View Full Version : France and other Anti-War Activists
Tue, 11th Mar '03, 7:23pm
This is basically just a space for my mini-rant, as I'm not sure what topic to inject it into. I am really tired of hearing people bash France for opposing the US. As can be seen on these boards, there are plenty of people out there who have sound, well-reasoned arguments for being against the war in Iraq. The same is also true for France; in fact, I think they are brave for being willing to take the forefront of the anti-war movement, thus risking much for opposing the US. At the risk of making myself unpopular, I would suggest that maybe all this name-calling and insults are because France's rhetoric (which I have heard quite a bit of, and am impressed by, although I do not necessarily agree) is more powerful, and the bashers are using emotions to stir up US support because they can't handle the logical end.
This does not mean I am against the Iraq war. I think Bush should slow down, but in principle I support removing Saddam Hussein. I just dislike it when debate degenerates to abuse because one side cannot be civil to the other. This would also apply to France's insults of the East European countries who support the US.
To paraphrase my mother, if you can't say something nice and well-reasoned, then just shut up.
Tue, 11th Mar '03, 9:11pm
The worst part is that the debate has degrading to namecalling and insults even on the very highest level. That is incredible dangerous. To hear Chiraq and Schröder call names at Rumsfeld and Bush and them shouting back is horrible. It wont be good for the future.
Tue, 11th Mar '03, 9:44pm
France (the French people, in general) are just completely burned out on War. God, they've been stomped so many times, and had conflicts that were just passing through, they've just gotten tired of it.
Someone photoshopped a google search one time; it had "results found for "French Victories: none", and "Are you sure you didn't mean "French Defeats?". I thought it was relevant.
But. Then, that's also the point. Get to it, before it gets to you. Personally, I'd rather let it get to them, and have them yelling for us to help them out. Not vice versa.
But then. That's also why I'm not president...
Tue, 11th Mar '03, 10:16pm
And, amazingly unknown, france stood steadfast with the US in other conflicts: they provided close air support for US special forces in Afganistan. Quite remarkable since they were deploying the only coalition aircraft (not even the british were) tasked with that (and probably able to).
Also france is keeping the US and british backs free in africa, where the british cannot intervene as it would overstretch its forces busy in the gulf region and also relieving the US who are also focussed on the gulf (even their assets are finite). The continued cooperation however, is completely overlooked when the people are blaming france to block and interfere.
Tue, 11th Mar '03, 10:52pm
Please add the war of American Independence to your list, Ragusa. Not many people seem to know which side France fought on there or that France was involved at all. Well, I bet they know in Lafayette, Louisiana. Any excuse to annoy the Brits or les Boches. ;) And hey- a French statue is the American great symbol of freedom! You have to love that.
You're welcome. (http://www.americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/sl/history/liberty.html) :p
Tue, 11th Mar '03, 11:14pm
Well, i for one think that France is opposing the war so badly, for their own questionable reasons. I think they are afraid, that after an invasion, the world is going to find out, what role France REALLY played in arming Iraq since 1991. They totally ignored the embargo against Iraq, and we're about to find out, just how smelly their business was. Just my 2 cents.
Tue, 11th Mar '03, 11:35pm
Can you believe the idiots in Washington renaming french fries and french toast freedom fries and freedom toast on menus? That has got to be one of the most ludicrous things I've ever heard.
This response was priceless though:
The French Embassy in Washington had no immediate comment, except to say that french fries actually come from Belgium.
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 1:08am
LOL Yeah, i never understood why they called it that. It's a well known fact that fries originate from Belgium. Now they do speak French in large parts of Belgium, but it definitely is a completely different country.
So who made "French fries" up anyway ?
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 1:21am
Idiots in Washington? You're referring to the individual store owners, right? I haven't heard anything being done like that at the legislature, which is the implication one might read into that post.
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 2:58am
Sorry. Here's the link I was referring to:
These are actual members of the House of Representatives doing this (as well as other store owners). Though I don't know how serious they are, they are doing it.
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 3:46am
So who made "French fries" up anyway In cooking, "frenching" a vegetable means to cut it into long strips, thicker than a julienne. For example, a frenched onion is one that has been sliced longitudinally (root-to-stem) instead of latitudinally (into rings).
Cooking 101 dismissed for today, but before we go let me say that I don't care what they're called, as long as I get some while they're still hot. :roll:
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 3:53am
I, too think the whole renaming deal is silly. I'm not fond of current French policy, but renaming a food item is hardly likely to make any difference.
I've also heard this particular dish called "Shoestring Potatoes"
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 10:55am
LMAO! Anyhow, the French can oppose it all they want. Go the French! :mommy:
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 4:55pm
Aha! See I always knew our fries would become legendary!
It's ridiculous the way the US government makes such efforts to ban everything French.
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 5:00pm
Oops, I didn't see that this topic went to the Freedom Fries direction. Started a brand new thread on it and everything :(
Wed, 12th Mar '03, 5:03pm
"We renounce no friendship. But it may be part of a friend to rebuke a friend's folly."
Wise words from the hand of Tolkien.
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 4:23am
Good quote! I've heard that sales of French Wine have dropped significantly in the US -- I don't know if it's been widespread enough to constitute a boycott, but the principle is the same. That I can get behind -- it's the capitalist way to punish someone -- not buying their goods. It may be silly, but at least it's not as silly as changing names of foods.
Most of the editorials I've read have argued that France has it's own reasons for opposing a war with Iraq -- reasons like wanting a strong EU to counterbalance the US, a desire to focus on continental issues, etc. To my mind, they're free to oppose all they want. I may not agree, but that's why they're a sovereign nation, right?
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 2:06pm
I just don't understand why it seems to be the French singled out here. There are lots of countries opposed to attacking Iraq without UN approval not to mention the lack of UN approval itself... :rolleyes:
If you really think that the French are alone in their opposition I suggest you try and find some news sources from outside of your own county as it looks like you're a victim of propoganda.
Though posting BBC links is not a great idea as they seem to be a bit pro-government as usual.
The biggest difference I see is that the French Government is one of the few that is listening to what it's people want (which I sort of hoped would be the case in a democracy). In the UK, most of the polls show people disagree with Blair yet he ignores us and tries to drag us into war. Is that a 'strong' leader or someone trying to be a 'dictator'? Fortunatley it looks increasingly likely that he might be booted out soon as a result. My view is that no democratic leader should be able to take his country to war when their is no immediate threat without a referendum.
On the other hand, if you are taking the view that France is different because they are an ally of the USA, then I am even more confused. Why don't you consider the USA to be a bad ally for not supporting the French position to try other means? If the US was being attacked the situation would be different but in this case they are the aggressor. After 9/11 the French did support the US in the actions in Afghanistan, as was mentioned above. The only way I can understand the French being classed as a 'bad ally' is if 'ally' means someone who does whatever the US tell them to do regardless of whether it's right or wrong.
PS Just to make this absolutely clear, I am not in any way a supporter of Sadam and would like to see him replaced. The question to me is how can this be done moraly, fairly and legally?
PPS Just a final thought. Someone also tried to justify the war approach to me recently by explaining about all the poor children starving to death thanks to Sadam. I can't help thinking that perhaps dropping food parcels might be more useful to them than dropping bombs.
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 2:48pm
The real reason why the French are taking the stick is that they are a permanent member of the security council and a fellow NATO member.
Since Russia and China can be bought and we're on their side [UK], if the French can't be bought, bullied or otherwise persuaded not to veto a war resolution well, lets call them names!
That as I see it is the key. The German position is the same for example, but they do not have the veto right.
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 4:28pm
Just another event to tell the world how small this place is, and how dumb the people are. You'd think that when the most "intelligent" persons on this planet are there to make things work, it'd amount to something. When in reality the fact is that those leaders and deciders are the same stupid brats who you saw arguing over who had the better looking sand-bucket house when you were a kid. And obviously forgot to grow up with others.
It's amusing really. I don't know if I should be sad or happy of the fact that those people up there are dumber than myself, at least when it comes to wisdom. To basically set a boicot on a country because of it's unwillingness to take part in a war of all things? When the worst reasons it could have for such action could merely equal your own ambitious interests at best? Christ, mankind can be thankful I don't have the means to administrate the education I would gladly grant it.
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 6:41pm
I think one reason France is being singled out is that it is very vocal in it's opposition to attacking Iraq. It is also one of the most powerful countries in Europe -- their support would really be helpful to the U.S., as opposed to a smaller country with less military clout. There is also a feeling in the States that the French should be a lot more appreciative of America's role in liberating France in WW2. I'm not so sure I buy that one, though, in that the French helped the U.S. to get Independence from the Brits a few centuries ago, so WW2 could be seen as a payment of that debt, and now the matter is closed. You can't hold history over people's heads forever -- present realities have to be considered!
To wrap up, I think France is making a mmistake by not supporting action against Iraq, but it is their decision to make, and changing the McDonald's menu isn't going to do anything but make the changers look stupid.
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 8:01pm
French helped the U.S. to get Independence from the Brits a few centuries ago, so WW2 could be seen as a payment of that debt, and now the matter is closed.Actually, we consider the help we provided in World War I as payback for their help during our nation's birth.
Of course, they helped back then because they hated the British with a passion. Now the U.S. has taken the role Britain once had.
The feeling in the U.S. is that they do not appreciate or even acknowledge what happened in World War II. For instance, when the movie "Saving Private Ryan" was being filmed, the French prevented filming at the graveyards and beaches of Normandy. That was a slap in the face.
It could be too that after two major wars, France has a broken will. They cannot fight, cannot stand up for themselves, cannot acknowledge that the world is an dangerous and evil place, cannot get their heads out of the sand.
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 9:08pm
Please try to prevent yourself from turning this into some sort of historical debt repayment issue. Good god, why on earth would the war of independance, WW1 or WW2 have anything to do with modern dilomacy. A ridiculous suggestion.
I am pretty much with Slappy on this one, i do have one mroe point however.
Blair and Chirac hate each other. It is widely known fact and quite obvious in their behaviour.
The question is: has Modern politics come to a point where personal rivalries influence major desicions?
Unfortuantly, yes, i think so.
PS: is saw that a guy called platypus referred to the french as' Cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys'
It is people with this sort of view who make me angry and should have been shto at birth. Grow up you little turd. I bet any frenchman in any war could kick your ass any day (stupid american punk).
[ March 13, 2003, 21:17: Message edited by: Sir Dargorn ]
Thu, 13th Mar '03, 9:17pm
Sir Dargorn, I would argue that personal animosity has often been a factor in international diplomacy.
And I just want to state for the record that I wasn't trying to turn it into an issue of war and debt repayment -- I think such thinking is silly as well. But the sentiment is out there, of that there is no debate.
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 12:23am
"Good god, why on earth would the war of independance, WW1 or WW2 have anything to do with modern dilomacy. A ridiculous suggestion"
Ever filed for a home loan? Or a car loan? Or a credit card with a $20,000 limit?
Every filed for a concealed weapon permit? Ever been in a position where you needed a "Top Secret" security clearance?
Ever applied for Medical School? Or Law School?
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 12:33am
France or any other nation in Europe that was saved from facism or any other nation that was saved from Communism doesn't owe the U.S. anything.
Just because we helped them, doesn't mean we expect for them to blindly help us.
What we do object to, is ignoring that fact that we helped. This is the case with France.
France has developed a reputation based on its behavior through the 70's, 80's and 90's. This final streak of cowardice was the last straw as Americans see it. I doubt the U.S. will ever ask for them to help again.
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 12:46am
I think it is pretty brave for them to stand up to the US. Especially considering all the abuse they get and the economical treatment they are bound to get. If you want to talk about cowardice I find it more cowardly to blindly follow the most powerful nations lead like the UK without questioning anything.
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 1:44am
There also exists a cowardess to oppose evil. No doubt many nations are afraid to act because it may result in them being attacked by terrorists. When a person or nation is compliant and weak out of fear - they are cowards. ... or at best slaves. Apathy of evil, is evil.
This is being quite kind to France. In American culture, cowardice is the one of the worst vices - but not one that one can be condemned on - just pitied. France sold nuclear material to Iraq in the 80's, which are fortunately destroyed by Israel. If France's refusal to act is based on selling nuclear weaponary, even in the face of what Saddam has done with other weapons of mass destruction, then the French Government is evil. In this scenario, they are not weak friends but treachorous enemies.
Its ironic that France does not see the danger in Saddam, just like they failed to see the danger in Hitler. Perhaps France is just naive. This would be the best scenario.
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 1:48am
I don't think anyone is blindly following our lead. Contrary to popular opinion, political leaders are not stupid; in fact, I bet that for many governments there are various ramifications that many of us on these boards are not aware of. But anyway.
I do agree (as stated before) that France is being somewhat brave by brooking the US. The reason that France garners the most attention for opposing us is, as I also mentioned, because they are putting themselves in the forefront by their rhetoric. Also, Viking's right in mentioning veto power. Russia and China have only become hard on this issue following France's lead; without France for them to "hide" behind, it's doubtful they would have pressed the veto.
France's recent statements are getting under my skin, though. The fact that they would oppose military force under any circumstances strikes me as odd -- I have to wonder how far they are willing to take this. If Saddam kicks out the inspectors again and goes back to old habits, what will they do then?
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 10:30am
The French are an arrogant bunch, have always been and will always be. Their reasons for opposing the war are generally not that much more noble than the US want to start one, but I still thinks it shows more balls to face up to the most powerful nation in the world than to go smash some desert dictactor that has already been smashed once.
Of course Blair does not follow completely blindly, there are much good for the UK to reap when being being extremely favoured by the US, everyone has reasons for what they do on that level, quite often very convincing but I still cant see any courage or bravery in attaching oneself completely to the single most powerful country throughout the history of the world.
Blackhawk, what were you talking about btw??
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 2:34pm
My wife sent this link to me -- don't worry, I cleared it with Tal -- and I thought it would be fun to post it. Bear in mind that I'm not totally anti-French (though I disagree with present policy) but regardless of where you stand, some of these are pretty funny.
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 5:17pm
Because it's too long to post and I don't have a link, I'm offering to send to anyone interested a New York Times article written by William Safire with some fairly interesting information linking the French to Iraq's import of rocket fuel components (which pretty much can only be used for long range missiles that they claim they don't have). Anyone interested in receiving a copy can PM me with their e-mail address and I'll be happy to send it.
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 6:38pm
Yes, that's it. France is motivated by the belief that Iraq's market for rocket fuel is bigger than the USA's market for everything else. That's why they've decided to oppose the US on this one. :rolleyes:
I'm getting really tired of hearing that the French approve of Saddam. Did no one bother to read the French government's link I posted in which they categorically state that Saddam must go, and the only issue is the method of his removal? This may come as a shock to some of you, but there are better sources of information on French foreign policy than Marge Simpson.
Fri, 14th Mar '03, 9:16pm
Take it easy, Sprite, I just posted those quotes for fun. Besides, I don't think the French would care if the extent of their trade with Saddam were discovered -- it's already common knowledge that the US themselves have sold tons of things to Iraq in the 80s, to bolster the effort against Iran. I don't care where the Iraqis got their gear -- I just want to make sure they don't use it anymore!
Sat, 15th Mar '03, 2:07am
Let me clarify my post: The links with the rocket fuel are not the 80's, they are now, when no one is supposed to help Iraq with this type of arms purchase. (UN resolution and all of that, you know.)
Sat, 15th Mar '03, 2:17am
On another note, I'd like to point out that contrary to certain arguments on this board, no government except Iraq denies that Saddam has illegal WMD's. This includes France, Russia, and China. Their argument is simply that the inspection process seems to be working fine. If the inspection process is intended to suspend Saddam's ability to use WMD's, I'd say they're right. If, however, it's intended to remove them... well, I have my doubts.
Incidentally, Sprite, I'm not sure what link you are talking about, and I find that to be a rather dubious statement. I'm not saying they didn't make it, but questioning whether they meant it. If you're really intent on removing a dictator who refuses to step down, how exactly are you going to accomplish that? By inspecting him to death?