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Jacques Chirac, who reneged on promised support to George Bush and Colin Powell, now waits by the phone and can't understand why they don't call:
The official invitation has been lying in his in-tray for several months, but President George W. Bush has failed to let the French know whether he will attend the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June. France's president, Jacques Chirac, is expecting at least 15 heads of state to be present at the commemorations marking the decisive Allied offensive against the Germans in Normandy on June 5, 6 and 7.
15 heads of state will be on hand to celebrate, huh? Won't it be embarrassing for Chirac if the US president has something better to do the first week of June, even more so since this will be the first time a German Chancellor has been invited to attend. On the other hand, it's also the first major anniversary since the French defaced the cemeteries of Allied soldiers with Nazi symbols and spray-painted insults to the British and the Americans.
However, in the words of one Paris-based diplomat, Mr Bush is "making the French sweat". Relations between France and America have been strained since the French vehemently opposed US-Anglo military action against Saddam Hussein a year ago. The French government is hoping that the D-Day commemorations will help break the ice between the two countries. President Bush's failure to respond to the invitation is seen as a mark of his continuing personal anger and bitterness over France's formation of an anti-Iraq war axis along with Germany and Russia.
Apparently, the visits of two French ministers have not resulted in the message being received: it wasn't the anti-war position of the French that was objectionable, it was their reneging on their promise to support us if we voted for UNSC resolution 1441 and it failed -- which it did, and miserably so. Their motivation for betrayal has been uncovered in arms sales and bribes to highly-placed French officials. The French sold us out, and now they wonder why we're not excited to visit Normandy to commemorate the sacrifice of thousands of American lives in liberating them 60 years ago.
The truth is that in an election year, Bush could use the good domestic coverage that the D-Day ceremonies would bring, but his appearance would likely result in demonstrations by thousands of French protestors who would have been shot if they'd uttered a peep while occupied by the army that the British and Americans kicked out of France, starting on D-Day. I'm not sure it's worth it, and I'm certain that the current corrupt and treacherous French leadership isn't. It's extremely unlikely Bush would skip the celebration, but let's hope his schedule fills up before then.Sphere It View blog reactions
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