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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, March 19, 2003



The Ever-Optimistic French

According to CNN (as reported in Newsday), the French may yet fight!

in an interview with Cable News Network in Washington, Ambassador Jean-David Levitte said Iraqi use of biological or chemical weapons in a war would change France's position.

"If the war starts and if Saddam Hussein uses chemical or biological weapons, it would change completely the situation for the French president and for the French government," Levitte said.

"President Chirac will have to decide what we will do to help the American troops to confront this new situation," the ambassador told CNN.

Levitte did not provide specifics of what kind of help the French could offer, saying only, "We have equipment to fight in these circumstances."


Now, one imagines that mundane tasks such as assigning target lists, coordinating air-traffic control codes, and positioning aircraft carriers and troops may have already been thought through prior to the commencement of hostilities. Whether there is a sensible way to accomodate a late arriviste is something the generals will need to contemplate, and it is possible they will recommend against tearing up the playbook just to include the French.

However, it is also possible that some politician may order them to do just that, although this quote suggests otherwise:

The White House largely ignored the statement and made no move to accept the offer to join the coalition. "I think they'd have to fight us to get into it," a senior administration official said.

Circumstances change, so the French must not despair! If the US led forces are instructed to take on the French, the following points will cushion the blow to the US planners:

1. However overwhelming the initial US air assault, it will almost surely be possible to locate some latrine in the western Iraqi desert that will make a suitable target for a sustained French bombing effort.

2. Somewhere in the outskirts of Baghdad there will be a hospital, orphanage, or old folks home which we suspect is being used to conceal Something Evil. How do you say "Bombs Away!" in French? Bombez-vous, s'il vous plait?


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