Friday, December 10, 2004

Lionizing the Do-Nothings and the Risk-Nothings Who Stay at Home and Produce Nothing But Self-Praise and Criticism of Uncle Sam

I had no idea.
In June, NATO agreed to assign forces to train Iraqi military conscripts, and the program began only a few weeks ago. But five of the alliance's 26 members — France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg — have refused to allow their officers serving with NATO to take part, even if the training occurred in another country.
writes Joel Brinkley in the New York Times.

This is the newspaper that, like Europe's mainstream media, voices admiration for the position of the members of the so-called "peace camp". As it turns out, all the latters' wise declarations, all their "hard-edged" criticisms, and all their principled points of view come from the comfortable position of the sidelines, where they have nothing to risk and little to fear.

I remember France (in particular) making a big deal about blocking NATO officers from training members of the Iraqi military within Iraq and insisting it be done in the officers' home nation or in a third country. Already at the time, this brought no sympathy from me. Now, it turns out that after forcing others to do less when they could do more, they haven't even contributed officers of their own to the program.

What is just as appalling is how, in their earnestness to lionize the "peace camp" and their eagerness to castigate the Bush administration, the media — both domestic and foreign — let such information slip by, and how it surfaces only by accident in articles whose main subject is only indirectly related to it.

This is just more of the same facile lecturing and grand-standing from comfortable armchairs in their cozy living rooms and dens…

"When it comes time to perform a mission," [Secretary of State Colin L. Powell] said at a news conference, "it seems to us to be quite awkward for suddenly members in that international staff to say, "I'm unable to go because of this national caveat or national exception.' " …

Mr. Powell said the nations refusing to participate in the mission are "hurting the credibility and the cohesion of such an international staff or organization" …

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