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October 7, 2004
France: No Convictions Without Confessions

The French have responded to the CIA's release of the long list of officials bribed by Saddam Hussein through the UN Oil-For-Food program -- and it's a non-denial denial:

France dismissed accusations made in an official US report that French businessmen and politicians received bribes from Saddam Hussein order to influence government policy on Iraq, with the foreign ministry describing them as "unverified." ...

"It is important that we check very closely the truth behind these claims, because as far as we understand it the accusations ... are unverified either with the persons concerned or the authorities of the countries concerned," ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said.

In other words, France will not accept the results of the report if it is not accompanied by either (a) an individual admission of guilt, and/or (b) an admission of guilt by the country -- France! That's a nice example of circular logic. By that reasoning, we should never convict anyone without their confession first. It explains why the French felt it necessary to hide the murderer Ira Einhorn for so long. "Zut alors," they exclaimed, "he says he did not verify the charges!"

Notice, however, that the French never claimed that the charges were erroneous or incorrect -- merely that they were not verified by the people who profited from the graft. More on the non-response response from our allies, the French:

The French Socialist party meanwhile refused to respond to the accusation made in the report that it was given one million dollars by Iraq in 1988. A spokesman said the party could not react to allegations of which it was only partially informed. ...

"Maybe there are some people who could have been corrupted -- it is possible -- but the French position was not based on such arguments. France thought that what the US said about WMD was wrong and that we had to respect international procedures at the UN," said deputy Daniel Garrigue, president of the National Assembly's Iraq study group.

Garrigue wants to assure that despite taking money on the sly from a dictator in order to undermine the sanctions regime France claimed kept Saddam in his box, it was only their scruples that were corrupt and not their judgement. Anyone who buys that argument must either be French or a Democrat.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 7, 2004 12:48 PM

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