Jewish World Review April 4, 2002/ 2 Nisan, 5763

Wesley Pruden

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The French insult to shock and awe | Now we're learning what the critics of the war in Iraq are really made of.

Jacques Chirac was probably sincere when he apologized yesterday to Queen Elizabeth II for the unspeakably vile graffiti his countrymen daubed on a memorial to British soldiers killed in the defense of France in World War I.

"Dig up your trash, it's soiling our land." And this, employing the French put-down slang for Englishmen: "Rosbeefs go home. Saddam will win and cause your blood to flow."

Better roast beef than frog's legs, and it's the "Rosbeefs" who took Iraq's second city in good time, and most of the blood flowing in Basra is the blood of Iraqi goons. The swift and brilliant success of allied arms is driving the antiwar crowd to the edge of hysteria. To paraphrase Churchill's mocking put-down of an earlier fascist insult: "Some trash. Some soil."

The graffiti on the cenotaph in the British and Commonwealth cemetery at Etaples, near Calais, is clearly a humiliation for M. Chirac and his government. In his letter to the queen, delivered to her at Windsor Castle, he called it "inadmissible and shameful," and told her: "From the French people and from me personally, I offer you my deepest regrets." Then he sent his secretary of state for veterans affairs scurrying up to Etaples to lay a wreath at the cenotaph, accompanied by representatives of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Humiliated or not, M. Chirac has only himself to thank for the viciousness that leads cretins and weasels to desecrate the graves of war heroes. He has luxuriated in the public-opinion polls showing that eight of every 10 Frenchmen oppose the war in Iraq. It's not just opposition, but cultivated hatred of the Americans and the British whom M. Chirac calls, with a curl of the Gallic lip, "the Anglo-Saxons." (He appears not to notice that a lot of the Americans and the British are not Anglo-Saxon at all, but of the mixture of blood and genes that casts the American and British fighting man, to a trembling Frenchman, as an Anglo-Saxon giant. And if the progeny of Confederate soldiers can abide being called "yanks," the black and Hispanic troopers must grit their teeth and abide being called "Anglo-Saxons.")

M. Chirac's foreign minister, the villainous Dominique de Villepin, could not bring himself to wish the coalition troops well until M. Chirac applied a boot to his ample arse, and the Chirac companion-in-arms, Gerhard Schroeder, still can't bring himself to choose between George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein. Why should anyone be surprised when a semiliterate skinhead with a brush and a can of red paint splashes the sentiments of millions of Frenchmen across a memorial to Anglo-Saxon war dead?

With the news from Baghdad growing more auspicious every hour, the antiwar sad sacks here turn to mischief, abuse and worse. The mother of a trooper of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., got a call from a vicious prankster who told her that her son, 22, had been captured. This was a lie, but it took military authorities several hours to dispel the hoax and relieve hours of agony for the trooper's family. A family in Flagstaff, Ariz., was devastated when a caller told them that "we need to let you know that your son, Wayne, was killed in Iraq two days ago." An uncle, whose photograph had appeared on the front page of the local newspaper, spent 24 hours getting official confirmation that the trooper was alive and well.

The shame of the critics of the war knows no bounds, and George W. Bush must keep this in mind as the campaign in Iraq rolls toward the unconditional surrender of the brutal regime. Colin Powell called at Brussels yesterday to talk to his counterparts in the European Union and could measure for himself the chutzpah that is waist-deep and rising.

"We must stabilize Iraq and the region," the odious Dominique de Villepin told him. "The United Nations is the only international organization that can give legitimacy to this."

This greatest insult of all deserved to be rewarded with a slap across the face with a leather glove, but Mr. Powell is a gentleman and besides, he has to play to the weenies and old women of Foggy Bottom. He praised the "receptive attitude" of the European shysters, which is diplo-speak for "they let me have a second cup of tea."

The devastation visited on Baghdad will be as nothing if President Bush, in the spirit of making nice like good Republicans are bred to be, allows the Europeans who have stood on the sidelines, like whores waiting to reopen the bordellos when the last shots are fired, to share in what the French and the Germans cynically regard as the spoils of someone else's war.

The betrayal of those who carried the burdens of the war would be monstrous. The retribution of a nation angered would shock and awe.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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