The French Say: What Do We Get out of This?

Again, Steyn nails it:

There are many idiotic incoherent leaders in the world, several of them francophone (hint), but Jacques Chirac is not among them. Say what you like about M. le President — call him irresponsible, call him unreliable, throw in shifty, devious, corrupt, and almost absurdly conceited. But he’s not stupid. The issue for the French is very straightforward: What’s in it for us?

The answer to that may vary, but frame the question as a negative and the reply is always the same: What’s not in it for France is that America should emerge with its present pre-eminence even more enhanced. France is in the business of la gloire de la republique, and right now the main obstacle to that is the post-Soviet unipolar geopolitical settlement. They are not temperamentally suited to being anyone’s sidekick: If Tony Blair wants to play Athens to America’s Rome, or Tonto to Bush’s Lone Ranger, or Sandy the dog to Dubya’s Little Orphan Annie, fine. The French aren’t interested in any awards for Best Supporting Actor.

This is not about Saddam. This is not about WMD. This is not about a threat. This is simply about the French exerting what little control they have left. To them, at least.

How do you say spoiled brat in French? Steyn does defend the French, sort of:

The trouble is the cheese-eating surrender paradigm is insufficient. If you want to go monkey fishing, there’s certainly no shortage of Eurowimps: Since the unpleasantness of 60 years ago, the Germans have become as aggressively and obnoxiously pacifist as they once were militarist; they loathe their own armed forces, never mind anybody else’s. But France is one of only five official nuclear powers in the world, a status it takes seriously. When Greenpeace were interfering with French nuclear tests in the Pacific, they blew up the damn boat. Even I, a right-wing detester of the eco-loonies, would balk at killing the buggers.

My Favorite Headline

Today’s best headline:

Saddam Says He’s Against War

No, seriously. That is the headline. Go check the link.

Col. Bacevich Speaks

Col. A. James Bacevich, one of the finest officers the military has ever seen (and I can say this, because he was my Regimental Commander in Germany) writes in the National Review online:

Those opposed to the prospect of a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq are unlikely to change their minds based on Secretary Powell’s remarkably detailed report to the U.N. Security Council. Indeed, anti-warriors will cite the specifics provided regarding Baghdad’s deception and obstructionism to support their own conviction that inspections will, if given sufficient time, succeed in disarming the regime. Given the breadth and depth of the intelligence available, they will ask, what chance does Saddam Hussein have of keeping the weapons inspectors at bay?

But Powell’s true purpose was not to turn around public opinion, either at home or abroad. His purpose was to provide the so-called international community with one last chance to join Washington in doing what the Bush administration has long since concluded that the United States must do.

That is, Powell’s purpose was to make unmistakably clear that the United States intends to proceed with plans to forcibly disarm Iraq and of equal, if not greater importance make an end to the Baathist regime. The countdown to war is well underway and will soon reach zero.

In that regard, the identity of the messenger was at least as important as the words he spoke. The announcement that war is now all but unavoidable came not from the cowboy in the White House or his surly secretary of defense but from the senior official widely seen as this administration’s voice of reason, moderation, and prudence.

Go read the entire thing.

Also, John Hawkins presents some interesting poll numbers.

The Idiot French

Yes, it is a provocative title, and I hope to show you why it is justified. I am really starting to think that the French are not merely stupid or willfully blind, but actual accomplices of Saddam Hussein. Let’s start with several basic premises:

1.) Saddam Hussein is evil, and Iraq must not be allowed to possess or develop WMD.

2.) Iraq lost the Gulf War, and some of the conditions for surrender included weapons inspections.

3.) There are successful models for weapons inspections and appropriate disarmament.

4.) UN Resolution 1441 was the absolute last chance, and it was up to Saddam to prove he is disarming, and not for us to search and find hidden WMD.

If you accept those premises, you are a resident of the Planet Earth. If not, the Democratic Underground can be found here. Today, Colin Powell has outlined, in excrutiating detail, how Iraq is not complying with the current resolution regarding disarmament.

The French response? Here it is, in all its glory:

Given the choice between military intervention and an inspections regime that is inadequate because of a failure to operate on Iraq’s part, we must choose the decisive reinforcement of the means of inspection. This is today what France is proposing.”

France has been the leading opponent of using military force in Iraq now and has suggested it might veto a resolution that could lead to war.

Mr. de Villepin said the council should work with the chief inspectors to find ways to strengthen their mission.

“Let us double, let us triple the number of inspectors. Let us open more regional offices. Let us go further than this. Could we not, for example, put up, set up, a specialized body to keep under surveillance the sites and areas that have already been inspected? Let us very significantly reinforce the capacity for monitoring and collecting information in Iraq,” he said.

Get that? The problem is not that Hussein is not complying. We just don’t have enough inspectors, and they are not coordinated enough. You guys remember how Hans Blix stated the other day that the main problem was that Iraq was handing over the contraband materials too quickly for the inspectors to verify, right?

The French simply do not get it. If Saddam is complying, why do we need to set up surveillance for sights that have already been inspected? If we can trust him and the current inspections, why keep watching those sights? Why ramp up the inspections?

Simple answer- because he is not complying, he still possesses the weapons, and he is still attempting to develop new ones.

Are the French really this stupid?

*** Update ***

Mark Steyn gets it:

A few days ago, I said this thing was getting like Monica: by the time you’re in Year Two, no smoking gun is ever quite smoking enough. It’s perfectly obvious from Colin Powell’s presentation what’s going on. Ten minutes before the flatfoots show up, the bootleg liquor is whisked away, replaced by teacups and the gaming table gets dropped through the trapdoor and replaced by an ornamental fountain. If you think Saddam Hussein is a lovable rogue as Mr. Chirac does this is all part of a grand ongoing comedy, to which the French and Russians made their own exquisite contribution by proposing to strengthen the monitoring regime by doubling the number of inspectors, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum. If the Powell evidence made anything plain, it’s this: The idea of “monitoring” a dictator is ludicrous. Saddam is quite happy to participate for another decade or two in an eternal ongoing U.N. field study of dictatorship.

Axis of Weasel

If Colin Powell’s presentation did not convince the French, the Germans, and the Democrats running for President, can we change the name from “Axis of Weasel” to Axis of Stupid Ignoramuses Who Are Willfully Blind and Deserve to be Ignored and Relegated to the Foreign Affairs Equivalent of Latrine Duty?”

I know it doesn’t rhyme or sound as pleasing, but I am tired of slandering weasels.

*** Update ***

Did France really suggest setting up a PERMANENT inspection regime in Iraq?