TCS Daily


France Needs Rupert

By Jean-Christophe Mounicq - April 25, 2003 12:00 AM

The black prophecies of the anti-war camp, and their affiliated media, failed to come to pass: No new Vietnam, no new Stalingrad, no heroism from the 'elite' Republican guard, no fierce resistance from the Iraqi people to their 'invaders' and no clash of civilizations. Just Iraqis welcoming the coalition troops, yelling 'Thank you, Mr Bush', crushing the statue of their bloody tyrant Saddam Hussein, explaining how his regime was awfully cruel, and hoping for more freedom and democracy.

So far, it looks like a historic success for the Americans and the British. One would be tempted to think it is also a defeat for their opponents, led by France, who did all they could to oppose the war, weaken the morale of coalition troops, and keep Saddam in power. Not at all: these facts have not swayed the views of French journalists. Along with French politicians and intellectuals, journalists continue to find this war counterproductive and avoidable. Most journalists still report that everything is going wrong for the American-led coalition. Consider, for example, the front pages of the three main daily national newspapers on a typical day in mid-April.

The front page of the third-largest national newspaper, the leftist Libiration, was headlined 'Iraq: looter's law'. Subtitles: 'Public and private buildings sacked, state's structures disintegrated, country falling into chaos... Maintaining order is the new challenge of coalition troops'. The first group of articles asks 'How much time will this horror [created by Americans] last?'. No words on the situation of the Iraqis under Saddam's regime. An article about President Bush's popularity level stressed the fact that two-thirds of Americans want proof of weapons of mass destruction. If these weapons are not found, then the US will lose prestige. A second article discussed a mobilization of European and Arab leaders calling on the Anglo-American forces to install order. It focused on the suffering of the people: 'Baghdad: hospitals without electricity and doctors'. A second group of articles was titled 'Ancient Baathists invent themselves a past'. The new regime is not going to be better as 'the ex-members of Saddam Hussein's party hope to find their place in the new Iraq'. Another article, written by Selim Nassib, a correspondent in Baghdad from Al Jazeera, was titled: 'Weapons have the power'. The subtitle was 'Liberty and democracy, deceiving promises'.

The best-known French newspaper, left-leaning Le Monde, had the same tone. Its main headline was: 'Iraq on the edge of anarchy: The Iraqi capital and many cities of the country fell into chaos'. The journalists reported 'pillage scenes', 'people taking the law into their own hands...in front of indifferent American soldiers'. Americans have spoiled everything, it would seem. When will they regret the methods of Saddam's army and police, who knew how to install order?

The articles from Le Figaro, which used to be considered right-leaning, were no different, asking 'questions'. First question: 'Has the regime accepted its defeat?' Why have all the leaders of the regime disappeared? As if this has been planned for a long time... Second question: 'Where is the elite guard of Saddam?' Maybe waiting for a better time to start the fight again... Third question 'Where are the chemical weapons?' If the Americans do not find them, it will prove that the war was illegal. If they existed, then they have been delivered to terrorist group and the situation is worse than before... Fourth question: 'Where are the deadly squadrons of Arab volunteers?' Same risk as with the elite guard... Fifth question: 'Why is humanitarian aid still not there?'

Listening to radio or watching TV gives the same result. One may wonder why nearly all French journalists still consider this war to be a catastrophe. Overwhelming anti-Americanism explains most of it. But then: 'Why is there anti-Americanism?' In French society - besides the fact that the US protects the Israeli state, thus provoking the millions of Muslims living in France - the dominant ideology in the country is socialism. The US is the country of hated capitalism. Most journalists are socialists. Others keep their beliefs to themselves.

To understand the positions of the French, one has to understand how French mainstream journalists have brainwashed the population. French anti-Americanism will last until France replaces its journalists. Since this will take a while, one may predict that France will remain one of the America's chief antagonists for the foreseeable future. Colin Powell cannot do anything against it. Only Rupert Murdoch could. Maybe somebody should pass him the word?
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