Friday, February 07, 2003

The French Connection

Just a few words of wisdom here, off the top of my head. I usually shy away from the war stuff, but this goes beyond the mainstream...

In the last few weeks, the leadership of France have protested the move towards military action in Iraq. This has led many in the US to (justifiably or not) to publicly decry their stance. Outright declarations of hatred and scorn dot both the mainstream media and the blogscape, with some calling for the US to pull out of NATO and that France is no longer an ally. The French are becoming for some the new Russians.

We, or at least I, have not seen what the word of the street is regarding this stance in Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon, Toulouse, or other French cities. It's conventional wisdom that the vast majority of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea - while admittedly under oppressive regimes - do not agree with their leader's actions or positions. However, I try to remember that even a democratically elected leader can have his or her own agenda that doesn't necessarily reflect the will of the majority. He may sincerely believe it's in his country's best interest. Clinton thought a massive governmental Healthcare program was a necessity, although almost everyone in the country opposed it. Even GWB2's call for military action against Iraq has provoked more dissent in the US than most would have assumed going in.

Remember the vast majority of citizens are innocent Joe's, trying to make their way in the world. They may have political opinions - all of us do, I guess - but the main concern is feeding their family and making sure there's heat in the house and clothes to wear. Do you hate this guy?

A lot was made of finding the opinions of American Arabs and Muslims after the 9/11 attacks. We gave them every chance to express their own horror at the actions of their former countrymen. Has their been a similar effort to get the opinions of Americans of French descent?

France has been an American ally, a key member of NATO, a charter member of the UN and part of the cradle of Western Civilization for decades and centuries. A dissolution of diplomatic ties with such a historic ally over their support on one issue (as massive as the issue is) would be tragic.

UPDATE: Jane of "The Daily Rant" agrees with me, but for some slightly different reasons.

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