D. Kristof wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times on January
31, 2003, entitled "Flogging the French," basically saying that the
French may not be right (wink), but America is wrong. He claims America
is wrong because the Europeans say we are wrong and "proves" it by citing
an internet poll on a European website. He buttresses his claim by
quoting novelist John le Carré, who says, "America has entered one
of its periods of historic madness, but this is the worst I can remember."
What it comes down to is, just because the United States deems Saddam Hussein
a threat to America's national security and that America feels a need to counter
that threat with military force, and even though the US has Congress's approval
for military action and a UN resolution, America is a "super-rogue state."
According to the Left, "just because the French can be penible (tiresome)
doesn't mean they are always wrong. The French and Germans have a real
argument against invading Iraq — that containment and deterrence are better
than invasion. While it's fair to disagree, it's puerile to refuse to
What is really "penible" is the constant whining of the Left; that when
it comes to questions of national security, America needs to get France's
approval, but when it come to the security of others, the United States "should
have ignored the Europeans and unilaterally attacked."
Mr. Kristof claims that we should have gone into Rwanda and saved innocents
from being killed, but were held back by European disinterest. He claims
we should have gone into Yugoslavia sooner and blown the Serbs to bits to
save the innocents there, saying, "In retrospect we should have ignored the
Europeans and unilaterally attacked Serbia to stop the genocide. Ditto in
However, when it comes to maintaining American sovereignty and saving "innocents"
here in the United States, Mr. Kristof says, "there is no such urgency."
Why is that? Apparently it has to do with the same Europeans who forbade
military intervention in Rwanda, which cost the lives of perhaps one million
men, women and children, and the same "Europeans" who stalled the US in intervening
in Yugoslavia "until tens of thousands of people had been killed."
As tiresome as the left's anti-Americanism and pro-European stance is, it
is never uninteresting. Mr. Kristof believes France is Europe, but the
British, the Italians, Spain, Holland, Poland, and the rest of Eastern Europe
is not. Why is that? It couldn't be because they agree with the
US stance against Iraq.
If it is only in "retrospect" after the deaths of over one million people
that Mr. Kristof sees European inaction, and opposition to military action
as something that should be ignored; doesn't it follow that instead of claiming
that while the French were wrong, "it doesn't mean they are always wrong,"
that maybe, just maybe, America is right to ignore France when our own national
interests are at stake?
Not to Mr. Kristof. For him, America is a bully, is arrogant and "mad."
America goes to the United Nations and gets a UN resolution authorizing force
against Iraq from the Security Council. When even Hans Blix, the chief
weapons inspector determines that Iraq is not cooperating (material breach)
with the resolution, America is wrong for noticing.
When France moves the goalposts because Iraq failed to comply with Security
Council Resolution 1441, France "may be right." However, for Mr. Kristof,
America is wrong for wanting to uphold the UN Resolution as it is written.
For the Left, contradiction, illogical argument, even fabrication has no
consequence so long as they get their message out. The Left's agenda
requires certain and methodical steps for it to be achieved. Getting
to each of the steps, no matter the means is all-important.
Nicholas Kristof, an American, is a shining example of the Left
intelligentsia, always appearing to cling to the standards and values that
America stands for and has brought to the world. However, should his
opinion be listened to and heeded, those standards and values may just become
The First Amendment gives all Americans the Constitutional right to freedom
of speech. Nevertheless, having that right also brings responsibilities.
Everyone uses the example of crying "fire" in a crowded theatre as an example
of what is not protected speech. Maybe its time to use another example.
What if a crowded theatre was on fire and someone cried, "Nothing's wrong,
keep your seats."
Paul Walfield is a freelance writer and member of the State Bar
of California with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and post-graduate
study in behavioral and analytical psychology. He resided for a number of
years in the small town of Houlton, Maine and is now a California attorney.
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