France, Sorry About That

In the runup to the Iraq war, lots of people, including many in the United States, were opposed to it. While they may have understood the battle in Afghanistan, at least at that time, fighting a war in Iraq seemed off track with our stated mission to respond to 9/11. The governments of France and Germany, suppportive of the Afghan war, opposed the incursion into Iraq. As a result, France singularly caught a lot of backlash, not just from the punditry, but even from the US Congress, which renamed French fries “freedom fries”, and other such silliness.

I’ve come to believe that those folks had confused American patriotism with a blind and scary form of nationalism.

So I apologize for the irrationality of my fellow countryfolk. Know that this was not a universally held antipathy. In fact, when I was at a massive antiwar rally in New York City on February 15, 2003, about a month before the war began, there were folks from France who were cheered by the crowd.

I can’t begin to further explain the antipathy, so I won’t even try.

0 thoughts on “France, Sorry About That”

  1. From my view outside of the US at the time, the obsession that some Americans had with being anti-French seemed not just bizarre, but actually bonkers. I mean, “Freedom Fries”—REALLY?!

    New Zealand joined the conflict in Afghanistan, but did not go into Iraq because it was unilateral action not sanctioned by the United Nations (which actually made it illegal under international law). I think we escaped France’s fate because most Americans have no idea where New Zealand is, or even that it’s a country, so there was no renaming “Kiwifruit” as “Freedom Fruit”.

    But one of the things I most remember from that era was when Bush and the other leaders of the Bush/Cheney regime started referring to “Old Europe” (who were bad) and “New Europe”, the mostly Eastern Bloc countries that supported the Iraq invasion. What was Tony Blair’s Britain, then? New Old Europe?

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  2. America, like most nations, and even most people find it easier to blame other for not worshipping each and every decision we make!

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