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My Kind of March

On Sunday (2nd March) a demonstration will be held in Paris outside the U.S. embassy. The assembly point will be the place de la Concorde. The rally has an English name: “Friends and Freedom”, which in itself is unique.

It aims to promote: “Friendship and confidence between the French and American peoples” and “Friendship and solidarity between France and the United States of America”. The slogans are French. More details can be found here.

Among French libertarians there is the same division as in the US, with minarchists tending to support a war of liberation and both the anarcho-capitalists and the conservatives against. The Catholic liberals (almost the exact opposite of the socialist ‘liberal Catholics’) are opposed to war both for the damage it could cause (some French people remember the ‘collateral damage’ of Caen in 1944), and the fear that a successor government might be less religiously tolerant than Saddam. An example of this view can be found here.

I regard the different cases being forward (in public by Messrs Bush and Blair) for war with Iraq as poor because they are either wrong (the Iraqi dictator probably has fewer ‘weapons of mass destruction’ than either Kim Jong Il or General Musharraf) or contradictory (is Saddam an ally of Bin Laden Yes or No?). Tyranncide is good enough and UNESCO can go and get stuffed.

I also consider the British forces almost entirely incapable of offering any worthwhile help to the Americans for reasons I’ve mentioned here before. Lend-Lease the air tankers and the SAS to the US and that’s all. ‘The Borrowers’ are probably going to get in the way of a US air strike or hold up the advance when the British made tanks break down in “the wrong kind of sand”.

Despite these misgivings, I would certainly go to the place de la Concorde this Sunday if I could afford the fare. The nasty game being played by French and German political leaders is as much a threat to world peace and the prosperity of this corner of the planet as any gang of terrorists.

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3 comments to My Kind of March

  • Dave Farrell

    the fate of Caen was indeed terrible, although one must remember it was a Nazi garrison city at the time. There were no smart bombs then.

    But I would like to record that on a piilgrimage from London to my father’s war grave near Bayeux on the anniversary of D-Day — along with his brother, who survived the Normandy landings –- we encountered the most wonderful welcome everywhere from the people of Normandy, whe certainly do have long memories and apparently grateful ones in many instances.

    This was most movingly illustrated in the mayor’s parlour at Caen, where my uncle and I –- and many visiting veterans of the invasion –– received D-Day memorial medals, he as a veteran and I as the recipient of my Dad’s posthumous medal. They were bestowed on us by the provincal deputy, a woman, to much applause from locals in attendance.

    I say this not to detract one iota from French suffering at Caen or anywhere else at the hands of the Nazis or in the allied bombing.

    But others from faraway places made a supreme sacrifice on French soil too, and I believe it is required of us to place these events and the legacy of suffering in a true perspective. Recalling them in order to justify reluctance for any future conflict seems unworthy.

  • Daniel

    Speaking as an American whose knowledge of military affairs admittedly goes no further than a handful of history courses and cable documentaries, I think the British military has a great deal to offer.

    On the tactical side, RAF pilots flew some of the most dangerous missions in Gulf War I and helped to signficantly lighten the burden US forces as opposed to other countries who were truly nominal allies.

    In Afgahnistan British special ops have played a signficant role. In fact a professor of mine who taught military history believes British special forces are – pound for pound- the best in the world.

    In the research and development field, British contributions have been indespensable. The virtually indestructable armour of the Abrams tank was developed in large part by British industry.

    If the day comes when the Brits decide to go the path of the Germans and the French, a great blow to the effectiveness of the US military will have taken place.

  • François Guillaumat

    The degree of idiotarianism in French “liberals” depends more on their exposure to anti-American propaganda — and ignorance of international relations — than on their ideological persuasion or religious beliefs.

    I, for one, am both an Anarcho-capitalist and a Catholic , and I spend my time battling idiotarians.

    There are two sources of such propaganda :

    American libertarians, who know nothing of the outside world and had rather deny the obvious than admit that there is something worse than their own government.

    Neo-Nazi lies from the far Right, which has been supporting Saddam since 1991 and Milosevic since he turned against Muslims. The UNEC post definitely reflects that influence.