Were the French Right on Iraq (1)?
No one west of Normandy's beaches remembers or cares what French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said at the United Nations on Feb. 14, 2003, as President Bush and his neocon missionaries geared up to take down Saddam. Everyone in America was too busy making surrender jokes.
But after nearly four years, several thousand deaths and half a trillion U.S. dollars, the arguments Mr. De Villepin made in a vain attempt to cool President Bush's pre-emptive jets sound pretty sensible, not to mention prescient.
The "premature recourse to the military option" now might appear to be the "swiftest" way to strip evil Saddam of the weapons of mass destruction, De Villepin said, but "let us not forget that having won the war, one has to build peace." Check.
"Let us not delude ourselves; this will be long and difficult because it will be necessary to preserve Iraq's unity and restore stability in a lasting way in a country and region harshly affected by the intrusion of force." Check.
And nine months later, as Iraq began its spiral into bloody chaos, De Villepin offered this still timely advice to America on CNN: "Don't believe that you are going to solve Iraq because you are going to send more troops or more money." Attestation.
There is plenty of criticism to make of de Villepin's government's attitudes back in those days, but what is certain is that there was too much hubris in the U.S. in 2003 for anyone to even consider anyone else's opinion. It was the humiliation of 9/11 that gave way to anger, blindness, stupidity and arrogance. The surrender jokes about the French have a bitter taste now, don't they?
NOTE: Surprisingly, the article is on Pat Buchanan's blog. Pat Buchanan, of all people! Granted, he's been a fierce opponent of the war in Iraq, and a traditional conservative rather than a neo-con. Still, praising the French may be a bit too liberal for a conservative, don't you think?