Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
If bad karma were a root cause, the Eiffel Tower would be toast
Published on September 18, 2003 By Draginol In Politics
In an article asking whether Europe liking the US should be a campaign issue or not, I pointed out some of the questionable international actions of France in the past century.  Admittedly, the article had its share of French bashing.

My point wasn't just to bash France though. It was to point out the absurdity of listening to France's advice on foreign policy.

I got a lot of email on this as well as comments on it. Here's one that asked specific questions that I'd like to address.

1. What nation helped america become independent from the british monarch?

Sure, France helped the United States a couple hundred years ago. How many Frenchman perished in that? A few hundred?  That debt was paid back countless times in World War I.


2. Does france actually do anything to america other than do as the people/voters want and freely oppose their policies?

My point is that there is something wrong with the French culture when it comes to foreign policy. Perhaps they should take notice that they keep losing internationally. It may sometimes be expedient to be against something but in the long haul, you need to stand for something to have long term influence.


3. Has France helped america in the war on terror? The first gulf war? Somalia? Kosavo?

Sure. France has helped. So has Mexico. It's a matter of degree. The French also helped the Germans exterminate its Jewish population in WW2. I realize that sounds harsh but let's keep these actions in perspective.


4. america's track history for "rebuilding" nations has been...well, somewhat poor. Most of the nations that you have helped liberate and rebuilt have turned against you (france has turned against you as much as israel has now). Many of your rebuilding efforts have led to more war, chaos and anarchy and less american involvement. I cite the examples of: Nicuragua, Afganistan (the first time lol), Iraq (the first time as well lol), Argetina, Vietnam, Cambodia (a million died in this one....), Somalia, Kosavo, and a few others in South America. Many of these new leaders turned against america, committed huge genocides, mass sterilization, fund terror and as a smaller crime, steal from international charities.

Let's see, rebuilding of countries.  There was all of Western Europe. Does Western Europe "hate" the United States?

Then there was Japan. They seem to like us too.  And South Korea as another.

Does everyone there like us? Of course not. But they're not hijacking airplanes and crashing them into our buildings either. With any luck, in 50 years the Democratic government of Iraq will be confident enough in its freedom to disagree with US policies in a peaceful way.

But the track record the US has in rebuilding countries is actually remarkably good. Now, do you have a list of countries France has rebuilt? Any?


5. What is wrong with asking for evidence before entering a long, controversial and unpopular (to them) war.

There was plenty of evidence. Remember the whole UN inspections thing? Which gets into another issue that I've seen thrown out lately: That if we had just waited a few more weeks then we might have gotten France's support. No way. There was no indication that things were progressing.  "Why the rush?" Because starting in March the temperatures in Iraq start climbing very high.  By April the temps reach over 100 degrees F.

You want to know my theory as to why things started off disorganized after victory? No one anticipated such a rapid victory. The whole thing was over in a few weeks.  If they had known that Iraq would be so easy to defeat in war, maybe they would have given another couple weeks of time. But they didn't. All they knew is that each day they waited raised the specter of higher casualties because of heat related issues.  Heck, France has already lost over 40 times as many people due to heat in their own country. So certainly, no one in France is in a position to argue against the seriousness of heat to health.


6. I don't feel that the liberation of the people in Iraq is valid for justification for a war. Where was america when 40mil died in China? There are other oppressed areas of the world today that have attacked america, but they still stand and fund terror like Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China. If you insist that it was the caring efforts that brought the war to depose of Saddam, then why were the Iraqi people left in his hands twice? Once was after the first gulf war.

Luckily for France, the United States has considered liberation a justifiable reason to spend blood and treasure.

But I don't consider liberation a major reason for taking out Saddam. It was a nice side effect, but the reason had more to do with putting direct pressure on Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.  Being in Iraq allows the United States infinitely more flexibility with dealing with those countries which, surprise surprise, Iraq has a border with.

The question isn't whether the United States is an angel. It's not.  But France's behavior has been vastly worse in the past century than the United States. Which is particularly remarkable considering its limited ability scope of abilities.

Which dovetails nicely into the karma article. If bad karma were a "root cause" of 9/11, the Eiffel Tower would have been toast long ago. The fact is, there are very very bad people out there. Not every villain is a Star Trek villain where it's not evil as the motive but misunderstanding as the cause. No, really there are just some very very bad people out there who hate things so much they're willing to give their lives in an effort to harm the things they hate. And the United States, representing western culture, is the biggest target.

9/11 wasn't caused by any specific foreign policy decisions. It was the result of a general hatred of western civilization and its gradual encroachment into the Islamic world. One could point out that 9/11 may not have happened if the US wasn't stationing troops in Saudi Arabia. But eventually the Islamonaziklan would have been "provoked" to do what they did. Better that they did it now before they acquired WMD than later so that we can deal with it now rather than later.

But one thing we should know, the US is going to have to follow its own path. It has the most at stake in this and it can't be taking cues from countries like France who have demonstrated time and time again their ineptness in foreign policy.


Comments
on Sep 18, 2003
Do whatever Canada says...
on Sep 18, 2003
Heh.
on Sep 19, 2003
Draginol,
to reply to the specifics in this post.

5) You are arguing the Amnerican point. America believed there was proof. You believe there was proof. The chief UN arms inspector believed otherwise. Why can you not accept that France and Russia believe what the UN told them and not the US? It's not about what is right, it's about what people believed.

There were many reasons to go to war. I totally supported the need to remove Saddam. But WMD were just an excuse which France didn't buy. So what, you ignored them and did what you felt had to be done. I personally respect that decision. It's a pity the US isn't a bit more honest in admitting this. 6 months later, still no sign of WMD, and still adamant that they exist.

French people are right to feel upset. Look how angry Americans got at the time. Talk of boycotting French goods , etc. You still won't accept that they made the right decision in not believing you on WMD. I think they should have joined the US in the war though. Troops from France and Russia would have increase post war security.

Paul.
on Sep 19, 2003
You are talking of evidence, but what evidence ? It seems the WMD thing was a lie, now it seems that the connection between Iraq and 9/11 was a lie as well ...

I definitely do not support Saddam Hussein, but my question is: what evidence is there for supporting an occupation of Iraq ?

To me, both France and the US were thinking of 2 things when fighting over this war: who would get the oil market, and who would get to supply the new Iraqi army. No nice feeling, just plain old colonizing.
on Sep 19, 2003
Uh, Brab, if the WMDs were a lie, why did Chirac claim that there were WMDs in 1998?

And I don't know *anybody* who says that Iraq was related to 9/11. What many people have said is that Iraq is a major sponsor of international terrorism (true), and that Iraq has links to Al-Quaeda (more evidence is coming to light on this).

And what, dear Brab, would you have the US do at this point? Leave, and let Iraq be run by the UN? Has the UN managed to actually build any nations? Not as far as I can tell - instead, they turn their refugee camps into prostitution camps (see Kosovo, Bosnia, and Rwanda).

The US managed to create 2 functioning democracies from dictatorships (Germany and Japan). That's at least one more than any other country.

It also took 6-8 years to build a working government. I don't see why the US shouldn't have the same amount of time now.
on Sep 19, 2003
Eric,

Totally agree. It's amazing how quickly historical revisionism comes in.l Since when did France or Russia believe that Iraq didn't have WMD? Their view was simply that there was no clear and present danger from them and that sanctions would eventually get Iraq to comply with UN resolutions.

Of course, France and Russia didn't have to spend billions per year enforcing the no-fly zone. France and Russia didn't have their pilots being routinely shot at.

This whole nonsense that the US argued that Iraq was connected to 9/11 is baffling. Where did this come from? Since when was the US's potion that Saddam orchestrated 9/11?

I've never understood the fixation some Americans, particularly on th left, have with France. Why should the US care about France's opinion any more than say Japan's. Japan is a much more important player in the world than France is. That countries like France have a spot on the UN security council while countries like India and Japan do not demonstrates an example of why the UN is not viable as body for "international law". It should stick with what it was designed for - an open forum where countries could more readily meet together and work together. UN sanction of something seems pointless to me.
on Sep 20, 2003
Well, I'm glad I'm not the one who said the word "revisionism" first.

I don't know what the French or Russian administration thought about WMD, I just know what the UN inspectors said. And according to what they said, I cannot derive the fact that Iraq had WMD.

As for the 9/11 connection, I think people like to forget the letter Bush sent to Congress to authorize the war:

(quote)

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3( of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor ( likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Sincerely,

GEORGE W. BUSH

(end quote)

So Iraq is related to "nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001". Could not be clearer. Unless revised
on Sep 22, 2003
Undoubtedly, the Bush administration did play up Iraq's "ties" to Al Qaeda prior to the Iraqi invasion. Terrorists training camps, Ansar Al-Islam, some fellow reportedly hospitalized in Baghdad. But it stopped just short of saying that Iraq was involved in 9-11. Tenet, head of the CIA, went on record in Congress saying there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9-11. But that wasn't something widely publicized by the Administration or the media really.

The Bush administration had to be very much aware that many people were assuming that there was a connection between Iraq, Al Qaeda and 9-11 and that Iraq was involved in 9-11. The Administration had after all repeatedly emphasized Iraq's ties to terrorists and Al Qaeda. And having many Americans believe Iraq was involved with Al Qaeda and the attacks on the US served a purpose. In the build up to the war in Iraq I don't recall seeing the President coming out and saying that they had no evidence that Iraq was involved in 9-11 as he did last week. And last week, before Bush's statement, Cheney was still trying to suggest a connection between Iraq and 9-11 on one of the Sunday talk shows, although it had already been discounted by both the FBI and the CIA.
on Sep 26, 2003
basic facts: saddam hussein, belonged to the baath party, he was laic and communist. there was an embargo and no fly zone controlled by americans. On a diplomatic way, the country had just one ally syria, that is to busy with liban and israel to provide help to saddam. Moreover, there was not a single iraqi involved in 9/11 attacks

on the other hand you have a theocraty, saudi arabia, which is a very rich country wich supplies many islamic funds. 15 of the 19 terrorists of 9/11 were saudis, and so is ussama.
Of course, if you are american, you remain friends with saudis.

an other thing WMD cannot be hidden behind a rock in the desert because chemical, bacteriological or nuclear products must be handled a very special way ...and chemical and nuclear product does not operate more than 4 or 5 years....
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