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
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
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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