Sunday, August 06, 2006

we made fun of them, but they were right

I'm sure the timing is a coincidence.

The House restaurant recently restored the name "French Fries" to the menu after the potatoes had been listed as "Freedom Fries" when it became "unofficial" that we hated France.

Remember that nonsense? The Bush League's lies, misrepresentations, and manipulations convinced a majority of both parties in this country that a first-for-America, pre-emptive war was necessary. There were many who did not go along with the notion that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, had ties to 9/11, and posed an imminent threat to the region and world. But they were shouted down in this country by patriots in both parties who then believed their President.

Bush was not believed in much of the rest of the world, including France. The French government doubted the intelligence the Bush League was quoting as slam dunk assurances. The French decided not to go along with America. They refused to become a part of the coalition of the willing, unwilling to send their youth to stand along side Americans in the desert to kill and be killed in a war that should not have been waged.

So we hated them. They were not merely arrogant about their language. It was more than their expecting tourists to speak French. More than their rudeness, their different notions of personal hygiene, and their liberal views of love and life. The French were cowards who would not fight in Iraq.

Never mind that the French were the first to support our own fledgling nation. They were overrun twice by German armies in World Wars one and two, showing they were unprepared for those onslaughts, though hardly cowards. The French fought valiantly, and those who were able to escape German capture fought again another triumphant day. The French underground operated bravely throughout the German occupation. More than once the French risked numerous lives to save one downed American flier or escaped prisoner. Their courage was never called into question then.

But they arrogantly refused to believe the Bush League, refused to allow their own military to take part in the Iraqi war, and so we began making jokes about their cowardice, comments about their willingness to surrender, and called for boycotts of everything French. That included a couple of fuzzy thinking representatives in the House getting the restaurant to change the name of potatoes and toast to "Freedom Fries" and "Freedon Toast." And that really showed the French!

But truth gets out. We now know that the Bush administration had faulty intelligence. They used it to get their war. They said the fighting would be brief, that we would be welcomed as liberators, that Iraqi oil would pay for the war and rebuilding. When all that quickly was shown to be erroneous, they changed their tune to sing that democracy was on the march to the beat of Bush's drum! The world knows how off key that song is, too.

For whatever reasons -- the passage of time, the reasonableness of reflection, whatever -- potatoes and toast are now back to being "French" in the House of Representatives cafeteria.

And almost immediately after that word leaked, it was announced that French and American leaders had hammered out a U.N. resolution together that calls for a cease-fire in the Israel-Lebanon war. It has little chance of working in its present form and time, but the cooperation of America and France and the need for a Mid East cessation of the killing will eventually work together to stop this war's slaughter.

As I said, the timing must be a coincidence. But the two events, restoring French Fries, and a joint resolution, may indicate that we no longer "unofficially" hate the French for being right about Iraq. Check Jay Leno for a cessation of ugly jokes about the French to be sure.

~ ~


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kind of forgot why we started laughing at the French. It really was because they refused to believe the Bushies, wasn't it! We did worse than laugh at our own citizens who didn't believe, though. We called them unpatriotic, for starters. And bleeding hearts. And cowards. I, for one, am sorry about that.

8/06/2006 5:40 PM  
Anonymous dagwood said...

The French are rude! And anti-American. Does that mean we should be rude and anti-French? Isn't the point supposed to be that we won't lower ourselves to that level?

8/07/2006 2:57 PM  
Blogger the silent type said...

thank you for the nice words.

i was in milwaukee recently, & was surprised & amused to find 'freedom fries' on the menu of some tiny diner...the other option was 'american fries' (fried potatoes).

i agree with your notion that the renaming of side dishes is absurd...if that is indeed your notion.

8/07/2006 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in France last month. You are right. Many are rude to those who don't or won't speak French. They are about as rude as some Americans are toward Japanese tourists or Spanish speaking people in this country.

8/08/2006 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cone to think about it, I haven't heard French cowardice jokes lately on Leno. Perhaps he and his writers get it?

9/10/2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Guess you missed this one:
Jay Leno: "The formation of the new international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon was dealt a setback when the French government only committed to sending 400 troops instead of the thousands of troops they originally agreed to send. Actually, it's not their fault. Turns out the French army only has 400 soldiers that can walk forward. Apparently, most of them, they're just not used to it."

9/13/2006 8:31 PM  
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