March 21, 2004


Who admires the French for their anti-war stance? Not anybody in Iraq, as this translation of a Le Monde investigation reveals:

French policy is still vigorously criticized by Iraqis. Contrary to the common perception among Europeans, the fact of having opposed the American occupation has absolutely not increased Europe’s popularity, or that of any country, among Iraqis ...

It’s virtually impossible, save among defunct Baathis leaders, to find anyone who supports Paris’ stance on the crisis. No more in the local market than anywhere else: “I want the American invaders out as quickly as possible, but I’m happy that they got rid of the bloodthirsty Saddam for us!” affirmed Hamid, a Shiite fabric salesman. “I’m disappointed, me, an admirer of General de Gaulle and Victor Hugo, that Chirac did nothing to help the Iraqi people.” “We’d like to be friends with the French,” added his friend Majid, “but they supported Chirac who himself defended Saddam right ‘til the end. I’ve never understood why. It’s utterly bizarre ...”

Read the whole thing. Translation via Andrew Coulson, whose entire site is terrific.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 21, 2004 03:25 AM

Nothing bizarre about it. It's called political corruption, and went well with the UN's food for oil program.

Posted by: david at March 21, 2004 at 03:52 AM

Tim, those Brits really hate your guts, don't they?

Posted by: Roger Bournival at March 21, 2004 at 04:29 AM

If there's a God in heaven, there's got to be some blockbuster shit still waiting to be translated/released about Zeropean complicity with Saddam. Please, Jeebus, please...

Posted by: geezer at March 21, 2004 at 04:42 AM

Notice how the Iraqis interviewed are largely Sunni, or are either other journalists or "intellectuals." Notice how reflexively anti-American they are. I wonder what Le Monde would have discovered had they gone to Shi'a and questioned them? Leftism is found in the same places the world over. Also, Iraqi ingratitude is legend.

Posted by: Helen at March 21, 2004 at 05:04 AM

You see, France? Nobody likes you.... nobody.

Posted by: RainDog at March 21, 2004 at 05:57 AM

This is what happens when you base your foreign policy not on being for something (e.g., democracy) but instead on merely being against the U.S.

It doesn't ensure that you'll curry any sort of favor with places like Iraq, but it does ensure that the U.S. will look upon your actions with suspicion.

High risk/low reward, in other words. No wonder the socialists like it.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at March 21, 2004 at 07:31 AM

Stupid Iraqis. While they were being tortured, they just did not make an effort to understand the highly nuanced and sophisticated French policy of keeping Iraqis in slavery.

Posted by: perfectsense at March 21, 2004 at 08:29 AM

Another translation, some would say a superior one, available here. Discussed here.

Posted by: Douglas at March 21, 2004 at 09:00 AM

The author of the article calls the Iraqi's attitude toward france "a paradox". LOL!!! I also enjoyed where the guy claims that one can still hear "by tradition and with a grin...'France good, USA bad!'"

Yes, I'm sure he hears lots of things.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 21, 2004 at 09:47 AM

To sit back and say that the war was a huge mistake and yet do nothing to try and improve the situation - troops, money, anything - says volumes about French priorities. It is all nice to posture and preen from the sidelines but if this is not backed up with action you get what you deserve.

French pigdogs I fart in your general direction!

Posted by: Rob at March 21, 2004 at 10:27 AM

He doesn't know why Chirac supported Saddam? Maybe somebody should tell him about the money.

Posted by: Johann at March 21, 2004 at 11:12 AM

Not apropos of anything, but...

Speaking of flogging, and I am, that is an interesting concept. I've never actually whipped a human being. Spankings, oh lord yes, but that's mere foreplay, tit for tat, and all that. But to actually uncork on a person with a cat o' nine or bull, hey.
Speaking of flogging, and I am, that is an interesting concept. I've never actually whipped a human being. Spankings, oh lord yes, but that's mere foreplay, tit for tat, and all that. But to actually uncork on a person with a cat o' nine or bull, hey.

Posted by: Velociman at March 21, 2004 at 12:16 PM

The french are not revolting but they should be.
Their govermnents have run their country into the ground for years and many of them realise that the point of no return is approaching.
Will the eiffel tower one day become a minaret. as have prophesized fremch islamist ?
Now, they who have genuflected to Islamofascism for so long, have been told in no uncertain terms that they are targets.
Au barricades, mes amis, foutez votre gouvernement a la poubelle !
Ce n'est pas trops tard pour vous defendres

Posted by: davo at March 21, 2004 at 01:46 PM

Helen, "Iraqi ingratitude is legend." How about Frenchie ingratitude? Wasn't that LBJ who asked DeGaulle if he wanted us to take those buried in Normandy back home too? Read some Iraqi blogs, you'll feel better. These people are full of hope and gratitude.

Posted by: ic at March 21, 2004 at 03:42 PM

Sorry guys I think you've fucked this up again.

What it sets out is Al Jazeera's new fun quiz : "Who wants to be a Red Adare?"

How it works is that unlike Red Adair - the contestant answers a few easy questions and then sets fire to the planet in different ways.

Of course contestants have access to the aids seen on "Who wants to be a Millionaire?", if they are stuck.

There's :

50/50 or

You can Call a phate

Winners are then loaded up with explosives and sent out to meet people.....and kill them.

Apparently they are becoming commercialised like the Americans with Bomber Cards.

Top card at the moment is Yiqbal Ali who has been on 24 suicide missions should see his handlers fucking jump every time there's a knock on the door.

As for the French what can we say about them that hasn't already been said about Piles.......

Posted by: Traps at March 21, 2004 at 05:20 PM


You said "The French are not revolting, but they should be."

Let me disagree.

I find the French very revolting!

Posted by: bigdiogi at March 21, 2004 at 07:09 PM

No they aren't.....not the ones from Paris...the Parisites......they're lovely.

Mind you it's difficult to picture an alliance between Saddam and his Baath Party and the French who don't bath, not even for a party.

That's why perfume is so important to those know - Eu de Spring, Eu de Fragrance and of course Eu de Fucking Pong Remains Undiminished.

Hard to picture them as great lovers when their wives and girlfriends are phoning from the next room.

Most French women when asked if they take precautions for sex confirm that they entails returning home an hour after the wanker is finished.....

But lets not mock the French whose only lasting victory came during their revolution ....on account of one set of Frogs had to win...I'm sure they are very kind......the kind who should fuck right off.....

Posted by: Traps at March 21, 2004 at 08:23 PM

How shall I react, being French, to such a big amount of condescension, hatred and insults. Is this what you call "democracy"? Insulting people who have different opinions? Your views is astonishingly simplistic. I am not going to answer to such low arguments. Please just take into account that Europe has a different history than yours, and therefore a different view.

If United states of America have a vocation to bring justice wherever it is needed, then they will have to invade half of the world: three quarters of Africa, half of Asia... I don't speak about south America, where they already intervene regularly, but I'm not very sure that it is for bringing justice. This war in Irak has strategical goals: oil stability, gas, control of the whole region with key bases, balancing saudi influence... Anyway, they found the dictator in a rabbit hole, but still no hints of massive destruction weapons. How bizarre.

So it seems the issue is not as simple as: "shall we release a people from a naughty dictator". Of course, the men of Irak who have no relative among the 10.000 deads of this conflict will appreciate living in a country where, for the moment they are allowed to speak about politics. But the political void is being filled by islamists, and the women rights are going backwards (as it seems you can read french, see here).
Resolution 137 was finally rejected, but the fact that it was discussed tells long about how the USA democracy in middle-east is turning to be.

As concerns the very subtle accusations to Chirac being an allie of Saddam Hussein, I have to remind you that in the eighties, France and USA were together helping him in his war to Iran, hoping that he would defeat Khomeny. Finally, he bombed his own people with french and american weapons, and german gas.

As concerns the Shi'a, they were probably not so grateful in 91 when the US (and french and others but under USA command) first let them clearly think that they would be released, let them revolt, and finally let them down. Why not having released them at that time if that was the issue? Well, I assume there must have been other strategical interests at that time.

Posted by: Melfrid at March 21, 2004 at 10:36 PM

Your view is "astonishingly simplistic". Aside from other mistakes in your litany against the US, you fail to mention the obscure? fact of September 11 and the islamofascist declaration of war against the US (and against the West and Israel and non-Wahhabist Muslims and on and on). Small point, yes?

You forget the terrorists' promise of worse atrocities to come, using WMD when they are able to. You forget the fact of terror sponsoring states and overlook the potential alliance between deranged killers and psycho tyrants. You don't mention how islamofascism thrives in corrupt and stifling oppression and was birthed in the failed Middle East (where the French are proud of their influence...) You seem not to appreciate sufficiently how relieved Iraqi's are to be released from the bloody chokehold of Saddam, and to have a chance of democratic self-governance and an open economy. You don't see the Libyan reaction to divest of WMD? You don't see the more hopeful protests of Iranians and now Syrians against their miserable governments, post Iraqi liberation?

Sorry about the loss of the billions of oil contract money that the French had their caps set on under the continued and horrifying rule of Saddam. Sorry about the French's loss of their, ahem, democratic principles in supporting genocidal rulers in Iraq and Africa. Sorry that the French see fit to bully a good democracy by playing big shots with Communist China on the eve of Taiwanese elections.

Forget the 80's, this is NOW. The US has changed foreign policy for the better under Bush- the push was 9-11. France only exhibits craven realpolitik under Chirac, and you don't even mention that date. Which is more telling than anything else you did say

Posted by: charlotte at March 22, 2004 at 01:55 AM

Melfrid says: So it seems the issue is not as simple as: "shall we release a people from a naughty dictator".

Naughty? The rape rooms, the people shredders, the mass executions, the torture chambers? And Saddam was only "naughty?"

No wonder de Sade was French. It all makes sense now...

For the record, I used to love France. Paris, along with LA and DC, felt like home to me. I adored visiting France, studying poetry and fashion in Paris, exploring and wandering. Never met a single prototypical rude Frenchperson. Every French person I met was lovely.

But now, after France stabbed the US in the back because of the oil money and contracts Saddam had with the French, I'll never buy a single French product or visit France again as long as I live.

Posted by: ushie at March 22, 2004 at 02:26 AM

The French have never recovered from losing their position as the arbiters of Western culture and diplomacy -- which as far as I can make out started sometime after their "adventure in Indochina" came to an ignominious end, and finished when Eurodisney was built. Zut alors!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 22, 2004 at 02:31 AM

France supports dictators in return for money.

Posted by: Julie Cleeveley at March 22, 2004 at 03:31 AM

Melfrid? Your parents named you Melfrid? Damn dude I be pissed too. Cheer up, I'm sure your government check is in the mail.

Posted by: Fat Cracker at March 22, 2004 at 10:40 AM

"How shall I react, being French, to such a big amount of condescension, hatred and insults."

Being French myself, I join in.

Posted by: Sortelli the Frog at March 22, 2004 at 10:57 AM

"How shall I react, being French, to such a big amount of condescension, hatred and insults."

Address the root causes?

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 22, 2004 at 11:45 AM

Ah, Melfrid, in the 1980s at least the US had the reason that the Iranian Islamic Republic had committed an act of war against us, in seizing our embassy and diplomats and holding the latter as hostages for over a year. France's reasons for supporting Saddam were more simplistic, like so much else about French foreign policy. They were in it for the money. There is real French idealism for you.

As for 1991, I have always been bitterly ashamed that we ran out on the Iraqis. We ought to have taken out Saddam and replaced him with a consensual government then and there, and I said so at the time. Bush 41 did not do so for several reasons, mostly similar to those raised in the last couple of years to say we ought to let Saddam alone. First the UN resolution did not mention overthrowing Saddam, only getting him out of Kuwait. Second, he and his advisors valued stability and were still worried about the spread of influence by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Third, our Coalition allies were down on taking down Saddam just because he was a reckless fascistic dictator; our lovely allies saw no need to concern themselves with human rights for Iraqis and urged us not to have any either. Besides, think of the bad precedent of overthrowing a nasty dictator just because he was the enemy of the US and a aggressor defying the UN. Half the UN members would fit that description. Fourth, Bush mistakenly thought, no doubt based on intel from the CIA and State Department, that an uprising by Iraqis would do the job. Bad mistake, no wonder Bush 43 and Rummy have not been keen to listen to the people who got it wrong last time.

US willingness to spend blood and treasure for defending liberty has saved France's ass three times in the last century. Do you really think there will never be another time when France will need such aid?

France is terrified of the US "hyperpower" because France is afraid we will use it like France would, if she had that power. This is mere projection, and not a realistic, sophisticated view of how the US works. Forget the nonsense about grabbing oil; if we were the sort of country to do that we would not go halfway around the world to Iraq for the purpose, we'd annex Alberta. But nobody has the slightest real expectation that the US would do so, although some Albertans wish we would. Once again this is French simplisme, projecting French motives onto the US.

French foreign policy should become more sophisticated and less parochial, especially less prone to project France's mercenary motives onto the US. Time for France to attain the sort of maturity the US has.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at March 22, 2004 at 02:13 PM

I prefer the French when they were misanthropes. Now, apparently, they want to be loved. That's what's sad.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 22, 2004 at 03:10 PM

right on ms harris

Posted by: cugel at March 23, 2004 at 01:38 AM

Charlotte (beautiful french name)> I don’t mention 9-11 because it is related with Afghanistan war (the link is clearly established, i don't deny it), but not to the iraki war. No WMD has been found, and no links with a terrorist movement was (seriously) proved.
Ushie> in my country and others, there is a means of expression called “irony”, which you do not seem able to understand. “naughty” is used this way. Well, France broke your heart, that’s so sad (irony again).
Andrea Harris> You have weird historical shortcuts… But I am not here to justify the attitude of colonial France.
Julie Cleeveley> Another funny theory. OK. Prove it.
Fat Cracker> Your parents gave you this name? How nasty! You must have had a hard time at primary school!
Sortelli the frog> Bienvenue.
SA Smith> Then you would also be well inspired to address the root causes of terrorism. Perhaps USA would not have played with Bin Laden, he would not be where he is now.
Michael Lonie> Another time the argument of “we released you from the nazis then you shut up”! Well, if you want to make historical parallels, you know, perhaps the USA would still be a jewel of the british crown if Lafayette had not crossed the ocean to help your cause. But this is a silly argument, I agree with you. “Time for France to attain the sort of maturity the US has”. There, I think you should be travelling to other countries, not to watch monuments, but to broaden your mind a little.
Andrea Harris> I don’t expect your love. If you just were a little less aggressive, that would be fine.

To all: As incredible as it might sound, I am not particularly proud of everything my government did: colonialism, African policy, oil policy… There would be a lot to say, and I would certainly agree with you. But please admit that your government, like mine, is fallible.

Posted by: Melfrid at March 24, 2004 at 07:17 AM