Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had a column written by the Editor of Le Monde (otherwise known as Al Jazeera on the Seine), one Jean-Marie Colombani. The title of the column is "Are We Still All 'American'?". This is in reference to the article written by the same author days after 9/11 titled "We are All American".
You must have a subscription to read the full article, but here are some excerpts-
"Today, on a visit to this city from Paris, I have the opportunity to ask the question: Are we still all "American"?
Frankly, the question concerns us -- French and Europeans -- less than it concerns America itself. For us, the answer is relatively simple: Of course, we must be and must remain "American" in everything that involves our common destiny against terrorism, the war waged on democracy, and on all those who wish to live free, by the shadowy group called al Qaeda."
Hey Jean- it's not just "the shadowy group called al Qaeda". It's militant Islam we are fighting against right now. Al Qaeda is but one head of this hydra. And if Jean doesn't believe me, why doesn't he go look on the streets of France where militant Islam is alive and well.
"I am not sure that America, on the other hand, perceives the true extent of the reality that has been created by the war in Iraq. What could be the perception of a European today? It is a vision that has unfolded in two steps. The first step, in the intensity of the shock caused by the twin towers' destruction, was the absolute need for solidarity. Let us remember here the involvement of French and German soldiers, among other European nationalities, in the operations launched in Afghanistan to pursue the Taliban, track down bin Laden and attempt to free the Afghans.
For that we thank you Europe. Big ups. You guys are swell. We'll remember that next time we have to come over and liberate your country.
"The second step, the war in Iraq, led to confusion regarding Washington's intentions, and to a division within "the Atlantic community" and among the Europeans themselves. The problem was not so much the war itself, but the fact that it was launched without U.N. approval, when certain countries -- including France -- considered the inspectors' job unfinished and thought that international pressures on Saddam Hussein could be increased before a military invasion of Iraq, under the authority of the U.N.
12 years later and the inspectors job is still unfinished? When was it going to be finished Jean? Another 12? Sorry we didn't feel like waiting for France to come save us. And the bit about the "authority of the UN". That's pretty funny. Guess who was in charge of the UN Disarmament committee during the 90's? Iraq. Yeah, great authority.
What George Bush is criticized for is very simple: not only to have lied about the weapons of mass destruction -- the official pretext for the war -- as now publicly established by recent investigations; but also to have swayed American opinion, and tried to sway European opinions (much closer to one another than one would think from the different positions of their governments, with Paris and Berlin on one side, and London, Madrid and Warsaw on the other) into believing that the war on Iraq was part of the battle against al Qaeda and international terrorism. Everyone clearly sees, and now admits, that this link did not exist. Al Qaeda's presence in Iraq today is in fact a consequence of the war, and not the opposite.
The official pretext for the war in Iraq was to protect America. Period. Bush didn't "lie" about anything. If you accuse him of lying about WMD's, than accuse your own damn intelligence service too, because they agreed with him. Hans Blix listed multiple examples of unaccounted for weapons that we knew were produced, but had never been shown to have been destroyed. Did he lie too? And Jean, the report by David Kay shows that Saddam WAS actively involved in a WMD program. Read it again. And you are also GROSSLY misrepresenting the facts by stating Iraq had no connections to international terrorism. I guess I shouldn't be suprised however, this is the editor of one of the biggest French newspapers, why should HE know anything, right?
"So by introducing this distortion, Mr. Bush has diverted the attention from a cause -- the fight against al Qaeda -- that called for solidarity, and has taken a path -- the unilateral war on Iraq -- that has led throughout the world to the rebirth of an incredible current of hostility against the U.S., which no one should rejoice at. On the contrary, it should cause concern.
Fly paper Jean, Fly paper. We Americans would rather the 3rd Infantry fight Al-Qaeda in the desert of Iraq than have our local firefighters on the streets of New York. France wasn't attacked on 9/11. If other countries don't understand that we need to take this fight TO our enemies, that's unfortunate, but that's what we are going to do. There are 60 some-odd countries with troops and support in Iraq right now who AREN'T hostile towards us. France isn't one of them, go figure.
"This said, however, we have moved on. Clearly, the United States' difficulties in the field have led Washington to be more lenient with those of its allies -- France and Germany -- that it had drifted from; and these allies are willing to get involved once more now that the banner of the U.N., and therefore of international legality, is raised again. It is moreover not impossible, once Paul Bremer's mandate is accomplished and an Iraqi legitimacy is established, that French soldiers will participate in the consolidation of the situation in Iraq. "
Yes, because we all know once the mighty French military shows up in Iraq ALL WILL BE SAVED!!!...I can't believe the nerve of this friggin' guy. What an ass.
"But beyond that which separated us when Colin Powell and Dominique de Villepin were clashing at the U.N., and beyond what will likely draw us together again -- the urgent need to prevent the situation from deteriorating in Iraq -- we must realize the need for Europe and the U.S. to rebuild their relationship.
Hey Jean, we're doing fine with Britain, Spain, Italy, and many other European nations. They are actively assisting us in Iraq right now. I think it's YOU guys that need to wake the hell up.
Therefore, if we do not do anything, "in the long run" we shall become strangers to one another. Which we are not.
If we are not yet estranged, we owe it to two men, two concepts that have allowed the United States and Europe, whatever the misfortunes, to remain, all-in-all, bound together for 50 years. They are Lord Keynes and George Kennan. One inspired the West's development policies, the other its "containment" strategy. The first policy allowed progress and wealth; the second finally triumphed over the Soviet empire.
Today, "containment" has given way to "pre-emptive" war; and the logic of development and free-trade threatens to be replaced by a return of protectionism. In our interdependent and already multipolar world, the two main axes being wielded by Mr. Bush (as opposed to his father) are therefore a threat to the very foundation of the historical alliance between the U.S. and Europe. This is why John Kerry is, a priori, perceived with so much sympathy. He personifies the promise of an America that will get back on track -- more just, more cohesive, more generous. In brief, less "unilateral." So that we can still all remain "American" in years to come.
Well Jean, "Containment" worked against the Soviet Union, primarily because of Mutually assured destruction. Al-qaeda and their ilk are SUICIDAL. They DON'T CARE if they die. "Containment" of these terrorists brought us 9/11. We CANNOT let this happen again. And John Kerry? The French endorse him? Really? I'm absolutely stunned.
Sorry Jean, you never were "American". You just pretended to be to sell some damn newspapers. I'm glad you are worried about our current policies. To me, it means we're doing something right.