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Beyond Rhetoric

If you're curious about French participation in the war on terror, take a look at this Washington Post article, which chronicles Franco-American cooperation in apprehending members of al-Qaida. It's interesting to read that despite the "freedom fries" rhetoric and ever-popular hatred of all things French, intelligence-community professionals from both nations work together, and quite amicably at that.

Here's a snippet:

The rarely discussed Langley-Paris connection also belies the public portrayal of acrimony between the two countries that erupted over the invasion of Iraq. Within the Bush administration, the discord was amplified by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who has claimed the lead role in the administration's "global war on terrorism" and has sought to give the military more of a part in it.

But even as Rumsfeld was criticizing France in early 2003 for not doing its share in fighting terrorism, his U.S. Special Operations Command was finalizing a secret arrangement to put 200 French special forces under U.S. command in Afghanistan. Beginning in July 2003, its commanders have worked side by side there with U.S. commanders and CIA and National Security Agency representatives.

I don't exactly care for French foreign policy, which seems eternally aimed at being a thorn in America's side, but it helps to remember that civilized governments are generally on the same side in the war on terror, but chiefly differ on the particulars of how to wage that war.

Pennywit has never watched a Jerry Lewis movie, and he writes at Pennywit.com.

Comments (7)

Damn, Penny, you're ruining... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Damn, Penny, you're ruining my "the French are to blame for everything" theme...


i work with several frenchm... (Below threshold)

i work with several frenchmen. parisian "city slickers" are insufferably obnoxious, conceited & arrogant. no different from our own average new york smart ass. but there are many guys from outside paris & they are the most amicable men i met. some were born in algeria, grew up in nice & hate muslims with passion.

We do vary on our opinion o... (Below threshold)

We do vary on our opinion of how to fight the war on terror. France's version is for Bernard Guillet to accept oil-for-food money illegally and pay Chirac and his cronies to back out of their agrrement to be our allies in the war against Saddam. In order to prove that they are tough on terror the French ban headscarves in schools, displaying that famous French courage by taking on 12 year old girls. They probably need the material to make more white flags. Besides that they still need to bathe a little more frequently, use a little Right Guard, and grow a national backbone. I expect them to get started on all these improvements right after they develpop some manners. Any day now, I'm sure.

Thanks for posting this, an... (Below threshold)

Thanks for posting this, and adding a little balance (dare I say "nuance"?) to our understanding of France.

Wow... It is so refreshing ... (Below threshold)

Wow... It is so refreshing to read this entry, especially considering what day it is tomorrow.

Due to the saturation of pro-war, pro-state, and pro-globalism rhetoric within the "conservative" realm of the Blogosphere, I thought that this entry was going to have an entirely different focus... but once I got to the second sentence, it was so good to see this. I've been thinking about this topic lately, perhaps more so due to the time of year it is, and just earlier today, I was at these past posts at a conservative weblog.

Thank you for your sensible and clear-minded approach to this issue.

I haven't met any French SO... (Below threshold)

I haven't met any French SOF, but the folks who manned their airfield crew at Sarajevo were an intersting bunch. All their uniforms, male and female, were tailored. Made for intersting views when waiting for fuel at the flightline. I'm talking BDU's! Form fitting snug with no room for wrinkles. Their BX at the airfield was also interesting and included gourmet items you would expect in any region in France. Somehow I doubt their contingent in OEF brought these amenities along, but if anyone out there knows, I'd be interested to know.

Sorta related, I really did... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Sorta related, I really did think, and still wonder if, NATO is doomed. But it seems to be plugging along.

So one possible reason for this might be in one word: ECHALON.

For those in the know, ECHALON is the NSA program that (at least in intent) intercepts virtually all electronic communications in the world, or close to it, and runs them through NSA computers.

Much of ECHALON's intercept capability is based in Europe and Europe affiliated areas.

Thus, we need Europe for the raw data, Europe needs us for the processing and analysis, which I assume is fed back to them in a mutally beneficial manner.

Note the only really significant attack since 9/11 has been in Madrid. That's pretty damn good overall.

Methinks the Intel boys (and grrls) are getting along better than many of us even dream, and that our governments are at least well-aware of this.

Purely a hypothesis.






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