Saturday, June 05, 2004

It Gets Worse/It's Been Worse

The AP reports that president Chirac says that to-morrow he intends to take "the opportunity to tell America and the Americans of the feelings of gratitude that are ours today. I will tell them that France says thank you and that she does not forget."

Yet with impeccable timing, the CSA poling company has released the results of a survey which found that 50% of the French public feel that France has no moral debt to the United States. This opinion is shared by 63% of those aged 18 to 24 years, 58% of those 25 to 34, 54% of those 35 to 49, 48% of those 50 to 64 and even 32% of those 65 and older. Among the professions, farmers thought this in the greatest majority (62%) while retirees and the self-employed were the least likely to share this view (39%). The study also found that 82% of the French felt that France was sufficiently grateful to the US and that as little as 3% admire the US.

Worse yet, the Figaro reports in a survey it commissioned which finds that 82% of French feel that Germany is France's strongest ally while only 55% feel that the US is a trustworthy ally. Thirty-seven percent (and 61% of National Front, i.e. fascist, voters) now feel that Iraq is the country that threatens them most (a head of Iran and North Korea.)

Strangely, fifty-seven percent of French people still feel that the D-Day landings were the event that has had the most profound effect on the present day, reports the AP, citing another CSA opinion poll. Seventy-two percent of French feel that the landings signify the Liberation of France.

Pro-American feeling often runs highest in the regions that saw the deadliest fighting and heaviest American sacrifices but in Caen, six local elected officials (Greens, Communists and members of the Radical Left Party — there are 47 seats on the regional council all together), will be leaving their places empty at the largest event of ceremonies at Arromanches to protest the presence of presidents Bush and Putin, they say. Regional Council vice-president Yannick Soubien, a Green, said, "The treatment of Iraqi prisoners by the Americans and the genocide committed by the Russians in Chechnya run counter to the values that unite us to-day to celebrate the victory against Nazism. We'll be at other ceremonies but not at those where Messrs. Bush and Putin will be." Alain Touret, another Regional Council vice-president, of the Radical Left Pary says, "It's no small thing to go against the feeling of unanimity brought on by the commemoration but, at any rate, perhaps we'll honor in a better way the sacrifice of all those young allies who shed their blood on our soil."

Le Monde's Benoît Hopquin has filed another historical report detailing the tribulations of decennial June 6 commemorations through the ages. "In the speeches, the memories and the behavior of those present, each commemoration has become a sort of snap shot of the mood on either side of the Atlantic," he writes.
"What remains of that dawn on June 6 1944 when everything seemed possible?" wrote Le Monde on that anniversary in 1954.

At that moment, France was beset with neurasthenia. The military defeat at Diên Biên Phú in Indochina a month earlier had profoundly shocked the country. Dreams of grandeur regained are wiped away and the "singing to-morrows" grow husky-voiced in the pettiness of the Fourth Republic.
In 1964, "the D-Day veterans returned to a France that was at peace once again and that was, frankly, ungrateful," writes Hopquin. President de Gaulle declined even to come to the ceremonies. General Omar Bradley and Deputy Defense Secretary Cyrus Vance were accompanied only by two cabinet minsiters (Veterans Affairs and Cooperation). In 1974, "though a reenactment with 2,000 participants was staged before a minister in fatigues, it all appeared a formality; so much so that a thousand French fighters and resisters lit a memorial flame in Washington rather than in Sainte-Mère-Eglise."

10 comments:

  1. I read articles like this and all I can say is that I almost wish I could go back in time and not invade on D-Day at all. The French support that we get now (none) tells me that we should just have left them to their fate in both World War II and in Dien Bien Phu (or have they forgotten that the Americans got them out of there as well). Friends like the French are a blot on humanity.

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  2. I never started blogging to inspire comments like this but... I just don't know what to say.

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  3. Anonymous4:44 AM

    Why aren't there any polls asking the Americans how much they despise the French? Churchill said in the War Cabinet on May 28 1945 - that "nations which went down fighting rose again but those who surrendered tamely were finished". The French were finished. They tried so hard to denigrate the Americans because they were ashamed of their own past when more French men fought for Vichy and Hitler than with the Allies.

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  4. Anonymous8:17 AM

    I agree. If time could be reversed, I would hope that this time no American blood would be shed for Europe. I have never been much of one to think that Europeans are obligated to constantly offer thanks for WW2, but one must wonder how tempted the French dogs were to defile our cemetaries the same that they did the British last year. I am watching the ceremonies and they say Bush might say in his speech that the US would "be willing to do it again." Not quite. The Nazis could grease their tank treads with the guts of those swine and I would say that "war is not a good method of solving problems. It always leaves scars. American says no to war. We choose to negotiate." Or we could tell the Europeans that it is a tragedy that the Nazis invaded, but after all they really did deserve it with their arrogant attitudes and imperialistic policies. To say there is any transatlantic partnership is hideous. We should bring our dead home and just wait for the Cold War that is inevitable between the US and Franco-German dominated EU to begin. I cannot say it enough. France, you were not worth it. That does not diminish my respect for the veterans and the fallen. The fact that they willingly went, fought, and died for a nation of scum who would within 60 years equate their country with the Nazi regime proves them heroically selfless than I could ever hope to be. God bless the soldiers and God damn Europe.

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  5. And the Holocaust? And the survival of Britain? And the triumph of Hitler?

    I can't actually believe I am answering someone who thinks victory in Europe wasn't "worth it." If you think the allies fought so their grandchildren could be shown a nice time 60 years later, or for a flattering result in opinion polls, then I don't know how to reason with you so I won't try.

    This entire exchange is an indictment of the Internet: we've gone to enormous lenghts to permit communication and the passage of information and what has it brought us? A sophisticated way of detaching ourselves from reality.

    I'm highly critical of France but I will NEVER wish Nazism or similar such barbarity on ANYONE.

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  6. "scum..." "dogs..." "not worth it..."

    This blog was a civilized place until recently...

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  7. Anonymous5:22 PM

    I just thought something like this would come about. I suppose I should go into more detail.

    1)The Holocaust-Let us be clear on this, the Holocaust was easily the most barbaric event in human history. But even with the millions who died fighting the Nazis in WW2 was the attitude the led to the Holocaust obliterated? No. When Jews in Europe can't walk down the street without fear of a beating and when something Sharon does in Israel leads to synagogues and shuls being set fire to in France, then the problem was only driven underground. A Frenchwoman once told me that the United States was being controlled by Zionists to fight the wars for the Jews. Europe has as much of a problem with anti-Semitism as the US does with racism and under the right circumstances, the same thing would happen again.
    2)The survival of Britain-This is a bit of a stickier situation and I am willing to concede. When I spoke earlier, I had the continent in mind. I would assume the Nazis would have had a more difficult go of it invading Britain than the Allies had invading France and that it would have survived regardless.
    3)The triumph of Hitler-I can't recall if it was here or somewhere else where I read that more French operated for the Nazis/Vichy than resisted. It is only after Allied Victory that Hitler is accepted to be the bastard that he was. Probably after a generation or two of a Hitler triumph, people would have either sincerely believed or been conditioned to believe he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. While Saddam didn't operate on the scale of Hitler, I do recall some in Europe just last year saying Saddam was standing up for the little guy against American hegemony. Years from now, if someone makes my argument except regarding the War on Terror, they can respond that it was wasted effort because there were people who wanted al-Qaeda or Saddam to win. Wishing for the triumph of dictators is just one of those little quirks that is not beyond human nature.

    Do I think the soldiers fought for approval in opinion polls and the like? Do I think they fought for any prolonged gratitude or even respect from Europe. No. My grandfather fought in WW2 and his brother froze to death during the Battle of the Bulge. The old guy spoke with pride of his part in the until the day he died. The last Christmas gift I ever received from him was a watch with his unit insignia, the 740th "Daredevil" Tankers. I cannot begin to appreciate why he volunteered, but I imagine that the reasons were important enough to him for him to spend the last fifty years of his life holding his participation up as the most important thing he ever did. I imagine that the majority of allied and resistance forces operated under sincere and heartfelt noble beliefs. That does not mean I am obligated to believe that it was necessary for them to sacrifice their limbs and lives for Europe.

    I am assuming you know enough of history to recall that one of the reasons that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor was retribution for the US oil embargo that was meant to aid the British. That goes along with Hitler wanting Japan to keep the US busy in the Pacific because he knew whose side the US would be on when it entered the war. After Pearl Harbor, were there protests in the US condemning relations with Europe as the cause of the Japanese attack? No. Was Roosevelt quickly shuttled out of office and replaced by a politician who foreign policy would be more to Nazi liking? I think we all know Roosevelt was in office so long only death could remove him. You mention the barbarity of Nazi oppression. I hinted at it in my earlier comment, but were there remarks that Europe deserved what it got because of the harsh reparation policy that was part of the Versailles Treaty? What sort of response would I receive if I led a protest in France saying that when Hitler invaded and killed civilians who didn't agree with him that there was a lesson in there that the French needed to learn but they were just too stupid to see? Do not get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion and the true dodging of reality would be expecting even a few to agree with me on anything. It is all well and good that the Europeans can call Bush a Nazi and I would not wish that right away from them. But when you see the cemetaries and think of the thousands of dead who gave up everything between 19-23 years of age and when you listen to Chirac give his hollow speech about France never forgetting and think about relations that have been strained much longer than the Iraq affair, I for one say that it was not worth it. Does not Chirac say after all that Europe does not believe that its values of democracy can exported, especially through war? Well, 400,000+ soldiers died trying to take democracy to people who would have called them immoral had they done the same thing in Vietnam in the 60's or Iraq and Afghanistan today. Maybe that proves Chirac right. Maybe it shows that ideals cannot be transferred from one nation to another and that war really solves nothing. For the first time in my life, I think I see his point.

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  8. Anonymous5:45 PM

    Just saw the comment about the blog being a civilized place until recently. Sorry about that. I will respect the atmosphere you wish to maintain at your blog and not post anymore of my comments. If it is possible for you to delete them from the list, feel free.

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  9. Anonymous3:03 PM

    My wife is French, and I visit France frequently. Its not the France that it was of yesterday. The immigration policies of the socialists has allowed for mass invasion of Africans. Now, I could care less where they come from. The difference: They detest the west, but insist on living in it's rich culture. The Muslim and radical influence on the young today in France is sickening. You can see it in night clubs where 20 year olds chant "ye ye ye ye" like an arab. Along with this culture of Islam comes the culture of hating the 'west' and hating America. Becuase the audience is SO large for it, the media plays up on it, and bashes anyone/anything that is not socialist/pro-Islam. They outright lie in their news reporting, and the general population has no idea they are being lied to. The undercurrent of feeling pissed we had to save them is only but a SMALL fraction of what the problem is.

    It's a sad world we live in and it's only going to get worse.

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  10. Anonymous10:17 AM

    In relation to immigration.

    The UK Daily Mail yesterday reported that 70% of gang rapes were done by Moslems and blacks.

    But then tried to claim it was because of 'poverty'. I'm not aware of any gang rape epedemic in poor white areas.

    I weep for this country.

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