May 31, 2004

Friends of Saddam

Jacques Chirac joined at the wallet with Saddam Hussein. It's really that simple, but for a great deal more detail on the extent to which France was riding the gravy train that was the Saddam regime, read this piece, excerpted from Ken Timmerman's book, The French Betrayal of America . This is linked from the excellent new blog Friends of Saddam, a clearinghouse of sorts for information on the Oil-For-Food scam.

Timmerman has much to relate about that particular scandal as well as the "topping off" of oil tankers, French oil companies with $50 billion deals hinging on the lifting of sanctions, and the involvements of Chirac crony Patrick Maugein, a former associate of the infamous Marc Rich. It's pretty slimy stuff (which after a reference to Marc Rich makes for a redundancy, I guess.)

Why is the French government never formally called to account for their support of the murderer Saddam, and for their complete willingness and active efforts to see him remain in power, knowing full well the consequences of that position for the Iraqi people? I'm not talking just about us, their arch-enemy U.S.A. making some kind of critical statement. I'm talking about the proverbial "world community" being heard to oppose the practices and policies of a nation so clearly corrupted by political and financial self-interests as far as Iraq is concerned. So why the hell do they get a pass?

I understand they are still trying to assert their rights to at least some portion the pre-negotiated oil deals as a condition of their support of any U.N. action. Someone please tell me why France would have any diplomatic leverage whatsoever if they threatened to oppose resolutions concerning the establishment of sovereignty for Iraq. Isn't their dirty laundry by now hanging out where everyone can see it? Why are they not shamed and discredited? Are they beyond shame? Has anyone polled Iraqi citizens on their feelings toward the French government? I'm just wondrin' here. And anyone who's read this blog over time (if indeed such a person exists) knows I'm not a gratuitous France-basher. Dick Morris got right to it in a recent op-ed:

Why did France and Russia oppose efforts to topple Saddam Hussein's regime? And why did they press constantly, throughout the '90s, for an expansion of Iraqi oil sales? Was it their empathy for the starving children of that impoverished nation? Their desire to stop the United States from arrogantly imposing its vision upon the Middle East?

It now looks like it was simply because they were on the take.

I won't attempt to excerpt the Timmerman piece but it's terrific, and has had it's intended effect on me. I want to order the book. Read it all.

Posted by dan at May 31, 2004 1:12 PM