Reality Check

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Let's Call Chirac's Bluff and Post 250,000 Frenchman in Our Place

The spectacle of France demanding that the US and UK stand on the Iraqi border indefinitely, with an army at the ready, would seem to be the Marie Antoinette moment of the 21st Century.

Why? What game is Chirac playing? Most in the US and the UK are wondering. Does he think the US and UK are stupid? Or...instead of a bad parody of the famous French Queen, is it a con?

Chirac says "inspections are working." They "must be allowed to continue." Iraq throws the UN a grudging bone, and that's "progress" and a sign of "genuine disarmament."

While Saddam doles out the bare minimum necessary to give the illusion of cooperation, what is the unnamed fact that France and its allies are counting on to continue, but which they refuse to thank or truly acknowledge?

The 250,000 US-UK troops massing on Iraq's border, poised to depose Saddam. The credible threat of war, led by the US and the UK.

That is what the French and others counting on in their "disarmament process": the absurd contradiction of a perpetually "imminent" threat of war on the Iraqi border. War always on the verge of starting...but never...quite...starting.

Provided by and paid for by the US and the UK.

The French want their "disarmament process" (crumbs thrown by Saddam) AND a military buildup that is real and credible. They want their cake (inspections) and a countdown for war (war = an end to inspections), all at the same time. For as long as Saddam has crumbs to pass out.

Do they expect such a situation to continue forever? The US and the UK tilting on the verge of invading...indefinitely?

It fails the sniff test of simple logic. It is in fact wildly illogical. (You'd think the French, with their history, would still care about logic). Eventually, the threat of war becomes empty, especially as war becomes impractical in the heat of summer.

So, the question is again whether the French are seriously counting on a serious threat to be there forever, and, like modern Marie Antoinettes, taking us for granted. Wanting to use the threat of war...while opposing war absolutely.

Or, are they fully aware of the absurdity, and, as has been regretfully suggested, cynically conning us and the world into thinking that they even want disarmament.

Well, perhaps it is time for the US and the UK to call Chirac's bluff. France and its cohorts want the necessary pressure - the real pressure - that makes inspections "work" applied for "as long as it takes."

OK, now its their turn.

We want, immediately, 250,000 French troops to mass on the border of Iraq. They can take over the summer watch, keep up the pressure, enforce the no-fly zone.

No more eating the fruit of our labors and sticking it to us. Let them do the work.

And then the world will see whether they're just a silly French Monarch who takes the US and UK, her former liberators, for granted, or actually a cynical con artist.