Jewish World Review Jan. 24, 2003 / 21 Shevat, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
French kiss off
Do the French owe the United States for saving its
bacon in World War II? Mais oui. They at least owe
us some respect, and the same benefit of the doubt
that they are so happy to bestow on Saddam
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's
declaration that France would fight against a U.N.
Security Council resolution to wage war against Iraq
shows why many Americans don't see France as a
First, de Villepin's remarks have made war more
likely, in that he eased international pressure on
Saddam Hussein to step down. As the Washington
Post reported, de Villepin looked down his nez at the
notion of granting Hussein asylum outside Iraq. "Let
us not be diverted from our objective," de Villepin
sniffed. "It is the disarmament of Iraq."
As if Iraq is more likely to disarm with Hussein -- a
man who kills critics,
tortures their children and gasses entire villages -- in
Saddam-ites such as de Villepin and U.N. weapons
inspector Hans Blix don't even pretend that Iraq is
seriously complying with U.N. Resolution 1441. How
could they, when no weapons have been turned over?
How could they, when U.N. inspectors discovered
warheads for chemical weapons this month?
So the new argument, voiced by de Villepin in the
Washington Post, is that "Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction programs are being largely blocked, even
frozen." "Largely blocked?" That tells me de Villepin
realizes that, even with inspectors, Iraq continues to
upgrade its deadly arsenal when possible.
De Villepin told a reporter that France's Iraq policy is
guided by four principles: justice, solidarity, morality
and the law.
All four ideals are missing in action. Justice demands
that Hussein, who has killed his own people, be
driven from office. Solidarity was what the United
Nations had when France and other nations voted
unanimously to send inspectors to disarm Iraq of its
weapons of mass destruction. Morality dictates that
France stand by that vote.
The law? In November, the U.N. Security Council
voted that if Iraq doesn't comply with Resolution 1441
to deliver its weapons of mass destruction, there will
be "serious consequences."
What is France's idea of serious consequences for
Hussein? Not being invited to Maxim's for dinner? Are
serious consequences allowing Hussein to stall the
inspectors? Or to bask in the pleasure of watching
them make excuses for him? Or to enjoy the leisure
of choosing the moment to shoo U.N. inspectors out
of Iraq -- and then get away with it?
An enemy couldn't concoct a more perfect formula for
helping Iraq become as menacing as North Korea
than our ally, France.
If "serious consequences" means more delays and
opportunities to stonewall, then the United Nations is
irrelevant as a peace-keeping body. It is an entity
capable of nothing but half-measures, and thus
incapable of battling leaders who kill en masse.
President Bush is right in his contention that
America can wage this war, not alone, but with a
smaller set of allies who will act on the threat of
The sad part is that de Villepin's drivel helps
Americans to forget the sacrifices and contributions
-- such as sending 4,500 troops to Afghanistan -- the
French have made.
That's a choice France is free to make. If the French
and the United Nations want to prove they are
irrelevant, that second-rate thugs can violate their
inspectors with impunity, and that the United States
can win a war without them, well, so be it.
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