What with newly-appointed foreign minister Michel Barnier outdoing his predecessor in lambasting the situation in Iraq and Le Monde outdoing itself on castigating the "horrors" of the Iraq war with unending editorials, columns, and fillers, it's been a good week for anti-American sentiment in France.
Especially since it ended in crescendo as the paper's top honcho, Jean-Marie Colombani, penned a ferocious editorial that went against tradition by appearing on the front page for once (as in the olden days), one which basically retracted his September 11, 2001, assertion that we are all Americans.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost. For Colombani said there might be hope on the horizon. The American people will be happy to learn that in substance, he promised to unretract the assertion if Americans would only do the right thing. All they had to do to win the Frenchman's respect (and, supposedly, that of the government and the entire French people and the rest of the world) was vote for the right man in November.
Still, it's been heated this week, and the broadsides so unending, that one might almost think that the French government and the newspaper of reference were in collusion. But given the French press's tradition of independence, that's impossible, of course.
In any case, you will happy to learn that various editorials, columns, and letters to the editor have been most graceful all week long, in comparing the Iraq situation to the Vietnam quagmire, generalizing the guards' behaviour to the entire army, calling Americans torturers, calling their actions war crimes or crimes against humanity, comparing them to those of the Nazis, saying that Rumsfeld is the equivalent of Zarkaoui (just as Bush is the equivalent of Bin Laden), calling for Bush's impeachment, and otherwise showing that subtle trait of spirit that the French are world-renowned for.
I have a short (sic) comment on the onslaught on Le Monde Watch, but it's only in French, j'ai peur.
(By the way, today is the birthday of William Seward (1801-1872), Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state who once said: "The circumstances of the world are so variable that an irrevocable purpose or opinion is almost synonymous with a foolish one.")