"While the American leadership is compounding error upon error in Iraq, the Europeans and the French in particular are even stupider because they determine their stance only in reaction to Washington. They do not take Iraq and its inhabitants into account at all," says Fakhri Kareem, editor-in-chief of the newspaper al-Mada, trying to sum up popular sentiment. "Iraqis think France doubly betrayed them, first with Saddam, then with the American occupation. France cares only about its anti-American position. It is forgetting the Iraqis. Chirac and de Villepin must understand that no Iraqi finds their position courageous... What did France do to help Iraq free itself from the dictator and then to help Iraq regain its sovereignty? Nothing!"As Mårten notes in his presentation, I found this originally through an essay by the intrepid Erik Svane, who points out that appears opposite an interview with the FM, "Dominique 'Who is a Man' Villepin™," as he's called these days. Writes Svane, "what's extraordinary is that the article by Rémy Ourdan completely contradicts (though one can feel that the reporter wrote this article grudgingly) the cartoon by Plantu and also the editorial line of the paper of record and of the French media, and that of the French government."
Two other noteworthy things: Mårten also points out that I wrote to him in an email that "even though it appeared in today's print edition, they've already taken the link to the story off their Web site and I can't find a direct link through the usual means." Svane doesn't link to the story either so I'm assuming he couldn't find it either but found it in the print edition. The only link I can find is to the archived version meaning that, on the date of its publication, it couldn't be found on Le Monde's Web site. If it weren't for Svane, I never would have seen it. How many other politically inconvenient articles have I missed this way? Le Monde does this on occasion: an internet chat with filmmaker Sa'ad Salman (which derided France and Europe's position on Iraq in violent terms) was quickly pulled after it first appeared and replaced with another, more ideologically acceptable one. Salman laughed about this when I interviewed him last summer. (See him talking on French TV: dialup/broadband).
Secondly, Svane observes that Ourdan was one of the French reporters fingered by whistle-blower Alain Hertoghe in his book for having written on more than one occasion that the taking of Baghdad would be a "21st Century Stalingrad." Hertoghe writes that some French journalists seemed ready "to fight to the last Baghdadi."
ALSO: See this little article over at LOTF.