WS>>Andy Rooney: France's Unpaid Debt

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Mon May 19 16:26:25 MDT 2003


          Feb 16, 2003

          (CBS) NEW YORK- You can't beat the French when it comes
     to  food,   fashion, wine or perfume, but  they  lost  their
     license to have an opinion  on world affairs years ago. They
     may  even be selling stuff to Iraq and  don't want  to  hurt
     business.

          The French are simply not reliable partners in a  world
     where  the good  people in it ought to be working  together.
     Americans may come off as  international jerks sometimes but
     we're usually trying to do the right  thing.

          The  French  lost  WW II to the  Germans  in  about  20
     minutes.  Along with the  British, we got into the  war  and
     had  about 150,000 guys killed getting  their  country  back
     for  them.  We fought all across France,  and  the   Germans
     finally surrendered in a French schoolhouse.

          You'd  think that school building in Reims would  be  a
     great  tourist   attraction but it isn't.  The  French  seem
     embarrassed by it. They don't  want to call attention to the
     fact that we freed them from German  occupation.

          I  heard Steven Spielberg say the French wouldn't  even
     let  him film the  D-Day scenes in "Saving Private Ryan"  on
     the Normandy beaches. They want  people to forget the  price
     we paid getting their country back for them.

          Americans  have  a right to protest going to  war  with
     Iraq. The French do  not. They owe us the independence  they
     flaunt in our face at the U.N.

          I  went  into  Paris with American troops  the  day  we
     liberated  it, Aug. 25,  1944. It was one of the great  days
     in the history of the world.

          French women showered American soldiers with kisses, at
     the very least.  The next day, the pompous Charles de Gaulle
     marched down the mile long  Champs Elysee to the Place de la
     Concorde  as  if  he had liberated France   himself.  I  was
     there,  squeezed  in among a hundred tanks  we'd  given  the
     Free French Army that we brought in with us.

          Suddenly  there  were sniper shots from the  top  of  a
     building.  Thousands   of Frenchmen who had come to  see  de
     Gaulle  scrambled  to get under  something. I got  under  an
     Army  truck  myself. The tank gunners opened   fire  on  the
     building where the shots had come from, firing mindlessly at
     nothing. It was a wild scene that lasted, maybe, 10 minutes.

          When we go to Paris every couple of years now, I rent a
     car. I drive  around the Place de la Concorde and when  some
     French driver blows his  horn for me to get out of his  way,
     I  just smile and say to myself, "Go  ahead, Pierre.  Be  my
     guest. I know something about this very place  you'll  never
     know."

          The French have not earned their right to oppose Presi-
     dent Bush's plans  to attack Iraq.

          On the other hand, I have.




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