouts than Sweden has soldiers!

Fuck the French.Or... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Fuck the French.

Or at least their leadership, anyways, I can't quite bring myself to extend that animosity to the French people. We will be friends again some day, but I may not live to see that day myself.

I'm sick and tired of the Europeans, and the French in particular, of claiming to be making some sort of moral stand in the issue of the Iraq war, when all along European governments, leaders, and businessmen were being bribed to help keep Saddam in power and selling him weapons on credit. (Which of course, they will never get paid for.)

I have a lot more respect for Russia. Sure, they acted like assholes in the matter, but at least they didn't claim they acted out of a concern for the Iraqi people.

I dare our French friend Luke to walk along the street in Baghdad and yell out to those who pass by that Iraq was better off under Saddam. Then we could see what the Iraqi people think of that.

After all, I think the opinion of the Iraqi people is much more important than the people of some pissant banana republic in the EU.

Not for nothing Julie, but ... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Not for nothing Julie, but Sweden would have to have, literally, almost 50% of their population in the armed services in order to match the number of members of the boy scouts.

Population of Sweden according to the CIA Factbook: 8,986,400

Members of the Boy Scouts: 3,200,218
Adult members: 1,200,454
Total: 4,400,672

Actually, (didn't even thin... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Actually, (didn't even think about it), there are more boy scouts than there are members of the active US Military.

"Bush held to his view. ... (Below threshold)

"Bush held to his view. "No, no, it's Sweden that has no army."

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject. "

It never ceases to amaze or disgust me how many people voted for this dangerous, ignorant man. It doesn't say much about middle America does it.

Is there an argument out th... (Below threshold)

Is there an argument out there that the Bush haters can make without referencing Bush and how stupid they think he is.

Seriously, here we are in a thread about France and PIMullet et al. bring up Bush.

Get a life you guys. Try and make an argument based on the facts of the topic, not your hatred of our President.

"Is there an argument ou... (Below threshold)

"Is there an argument out there that the Bush haters can make without referencing Bush and how stupid they think he is."

It's kind of difficult to do that when he provides DAILY examples. Honestly, how much do you people need to hear before you wake up and smell the coffee. Perhaps when your sons and daughters are being drafted into this illegal war against the CITIZENS of Iraq, you'll finally realize what a fine mess this "christian" man has gotten us ALL into.

And why are the French bein... (Below threshold)

And why are the French being continously bashed when they were right all along????!!! Un-freakin-believeable.

Though you would hope a Pre... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Though you would hope a President wouldn't so blatantly confuse Switzerland and Sweden, for the average man it isn't an impossible stretch. Sweden was sorta neutral in WWI and WWII, they don't have a large standing army, and they both start with SW.

I don't know why I am defending the leader of the free-world making such a stupid mistake, but hell... why nto.

Mullet--You should b... (Below threshold)
Phil Smith:

You should be worried about the fact that your guy couldn't beat him. It says one hell of a lot more about John Kerry and the dems than it does "Middle America". James Carville recognizes that; when (if) a bunch more of you do, you'll stand a much better chance.

Paul, thanks for cleaning u... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Paul, thanks for cleaning up my mess. I'm a writer, dammit, not a software engineer!

I'm sorry if I don't seem suitably contrite over my error. I just don't feel much like toadying today.


A couple of points to add t... (Below threshold)

A couple of points to add to the discussion (and steer it back to France):

1) The first major military conflict that the United States faced was with France; I'm guessing they no longer teach about the "Quasi-War" of 1798-1800, but the French Revolutionary government and the United States fought a nasty, undeclared naval war over French seizures of American merchantmen carrying trade to Britain. This war really helped form the USN, as it set the stage for the Barbary Wars that followed, and showed that the US was not going to be faced down by any European power, even a former "ally".

2) It was certainly not the "Imperial" court that aided the American Revolutionary government, nor was Louis XVI an "Emperor"; he was the king of France, and yes, there is a difference. The French "Imperial" period is defined by the two Napoleons, and the monarchy was, in fact, restored between the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and the deposition of Louis-Philippe in 1848 and the creation of the Second Republic (which led to the Second Empire, incidentally, that was so chummy with the CSA).

If we're going to irritate the French, let's do it properly. Of course, I think we irritate them merely by existing, but that's just me.

I just don't feel much l... (Below threshold)

I just don't feel much like toadying today.

How about tomorrow?

Jay -- this should cheer yo... (Below threshold)

Jay -- this should cheer you up: This french website's protest against french bashing was to list every french joke known to man.


It's better than another surrender!

Though you would hope a ... (Below threshold)

Though you would hope a President wouldn't so blatantly confuse Switzerland and Sweden. . .

Aside from my visceral dislike for ignorance, it doesn't bother me: not like either of them matters. Hell, you can throw Swaziland into the mix.

"Try and make an argument b... (Below threshold)

"Try and make an argument based on the facts of the topic"


Just what exactly are the facts of this particular topic? That the French suck? That Europe is a bunch of effete, greedy snobs who will cater to despots whenever it serves their own interest?

Good lord man what the hell kind of topic is that? You don't need facts to call people names. Indeed, facts only seem to cloud the issue.

Hasn't the US on occassion supported despots and tyrrants when it suited our interests? So why we are jumping on the French for doing the same? Didn't Halliburton do business with Sadaam post-Desert Storm and Iran through subsidiaries? Why do you guys make excuses for this kind of behavior?

Seriously, fact? You guys don't really care about facts.

Well ... I'm quite surprise... (Below threshold)

Well ... I'm quite surprise I'm made the news back on top of your blog, Jay.

And, reading your in-depth comments, I kind of understand you don't like the french... OK, no problem there. I can live with that.
(I've seen the tee-shirt in New York, that said "first Iraq, then France" ... very friendly !)

The point is, you go in depth to analyze how bad the French were in history in conducting wars ...

Let me tell you something : I'm french, I'm very proud of it, but I do not place my pride as being french by the fact that my country demonstrated in history the french were the best fighter in the world ! If this is the only criteria to be proud of a country, then you sould be a proud chinese just because you have invaded Tibet and crushed it, just to give one example.

The french has been rather poor fighters in Indochine, in the disastrous war in algeria, just to mention two recent national failures. And we have been specially inept during the major german invasion in june 1940, were we arrogantly thought we had the best army in the world at the time, and we've been wiped out in a few weeks.

I never said or implied that the U.S. were poor fighters. The U.S. marines were totally awesome in the Pacific during WWII, and, just to cite one example, their bravery at Iwo Jiwa is beyond imagination.

The Americans came in Europe to free it against the nazis, with the help of the soviets in the east flank. We know that and has always been very grateful for this.

And in their past history, the Americans has fought many brave wars which were totally justified.

I means, that's not the point.

The only point I've made is this, simple enough :

For the first time in history, the U.S. had attacked a country (Iraq) that never attacked them, that never menaced them, that never was a threat to America.

Very simple.

And there is no way around that reality ...

So that's why the french (among a vast majority of other countries) told their americans, ahem ..., friends : please don't do this.
And, believe me, this is not because any "special deals" the french would have with Saddam, and all the stories along this line ... France don't need that to have good export figures !
It is precisely because we've been there, in algeria, and we knew, or we had a good feeling of, what would be the consequences of this very wrong move.
But Bush won't listen, and said "the game is over", and two days after, the tomahawk missiles started to destroy homes in Baghdad.

I won't go in Baghdad saying "it was better under Saddam", simply because I've never been there, and I don't know how is was before, so i am the last one who could make just a comparison. On this one, just le the Iraqis speak. (Associated Press quote them on this from time to time : read it !).

And even that is not the point.

The point is : we look today at Mr Bush, who decides : Saddam? I don't like this guy, let's bomb and invade his country !
Then he looks at Khadafi (who has run Lybia as a terrorist state for decades, remember Lockerbie ? Remember the air raid ordered by Ronald Reagan to kill him ?), and he said, I like this guy, let's do business !

So, we have one man who decide like that to invade a country just because he feels like it. And you think this is right ?

If you think it's right, OK, that's your opinion.

Well, I don't. I don't think this is right.
And, for just you know, I'm not alone here.
If you eventually wants to interest yourself of what the various countries in the world think of what the U.S. are doing in Iraq right now, you would be very surprised.

But, maybe you don't like the rest of the world either.
Or is it just the french which have a very special place in your heart ?

Speaking of facts: J... (Below threshold)

Speaking of facts:
Jay writes:
"In World War I, the main French contribution was mud and brothels. After requiring the US and England to save their asses, they were major proponents of imposing crippling reparations on Germany, setting the stage for Big Mistake II 25 years later."

So then how does he explain this:

World War I cost France 1,357,800 dead, 4,266,000 wounded (of whom 1.5 million were permanently maimed) and 537,000 made prisoner or missing -- exactly 73% of the 8,410,000 men mobilized, according to William Shirer in The Collapse of the Third Republic. Some context: France had 40 million citizens at the start of the war; six in ten men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-eight died or were permanently maimed.

Much though I am loathe to ... (Below threshold)

Much though I am loathe to admit it, frameone makes a decent point about French losses of manpower in the First World War. Frankly, any student of military history knows that the French soldier can and has fought well (especially in the Franco-Prussian War and World War One); however, the problem lies with the attitude of the French government(s), which, generally speaking, are not the same thing.

However, I think it best to remember the possibly apocryphal story about Dean Rusk and De Gaulle when the latter withdrew from NATO and demanded all American troops be withdrawn from France as well; Rusk replied with "Does that include the dead ones?" Luke and his ilk can protest all they like about France, but the fact remains that the current French government despises the United States.

French in WWI? Try Kubrik's... (Below threshold)

French in WWI? Try Kubrik's take: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050825/

I don't think it's the Unit... (Below threshold)

I don't think it's the United States they dispise, just the idiots in charge at the moment. Hopefully they realize that half of us don't like them either.

Yes, PIMullet, we are fully... (Below threshold)

Yes, PIMullet, we are fully aware of this.

After it was mentionned in TIME weekly magazine, I've been to http://www.sorryeverybody.com/.

The world loves you 49% !
Be sure of that !

Frameone, perhaps "facts" w... (Below threshold)

Frameone, perhaps "facts" was a poor choice of words as it relates to Jay Tea's opinion post. I was merely suggesting that this post and comment thread should have nothing to do with the President. And if you read the comments you would see that happening.

So I stand by my assertion that the Bush haters out there can not make an argument, justify their opinion or refute someone else's without somehow trashing Bush.

So then how does he expl... (Below threshold)

So then how does he explain this: . . .

They didn't get the memo: "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his. "

George S. Patton

The world loves you 49% ... (Below threshold)

The world loves you 49% !

No doubt as much as it loved Neville Chamberlain and his ilk. It's very, very important that "the world loves you," 49%. Just keep repeating that.

Remember, E. Nough, that Bu... (Below threshold)

Remember, E. Nough, that Bush's 2004 election was the smallest re-election margin of victory for a Republican in this century.

"So, we have one man who... (Below threshold)

"So, we have one man who decide like that to invade a country just because he feels like it. And you think this is right ?"

Fact? That sounds like an opinion to me. And:

"And, believe me, this is not because any "special deals" the french would have with Saddam, and all the stories along this line ... France don't need that to have good export figures !"

Then why did they do it? It's not a "story".

It would be one thing for the French Government to say, "We don't agree and will have no part of it." But they didn't. Their attempts to subvert and even collaborate is what has us so upset. If they want no part of it ... well then, have no part of it.

And the French, along with a great deal of Europe have bashed us long enough. The anti-American sentiment across the pond is nothing new. Anyone who says so hasn't been paying attention.

I think it's sickening that the French Government treated Arafat like the world's savior, even though no one on the other side of the pond seems to have a problem with it.

You can verbally defend your thoughts about the war and I'll dish it right back. I'm just tired of this "holier than thou" crap.

Brad, is that enough qualif... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Brad, is that enough qualifiers to make it meaningless?

Look at it this way:

A larger percentage of the voting public voted for Bush than did for Bill Clinton, in either election.

His margin (and percentage) was larger than that of Jimmy Carter (1976).

Both were also larger than that of Richard Nixon (1968).

More to E. Nough's point, it is irrelevant whether the rest of the world "loves" a particular policy or not---because we are neither subject to the "votes" of the rest of the world (did the Chinese get to vote on anything?), and more to the point, the rightness or wrongness of the policy is not decided by consensus.

Chamberlain's (and Daladier's) support for appeasement did not make it right, even though both were cheered upon their return from Munich. Anti-Semitism has probably had a longer history of being accepted by the majority than being condemned by the majority.

Luke, my thesis was based u... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Luke, my thesis was based upon the old aphorism: "The race may not always go to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet." It was my idea to apply that concept to French foreign relations: simply because France favors something, that's no guarantee that it's selfish, immoral, or simply wrong, nor that it will be done ineptly, cravenly, or brutally (or any combination of the above), but that's the safest way to bet. And I backed up my observation with facts, hyperbole, and sarcasm in a style that I like to think is entertaining while still informative.

Several readers have questioned my comments about France's role in World War I, and I appreciate them doing so (even frameone, who brought it up first). I am strongly considering retracting that part of my piece. But I think it telling that the only other quibbles people have brought up is that I didn't include Algeria. I also probably could have worked in something about the heat wave that devastated France's elderly, but I was trying to focus solely on episodes that had a direct bearing on US-French relations.


Unfortunately, French apolo... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately, French apologists and the French themselves seem horribly out of touch with the reality of how and what made France the country that it is today. It wasn't the ruffle of skirts and pretty accents and how well people cooked with butter, but a wretched and quite barbaric and even recent past that is based upon class warfare so grotesque in application that it defies the concept of civilization. And, I think this is the very aspect to their culture that seeps out in resentments and disdains for especially the "common" American and America. France basically just slaughtered their 'aristocrats' without trials and process of justice and then redistributed wealth among the populace but they have gone to great lengths to make that recent history unmentionable, in my experience.

And I have French ancestry from one grandparent...I used to romanticize the place but no longer. It's not a pretty culture, has a violent recent history, more people should learn about it.

I think, rather, the word "... (Below threshold)

I think, rather, the word "grotesque" best suits the French recent history. Which people should still read about, to gain more insight into the culture.

But, there's a bright side ... (Below threshold)

But, there's a bright side to it: learn Italian and the French will never, as in, never, speak to you again. Just ignore you altogether. Which might indicate a certain intelligence from and by the Italians, in my experience.

Ha. ~:-D

Recent Swedish history has ... (Below threshold)
The Concerned Engineer:

Recent Swedish history has been peaceful, the last war being the Campaign against Norway 1814 establishing a Sweden-dominated personal union with Norway. The union was peacefully dissolved in 1905, despite some sabre-rattling. Sweden remained a neutral country during World War I and World War II (with a small exception for the Winter War). It continued to stay non-aligned during the Cold War and is today not a member of any military alliance but has participated in NATO military training.


"In World War II, the Frenc... (Below threshold)

"In World War II, the French surrendered so fast, some thought they might have actually violated the laws of physics. They cheerfully set up a puppet government and started collaborating their little hearts out. De Gaulle, the leader in exile, finally condescended to allow the Allies to liberate France from the Nazis."

I think it's also important to point out that the French losses in WWI contributed greatly to the sudden collapse at the outset of WWII. France was hard pressed to make up the losse in less than a generation, short of the kind of full scale militarization that occurred in Nazi Germany. Add arrogance and a fundamental gnorance of the Nazi threat and, yeah, France collapsed pretty fast.

But I also think you're doing a disservice to the French Resistance. Many of the the Resistance fighters were communists and socialists who felt betrayed by DeGaulle after the war. In the immediate post-war years, DeGaulle attempted to rewrite the history of the resistance to suit his own political agenda.
I'm also not saying that the French Resistance proved decisive in the defeat of the Nazis, but then again, no resistance movement was. Their job was to harass the Nazis from behind the lines and tie up valuabel resources that might otherwise have been directed at the Allies (or used to speed up the Holocaust). (The maquis were a model for other resistance movements which is one of the reasons why the French failure in Algeria was so tragically ironic). It was dangerous, deadly, heroic work and thousands of French men, women and children were involved in it. Many of them communists, socialists and anarchists. Of course, you can make of that what you will but please don't associate the resistance with the post-war policies of DeGaulle.

The Concerned Engineer: Y... (Below threshold)

The Concerned Engineer: You do realize, I hope, that quoting Wikipedia is like issuing a prescription off a public restroom wall? Just because it-is-written in Wikipedia, does not lucidity make. Even that quote you provided there seems to have been authored by someone not quite adroit at seventh grade composition skills.

frameone: the Catholic Chu... (Below threshold)

frameone: the Catholic Church and French Catholics had a lot to do with countering and rebelling against the social memes of Nazism, too. Not to be overlooked, Catholics played a very significant part in Europe in WWII in a quiet but determined capacity to help sustain the survival of many who otherwise might have perished, and probably would have. And maintained a social resistance to Nazism not only in France but in other parts of Europe.

Brad,Your comment ... (Below threshold)


Your comment "Bush's 2004 election was the smallest re-election margin of victory for a Republican in this century," has one small problem - it's been the only re-election victory in this century. It's now the 21st century, not the 20th.

Time to change your calendar.....

I dont think that many part... (Below threshold)

I dont think that many parties involved can really claim the moral high ground in the Iraq case. People on here have pointed out a few European countries who had investments in Iraq. It's true, they are concerned about money, about profit,

However, the US isn’t in Iraq for primarily humanitarian reasons, and I dont think that many people would argue that. I agree that there is a possibility that the people of Iraq could end up with a better form of government through this war, but its hard to tell how thats going to work out at this point.

We're there primarily for our own strategic interests. The people of Iraq are secondary at best in the US agenda.

If Hussein had obeyed the US, and followed orders, I doubt that we would be in there today, human rights abuses or not. Dont believe me? Then why arent we very concerned with human rights abuses in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Because they do what we want more or less, that’s why. We supported Hussein because he was our little stooge in the 1980s, but once he started challenging us he became a problem.

I dont like this particular foreign policy, but it seems to be whats happening.

I have a hard time condemning France, Germany, or Russia for being concerned about their investments/relations in other countries, considering the fact that many countries do the very same thing, including the US. That doesnt mean that I agree what‘s happening, but it IS a double standard. The US protects financial interests just like everyone else. And the US sells weapons to other nations, and yes we do it for profit.

France profited by selling arms to Iraq. The US profits by selling arms to Saudi Arabia, a country with a less than stellar human rights record.

This war is more complicated that being just about getting rid of the evil Hussein, as the "right" promulgates, but it is also more complicated than the "evil war monger Bush" argument coming from the other side.

The people of Iraq are a fairly destitute population at the whim of forces they have no real control over. They dont have too much power in determining their own futures at this point.

Hussein treated them like hell. The US uses the Iraqi people and the furthering of democracy/freedom as a rallying point, but to me thats just PR. The primary goal is securing/reshaping Iraq in ways that will benefit US (and others') future interests...and it is very possible that the Iraqi people might benefit as well, but by no means is that the number one goal, IMO.

If France was invading Iraq and destroying US investments or relations, the US government would be just as against the action as the French are today. Nobody want to lose money.

"With friends like that, wh... (Below threshold)

"With friends like that, who needs enemas?"

Well, Jay, maybe you don't know about this, because I guess this kind of information never made it to Fox News but, in Afghansitan, 5500 service French mens were sent under the Untited States Central Command for peace keeping missions.

I repeat : 5500 service frenchmen ...

see here : France Support to the Global War on Terror

You want to know how well they helped America in Afghanistan ? Just ask U.S. General John Abizaid.

Still need some enemas, my "friend" ?

Just after the dreadful 9/1... (Below threshold)

Just after the dreadful 9/11 attacks, the U.S. launched a DEFENSIVE action against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime which supported Al-Qaeda. This military action got world support and the participation of everyone, including some 5500 french troops (see my previous post).
Have you seen any demonstration against this defensive action ? Not one.

When, in March 2003, the Bush administration decided to ATTACK a harmless country who never attacked U.S. and was not even a threat, millions of demonstrations hit the streets, including a record one million people in London.

I guess you are clueless why for Afghanistan you've the world with you, and for Iraq, you've got the world against you.

You are clueless on this aren't you?
Or, more simply you don't care at all, right ?

I hope this got enough factual, hyperbolic, and sarcastic for your taste, Jay. ;-)

You see, I aknowlegde tha t... (Below threshold)

You see, I aknowlegde tha the French were not that good at war this past century. Without any doubt, the Americans are the best when it come to really kill people, bomb cities, destroy Fallujah, wipe out commnunities.
"I like the smell of napalm in the morning, it smells like victory !" (Apocalypse Now)
The Americans are simply the best at waging wars.

So, we decided we would specialize in peace keeping. So, in Bosnia, after the U.S. Air Force had finished safely bombing the area from their mighty fighters-bombers flyning at a safe altitude, we sent Bernard Kouchner, the former president of Medecins sans Frontieres (the French Doctors, ever heard of them ?) to clear the mess and appease the country. And today, we can say that the job is well done.

Same thing in Afghanistan. Peace keeping.

You see ? A cow-bow calling "Bring them on!" on one side of the pond, the French Doctors on the other side. Different points of view ...

Just after the dreadful ... (Below threshold)
Patrick Chester:

Just after the dreadful 9/11 attacks, the U.S. launched a DEFENSIVE action against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime which supported Al-Qaeda.

Defensive? Looked more like an offensive reaction to me.


Oh and I've heard of Medecins sans Frontieres. They're the group that left Afghanistan in a huff because American soldiers were providing aid to civilians and that was bad because... Well, I guess your presumptions answers it: the darn brutes trying to help people when they're supposed to be making comments about napalm's scent in the early hours of the day.

Silly Americans. Next thing you know, they'll send one of those awful aircraft carriers to help survivors of a natural disaster when they're supposed to be bombing people from a safe altitude or something. /sarcasm

Jay,You're trying ... (Below threshold)


You're trying to teach reality to "reality based" people? First you need to face reality yourself before you can pass it on to others.

Basically what I see here under #! and 2 is more like a history lesson. :-)


Well I guess I'm our of my ... (Below threshold)

Well I guess I'm our of my league here and stay out of the reality based history, so thus apologize for anything I said and I'll just kinda bypass the stuff I have no friggin idea what you guys are talking about here.


why the fuck are some stupi... (Below threshold)

why the fuck are some stupid racist bastards cussing french people? what have they done to you guys? they have not murdered your family, have they? no of course, so keep your useless fucking opinions to yourselves next time. we are all humans and none of us deserve criticism like that. especially TIM IN PA, man you have lost it big time, why are you so racist??? you wouldn't like the french people cussing americans like you, do you? put yourselves in their shoes and see how they feel, you wouldn't like it would ya? fuck this world, its fucked up; people eat each other nowadays, people have group sex, more people are turning out to be gay, crime is increasing big time, people are more into begin terrorists, kidnapping and rape is increasing too, the last thing we didn't need was nature getting into it and causing this tsunami killing thousands of poor people. it can decrease in a way for people like you guys to stop criticising other people like french people. have respect.


Amelia, I wasn't aware that... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Amelia, I wasn't aware that the French were a distinct race. As for what have they done (and not done) -- I thought I spelled it out pretty clearly. And what is this "wouldn't like the french people cussing americans" stuff? That's a major national vocation over there. I'm sorry if you don't like my returning the favor.

Perhaps you ought to reconsider going off your meds, Amelia.


Jay Tea, man i lost it big ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, man i lost it big time, you know what? the thing was that i never read the article that you gave, so i know that i didn't have the right to judge you guys. when i saw what TIM IN PA wrote about french ppl i though that ain't really fair. as a muslim im not a fan of french ppl 'coz it is so sad that the french government don't allow muslim girls to wear scarves at school. i can't believe i was sticking up for them!! how stupid was i? i ain't no racist girl but sometimes ppl don't like a certain thing about different nationalities.

yo Jay Tea, whats this thing about me going off my meds, your the one who is bringing this shit boring french subject up, you must be a boring fool who can't find other interesting headlines for ppl to give feedback. yo next time take a chill-pill, it'll be worth it lol. don't mess with and half-spanish and half-kurdish babe from london.


Amelia, you say you're a Mu... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Amelia, you say you're a Muslim? Then why are you talking to me, a kuffir man? Calling yourself a "babe" and using foul language? Allah will NOT be pleased, nor will your male owners -- er, relatives and guardians. They might even put you through another clitoridectomy -- er, "circumcision."

You said you never read the article I referenced, so therefore you have no right to judge. That's a crock. Everyone has the right to judge. It's that nobody has the right to judge with impunity. Feel free to judge me; just don't expect me to act like a good Muslim woman and bow my head submissively. I WILL answer, and I WILL have the facts at my disposal -- unlike yourself.

And you claim to be half-Kurdish, half-Spanish. You forgot 100% twit.

(Militantly kuffir and proud resident of Dar El-Harb)






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