Friday, February 25, 2005
Defending the French: I did a Google News search for word that France had agreed to send one (1) soldier to Iraq to help train the Iraqi police. Brit Hume made mention of that on his "Special Report" program last night. I didn't find an article to confirm that fact, but I did come across a criticism of Sean Hannity by Media Matters for America.
FOX News host Sean Hannity condemned France and other "so-called allies" of America for providing weapons to Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion of that country in 2003. On the February 23 edition of FOX News' Hannity & Colmes, in an attempt to impugn European nations' motives for opposing the war Hannity said to guest and fellow FOX News host Oliver North: "[Y]ou were there in Iraq. You saw weapons with French labels on them." North responded affirmatively.
This attack is misleading. French companies did sell weapons to Iraq prior to the 1990 embargo, during the Iran-Iraq War -- as did the United States and many other nations. But no credible evidence exists that French government approved weapons sales to Iraq after the United Nations Security Council imposed the arms embargo, and very little evidence exists that French companies conducted such sales in secret. President Jacques Chirac has denied that France violated the embargo.
Well, if Jacques Chiraq says France didn't violate the embargo, then it must be true. Chiraq wouldn't lie and cheat to benefit himself or his friends.
Media Matters defense of France is curious. Why bother? The goal must be to show that Hannity is wrong, but this isn't a fight that any sane person would pick. I happen to have been working my way through Bill Gertz' book "Treachery: How America's Friends and Foes are Secretly Arming Our Enemies" and Gertz provides plenty of evidence France was in bed with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
The fact that a French missile had nearly killed an American pilot was a stark reminder that illegal-arms shipments to rogue states come with a price -- and that such illegal-arms deals, which began decades ago, continue even today, putting Americans and our allies at great risk.
Indeed, the missile that shot down [Air Force Major Jim] Ewald's A-10 was just one of many French weapons the Iraqis used against U.S. forces during -- and after -- the Iraq war. Only a week after Ewald's crash, a U.S. Army team searching Iraqi weapons depots at Baghdad International Airport discovered caches of French-made missiles. In one cache the team found fifty-one Roland-2 antiaircract missiles, which had been produced through a partnership of French and German arms manufacturers. One missile bore the label "05-11 knd 2002," indicating that the batch had been produced just months earlier.
There was even more. Nearby, Army Lieutenant Greg Holmes, a tactical intelligence officer with the 3rd Infantry Division, foud the burned-out metal of what was a Roland-3 missile launcher, a more advanced version of the antiaircraft systems.
Nor were missiles the only French-made war-fighting equipment the Americans discovered in the early weeks of the war. Captured Iraqi military trucks had French radios, and surrendering Iraqi officer were driving French-made pickup trucks. American captured numerous RPGs -- rocket-propelled grenades -- that had French-made night sights; many of these were dated 2002.
If, for a moment, you thought David Brock's outfit might actually be honest and accurate, rest assured that they're still wrong and all is right with the world.