Sunday, July 16, 2006

On Israel . . . France should talk

Jacques Chirac's reaction to the Israel/Lebanon crisis is quoted at timesonline:
"One may well ask if there isn’t today a kind of wish to destroy Lebanon - its infrastructure, its roads, its communications, its energy, its airport. And for what? I find honestly - as all Europeans do - that the current reactions are totally disproportionate. In the Middle East we are currently in a situation of great fragility and instability. We are in a dangerous situation, a very dangerous situation. We must be very, very careful."

This is the same man who tempered his criticism of footballer Zinedine Zidane's head-butt in the World Cup final by saying that it was 'unacceptable' but that it must have been 'provoked'. The French leader is saying that disproportionate violence on the soccer pitch at an individual level is mitigated because nasty words are a sufficient instigator for a physical assault.

During much of recent history, France has danced with the devil while haughtily dishing out self-serving advice to other nations about use of force.

As recently as 1995, France was still conducting nuclear testing. France conducted 176 test blasts at the Mururoa and neighboring Fangataufa atolls from 1966 to 1995 despite the protests of much of the rest of the world. Even the US (a more likely target of an incoming attack) had stopped testing three years previous after the tensions of the Cold War had abated.

In 1985, France was responsible for the sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior before it could protest French nuclear testing. (Talk about a pre-emptive strike.) That action by the French killed someone -- and recent documents show that France actually tried to blame Britain for the attack. The French response to non-violent protest --murder. Hypocracy thy name is France.

Then there's France's response to anti-French protests on the
Ivory Coast. Between 20 and 60 Ivorians were killed during protests after France destroyed the Ivorian air force following attacks by the loyalist army that killed 9 French peacekeepers. France acted unilaterally and did not seek approval from the UN, despite there being 6,000 UN Peacekeepers on the ground who were potential targets for retaliation. Apparently France felt justified in not simply destroying the former colony's air force, but in killing people who protested that action. In fact, the French spokesman said that the reaction was 'moderate and restrained'.

Oh, and let's not forget
France's special relationship with Saddam. The Oil-for-Food scandal has not shamed the French, despite people at the highest levels of their government being neck-deep in the affair. It is not unreasonable to think that if France had not been dealing duplicitously and illicitly with Saddam Hussein between the Gulf War and the Iraq War, that the Iraq War might well have been averted altogether.

Had France, Russia and China not been selling arms and raking in billions from Saddam, they might have seen the wisdom of calling Saddam's bluff rather than that of the US and Britain. Instead, the three sanctimonious nations correctly calculated that the left-tilting world would perceive the war to be aggression on the part of the US -- an insatiable lust for oil -- nevermind that these three are more dependent on Mid-East oil than is the US.

These three, with France at the fore, pretended to prefer peace, despite knowing full-well that a show of solidarity by the Security Council against Iraq's repeated breach of conditions laid out for the cease-fire, might have caused Saddam to back down -- instead, the three postured for the world press, openly slamming the US and lobbing accusations at Bush, while hiding their dirty linen behind their 'virtuous' anti-war facade. These three countries are hardly anti-war -- just look at their recent histories of use of force against less threatening adversaries.

Peace was never their goal -- shielding their misdeeds from scrutiny and maintaining the flow of bribe money-- with the bonus of sticking it to the US and Britain --that was their aim.

Forget whether there were WMD in Iraq, that's irrelevant -- Iraq had continually violated the UN Resolutions that had suspended hostilities in 1991. The Security Council had adequate reason to threaten a resumption of war to protest Saddam's non-compliance. Had every member of the Security Council been onside with the threat of war, actual war might not have been necessary.

Israel is responding to the breach of its border, the abduction of its soldiers and assaults on its population by an unreasonable and intractable enemy. As Hizbollah's missiles rain down on civilian targets in Haifa, ask yourself what France would do if it had to walk a mile in Israeli shoes? Sixty years ago, France might have thrown up its hands but its recent past shows that when it serves its own purposes, France is ready and willing to use excessive force to get its way or to seek vengence -- even when its own civilians are not at risk and when acting with force might put international troops in harm's way -- yet somehow Chirac feels entitled to suggest Israel should back off and use restraint when dealing with overt acts of war, which threaten not only it's population, but which could if left unchecked, threaten its very existence.

With its dodgy dealings in world affairs France is not a paragon of peaceful virtue. It is a nation that speaks out of both sides of mouth, and Jacques Chirac should just shut up.



Anonymous said...

Very nicely said!

The Arabian Knight said...

Best dam commentary I've read in years. I kid you not.

Anne (happier in Ontario) said...

Canadianna, you should send this to every news organization: TV, print, radio, everything in Canada. This is good enough that at least one of them would use part, if not all of it. May I be allowed to send it to friends, etc.? You would get full credit, of course!

Paul MacPhail said...

Your comment about the threat of force being a deterrent in the case of Iraq was exactly what I was thinking back when Chretien decided that Canada wouldn't support the US in an Iraq invasion. (It wasn't really an invasion though, but rather a resumption of war that was declared in 1991 but only under a ceasefire.) I believe that if the world powers had shown unity in this situation, it may have prevented the resumption of war. Either way, I believe that those Iraqis that embrace democracy and freedom will find themselves better off now than before.
Excellent post by the way.

Canadi-anna said...

Thanks Anne, and sure.

arctic_front said...

If France is such a proponent of peace, what is the foreign Legion for? It's not a mythical army of the past, it's real...and it's purpose is similar to the U.S. navy SEALS. Its the very pointy end of French foreign policy. It goes to places like Africa and any other place that France had an interest to protect, the aims of the Government of France. And it's used more often than is widely known.

The French are hawks, and will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. But they are also the most chicken-shit of all European nations. They always take the opposite side on any issue the U.S. takes...talking the talk, but then selling arms to un-savory nations. one word comes to mind.......assholes.

'Peg City Kid said...

Yes, France is the devil itself, but to point something out, Hezbollah is firing missiles in response to Israeli air strikes, not vice versa. Just to clarify, I in no way condone the kidnapping. I think it was stupid and done for entirely political reason.

Something else Canadianna, as much of a hypocrite as Chirac is, the death toll is now over 150 Lebanese, including 8 Canadians. All for two soldiers, who;
a) I doubt are even still alive.
b) People who went to work, knowing full-well they may not return

You’re an absolute fool if this doesn't strike you as disproportionate, excuse the language

So, in your noble quest to expose the hypocrisy of others, you have shown it in yourself.

"France's special relationship with Saddam" Man you are so naive. You ever hear of the Iran-Iraq War??? That was America flooding Iraq with weapons the same weapons that invaded Kuwait, the same weapons that continue to fight the occupation.

And you know what Canadianna, nobody has learned. I almost hope for the worst. I almost hope Israel will attack Syria, I almost hope Iran will respond, I almost hope USA will throw down the gloves, followed by China and Russia, then North Korea and anybody else who seeks destruction.

My greatest fear is that our idiot prime minister is such a puppet he‘ll be blindly crawling along at Bush’s heels and lead us into a war none of us agree with, and none of us want to be a part of. Then all of a sudden, we’ll find ourselves committed to the reconstruction of countries we helped destroy.

Hell, maybe that will teach every damned person on this planet a lesson, one we should have already learnt twice over.

Ahhhh…. Western democracy.
“If they don’t want it, force it on them. They’ll be happy you did in the end, really.”

Canadi-anna said...

Peg - you miss the point -- this latest incident started with the abduction of a soldier, but that's hardly the whole story.

You kid yourself if you think Hizbollah is 'responding' to anything. They are the instigator. Since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon with full support of the UN, it has had six years of missiles dropping down from southern Lebanon where Hizbollah has formed a mini-state almost autonomous from Lebanon.
The murder of several soldiers and the abduction of another pair, only came after Israel's border was breeched by the digging of a tunnel which extended to under Israel's perimeter -- that is an overt act of war -- the response to an act of war is -- guess what -- war.

I hope that the Israeli response does not escalate because although I support their right to self-defence, I also don't like the idea of any civilians being casualties of war. That said, what other nation would use restraint when their border has been breeched by terrorists? That was the point of my post -- it was less to support Israeli action than to condemn Chirac's statement. It is not hypocritical for me to point out that his expectations for others are higher than for his own nation.

Where exactly have I been a hypocrite? I have not blown anyone up for a trifle and then accused others who have had their property violated and citizens terrorized of being overzealous for their response.

And no, I haven't forgotten the Iran-Iraq war, but I also remember the Iranian Hostage crisis. America's aid to Saddam was never about liking Saddam, it was about the lesser of two evils at a given time.
There were no sanctions on Iraq when the US did business with them, but there were when China, Russia and France did. Those were sanctions that those three pretended they were honouring. Rather defeated the purpose of the UN Resolutions and certainly blew out of the water all the hyperbole about Iraqi children starving due to 'sanctions' that only existed on paper for Saddam and his henchmen.

Israel has been in a near constant state of war since the day it was born. It's citizens and its soldiers must to some degree, expect that they or their families might die at any time at the hands of terror. Does that mean it's okay? Because its neighbours have had Israel at this level of heightened tension for 60 years, we should dismiss it with 'People who went to work, knowing full-well they may not return' ? Would you say that to the families of slain RCMP Officers or to cops who die on duty? 'Get used to it - it comes with the job'?
Seems to me I'm not the one being hypocritical.
BTW, nice to see you again. I've been wondering about you.

simoncat said...

Excellent post. I was going to respond to "Peg", but you have already done an admirable job.

Certain things are worth fighting for..and dying for. If the leftist MSM had had the same presence and spin in WWII , reporting every heartwrenching case of a German child caught in RAF raids, many of us would be enjoying life in concentration and extermination camps as we speak.


-canuck- said...

Great post. France is the dirty bugger of Old Europe.

Candace said...

Excellent post, C, glad you're back at it. You definitely have a way with words.

Leap Frog said...

Here here C!
Excellent analysis.

To Minimize the reasons Israel is defending herself is a common cry from the Arab Muslims and hezb'allah supporters.

- to wit I say, you lie with dogs, your bound to get up with fleas... Also, I oppose the paying of travel back to Canada with those 40,000 or so, with dual citizenship,
would they not otherwise have to pay their return fair?

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just want to say what a nice site. Bye, see you soon.

air flight tracker said...

Your blog I found to be very interesting!
I just came across your blog and wanted to
drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with
the information you have posted here.
I have a air flight tracker
Come and check it out if you get time :-)
Best regards!

Anonymous said...

Searching for Travel Guide?
We have collected together in one convenient place a wide assortment of Travel Guide information.