Monday, December 11, 2006

The United States of France

It has been customary over the last couple of centuries for other nations to look down on the French, in general, as wussies. But times are a changin'. In our gadarene rush to disfavor George W. Bush, we have nearly become the United States of France. The point about Iraq is that the Iraqi people once trusted the American people, but it seems they would be stupid to trust us now, and I guess we don't care.

Since the victory of the Democratic party in November, the French is coming out in us. The French people as a whole have pretty much always been wimps, but now, it seems, so are Americans.

The French in the last century or so haven't found a fight that they didn't run away from. The French have descended from a people low in morals, high in obsequiousness to their leaders, and even higher in personal aggrandizement and prestige seeking. It is, therefore, no difficult feat to understand why they have so many problems today (unemployment, increasing violence, love for socialism, and fear of Iran, to name a few).

What is more difficult to understand, however, is how a country descended from hearty, self-sufficient, and truth-loving stock could have become so much like the wussy French. I guess most of us are too busy watching CSI, Survivor, and American Idol to make much of our lives, and a significant additional percentage of us hate George Bush so bad that we can't think the current issue through to its logical conclusion.

No matter how much even a majority of us wish it to be true, the main point of the war in Iraq is not oil. Oil is important, and we should open up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and the Gulf of Mexico so that we can become independent of foreign oil. But it has never been the primary issue.

We are in a situation now that the main point is also no longer whether or not the Hussein regime possessed weapons of mass destruction. Some democrats and some republicans never thought there were any--including me--but many others thought there were. Saddam had pursued nuclear weapons production and gave a pretty good (although false) indication that he was close to producing them. Saddam used his chemical and conventional weapons too fertilize the vast deserts of Arabia with the bodies of tens of thousands. But that is no longer the point, either.

The main point, unfortunately for some, is also not whether George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied to the American people. It appears that they jumped to conclusions, but even if they lied, this is no longer the point.

The point of it all, and the only point that matters, is that the majority of Iraqis once trusted the American people, but apparently that trust was as misplaced as if it had been placed in France.

A poll was recently conducted of Iraqis that came to the following conclusions (1) 19 of 20 Iraqis say security was better under Saddam Hussein, (2) 9 in 10 people feel unsafe around American soldiers, and (3) 2/3 will feel safer when US troops leave Iraq.

In a world where people were completely free of fear, the poll numbers might mean something, but these poll numbers are next to useless. Here's why:

1. Security was better under Saddam, because if someone attempted to violate Saddam’s security, he dispatched his angels of death or torture, a strong deterrent.

2. 9 out of 10 people in Baghdad, where Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies is based, probably have something to fear were they to say they feel safe with American soldiers around. After all, is that really a pollster on the other end of the phone line?

3. That 2/3 feel safer could be a feeling that can also be explained by my item number two, or it could be a hope that Sunni and Shia will stop attacking each other when America leaves–a tenuous bet at best, unless…we bring back Saddam to restore security.

The Iraqis don't trust us. After all, they can watch our news and see all the crap that gets reported and the stuff that doesn't. After all, self-centered and Bush-bashing types have been clamoring for at least the last two years for the United States to abandon Iraq. And it looks like we've just about capitulated to these voices of venom and unreason.

So, since we are failing the Iraqi people yet again, I suggest a name change more fitting of our inability to stand for anything--The United States of France.

Would you trust us? I wouldn't. We're wussies!!

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