It is time once again to shed crocodile tears as senior French officials
complain of being treated unfairly by the U.S. media. Former diplomat
Ken Adelman notes that a general antipathy toward France is being attributed
to a Bush administration-orchestrated disinformation campaign rather
than “Paris’s deeds,” such as:
· French President Chirac strenuously campaigned to end UN
sanctions while Saddam was in power [meriting a “warm thank
you letter” from the Ba’athist dictator]. Post-war, France
then opposed sanction relief for Iraq’s beleaguered populace.
Sanctions were begrudgingly lifted May 22. [This act was represented
in Paris’ Le Monde with a cartoon depicting UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin with
vipers slithering from their mouths that then formed the Stars and
· The London Daily Telegraph reports documents recently found
in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry indicating French collusion to stifle
exposure of Saddam’s human rights abuses.
· Other materials reveal French officials were having “detailed
discussions” of possible Coalition military plans with Saddam’s
regime “up to and after” the start of hostilities.
· Revelations continue to surface exposing a long-standing
pattern of military hardware sales and financial commitments to Saddam
(as distinguished from the Iraqi people).
· After portraying President Bush as a bully for even considering
Saddam’s forcible removal, President Chirac warned upstart Eastern
European nations in February that they would jeopardize their potential
EU membership [hinting at economic reprisals] if they defied Paris
by siding with America over Iraq.
Accusations that France provided EU documentation that facilitated
the escape of Iraqi war criminals [thus protecting themselves from exposure
as well] are therefore more than credible. While we’re on the
subject of Franco-American media distortion, what have French journalists
been reporting about the United States?
· Unhappy with the American media’s war coverage, France
2 TV commentator Thierry Ardisson declared that we have no free press.
Further, America should be lumped together with the likes of Cuba
and Saddam’s Iraq as being candidates for investigation by [the
international free press organization] Reporters Without Borders.
· In a recent political cartoon in Le Monde, President Bush
is depicted dragging an oil-soaked Dove of Peace by a leash alongside
a river of oil, which is clogged with the bodies of Iraqi civilians.
Behind him, an Israeli and Palestinian are at each other’s throats,
ignored. In another, Iraqis impale each other with scimitars while
Bush looks on approvingly at the gushing oil wells from the safety
of a TV screen.
· Merdeinfrance informs us of a popular French TV comedy, “Les
Guignols” [The Puppets] in which US soldiers are shown “playing
with the decapitated heads of tortured Guantanamo prisoners.”
In a later scene, an American serviceman strangles his own mother
while suffering a combat ‘flashback’ precipitated by the
sight of her gas-guzzling SUV.
· Subsequent to Saddam’s fall, the world looked on in
horror while Iraq’s museums were vandalized and looted. Recent
reports now indicate that most of the important treasures were hidden
in vaults. Nonetheless, French publications like RousseauVoltaire.net
lamented, “The oldest State of the world was dispossessed of
the essence of its archaeological and artistic treasures under the
impassive glance of” Coalition forces (Google translation).
Additionally, Chirac characterized these thefts as ‘crimes against
humanity,’ and hinted that they may have been perpetrated with
(U.S.) government complicity. [It should be noted that several looted
items have turned up in the French antiquities market.]
· When an April 8 explosion at Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel
killed two journalists and injured several others, the French media
immediately piled on to blame American troops. The local commander
was even prepared to accept responsibility. An Iraqi missile strike
(rather than a US tank) is now considered the more likely culprit.
The French public has largely been spared this new information.
· During the war, France 2 news repeatedly reported that Coalition
bombs were ‘destroying the country’ and implied that civilians
were being deliberately targeted. When these reports turned out to
be false, there was no attempt to disabuse their audience of the previous
How have the French citizenry responded to such coverage?
In late March, a memorial to Anglo-American WWII soldiers (who died
while evicting the Nazis from France) was desecrated. A spray-painted
swastika and slogans such as “Death to the Yankees” and
“Dig up your garbage [our buried soldiers], it’s fouling
our soil” were among the defacements. An 8-foot Statue of Liberty
replica was burned and splattered with red paint in Bordeaux. Polling
results at that time indicated that one-third of France’s population
desired Saddam’s victory over the Americans.
Who is leading whom?
In a recent column entitled “France is not a Western Country
Anymore,” commentator Guy Milliere informs us that Jews must try
not to look so Jewish if they venture out in public or face violence.
Synagogues are now common targets for vandalism. Reviving the old ‘blame
the victim’ mindset, European women are being told that it is
reasonable for them to expect sexual assault if they behave and dress
as if there were no young Muslim men around.
Cultural Relativism is embraced wholeheartedly in France. Consequently
the mindset of the Third World is being imposed on the natives rather
than expecting the immigrants to assimilate. Apparently, the French
media is adapting to the mores of its changing audience as well.
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