Sobran speaking at the September 2003
. . . no wonder more and more Americans are looking for an alternative to George W. Bush.
Washington DC, September 25, 2003
By Joe Sobran
AMERICA is still a great country, and it would be cruel to judge it by its patriots. I mean the sort of "patriots" who think the way to express your love for this country is to insult other countries.
The events of 9/11 have brought the nastiest jingoists out of the woodwork, and their most toxic venom has been directed against France for opposing war on Iraq. Now that the war has failed in its express aims, the French are hated worse than ever. After all, they have committed the extremely annoying faux pas of being proved right by events. And as the French proverb says, it's only the truth that really hurts.
Nowhere has Francophobia been more relentlessly childish than in the pseudopatriotic NEW YORK POST, where the columnist Ralph Peters has just published his latest tantrum. After a few swipes at the Democrats, he rails against "those, from Paris to Palestine, who hate our freedom, our values, and our success." He names France's president, Jacques Chirac, first among "morally bankrupt leaders." He lumps the French among "Eurotrash" who are "the most notorious sexual predators in the developing world."
According to Peters, France is "one of America's ugliest enemies" and Chirac is "a moral pygmy whose lack of scruples is, fortunately, balanced by a lack of courage and power." As for Chirac's call for a "multilateral" policy on Iraq,
"Stick it where the bum hid his money, Jackie-boy. It was you and your frog princes who ruthlessly destroyed the possibility of a multilateral approach to dealing with Saddam Hussein by refusing to cooperate in any serious efforts to call the regime in Baghdad to account. It was you and your political pimps who split the Security Council in two, with France nobly defending the rights of dictators to die of old age on the Riviera."
It gets even more rabid. The French are "the parasites in Paris." They have "never stood for human freedom." In World War II "they didn't even fight to free themselves." Their opposition to the American war on Iraq was "reflexive and irrational. They hate us because we're us."
So what should we do now? We should "make an example of France for the benefit of those countries that actively strive to frustrate our efforts to spread human rights and freedom. Far from seeking reconciliation with Paris, we should miss no opportunity anywhere, in any sphere, to rub French faces in the merde."
Peters isn't through yet.
"France should be made to suffer, strategically and financially. The French stabbed us in the back. In response, we should skin them alive.
"First Baghdad, then Paris," Peters concludes.
Treachery? Perfidy? Stabbing us in the back? The French were quite open about opposing the war -- and about resisting the imperial arrogance shown by the Bush administration, an attitude displayed by Peters himself.
Makes you proud to be an American, doesn't it? No wonder this country is now feared and loathed around the world. And no wonder more and more Americans are looking for an alternative to George W. Bush.
Not only liberals but conservatives are feeling qualms about the reckless militarism that has passed, far too long, for conservatism. An older and truer breed of conservatism had deep reservations about trying to "spread human rights and freedom" by raw force.
Conservatism is where you find it. When Teddy Kennedy, the archliberal, charged that we were taken to war in Iraq by "fraud," he was expressing the kind of skepticism about the uses of power we should be hearing from more conservatives. Liberals are also doing the work of conservatives when they denounce the staggering price of this ill-conceived war.
Granted, it's incongruous (and funny) to see liberal Democrats in green eyeshades fretting about budget deficits like yesterday's Republicans, but that's two-party politics for you. When one party goes nuts, you're stuck with the other one. And if Ralph Peters is any indication, the Republicans have gone nuts.
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Joseph Sobran is a nationally-syndicated columnist, lecturer, and author. For 21 years he wrote for National Review magazine, including 18 years as a senior editor. He is now editor of the monthly newsletter Sobran's (P.O. Box 1383, Vienna, VA 22183).