Wednesday, February 26
A Tip on Iraq From Those Who Walked That Road
The French paid dearly for imperial and military hubris. Listen up, U.S.

Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, February 25, 2003

Despite this confusing picture then and now, thanks to our enlightened talk-show hosts we all know that there is one nation of pure evil, one nasty country threatening to undermine the world's security with its lies, double-dealing and stubborn defiance, one state that Earth would simply be better off without.

We're talking, of course, about France. Brie eaters. Surly waiters. WWII collaborators. And now, cowardly traitors in the crusade against the New Hitler.

This idiocy is based on a highly selective historical memory, including the fact that the U.S. refused to enter the war against Hitler until after France fell. It also keeps us from being able to listen to a nation that has already been down the road we are traveling.

Imperialism has always been pitched at home as a win-win way to help the world's stricken peoples while helping oneself, and in Paris it was no different. France's colonial wars were waged under the rival banners of Catholicism and the French Revolution; the goal was to civilize the natives. A million Frenchmen gave up the joys of life at the center of Europe to colonize Algeria alone, building schools, churches, hospitals and civic bureaucracies.

Ultimately, however, the price of France's hubris was writ large in the blood of its sons and daughters over painful decades, [...]
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