Saturday, October 02, 2004

Did They Say France?!

asks Gregory Schreiber as he reads a news report relating to an audio tape attributed to al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri, saying resistance should carry on even if al Qaeda leaders were killed or arrested.
"We should not wait until U.S., British, French, Jewish, South Korean, Hungarian or Polish forces enter Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria before we resist," said the tape, attributed to Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant.

"Let us start resisting now. The interests of America, Britain, Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan are spread everywhere. They all took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya or enabled Israel to survive."

Let's see… How can we French leaders explain that to our population in accordance with our usual self-serving opinions? I know! We claim it's all America's fault, the CIA is at the bottom of it all, that in the usual treacherous Yankee fashion, they convinced the simple-minded members of Al Qaeda (rather reasonable fellows, after all, with a vision and only out to battle life's inequalities) to include France as its targets! Bien sûr! That's the only possible explanation! Why didn't we think of it sooner?

People outside of Iraq need more understanding of why it is difficult for the peaceful majority inside of Iraq to organize themselves…

Carroll Andrew Morse on the Tech Central Station:

…People outside of Iraq need more understanding of why it is difficult for the peaceful majority inside of Iraq to organize themselves. The legacy of multiple decades of totalitarian dictatorship hinders the process of civil organization. Trusting your fellow countrymen does not come easy in a place where, in the past, criticism of the government invited a raid by the state's secret police. In such an environment, keeping your head down and hoping the thugs ignore you — maybe because they are too busy attacking someone else — becomes a frighteningly rational survival strategy. It will take time for the people of Iraq to learn to rely on one another.

In the meantime, to build a stable, peaceful society in less than a generation, experience with civil government will have to be brought in from outside. Unfortunately, the people of Iraq justifiably lack faith that anyone outside of their country is willing to help them. …

(Thanks to Joe N)

UN's "Peace Camp" Members Sabotaged Attempts to Investigate Saddam Hussein

Well, whaddya know?! Here is another corruption article from the (anti-Bush administration, anti-Iraqi war) New York Times, that the French press and France's independent newspaper, strangely, do not seem to have made much of an effort to pick upDécidément, c'est bien étrange
Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars.

… the investigators said their review of the minutes of a United Nations Security Council subcommittee meeting showed that the three nations "continually refused to support the U.S. and U.K. efforts to maintain the integrity" of the program.

The program, set up in 1996, was an effort to keep pressure on Mr. Hussein to disarm while helping the Iraqi people survive the sanctions imposed after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The briefing paper … suggests that France, Russia and China blocked inquiries into Iraq's manipulation of the program because their companies "had much to gain from maintaining'' the status quo. "Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.," the document states, using the initials for the program. No officials of the three governments could be reached for comment.

[Among other companies] under scrutiny will be BNP Paribas, the French bank that handled oil revenues under the program and which "never initiated a review of the program or the reputation of those involved," the paper says. This "apparent incuriosity," it adds, "raises questions about its internal due diligence and ethical safeguards."

…A recent report issued in Washington by the Government Accountability Office, formerly the General Accounting Office, accused the Hussein government of having pocketed more than $10 billion from the six-year oil-for-food program, which used $64.2 billion in Iraqi oil sales to pay for food, medicine and other goods from 1997 to 2003. Last February, a document from Iraqi ministries reportedly cited [Benan] Sevan, the chief of the United Nations office that administered the program, as having received oil allotments himself. Mr. Sevan has denied the charges. …

(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber)

Two thoughts: Makes you wonder why this website was given the name it bears…

And: I can't wait until Germany becomes a permanent member of the Security Council!…

Shitty little country Petit pays merdeux
'The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France.'
'Le recours à l'utilisation de nos forces militaires pour défendre l'Amérique ne doit jamais être soumis à un veto par des pays comme la France.'

Gandhi: Not the Path of Non-Violence, But the Path of Least Violence

Today is the birthday of Gandhi, and in that respect I would like to quote his grandson, Arun Gandhi, writing during the first Gulf War:
While there is no reason to believe that solutions to all problems flow from the barrel of a gun, there is no reason to believe that all problems can be solved peacefully. My grandfather, Mohandas K. Gandhi, an indisputed votary of peace and noviolence in the modern world, wrote in 1934: "The world is not entirely governed by logic. Life itself involves some kind of violence, but we have to choose the path of least violence."

Of course, the militants, the groups, the countries, and the international organizations protesting against the war (both the first one, in 1991, and the current one) will counter that they are (were) not protesting against America or the American people, but only against their leaders, the White House's policies, and the scourge of war in general. Still, when I read another paragraph in the article by the head of the M K Gandhi Foundation, I thought of the following:

Arun Gandhi, again:
If the peace movement wants to gain momentum, it must remember that its struggle is not against people but against policies; that the work for peace is a continuous exercise, and not just when war becomes imminent; that there are some issues that cannot be solved peacefully; that, in a peaceful struggle there is no room for anger, hate, taunting or any action that would evoke disgust; that the only weapons in the armory of a pacifist are love and suffering.

Post your captions Mettez votre choix de libellé

Thanks to Gregory.
Merci à Gregory.

Lowest sort of thugs Plus basse espèce de racaille
French Prime Sinister Jean Pierre Raffarin, 'The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies.' Thanks to all who mailed that in, to Glenn, and to Cynic.
Premier Sinistre Jean Pierre Ne-Fera-Rien, 'Les insugés irakiens sont nos meilleurs alliés.' Merci à tous ceux qui ont envoyés des e-mails, à Glenn, et à Cynic .

Digital Analog brown shirts Chemise brunes numériques analogues
'Literature serves no purpose. If it did, the Leftist thugs that have monopolised intellectual debate during the entire 20th century could never have existed.'
Sortir du XXe siècle (Leaving the 20th Century), Michel Houellebecque
'La littérature ne sert à rien. Si elle servait à quelque chose, la racaille gauchiste qui a monopolisé le débat intellectuel tout au long du XXe siècle n'aurait même pas pu exister.'
Sortir du XXe siècle, Michel Houellebecque

Pali Psycho Death Cult©®™ Culte Psychotique de la Mort palestinien©®™
Intifada is over. Kill faster. Total war.
L'Intifada est fini. Tuer plus vite. Guerre totale.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Embedded or in bed with? Ils ne seront pas de retour à temps pour la Star Ac
The French are whining that an American bombing attack on a convoy heading towards Syria, which killed 6 terrorists, has delayed the release of their collaborating journalists.
Les franchouilles pleurnichent que le bombardement d'un convoi qui se dirigeait vers la Syrie, dans lequel 6 terroristes ont trouvé la mort, a repoussé la libération de leurs journalistes collabos.

Mime type: application/candidate french
The French are happy to learn that Kerry is being coached by Marcel Marceau.
Les franchouilles sont heureux d'apprendre que Kerry se fait coacher par Marcel Marceau.

GI: Say, who won the Bush-Kerry debate? Iraqi: I really don't care that much!

France's Official News Channel:
"Bush Blindly Repeated … His Lies"

Although it concludes that John Kerry came out ahead in the first presidential debate, the France 3 TV channel remains pretty objective
throughout its news presentation. But then the speakerine turns to Christian Malar for (quote unquote) "analysis":

There was no knock-out in the debate, notes Malar, only points made, and Kerry made most of them. So far, so good.

But, using European journalism's usual tricks, the analysis that started on a foot of objectivity veers into (self-serving) opinions that caricature the president and, incidentally, Americans in general (emphasis ours). Malar:

  • Bush repeated blindly that the war had been a good thing
  • Kerry struck the spirit of the Americans…
  • …[in informing them that] Bush had lied
  • In the final analysis, Kerry sowed doubt in the ranks of the Republicans

The Birthday of America's 39th President

Today is the birthday of Jimmy Carter, the president (1924- ) who said…


let's see… what did he say, exactly?…

Che Was a Mainstay of the Hardline Pro-Soviet Faction

Paul Berman on The Cult of Che:
The cult of Ernesto Che Guevara is an episode in the moral callousness of our time. Che was a totalitarian. He achieved nothing but disaster. Many of the early leaders of the Cuban Revolution favored a democratic or democratic-socialist direction for the new Cuba. But Che was a mainstay of the hardline pro-Soviet faction, and his faction won. Che presided over the Cuban Revolution's first firing squads. He founded Cuba's "labor camp" system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims.

To get himself killed, and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che's imagination. In the famous essay in which he issued his ringing call for "two, three, many Vietnams," he also spoke about martyrdom and managed to compose a number of chilling phrases: "Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …"— and so on.

He was killed in Bolivia in 1967, leading a guerrilla movement that had failed to enlist a single Bolivian peasant. And yet he succeeded in inspiring tens of thousands of middle class Latin-Americans to exit the universities and organize guerrilla insurgencies of their own. And these insurgencies likewise accomplished nothing, except to bring about the death of hundreds of thousands, and to set back the cause of Latin-American democracy—a tragedy on the hugest scale. …

(Gracias, Señor Cenizarroyo)

They know how to say 'surrender' with nuance Ils savent dire 'capituler' de façon nuancée
The best part of this campaign has been Kerry's total avoidance of all mention of his French family. Even to Dhimmicrappers, the word 'French' just gets stuck in the throat. 'Mr. Kerry knew better than to risk being caught on tape slipping into weasel-speak.' Beautiful. They're all Saddamites.
Ce qui était l'aspect le plus satisfaisant de cette campagne présidentielle a été la façon dont Kerry a complètement évité toute mention de sa famille franchouille. Même pour les dhimmicrottes, le mot 'fwançais' reste à travers la gorge. 'Mr. Kerry savait qu'il valait mieux éviter se faire filmer en train de causer en la langue des blaireaux.' Trop beau. Ils sont tous des Saddamites.

Bog blast them Que Gogre les emporte
While insufferably condescending French bores sputter on about the US 'under God' and hormone imbalanced well-off yuppie French drone on about the US being an outlaw nation, France offers up its rump to rough trade terrorists and gets the thanks it deserves once the old dirt road has been thoroughly beaten down.
Tandis que des blaireaux barbants péniblement condescendants postillonnent leurs péroraisons au sujet de les Etats-unis 'under God' et d'autres têkno-bobos aisés souffrant de dysfonctionnements hormonaux déblatèrent en déclarant les USA un pays hors-la-loi, la France offre sa rondelle aux terroristes dans les backrooms Bagdadi et accepte les remerciements auxquels elle a droit dès que son croupion bien travaillé est laché.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

About a British leader who worked for peace: "no conqueror returning from a victory on the battlefield has come adorned with nobler laurels"

On this date, many years ago, sophisticated British and French leaders finally understood that blood-letting is not the solution and that war has never solved anything. Deciding that war was a scourge to be at avoided at all costs, they saw that an ounce of understanding and compassion would be no great sacrifice for peace.

After the UK's Prime Minister returned from Munich, he was duly fêted as a peace-maker and for his visionary ability. Intoned The Times: “no conqueror returning from a victory on the battlefield has come adorned with nobler laurels." When an MP started to protest that, on the contrary, Britons had “sustained a total, unmitigated defeat”, he was forced to stop his speech until the storm of protest in the House of Commons had subsided. And why not? One should not have to listen to simple-minded, reactionary war-mongers speaking from their twisted, outdated "war logic".

Some Entities Want Iraq to Fail Because They Want America to Fail

Amir Taheri on the nature of Iraq's "insurgents" and on the real reasons some entities are sounding off so negatively about the Iraqi situation:
While kidnappings and head-choppings in the Sunni Triangle dominate the news from Iraq, the real battle for that nation's future is fought in diplomatic, political and media arenas outside that country.

The terrorist movement in Iraq, at times graced with the label of "insurgency," is in no position to impose its will on the nation. With the help of its outside backers, it could, to be sure, continue kidnappings and killings for years.

More than a dozen countries (Colombia, Peru, Malaysia, the Philippines, Algeria, Egypt, etc.) have experienced similar terrorist movements in recent decades. In every case, the terrorists, having pushed the limits of brutality as far as they could, were ultimately defeated.…

The ultimate reason for terrorist movements' failure is the same that constitutes their raison d'etre: Individuals and groups choose terrorism because they know they cannot mobilize popular support.

The terrorist hopes to force history in his direction with the help of bombs and guns. He tries to substitute his will for the will of the people. While claiming to fight in the name of the people he is, in fact, excluding the people from the political process if only because "ordinary citizens" are not prepared to die, let alone kill, for abstract ideas.

So the "insurgency" in Iraq is going nowhere fast. It will be as roundly defeated as were its predecessors in so many other countries. The danger for Iraq's future lies elsewhere.

It comes, in part, from Americans who want Iraq to fail because they want President Bush to fail. Some 81 books paint the president as the devil incarnate; Bush-bashing is also the theme of three "documentaries" plus half a dozen Hollywood feature films. Never before in any mature democracy has a political leader aroused so much hatred from his domestic opponents.

Others want Iraq to fail because they want America to fail, with or without Bush. The bitter tone of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan when he declared the liberation of Iraq "illegal" shows that it is not the future of Iraq but the vilification of the United States that interests him.

Add to this the recent bizarre phrase from French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The head of the Figaro press group went to see him about the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq; Raffarin assured him they would soon be freed, reportedly saying, "The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies."

In plain language, this means that, in the struggle in Iraq, Raffarin does not see France on the side of its NATO allies — the U.S., Britain, Italy and Denmark among others — but on the side of the "insurgents."

Those who want Iraq to fail because they hate Bush and/or America as a whole (for reasons that have nothing to do with Iraq) know that "the insurgents" can't get anywhere. Nor would the Bush- or America-bashers really want Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi to become ruler of Iraq.

If Jimmy Carter had been U.S. president or if Iraq had been liberated by the European Union, we would have none of the hot air that is blown about the war throughout the world. But someone like Carter or an entity like the European Union could never say boo to a goose, let alone destroy a vicious tyranny.

Those who want Iraq to fail so that Bush and/or America will also fail are now focusing their energies towards a single goal: postponing elections in Iraq for as long as possible. To achieve that goal, they will stop at nothing. …

(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber)

No Commentaire!

If this had involved any American citizen, let alone an American diplomat, what wouldn't we have heard about lack of manners and of sophistication, as well as "those #$%@(^@ Yanks think they own the whole planet!", as French politicians, intellectuals, and members of élite jumped on the bandwagon to denounce America's arrogance…

(Shookhran, Joe N)

Iraq's "Nuclear Program Could Have Been Reinstituted at the Snap of Saddam Hussein's Fingers"

Mahdi Obeidi is the author of The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind. Kurt Pitzer, who collaborated on the book, assisted with this New York Times article.
While the final report from Charles A. Duelfer, the top American inspector of Iraq's covert weapons programs, won't be released for a few weeks, the portions that have already been made public touch on many of the experiences I had while working as the head of Saddam Hussein's nuclear centrifuge program. Now that I am living in the United States, I hope to answer some of the most important questions that remain.

What was really going in Iraq before the American invasion last year? Iraq's nuclear weapons program was on the threshold of success before the 1991 invasion of Kuwait — there is no doubt in my mind that we could have produced dozens of nuclear weapons within a few years — but was stopped in its tracks by United Nations weapons inspectors after the Persian Gulf war and was never restarted. During the 1990's, the inspectors discovered all of the laboratories, machines and materials we had used in the nuclear program, and all were destroyed or otherwise incapacitated.

…Another factor in the mothballing of the program was that Saddam Hussein was profiting handsomely from the United Nations oil-for-food program, building palaces around the country with the money he skimmed. I think he didn't want to risk losing this revenue stream by trying to restart a secret weapons program.

Over the course of the 1990's, most of the scientists from the nuclear program switched to working on civilian projects or in conventional-weapons production, and the idea of building a nuclear bomb became a vague dream from another era.

So, how could the West have made such a mistaken assessment of the nuclear program before the invasion last year? Even to those of us who knew better, it's fairly easy to see how observers got the wrong impression. First, there was Saddam Hussein's history. He had demonstrated his desire for nuclear weapons since the late 1970's, when Iraqi scientists began making progress on a nuclear reactor. He had used chemical weapons against his own people and against Iran during the 1980's. After the 1991 war, he had tried to hide his programs in weapons of mass destruction for as long as possible (he even kept my identity secret from weapons inspectors until 1995). It would have been hard not to suspect him of trying to develop such weapons again.

…In addition, the West never understood the delusional nature of Saddam Hussein's mind. By 2002, when the United States and Britain were threatening war, he had lost touch with the reality of his diminished military might. By that time I had been promoted to director of projects for the country's entire military-industrial complex, and I witnessed firsthand the fantasy world in which he was living. He backed mythic but hopeless projects like one for a long-range missile that was completely unrealistic considering the constraints of international sanctions. …

To the end, Saddam Hussein kept alive the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, staffed by junior scientists involved in research completely unrelated to nuclear weapons, just so he could maintain the illusion in his mind that he had a nuclear program. Sort of like the emperor with no clothes, he fooled himself into believing he was armed and dangerous. But unlike that fairy-tale ruler, Saddam Hussein fooled the rest of the world as well.

Was Iraq a potential threat to the United States and the world? Threat is always a matter of perception, but our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein's fingers. The sanctions and the lucrative oil-for-food program had served as powerful deterrents, but world events — like Iran's current efforts to step up its nuclear ambitions — might well have changed the situation.

Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jumpstart the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. In the late 1980's, we put together the most efficient covert nuclear program the world has ever seen. In about three years, we gained the ability to enrich uranium and nearly become a nuclear threat; we built an effective centrifuge from scratch, even though we started with no knowledge of centrifuge technology. Had Saddam Hussein ordered it and the world looked the other way, we might have shaved months if not years off our previous efforts. …

Harassment Harcèlement
Abject cartoon published earlier this week in Le Monde Al-Jazeera on the Seine.
Dessin odieux paru dans Les Immondices Al-Jazira sur Seine en début de semaine.

Americans, you are hated here. Jews, you are hunted here Les américains, vous êtes détestés ici. Les juifs, vous n'êtes qu'une proie ici
I've received 6 e-mails since the month of May from Americans who have cancelled their trips to France. This does not include at least 2 cancelled trips to France that I've seen in the comments on this site. The French press Pravda makes very little mention of the fact that American tourists are still avoiding France (there was a small uptick as compared to last year, probably due to 'Da Vinci Code' readers). French merchants complain that American tourists carrying greenbacks have been replaced by French ones who are penny pinchers (get a real job, losers!). Americans have set out for other destinations. Once you've had fun in Spain or Italy there is no reason to come back to France where the food, accomodations, and welcome are overrated and overpriced. The Nouvel Observateur reports a 25% rise in American tourism to France this year. Do the math. Plus 25% of what was left after last year's plunge is still historically low. A 50% plunge requires a 100% increase to rise to the previous level. With Americans increasingly turned off by the French, it's not going to happen quickly, if at all. Luckily for French tourism, there is mass market American literature.
Depuis le mois de mai j'ai reçu 6 e-mails de la part de lecteurs qui ont annulé leurs voyages en France. C'est sans inclure les 2 voyages annulés que j'ai pu réperer dans les commentaires de ce site. La presse Pravda franchouille fait peu de cas du fait que les touristes américains évitent toujours la Fwance (il y a eu une très légère augmentation par rapport à l'année dernière, probablement due aux lecteurs du 'Da Vinci Code'). Les commerçcants franchouilles rouspètent que les touristes américains truffés de billets verts ont été remplacés par des touristes fwançais fauchés et radins (cherchez du vrai taf, bande de nazes!). Les américains mettent le cap vers d'autres destinations. A partir du moment où vous vous amusez en Italie ou en Espagne vous n'avez aucune raison de revenir en Fwance où la bouffe, les accomodations, et la bienvenue accordées aux touristes font l'objet d'une intox et coûtent trop cher. Le Nouvel Obs déclare qu'il y a eu une hausse de 25% du tourisme américain vers la France par rapport à l'année dernière. Faites le calcul. 25% de ce qui reste suite au dégringolade de l'année dernière est toujours historiquement bas. Une chute de 50% plunge nécessite une augmentation de 100% pour retrouver le niveau antérieur. Comme les américains sont quelque peu dégoûtés par les franchouilles, ce n'est pas demain à la veille que cela arrivera. Heureusement pour les franchouilles, il y a le littérature ricaine grand public.

2-bit fudgepacking jokes Blagues va(l)seuses à deux (trous de) balle(s)
Java jockeys don't drink tea. Fact. It's too easy to influence the content of the copy-and-pasters. A tiny jab and they shoot their load. Don't be stressed dude. Go buy yourself a gift, like a Tijuana trip-around-the-world.
Les mecs qui carburent au kawa ne sirotent pas le thé. C'est un fait. Qu'est-ce que c'est fastoche d'influer sur le contenu de ces copiers-colleurs. Une simple pique et ça balance la purée. T'es stressé bonhomme, va te payer un petit cadeau, style cravate de notaire.

The height of Paris fashion Nec plus ultra en matière de mode parisienne
I'm very easy to spot in Paris. I'm the guy wearing authentic 'FDNY' t-shirts whatever the weather. It's always guaranteed to attract zombie-like stares from the animals that pass for suburban youth over here (kind of like a dog that cocks it's head over to one side). Now I have a bright red 'Kommunists for Kerry' t-shirt, a 'Red Deal' button, and a 'Get out of the Gulag' card that I can unhinge Parisians with. Many sincere thanks to Joe N.
C'est facile à me trouver à Paris. Je suis le mec qui se balade en tee-shirt 'FDNY' qu'il fasse chaud ou froid. C'est toujours garanti de provoquer un regard de zombie de la part des bestiaux qui font guise de banlieusards dans ces contrées (un peu comme un chien qui se penche la tête sur un côté). Je viens de recevoir un tee-shirt rouge vif 'Kommunists for Kerry', un macaron 'Coup Rouge', et un bon pour sortir du Goulag qui seront très utiles pour faire sortir de leur gonds les parisiens. Merci beaucoup à Joe N.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Beat on the Brat Si j'avais un marteau
Alain Soral, lowlife bottom feeding French writer, just got his ass handed to him. Fellow Jew-baiting anti-Semite Dieudonné showed up to help out Soral, but too late. Sounds like a bogus set-up job to promote Soral's book.
Alain Soral, écrivaillon franchouille raclure des chiottes et crevure avant tout, vient de se faire fracasser le cul. Son compagnon de route en matière d'antisémite, celui qui adore narguer les feujs, Dieudonné s'est pointé pour prêter main forte à Soral, mais trop tard. Tout ça sent bien le coup monté histoire de faire la promo du dernier livre de Soral.

Guess who's a neo-con
Devine qui est néoconservateur
Me likes.
Moi n'aime.

The libertarian vermin
La vermine libérale
Which clown-faced jerkoff is always spouting off about the libertarian vermin? Quel connard avec sa bouille à bozo éructe sans arrêt au sujet de la vermine libérale?

Is Vietnam the Best Historical Analogy for Iraq? Or Would a Better One Be Guadalcanal?

Powl Smith :
Pundits these days are quick to compare the fighting in Iraq with the American loss in Vietnam 30 years ago. Terms like "quagmire" evoke the Southeast Asian jungle, where America's technological advantages were negated and committed Vietnamese guerrillas wore down the U.S. will to fight.

People love to draw historical analogies because they seem to offer a sort of analytical proof—after all, doesn't history repeat itself? In fact, such comparisons do have value, but like statistics, it's possible to find a historical analogy to suit any argument. And Vietnam's the wrong one for Iraq. …

Fermi on Knowledge and Ignorance

Regarding some of the comments on this site, equating any and all adverse observations about French policy with nothing less than callousness, wickedness, cowardice, treachery, and treason (this from people who love nothing more than to proclaim that they are not anti-American — far from it — they are only against Washington's policies), it is no bad thing to remember that today is the birthday of Enrico Fermi, the Italian-born US physicist (1901-1954) who said:
It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.
There's two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.

Americans Should Not Expect a Turnaround From Their European Allies, Should That "Nice People" Vote for Kerry

Demonstrating how condescending Europeans speak with forked tongues, John Vinocur warns that Kerry should not expect a honeymoon from Europe.
A participant on the sidelines of talks in Berlin between Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Richard Holbrooke, a would-be secretary of state in a John Kerry presidency, told a story about the meeting and the theme of how a Kerry-friendly Europe would leap to America's aid in bringing stability to Iraq. (Or maybe hide under the bed.)

"Schröder," the American said, "asked Holbrooke what Kerry would do if he were elected. Holbrooke replied one of the first things would be to get on the phone and invite him and President Jacques Chirac to the White House. The chancellor laughed out loud. Then he said, 'That's what I was afraid of.'"

The participant recalled the moment as very jolly. Everybody in the chancellor's office, including Holbrooke, a former ambassador to Germany, joined in the chuckles.

…It would be wrong to say that Kerry is losing his popular backing in France or Germany, but he has not done much deep convincing that his American foreign policy, Iraq included, would represent a Golden Multilateral Dawn.

In London last week, a Blair government cabinet minister said he could not see much significant difference between Kerry and Bush on Iraq, Iran or a quasi-obsessional European issue like America's refusal to accept the Kyoto environmental agreement. A French official, talking earlier in September, was not far off this line. Elsewhere, an American supporter of Kerry, who visited with Schröder, complained that, over the last month, the Germans "appear to have become resigned to a Bush victory and are rationalizing it by saying it's the same thing pretty much whoever wins."

In any case, German experts have told the chancellor to reckon with four more years of Bush. This is also the palpable although deniable premise in Paris and London.

So, suggesting that with Kerry's big Iraq statement under their belts it was now a good time for the Allies to ask themselves who would be a better American president for them, Süddeutsche [Zeitung] pointed the question rhetorically at Gerhard Schröder, and then responded in his stead.

"The answer: Bush," the newspaper, a constant critic of the president, wrote.

…Similar considerations also work for France. It would take exceptional sophistry for President Jacques Chirac to explain putting French lives on the line in Iraq. Besides, sidling up to any American president would not appear to have much appeal to Chirac at a time when Le Figaro says he's busy promoting himself as successor to Nehru and Nasser in leading the "nonaligned world."

But a seat at six different conferences on Iraq's future is a different matter. The French love conferences. This seems to be a Kerry project, but the trouble is the Bush administration has already camped out on that multilateral terrain, proposing over the weekend that Iraq, its neighbors, and G-8 members like France, Germany and Russia get together sometime in October at the foreign minister level to discuss where the country is going.

…Asked about his view of the American presidential election, Chirac's former foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, who first described U.S. unilateralism as a central global problem during the eight "hyperpower" years of the Clinton administration, said it was a shame the rest of the planet could not vote.

It was "sad" to see, Védrine said, how these Americans, this "nice people" ("peuple attachant" in French), were drowned in propaganda and "cut off from the rest of the world." The term is used in French travel literature, with seeming condescension, to describe interesting savages or exotic but childlike ethnic groups.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Spy Who Got Bush and Blair to Mention Saddam's WMD Admits to Being in the Pay of France

The cloak-and-dagger story of the month concerns the fact that the (mis)information on Iraq's WMD that has been subjected to a barrage of ridicule, disgust, and castigation by members of the "peace camp" may actually have been planted by one of those members, precisely to do just that: subject Uncle Sam and the members of the coalition of the willing to… a barrage of ridicule, disgust, and castigation (while collecting the laurels of appearing infinitely wise, rational, careful, tolerant, diffident, understanding, etc, etc, etc)…

The latest news is brought to you by the Daily Telegraph's Bruce Johnston:

The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France.

The man, identified by an Italian news agency as Rocco Martino, was the subject of a Telegraph article earlier this month in which he was referred to by his intelligence codename, "Giacomo".

His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that — by commissioning "Giacomo" to procure and circulate documents — France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq.

Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, France was trying to "set up" Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.

…Mr Martino is said by diplomats to have come forward of his own accord and contacted authorities in the Italian capital following the earlier article in the Telegraph. They said he had written a letter of resignation to the French DGSE intelligence service last week.

According to an Italian newspaper report yesterday, members of the Digos, Italy's anti-terrorist police, removed documents from Mr Martino's home in a northern suburb of Rome on Friday afternoon.

"After being exposed in the international press, French intelligence can hardly be amused or happy with him," one western diplomat said. "Martino may have thought the safest thing was to hand himself over to the Italians." Investigators in Rome suspect that Mr Martino was first engaged by the French secret services five years ago, when he was asked to investigate rumours of illicit trafficking in uranium from Niger. He is thought to have then been retained the following year to collect more information. It was then that he is suspected of having assembled a dossier containing both real and bogus documents from Niger, the latter apparently forged by a diplomat.

In September 2002 Tony Blair accused Saddam of seeking "significant quantities" of uranium from an undisclosed African country — in fact, Niger. US President George W Bush made a similar claim in his State of the Union address to Congress four months later, using information supplied by MI6.

The International Atomic Energy Agency expressed doubts over some of the documents' authenticity, however, and declared them false in March 2003.

In July, the White House withdrew the president's claim, admitting that it was based on inaccurate information. British officials still say that their intelligence about Iraqi uranium purchases was supported by a second, independent source.

(Grazie per Chris Hebert)

Al Capp on Abstract Art

Today is the birthday of Al Capp, the US writer and artist of Li'l Abner (1909-1979) who said that
Abstract art is a product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

Another Triumph for the UN, for Multilateralism, for Principles, and for Dialogue with Respect

While the multilaterial process moves along in its slow, dignified way, the killing continues in Sudan.
How jolly good it is to be principled. Now that the French foreign minister has requested that no international conference about Iraq be held unless the issue of the departure of American troops is put on the agenda, I think it not unuseful to have another look at the David Brooks article in the New York Times on how the Iraqi crisis could have been averted. Something that could have happened had only George W Bush been man enough to listen to the international community instead of acting unilaterally and arrogantly like a trigger-happy cowboy and had he only engaged in meaningful dialogue with respect for his interlocutors… Had Dubya only acted like we're doing — like we're all doing — in Sudan now…
And so we went the multilateral route.

Confronted with the murder of 50,000 in Sudan, we eschewed all that nasty old unilateralism, all that hegemonic, imperialist, go-it-alone, neocon, empire, coalition-of-the-coerced stuff. Our response to this crisis would be so exquisitely multilateral, meticulously consultative, collegially cooperative and ally-friendly that it would make John Kerry swoon and a million editorialists nod in sage approval.

And so we Americans mustered our outrage at the massacres in Darfur and went to the United Nations. And calls were issued and exhortations were made and platitudes spread like béarnaise. The great hum of diplomacy signaled that the global community was whirring into action.

Meanwhile helicopter gunships were strafing children in Darfur.

We did everything basically right. The president was involved, the secretary of state was bold and clearheaded, the U.N. ambassador was eloquent, and the Congress was united. And, following the strictures of international law, we had the debate that, of course, is going to be the top priority while planes are bombing villages.

We had a discussion over whether the extermination of human beings in this instance is sufficiently concentrated to meet the technical definition of genocide. For if it is, then the "competent organs of the United Nations" may be called in to take appropriate action, and you know how fearsome the competent organs may be when they may indeed be called.

The United States said the killing in Darfur was indeed genocide, the Europeans weren't so sure, and the Arab League said definitely not, and hairs were split and legalisms were parsed, and the debate over how many corpses you can fit on the head of a pin proceeded in stentorian tones while the mass extermination of human beings continued at a pace that may or may not rise to the level of genocide.

For people are still starving and perishing in Darfur.

But the multilateral process moved along in its dignified way. The U.N. general secretary was making preparations to set up a commission. Preliminary U.N. resolutions were passed, and the mass murderers were told they should stop — often in frosty tones. The world community — well skilled in the art of expressing disapproval, having expressed fusillades of disapproval over Rwanda, the Congo, the Balkans, Iraq, etc. — expressed its disapproval.

And, meanwhile, 1.2 million were driven from their homes in Darfur.

There was even some talk of sending U.S. troops to stop the violence, which, of course, would have been a brutal act of oil-greedy unilateralist empire-building, and would have been protested by a million lovers of peace in the streets. Instead, the U.S. proposed a resolution threatening sanctions on Sudan, which began another round of communiqué-issuing.

The Russians, who sell military planes to Sudan, decided sanctions would not be in the interests of humanity. The Chinese, whose oil companies have a significant presence in Sudan, threatened a veto. And so began the great watering-down. Finally, a week ago, the Security Council passed a resolution threatening to "consider" sanctions against Sudan at some point, though at no time soon.

The Security Council debate had all the decorous dullness you'd expect. The Algerian delegate had "profound concern." The Russian delegate pronounced the situation "complex." The Sudanese government was praised because the massacres are proceeding more slowly. The air was filled with nuanced obfuscations, technocratic jargon and the amoral blandness of multilateral deliberation.

The resolution passed, and it was a good day for alliance-nurturing and burden-sharing — for the burden of doing nothing was shared equally by all. And we are by now used to the pattern. Every time there is an ongoing atrocity, we watch the world community go through the same series of stages: (1) shock and concern (2) gathering resolve (3) fruitless negotiation (4) pathetic inaction (5) shame and humiliation (6) steadfast vows to never let this happen again.

The "never again" always comes. But still, we have all agreed, this sad cycle is better than having some impromptu coalition of nations actually go in "unilaterally" and do something. That would lack legitimacy! Strain alliances! Menace international law! Threaten the multilateral ideal!

It's a pity about the poor dead people in Darfur. Their numbers are still rising, at 6,000 to 10,000 a month.

Remember, les amis: why Saddam Hussein and not other dictators? Why Sudan and not other countries? If you can't act against all, act against none. Inaction is better than inequality, or the perception of inequality…

Oh, and before I forget: What a glorious day it was for France when UN delegates applauded de Villepin's speech slamming Yankee intervention against Saddam Hussein… To act against Saddam, non; to act against Sudan, non. (Or at best, let the action be speeches without backup force.) But to act against l'Oncle Sam (whether in the Spring of 2003 or in the Fall of 2004), alors, là, oui!

(Shookhran, Gregory Schreiber & F R Hoffmann)

Malbouffe: "for me this business about junk food does not exist", says Michelin star winner

Over at Reuters, Caroline Brothers reports on a French chef who ditched his Michelin stars for a Big Mac:
It was hardly a conventional move for a gastronomic French chef with a CV studded with Michelin restaurant stars.

But Olivier Pichot, head chef and "creator of flavours" for McDonald's in France, says working for the U.S. giant which normally puts the emphasis on "fast" rather than "food" is a wish come true.

"For me this is a dream — I am head chef in gastronomy, and when I created my business the first thing I wanted to do was work with McDonald's," said Pichot, 33, whose country is little short of waging war on take-away food and where farmers' activist José Bové once burnt a McDonald's outlet to the ground. [Actually, JB and his comrades took the building apart.]

"My view is very simple: for me this business about junk food does not exist," he told Reuters at the Food Studio, a kitchen laboratory set up at McDonald's French headquarters, just outside Paris.

"A Chateaubriand steak with foie gras and lashings of butter, with red wines and hyper-fattening desserts, even if the restaurant has three Michelin stars, that can be 'malbouffe'," he says. Malbouffe, or bad grub, is the French term for junk food; coveted Michelin stars are awarded to top gastronomic restaurants by French tyre maker Michelin.

"There is not more fat in a McDonald's hamburger than there is in a cheesecake, or full-butter croissant, or a luxury pastry by (leading French patisseur) Pierre Herme."

He shrugs off criticism in the movie, Supersize Me, that McDonald's foods are sugar-packed and bad for one's health.

"No one forces a consumer to eat three hamburgers with three serves of fries and two litres of Coke," he said.

"McDonald's has an American image and that doesn't please everyone, but for me it isn't necessarily associated with eating badly. It's simply a question of being adult and knowing how to eat properly, and after that it's up to you what you choose." …

(Merci to Gregory Schreiber)

Monday, September 27, 2004

FahrenHype 911

"Would the French listen to the man who got Bill Clinton re-elected in 1996?" asks Frank Hart rhetorically, answering the question himself.

"I doubt it, since he's now supporting Bush.  But if there is anyone in France interested in hearing the truth in response to the complete propaganda that is Michael Moore's "documentary," then here's a place they can go to get a real documentary by Dick Morris that shoots holes through everything Moore says".

It's called FahrenHype 911, ladies and gents…

The larger answer to Frank's question is that, yes, the French (or the Europeans) are extremely open-minded: they will listen to all types of individuals, groups, political parties, political party members, nationalities as long as they cater (or seem to cater) to the Europeans' self-serving opinions, including their warped views of America's sins and their grandiose opinions of their own alleged humanism and visionary abilities. Anybody who does not cater to that self-serving viewpoint can expect to be submitted to dismissal, caricature, mockery, or castigation (including European individuals who will be dismissed as dimwits, morons, poodles, traitors, and/or turncoats*)…

(Don't forget to check out the
National Lampoon parody

* see our comments section

It's not what the West does or doesn't do that infuriates the Muslim world's fanatics…

Paul Greenberg on the Nature of Terror:
Those two French journalists are still missing in Iraq, where they're being held by still another band of terrorists. Following Spain's lead after Madrid's rail system was bombed and scores of innocents killed, the French will now doubtless seek to appease the kidnappers by announcing that French troops will be withdrawn from Iraq at once.

Oops. Unlike the Spanish, the French never sent any troops to Iraq in the first place. There are none there to withdraw.

Indeed, the French have done their best to undermine coalition efforts in Iraq. So why would these terrorists do anything to embarrass France?

Even to ask such a question is to misunderstand the nature of terrorism. It is to assume that terrorists need a reason to terrorize.

If terrorists were rational, of course French citizens would be immune to such attacks. Few countries were as supportive of Saddam Hussein's regime as France. It was one of Saddam Hussein's major trading partners, money lenders, and arms suppliers, even building him a nuclear reactor — the one the Israelis took out in 1981. French officials helped undermine the economic sanctions against Saddam's regime, and they played a leading role in the United Nations' oil-for-food scam. Even after that regime was toppled and Saddam himself jailed, the French have held back from the coalition trying to build a stable, democratic Iraq.

What could these kidnappers demand that the French have not freely given them? To quote the New York Times' correspondent in Paris, who sounds as if she's got this thing figured out, "what animates the French and their Islamic adversaries is not a battle over the future of Iraq. The Muslim militants make no distinctions in their war against the West."

…Whether in Baghdad or Beslan, there doesn't have to be any reason for the terrorists to act, only victims ready to be slaughtered. In a part of the world where fanaticism rules, the most fanatic tend to win out, and so the pressure is on to commit ever more outrageous atrocities.

By now suicide bombings have become old hat. So we get attacks on schools full of children and beheadings in front of the cameras. Each new outrage trumps the last in this grisly competition for the allegiance of the hate-filled street. Every time you believe terrorists have done the unthinkable, they think of something else.

The moral of the story: It's not what the West does or doesn't do, or any policy it does or doesn't adopt, that infuriates the Muslim world's fanatics, but that the West dares exist. Which is why France, a nation that has opposed American policy in Iraq, is still considered fair prey. [Emphasis added]

…Yes, the kidnapping of the French journalists, and the wide variety of responses to it, offer all kinds of lessons about where appeasement leads, but it's unlikely Paris will learn them. In charming, picturesque Old Europe, it's still 1938.

(Thanks to Joe N)

For some reason, what Paul Greenberg said about Muslim fanatics reminds me, in turn, of what Pascal Bruckner said about a group of knee-jerk critics in Europe: for them, “the worst crime of [a dictator like] Milosevic … can never equal the fundamental crime of America — simply existing”.

(Or, extrapolating in order to paraphrase Greenberg: The moral of the story: It's not what the United States does or doesn't do, or any policy it does or doesn't adopt, that infuriates the European world's humanists, but that the United States dares exist.)

"France is a country in deep crisis, with doubts about its identity and its place in the world"

A news analysis by Katrin Bennhold in the International Herald Tribune is called France searches for its place in a wider Union.
Like literary evenings on the Left Bank and velvety wines from the vineyards around Bordeaux, soul-searching about France's place in the world is a recurrent part of the country's cultural repertoire.

Five months after the European Union welcomed 10 new members, the soul-searching is again in full swing — and this time, politicians and political observers say, it could last a while.

While all the big West European nations are seeing their influence diluted as the Union has grown from 15 to 25 members, debate is sharpest in France, the cradle of the European project.

Morose commentaries on declining French power abound, in the press, in political books and as chatter in ministerial corridors. Meanwhile, a public long supportive of European integration is becoming less trusting of Brussels, while the French political class is fighting over the European constitution, the risk of jobs moving east, and the possible entry of Turkey.

Of course, France is not unique in seeing its role in Europe diminished; as a smaller part of a greater group, the French voice, like that of the Germans, British or Italians, counts for less.

But in France, which prides itself on its role in the EU's creation, this reality is perhaps harder to accept than elsewhere — especially given the impending end of its traditional institutional power parity with its closest EU ally, Germany.

And there is more to it than institutional arithmetic. A chief architect of so many of Europe's big innovations, from the single market to the euro, Paris these days is having trouble winning sympathy for its initiatives. Add to that recent discordant outbursts with European partners over issues ranging from Iraq to industrial policy, and France is looking increasingly isolated.

Nicolas Bavarez, who shook the intellectual establishment last year with his book France in Free Fall, says the situation has worsened in the past 12 months.

"France is a country in deep crisis, with doubts about its identity and its place in the world," Bavarez said in a recent interview.

…compared with the 1950s, when French authority in Europe's initial Club of Six was unrivaled, today's picture couldn't be more different.

Take the bickering over the new European Commission. President Jacques Chirac was scolded in the press last month for winning only the minor transport portfolio for Jacques Barrot, France's commissioner in the 25-strong body — a snub intensified when Britain received the high-profile trade brief. That followed a bigger setback in June, when France and Germany unsuccessfully championed Belgium's Guy Verhofstadt for the commission's presidency.

…According to Hubert Védrine, a former foreign minister [who originated the "hyperpower" expression and that during… the Clinton administration (!)], France's vision of Europe as a powerful political entity standing up to the United States on the world stage causes as much reticence among fellow European states as its ideas about how to run an economy.

Today it is the Atlanticists in Europe, with their Anglo-Saxon free enterprise and their acceptance of America's predominance, who have triumphed, he said. Britain, long the odd one out in Europe, has inspired many of the new members, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states, with its economic system and loyalty to the United States.

…Part of the problem has been France's sometimes abrasive handling of the new entrants, Védrine said. In the worst split the EU ever experienced, most East European countries sided with Britain on the Iraq invasion even before they had formally joined the EU. When Chirac clumsily told them that they had "missed a good opportunity to keep quiet," their defiance only grew.

…Back in Paris, the message is sinking in. As a senior official close to Foreign Minister Michel Barnier acknowledged last week: "In the enlarged Europe, we have to work differently and form coalitions." Obvious, perhaps, but a significant shift in French thinking.

…If some elements of France's waning influence in Europe are beyond its control, for others the country has largely itself to blame.

[Dominique Moïsi, senior adviser to the French Institute of International Relations in Paris,] says the fact that French politicians have increasingly focused on national rather than European interests has hurt France's credibility in Europe.

"If the French can't sell their ideas in Europe as easily anymore, it's in part because the ideas are less European," Moïsi said.

The issue has moved center stage at the Foreign Ministry since Barnier took over in April, when Chirac moved him back to Paris from a post on the European Commission in Brussels. During the annual meeting of France's top 300 diplomats last month, Barnier pledged to "consolidate and increase France's influence in Europe." But he also warned against treating the EU's smaller states with arrogance. "France is not great when it is arrogant; it is not strong when it is alone," he said.

This is a far cry from Charles de Gaulle's proclaiming "an exalted and exceptional destiny" for his country.

Just as that vision was exaggerated, some in France are perhaps now exaggerating the decline, observers say.

"France has always had more self-pride than other European nations," said Stefan Collignon, professor for European political economy at the London School of Economics. "They were never as powerful as they thought and, by the same token, their loss of power now is perhaps not as dramatic as it may seem."

Sam Adams on Man, His Virtues, and His Government

Today is the birthday of Samuel Adams, the political leader in the American Revolution (1722-1803) who said:
He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.

Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.

Le Figaro Walks Tightrope Under Wealthy Owner

In the International Herald Tribune, Doreen Carvajal explains how Le Figaro, under a wealthy new owner, is walking on a tightrope
The imposing headquarters of France's leading conservative daily, Le Figaro, rises from the wide sidewalks of Rue du Louvre like some great, battered ocean liner.
Its royal blue awnings are weather-beaten and fading, fat pigeons are roosting on its rooftop, and lately this venerable Parisian paper has been thrashed by an unrelenting wave of bad news.

One of its foreign correspondents is the captive of Iraqi insurgents, his giant, somber photograph part of a vigil outside City Hall here. The French trade press is picking over the state of Le Figaro's financial health with reports about internal memos warning that its tepid circulation has fallen in the past two months.

And inside Le Figaro, a divided newsroom seethes with "rumors and counter-rumors and attacks that go up and down," as one veteran journalist put it, since the takeover of the newspaper last spring by the French military industrialist Serge Dassault.

Le Figaro, which was started in 1826 as a gossip sheet for the arts, is actually engulfed in two debates that run together like ink and paper. One is an internal dispute about the paper's very soul, its voice, credibility and independence. The other is a broader discussion about the declining circulation of France's national newspapers: how to counter falling readership in a country where one out of six people read the national dailies, representing 17 percent of the population.

The debate about Le Figaro's independence has been intensifying since March, when the aeronautics giant Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault bought 82 percent of the shares of Socpresse for an estimated E1.5 billion, or $1.8 billion. …

Dassault is not the first company to master military hardware and then move into media. The conglomerate Lagardère, for example, presides over missiles as well as magazines like Paris Match and Elle. Together, Socpresse and Lagardère own more than 70 percent of the French press.

But Serge Dassault, 79, has quickly raised hackles in his short tenure as media mogul by adopting a more aggressive approach than his late contemporary Jean-Luc Lagardère, who "never took control directly of his publications and was extremely discreet," said Jean-Marie Charon, a sociologist and media specialist with the Center for the Study of Social Movements in Paris.

"Lagardère followed a tradition of bosses who avoided interfering," he said.

The business mix of weapons and words is nothing new, for that matter. General Electric, owner of the U.S. television network NBC, is a military contractor, as was NBC's former owner, RCA.

"But the difference with Mr. Dassault is that he is an interventionist and the major change is his naïve behavior," said Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, based in Paris.

Dassault, a former fighter pilot whose company turns out combat aircrafts like the Mirage and the Rafale, has a fondness for conservative politics and the style of the rumpled U.S. television detective Columbo. He raised anxieties with a series of articles that started appearing, or disappearing, from Le Figaro, according to a number of journalists there.

…A reference to a potential Rafale aircraft deal was excised from an article, according to a number of Le Figaro journalists. …

In an interview in 1997, Dassault [a longtime friend of President Jacques Chirac] spoke bluntly about his views on the French press and his desires for a media outlet.

"I've had enough of insults from a certain number of journalists because they are incompetents who don't know the real problems," he said. "So I want to be able to respond."

[Recently,] Dassault issued statements to the staff noting that journalists must serve the paper's readers. The problem, though, is that those readers are dwindling for some major national French dailies, which makes some journalists at Le Figaro uneasy. They have watched Le Monde suffer a decline of more than 3 percent in its total circulation since July 2003. This month, Le Monde announced a buyout plan that will result in the departures of more than 90 employees, 35 of them journalists, and more could come. …

It would seem that Dassault has won a seat for the Essonne in the Senate elections that took place on Sunday.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Asked whether the recent insurgencies were examples of terrorism or resistance, almost 100 percent of Iraqis said terrorism

When a snug European tells a citizen of the United States that "People hate you. Everyone hates you. The whole world hates you", it would seem that she just happened to leave out the Iraqis, who, as I have stated before, just happen to be the foremost concerned by the American presence in the Middle East.

And if "the American people are totally ignorant, misled by the media and a criminal president", then so, it would seem, are a majority of Iraqis… A good thing those snobbish Europeans are here to set everybody straight, as Maggie Gallagher learned in A European Conversation:

The people of Iraq are beginning to taste the fruits. A New York Times headline announces: Long Stifled, Iraqis Make the Most of Chance to Vent on Talk Radio. Mostly they complain about the lack of garbage collections, power interruptions, questioning local political officials in ways "which would have been unheard of in the time of Saddam Hussein, when government officials were royalty and ordinary citizens were mere supplicants," the Times reports. Asked whether the recent insurgencies were examples of terrorism or resistance, "a very large proportion, almost 100 percent, said terrorism," an Iraqi talk-radio host reports. "They did not like it."

The Iraqi people want peace and democracy. The U.S. military might is making that choice possible, making it more rational for armed rebels to choose democratic struggle over violent insurrection.

Meanwhile, here at home we are safer because a violent dictator with a taste for international conquest, who had contacts with al-Qaida and sought nuclear weapons, has been removed from the world stage.

(Merci à Gregory Schreiber)
Lire un article français sur Radio Djila

Touple Shtantards

"There's no limit to the critique of America and the American government in the German media and in German politics — but please note, dear American friends: this is a one-way street only."
It’s perfectly all right for the Germans to call President Bush a Nazi, it’s perfectly all right for the Germans to criticize everything about America, to lionize [Fahrenheit 911 director] Michael Moore and treat our soldiers as second-class human beings … but they want to try and censor the American media.
said Colonel Ralph Peters, the center of the controversy. His crime? Having written an op-ed that included sentences like this:
Regarding the Democrats’ claim that we’ll lose influence in Europe, the obvious question is, ‘What influence?’ We’re not stabbing our French and German ‘allies’ in the back. They stabbed us. And they’ll do it again. Our troop posture in Europe doesn’t give us influence over the Europeans — it gives the Europeans power over us.

T S Eliot on People (and Countries?) Wanting to Feel Important

Today is the birthday of T. S. Eliot, the US-British poet and critic (1888-1965) who said:
Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them.

"A French passport doesn't protect you anymore."

Katrin Bennhold has an article in the International Herald Tribune on When even the French become targets in Iraq:
In the latest sign that France, the most vocal opponent of the American-led campaign in Iraq, is not immune to the wrath of Islamic extremists in the war-torn country, two major French television networks pulled their crews out of Baghdad this week for fear of seeing them taken hostage.

Within two days of each other, TF1, France's main commercial TV network, and the state-financed rival France 3 announced that teams returning from Iraq would not be replaced until the security situation improved.

More than 100 foreigners have been abducted since April in what appears to be a deepening campaign aimed at civilians. Most hostages have been released, but about 30 have been killed.

French news media companies are not the only ones to flee Iraq.

Germany's biggest television network, ARD, said Friday it also planned to bring home its two correspondents in Iraq after the Foreign Ministry warned that German journalists could be at risk. Like France, Germany opposed the war in Iraq.

Separately, the Spanish government has urged television stations and newspapers to pull out their correspondents, the newspaper El Mundo said on its Web site. The EFE news agency of Spain has withdrawn its only Spanish correspondent from Baghdad.

According to Catherine Nayl, deputy news editor at TF1, being French no longer protects journalists, who have increasingly become "pawns" in a conflict devoid of any rules.

"Until three or four months ago, our journalists still felt relatively safe, being French," Nayl said. "But a French passport doesn't protect you anymore."

At France 3, Ulysee Gosset, news director, agreed.

"French nationals are not out of harm's way," Gosset told the French radio station Europe 1 on Friday. "France is not an enemy state for the Iraqis, but it's a Western country, and all Westerners, including journalists, are now potential targets."

In the past week, the hostage crisis has dominated the headlines. Two American engineers were beheaded by a group that threatened to kill a British colleague of theirs as well. And the fate of two Italian aid workers, known as the two Simonas, remained uncertain.

On Aug. 20, the first two French hostages were taken, two journalists, who were abducted south of Baghdad.

The kidnapping of Christian Chesnot, a correspondent for Radio France, and Georges Malbrunot, from the daily Le Figaro, not only shook news media outlets with staff in Iraq. It came as a shock to a nation that has long prided itself on its special relationship with the Arab world.

…The failure so far of government to free Chesnot and Malbrunot, in spite of rallying a number of Muslim leaders behind their cause, has reinforced a growing sense of impotence in the French capital.

…Nayl stressed that the decision to stop coverage from Baghdad was provisional and that the network was in daily contact with its local guide and driver in Baghdad to assess when a crew could be sent out again.

The irony is that in many ways the situation in Iraq has proven the French government right in its reasoning to oppose the war [said Guillaume Parmentier, director for U.S. studies at the French Institute for International Relations].

"The French view was that the war in Iraq would increase terrorism, and there is a very argument good that it has," he said.

Terrorism has increased for everyone, indeed, with the possible exception of Iraqi citizens, of course, who no longer have to fear being abducted by state policemen entering their homes with impunity and taking them away to amputate their limbs, cut out their tongues, or shoot them like a dog…