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France: Friend or Foe
By Joshua Wiznitzer
Originally printed in the 11/04/02 issue of the Brandeis Free Press
(Note: This article was written before the current issues with France emerged; this was written before UN Resolution 1441 was passed)

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 marked the 29th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, during which 245 American servicemen were murdered and another 145 were injured.

Two weeks ago, a weekend Francophone Summit came to a close—also in Beirut. One of the major media events of the opening session of this summit was the address given by the President of France, Jacques Chirac. As part of his speech Chirac expressed his opinion about President Bush’s “War on Terrorism” and stated that it should be fought: “without mercy”, yet conducted “with respect for human rights and the rule of law”. (Source: AP)

It should be noted that while Chirac was giving this address a special guest who he invited, was seated amongst other summit VIPs. This guest was none other that Sayyad Hassan Nasrallah—leader of Hezbollah, one of the world’s deadliest terror organization and the same organization that was responsible for the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut (as well as numerous kidnappings and the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians).

Chirac’s two-faced maneuvering at the summit is both appalling and beyond comprehension. How is it that the Prime Minister of France, the democratically elected leader one of the world’s political and economic powers, can at one moment advocate “respect for human rights and the rule of law” while simultaneously serving as “host” to the leader of a group which does not acknowledge either of these ideals?

It is also France that has successfully blocked the addition of Hezbollah European Union’s list of terrorist organizations (whose finances are to be frozen by EU member nations). How are we supposed to even begin to defeat terrorism if we don’t start by cutting off their funding?

Now it is France that is threatening to exercise its veto in the UN Security Council in response to the United States’ submission of a resolution regarding the disarmament of Iraq.

Is this truly the behavior of one of our fine nation’s allies? Or have things changed—is France no longer one of our allies?

When President Bush formally declared the “War on Terrorism” on September 20, 2001, he gave every nation a simple choice:

Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

President Chirac, are you with us, or are you with the terrorists?

Copyright 2003--United We Stand, Brandeis University