TCS Daily

Five Reasons Americans Should Cheer For France in the World Cup

By Michael Brandon McClellan - July 7, 2006 12:00 AM

Two opening disclaimers: First, I am far more Anglophile than Francophile, much preferring, for example, Henry V to Joan of Arc, Wellington to Napoleon, Lloyd George to Clemenceau, Churchill to De Gaulle, and Blair to Chirac. Second, to butcher a Hank Williams, Jr. phrase[1], I'm a football fan, not a soccer man, and will be personally impacted by the outcome of the World Cup finals about as substantially as I am hit by a tax increase in Swaziland. That said, in the interest of building Franco-American relations, and with no animus towards the Italians, I propose five reasons Americans should be rooting for France to beat Italy in the World Cup finals.

Since their failure to support us in Iraq, France-bashing has become almost as popular of a sport amongst the American punditry as America-bashing is en vogue amongst their French counterparts. Few of us, for example, have not received a variation of the email articulating the escalating levels of French military mobilization, set forth as: appease, surrender, and collaborate. The tide of American political correctness has turned against the alleged "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" and thus, in the world of political commentary, this article will likely be as ineffective in achieving its objective as a bb fired to stop an oncoming locomotive.

So, with that said, let us nevertheless tackle the purple elephant in the middle of the room. Let us challenge the erroneously accepted axiom that the French are pompous, soft, and anti-American and make the case for why we Americans should like them. The French of course are pompous, but they have also often backed it up with a generosity and courage that we should appreciate and admire.

Reason One: The Fourth of July

We Americans like to remember the fact that we had to save the French from Teutonic domination in Dubya-Dubya-One and Dubya-Dubya-Two. However, crossing the Atlantic to help out a struggling nation fighting for its democratic independence has not always involved sending GIs to Europe. There was, of course, the critical time in our nation's history when the frogs came over here with a whole lot of big wooden ships to give the Royal Navy something to worry about other than blockading American ports and sinking American merchants. So on the heels of our 230th celebration of our Declaration of Independence, we should pause and remember that the implementation of that noble document was substantially made possible by French blood, treasure, and frigates. They also sent us a remarkably courageous General, after whom we decided to name a very pretty park across from the White House. His name was Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert Du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, and he was about as soft as John Wayne or George Patton.

Reason Two: The Statue of Liberty

Few things say "America" or "The American Dream" like the Statue of Liberty. Liberty's great symbol was assembled in New York, but it was crafted across the Atlantic. The statue, dedicated on October 28, 1886, was of course a gift from our Gallic friends, offered as a tribute of solidarity from one great democratic republic to another. The Statue of Liberty is no ordinary gift. It has become the most recognizable symbol of America as a beacon and as the last best hope for the world's "tired, poor, huddled masses" coming to our shores to make a better life. And before the age of air travel it was also among the first sights of the New World for those hundreds of thousands of immigrants making their way to the United States via Ellis Island. We should remain grateful to the French for this most powerful, treasured, and enduring of gifts.

Reason Three: The Middle of the United States

Bonaparte undoubtedly had his faults, and I certainly would not want him to be my neighbor, but he gave us one heck of a deal on the middle of our country in the Louisiana Purchase. For the bargain price of $15 Million, or three cents an acre in 1803, the original exemplar of the Napoleon complex gave us most of Louisiana, part of Texas, all of Oklahoma, all of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota, part of Colorado and Minnesota, and most of Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota. That's a lot of land. 22.3% of the total territory of the United States, to be precise. How good of a deal was this? According to Wikipedia, in 2003 dollars, it is estimated that this would be approximately $390 billion, which breaks down to about $736 per acre. Their estimate strikes me as on the high end. Nevertheless, you show me an acre of radio-active desert, and I'll guarantee you that it's an acre worth more than $736. And so, for some of our reddest of red states, our amber waves of grain, and our purple mountains majesty, we must thank France's diminutive Emperor and America's original Francophile, Thomas Jefferson.

Reason Four: World War I

While as mentioned above, we like to remember that it was fresh American troops who tipped the scales on the Western Front and ultimately drove the Second Reich to accept its own dismantling, the French sacrifice in that cataclysmic conflict demands our respect and admiration. The French war effort in the Great War was anything but soft. It was tragic in a way that we struggle to even grasp. Facing a nation with more people, more resources, and the most powerful army on the planet, the élan-filled French people fought for four years as the anvil to Kaiser Wilhelm's war hammer. As I noted in another TCS article "France, with a population of less than 40 million, lost an almost incomprehensible 1.3 million dead in battle, with an additional staggering 4 million wounded. To put these horrific sums in perspective, it is worth noting that the United States lost a fraction of the lives sacrificed by our WWI allies, with 50,500 killed out of a population of almost 92 million. To put the Iraq War in perspective, the estimated population of the United States in July of 2006 is 298 million, and less than 2,500 troops have been killed since the 2003 invasion." In other words, with a small fraction of our population, the French sacrificed more men between 1914 and 1918, fighting for their independence and for Western democracy, than America has lost in all of its wars combined.

Reason Five: The Tricolor

Aside from the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack, few flags can fly more proudly than the Tricolor. While at the pinnacle of its comparative might, it flew at the head of Napoleon's conquering Grande Armee, it flew on the right side of history throughout the twentieth century. Find a cataclysmic conflict, and since the time it replaced the Fleur de lis as the flag of France, you are likely to find the Tricolor. The Tricolor marched against the imperial ambitions of the Second Reich, against the hatred of the Third Reich, and it stood, under NATO, against the Hammer and Sickle of the Soviet Union. It stands now against the crescent of jihadism, even if not in the exact way we would like it to. Liberty is fundamentally at odds with Islamo-fascism and the Tricolor, if history is to be our guide, will stand for liberty.

And so, in recognition of the people who sent boats to fight for our independence, who gave us our most beloved statue, who sold us the middle of our country for three cents an acre, who sacrificed a literal generation of men fighting for freedom, and who planted there own red, white, and blue flag next to ours and our British allies in all of the major conflicts of the 20th century, I have only one phrase to offer when their soccer team takes the field against Italy, "Vive la France!"

Michael Brandon McClellan is an attorney and writer living in Southern California. He runs the weblog Port McClellan

[1] The lyrics are "I'm an Oiler fan, not a soccer man, my arms are red and so is my blood." The Houston Oilers of course became the Tennessee Titans.


The author can't be serious
Being someone who has resided in France, I can five you a few reasons why the author is wrong. First, the Italian team is representative of its country and culture but the French team is not. The French are hypocritical in their patriotic pride in their national team which is composed almost exclusively by African-Frenchmen, a group deeply mistrusted and hated in much of French society (except in principle, of course), Second, the author has obviously been in France when they win anything, let alone a cherished football cup such as the World Cup or European Cup. The singular way in which France celebrates its exceptionalism (particularly within Europe) is gaggingly obnoxious as composed with the total loving joy and abandon with which Italy celebrates anything. Additionally, the large number of daily and weekly soccer and sports newspapers printed and eagerly digested and memorized in Italy gives an idea how involved Italy is in it's sports - and that of the entire world. When Italians lose they are sad, when the French lose they feel diminished and demolished. Subjectively, I love the Italians and their country - in the South the French are considered to be Italians in a bad mood. I am rooting for Italy and let all such high flying arguments to the contrary be damned.

correction to The author can't be serious
Text should read that the author obviously has NOT been in France when they win anything. Viva Italia! (I'm not of Italian ancestry, by the way.)

Another reason to support Italy
I guess it's just the author and me here, but a correction to my correction (fragile on Saturday) provides another reason to support Italy. I incorrectly responded to the author's "Vive la France" with "Viva Italia". Actually, the Italians would say " Forza Italia", not "Viva Italia", which in itself is quite revealing. They call for the power necessary for their team to vanquish their opponent and do not implore their team to carry the burden of national honor and survival as in the cry "Vive le France". Go Italy!

I'll support Italy
France had its chance two hundred years ago.

I appreciate their support during the Revolutionary War, but it was more to weaken England than to support America.
Also, wasn't France planning to aid the Confederacy?

While I have met a few French that are friendly (expats, wonder why?), Italians seem to be much friendlier. Where would you prefer to watch the world cup, in a French or Italian restaurant?

And what has France done for (or to) the USA lately?

Five reasons to hope France loses
1:July 4;France promised help to the cause of liberty but only delivered when it became obvious we would prevail.
2:Statue of Liberty,The statue that was paid for by donations from the people of Paris not the Govn't of France for our centenial was completed over 10 years late with only an arm available for display on centennial and was meant to be temporary not forever or a "Nation Monument" by the way the base was primarily paid for by New Yorkers that immigrated from Ireland and that inscription was never national policy or approved/sanctioned by Congress.
3:Mid USA;Sold to us by France to finance Napoleans war with the English after it became obvious they couldn't defend it from the Spaniards.
4:WW1;A strictly european squabble among the European aristocracy that embroil us only because our shipping came under attack.
5:Tricolor ally;France played both sides during WW2,the first shots our soldiers encountered when landing in North Africa were French bullets fired from French gun held by Frenchmen and lets not forget the Vichy Govn't of France.Additionally we can thank them for Vietnam as they attempted to reclaim their empire after WW2 until they lost at Dien Bien Phu,triggering our involvement,then they headed to Morocco to reclaim it only to lose there as well,as for standing against the Soviets we must remember they opted out of the military part of Nato and persued their own agenda yet again.

Soccer is a game, not a government
Just as I wouldn't expect me to beat Bobby Fischer in a game of chess, I cannot expect Italy to beat France. But when it comes to living a life of virtue and supporting a rational governing body, I would kick Bobby's irrational butt. Frances secular soccer skill is far superior to Italy's, and they are both great teams, so it should prove to be a tough game and I hope the best teams wins. But no matter how irrational France's govt is, soccer is a game of skill and I you've got to root for skill. France is going to win.

Why play?
Then Italy should do what it does best, surrender.

I will still cheer on Italy because I don't like France, no matter how good you say they are or they think they are.

National Teams
Why bother?

Next World Cup should be comprised of all professional teams from around the world. The best money can buy no matter where they are from.

A soccer World Series.

Professional Teams!!!
Here here. I couldn't agree more.

The French need to face the consequences of their actions.
I think we should take this "private teams" concept a bit farther, and let professional atheletes in to the olympics. The "Dream Team" was the best thing to happen to the olympics since it was invented.

Not hating your enemy/opponent does not mean that they will not hate you. Look how well that strategy worked for Jesus! Loving and respecting your enemy is more likely to make them wonder what is the matter with your brain than to wonder if they should fight someone else.

The French have been actively opposing us since the Cold War, and they have not yet paid a price. Neither have the Spaniards nor the Germans. Those who actively oppose us and sell weapons to our enemies while we are in the middle of cleansing Islamofascist maniacs from the face of the Earth have to pay a price. They face just as much danger as we do, and yet we bear all the cost and take flak from both sides. Join us, get out of the way, or face the consequences of betrayal.

France could have easily (an probably should have been) considered an enemy in WWII. It has always amazed and saddened me the way the Allies cow-towed to the feckless and largely worthless DeGaul in order to win the support of the French Resistance that was so largely populated with communists. Meanwhile FDR sold out the truly brave and effective Poles who were truly pro-west.

That France was so easily "overrun" by Hitler is more a testament to the French sympathy for Nationalist Socalism than it is a testament of German superiority in battle. Poland was a much weaker country militarily, but offered real mass resistance to German occupation while a huge portion (maybe even a plurality) of French welcomed the *****. Many, like the communists in our own country, did not turn against their German oppressors until Hitler turned on Stalin.

Responding to "Huh?"
SGT --

Yes, some of the French collaborated with the *****. I am of course aware of the Vichy regime. There also was of course the French resistance who fought under the Tricolor emblazoned with the cross of Lorraine:

The Tricolor thus was always employed in fighting the *****, and of course accompanied the allied forces as they poured into Germany at the end of the War.

It is interesting that so many seek to condemn the nation that was split between resitance and collaboration, whereas, for example we rarely hear of castigating the Italians, who were governed by a fascist, and constituted Hitler's closest ally.

It also demands mentioning that France was the only nation willing to take steps to enforce the Versailles Treaty after World War I.

MUCH of the appeasement towards Hitler was fueled by American and British refusal to help France against the *****.

Perversely, in the inter-war years much "enlightened" British and American opinion condemned the "aggressive" French vis a vis the "poor" Germans.

Your second paragraph is largely specious nonsense. The vast majority of the French people ecstatically welcomed liberation from the boot of Nazi tyranny.

AND, it was of course France who went to War against Germany in defense of Poland.

Thats funny - face the consequences of their actions
No one does that anymore.

Did you really say the "Dream Team" was the best thing to happen to the olympics since it was invented? Wow, welcome to the MTV MacCulture.

Yeah, look how well loving and respecting all people worked out for Jesus. We still talk about him, we still worship him. Jesus didn't have enemies, if people hated him it was their own fault. He wasn't going to lower himself to their level. What a noble idea.

Why do the French, Spaniards or Germans need to pay a price for opposing us? Are we the rulers of the world now? "Join us, get out of the way, or face the consequences of betrayal." What a bunch of malarkey. We bear all the cost of Iraq because it was a unilateral action. The War on Terror is different, and we do not bear all the cost in that action. America is a strong country, that doesn't mean we should treat everyone else like they are servants to our will.

Congratulations Italia!! I was cheering for France at first (for no good reason really), but couldn't help switch sides and favor Italy during the game. France practically dominated that game, except on the scoreboard. But the heart of the Italians was awesome. Buffon's one handed block of Zidane's header in OT was unbelievable. It was the straw that broke France's back. What a great game. In the end it came down to the substitutions for France, the one guy to miss his PK was a sub. Thats certainly not the only factor, but it was the final factor. Good stuff.

French Connections
"It also demands mentioning that France was the only nation willing to take steps to enforce the Versailles Treaty after World War I."
That particular piece of tripe was one of the reasons Germany was ripe for a nationalist like Hitler as the economy was bled dry to pay war reparations that crippled the German economy making it little more than a third world nation with triple digit inflation.

Hold on...
I said nothing of Italy and certainly said nothing to excuse their historical (and continuing?) love affair with totalitarianism. As I recall, the Italian resistance was successful in ridding themselves of Mussolini, only to be occupied by the *****. Notwithstanding, Italy was treated as a hostile nation during and after the war, and appropriately so.

It has been argued that it was precisely the conditions of the Versailles Treaty that lead to German support for Hitler etc... So, with the benefit of hindsight, being the only country willing to enforce that treaty in full is not exactly a ringing endorsement of France's nobility. Much of France's enthusiasm for enforcement was fueled by vengeance and a desire for loot to maintain their empire.

Certainly the U.S. and the rest of Europe share in the blame for allowing and tolerating German aggression. The problem is that Europe, especially France, has not learned that appeasement never works.

Yes, France signed a mutual protection pact with Poland. But I don't know how you can call their response a "defense of Poland".

Also, to state that the Tricolor flew under NATO without qualification is to overplay your hand by a wide margin. Almost from the outset France's official policy toward NATO was suspicion, bordering on hostility. It's hard to say whether French anti-Americanism or French pro-Stalinism was the more powerful impulse behind their strained relationship with NATO, but it was certainly a potent blend of the two.

Response to "Hold On"
SGT --

A reasonable comment. I disagree with your characterization of Versailles, and would direct you to Donald Kagan's On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace for an outstanding analysis of how the German "raw deal" at Versailles is largely a false construct that was used by propogandists in the West and exploited to no end in Germany itself. Versailles also was, of course, far more magnanimous that the Germans' own terms dictated to the Russians in 1917.

In regard to the Cold War, France did indeed chart its own course -- to a degree. It nevertheless was quite clearly part of the free world as opposed to part of the Eastern Block.

We have never feared French nuclear weapons.

From the 20th century onward, we have never viewed the democratic French as a threat.

This is really the point. We become angry with the French because they don't readily accept or applaud American hegemony. I am an American. I applaud American hegemony. Were the roles reversed, would we applaud French hegemony? I sincerely doubt it. If you were French would you be a nationalist? If you are a patriotic American, I imagine the answer would be yes.

They are a proud people. They have been for centuries. They constitute one of the oldest and most histoirc western states on earth. They have conrtibuted mightily to western civilization.

They are not our enemy. We never fear going to Paris or Nice on vacation.

There are real enemies of the United States. There are tyrannical regimes who fight against freedom, who loathe the West, and who seek the destruction of the United States.

France is not one of them. It is about time we Americans, and especially we conservative Republicans, stop pretending that they are.

Jesus, No enemies?
"Jesus didn't have enemies, if people hated him it was their own fault. He wasn't going to lower himself to their level. What a noble idea."

Where did you here about that?
Satan wasn't too friendly and neither were the Jewish leaders. (I'm not anti-Jewish. Jesus threatened their political power base, which is why they had to eliminate Him. But God works in mysterious ways.)
People who hate Jesus hate themselves the most.

France is for France
That's all you need to know about France and the French.

Some general observations
France is a very mixed bag in the world of Western democracies and are American allies in only the loosest sense of the word.

Those who love France most often wish to imitate it in some fashion. John Kerry, the most obvious example, wants to imitate practically everything about them. A very dear loved one from a slightly older generation once remarked that the French excel at anything that involves an orifice. Something to think about.

France would like to think that America is the wayward child of their Enlightenment. I like to think they resent us because we examined their ideas and improved upon them.

It is important to remember that the "French" politicians we equate with their country are a schooled elitiist, permanent professional class that is completely removed from its fellow citizens who, in reality, are quite OK people, just like you and me, but with far less power than their Amerian counterparts. It is also important to remember that the French concept of the citizen is collectiivist. Individualism as the basis of government is American.

We are and should be as close to France as our commonalities allow. Considering our rather remarkable differences, France will always be a fair weather friend to America. C'est la Vie.

But it's not necessary to support their football team on principle.

One final word, the same issues America has with France are shared by their European neighbors who, because of proximity, are less vocal about it (except anonymously in polls). France excels at isolating and insulting its friends and embracing its enemies. As an earlier poster said, France is only for France. In spite of practiced pouting, it doesn't really care what anyone says about them unless it hurts their pocketbook. They do not need or want your defense.

French and Anglo societies don't mix well
Louisianna is based upon Napoleonic laws and is one of the most corrupt states in the country.

Quebec has been trying to ceceed for years. They force the rest of Canada to learn French.

(Why is it so hard for the French to learn English?)

Mexico, I was told uses Napoleonic law: guilty until proven innocent.

Compare Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Spanish colonialism isn't the greatest, but what has France done to Haiti?

why we should cheer for france?
you have got to be kidding! while i can appreciate the 1776 and statue of liberty references, the rest is plain silly. i have neither the time nor inclination to list all the things i dislike about france. the one thing that galls me the most is that in spite of their refusal to back us up in iraq, they have the gall to demand their piece of the iraq rebuilding pie as it were.
americans spill their blood, yet the french want to participate in the profits! mais non! hope i got that right paris.
no i will be rooting for my ny yankess and i suppose i will root for italy in the world cup.
god bless the usa!

Five Reasons Americans Should Cheer for France . . . .
Nope - not buying it. I'm delighted the Italians won.

A bit of oversimplification
"Mexico, I was told uses Napoleonic law: guilty until proven innocent."

So does Quebec under civil law. There's nothing inherently unjust about the Napoleonic code. It all depends upon the burden of proof required.

"Quebec has been trying to ceceed for years. They force the rest of Canada to learn French."

Another oversimplification. The rest of Canada, through the federal government, made bilingualism a requirement for federal government institutions under Trudeau, believing that it would assuage Quebec separatism. Given the exclusion of francophones from federal bureaucracies prior to the 1960s, there is some merit to this. Quebec separatists had not the slightest interest in the rest of Canada learning French. Moreover, to say Quebec is trying to secede is misleading. A handful of Quebec nationalists are trying to secede and being consistently opposed by the majority of Quebec citizens.

The first socialist revolution
Fundamentally the French Revolution was the first socialist revolution. Despite liberty being a prominent catch-phrase, the revolution was not about freedom in the classical sense, but rather in the "active" sense i.e. FDR's "four freedoms" and other such claptrap.

The American Revolution was truly about liberty and freedom from oppression, not freedom from "want" and thus distinguishes (or at least has distinguished) the US from France in the most fundamental way possible.

France, and most of Europe, will never be much more than allies of convienience until they give up their collectivist roots or we give up our freedom. Any guesses which happens first?

Maybe so
I can't claim to be an expert on Versailles and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that my perceptions of it are unfairly colored, so I'll concede the point.

However, France's modern foundations are fundamentally at odds with that of the United States. The French Revolution was the first of the socialist revolutions; paying lip service to "liberty" and "justice" while truly furthering the cause and idea of collectivisim.

We have not been at war with France for many years (less if you count WWII) but one thing that a conservative should understand is that the absence of conflict is not the same as peace and freindship is more than not fighting.

France sure does put on one hell of a bike race though. I couldn't care less about soccer, but the Tour de France, now that's a sporting event worth following!

Five Reasons to Support France . . . .
Another reason not to support France in anything. See their reaction to Israel going into Lebanon today. The terrorists have commited yet another act of war against Israel from Lebanese soil and who are the French chastising? The Israelis, or course. Don't mean to drag this into another direction, BUT the French are so irresponsible.

Don't be stupid
Like the American Revolution, the French Revolution was fundamentally a middle class revolution against a hereditary monarchy. To pretend otherwise is a ridiculous attempt to rewrite history. To pretend that the bourgeois revolutionaries in 1789 were by any stretch socialist is utterly delusional. Try reading the Declaration of the Rights of Man; it's rather similar to the Declaration of Independence. The French Revolution may have been perverted by Bonapartism at the end, but unlike France, the U.S. wasn't trying to fend off the hostile invasions of every other world power in 1785.

France and America may never be more than allies of convenience, but that's because both are world powers, one more so and one less so. As Metternich said, great powers don't have friends, they have interests.

Cowards prefer wrong enemies
I'm French and I don't have anything against French bashing in general. French bashing is very often a normal answer to stupid French anti-Americanism.
I hate Jospin, Chirac, Villepin, Royal, Sarkozy and most of French intellectual elites who are socialist crooks.

But, when you make a critic you should ask yourself if the same critic made against your country or people would be fair.
- "The support of the French during the Revolutionary war was more to weaken England than to support America".
The support of the US during WWII was more to weaken Germany than to support France.

- "What has France done for the USA lately?"
What has the US done for France lately?

I don't see where it leads.
Would it be that Americans prefer to fight against French, and French prefer to fight against Americans instead of fighting their common real enemies : the Nazislamists?

The Americans need to face the consequence of their actions.

Same remark : where does this reasoning (the French have to face the consequence of their actions) lead you?
I could argument the same :
The US have concluded a pact with Saudi Arabia to get their oil. The Saudis have used the American dollars to finance the worst form of Islam. The Americans have let them do it. Then the Saudi Islamists have crushed on the twin towers.
Now the Americans (who are nearly as stubbornly stupid as the French) after their President has said, without knowing anything from history, "Islam is peace", are helping an Islamist government in Iraq. They will have to pay the price for this foolishness.

Where does this French-American dialog lead?

Vive les Etats-Unis d'Amérique
Hi MBMcClellan

I also try to explain the same about the Americans to the French.

Thanks for doing it with your compatriots.

Vive les Etats-Unis d'Amérique!
Vive les conservateurs américains!



Aren't the US for the US?
What is the problem with that?

It is mostly true for France and the US.
But it does not mean that the US and France have no idealistic ideals that may also push them.

Socialism has not been invented by the French
"The French revolution was the first socialist revolution". No : the French have not invented socialism.
The ideas of socialism have been formulated since the beginning of the history of political ideas.
The first socialist thinkers were probably Greek, in the 5th before JC. Sparte was a collectivist city. Platon offered a model of communist city.
In Rome, the social reforms of the Gracques, the revolt of Spartacus, cesarism were form of statism
You also find socialism in the Utopia of the English Thomas More (1478-1535), the Italian Campanella (1562)etc.
Don't blame the French for everything! They are socialist now. They have not invented it.
Don't forget that Kerry was not that far from being elected. It could have been the beginning of a new socialist era in the US...

yes, but America is currently very divided too
And the same childish attacks against France you're referencing are nearly identical to the attacks the extreme-right makes on everyone who isn't extreme right.

These are actually very profound comments you're making arthur. Nice. Simple, but profound. I think you are right on.

Who was it again that thought it was so clever to change "french fries" to "freedom fries"? Who was calling for the boycott of french wine and cheese?
And why was that again? Oh yeah, it was part of the right's strategy for... getting elected. And fools out there who were terrified of terrorists and wanted to appear tough bought it hook, line and sinker.

The extreme-right wing has cornered government power, thanks to the tactics of Karl Rove and other extremist political warriors in the right wing, and we now have elements of the populace emulating these tactics. They are the tactics of attack and smear, the same virulent narrow-mindedness that has been released on France has been released two-fold on liberals. It makes sense, France is a socialist paradise, liberals apparently want a socialist paradise, so they are both branded enemies of America by the extreme-right.

Its a dead end argument (and thats the point- kill debate). EXCEPT, it can get you elected. And thats the goal of politicians anymore, especially of the authoritarian right. Even worse, some citizens have joined the cheerleader squad for these despicable leaders. They don't work for the people, they work for their own power. And the means to achieve that goal don't matter either. Their response to honest criticism is to attack and smear you. The sound-byte is their language, the message is all that matters. They don't debate you, they sound-byte you.

And yes, even attacking France with sound-bytes helps them get elected. Its comfort food for people obese with extreme-right ideology.

Actions speak louder than words
French officials seem more interested is skimming profits from Iraq and mainting their corruption than solving the problems at home or abroad.
The only French I have met have been expats who were happy to be in the middle east not having to pay French taxes.
France as a nation appears to still be bitter for losing to the English and having the Americans save their hides in two wars.

It has been a long time since I have seen France support any of its ideals of liberty.

Like the Democrats in the USA, France is more interested in opposing the USA instead of supporting liberty.

Thank you Arthur
I firmly believe that on this matter, common sense can ultimately prevail -- on both sides of the Atlantic.

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