Thursday, February 03, 2005

Europe, Thy Name Is Cowardice

Free Republic recently posted an earlier commentary by German publisher Mathias Dapfner, CEO, Axel Springer AG. It was originally published in Die Welt. I hadn't seen it before. It's worth reading.


Blogger American On Line said...

Not to defend Europe, and I am the last to be an apologist for them, but I am sure these countries would quibble:

Czech Republic

And France and Germany, who particapted in the AFGHAN invasion would quibble as well: they would tell you they did not believe the reasons Bush gave for the invasion were true (they wwere correct);

I have never heard Bush accuse any European country of not cooperating and particapting in all other international operations on their soil seeking to root out terrorists; in fact, the countries that are on the appeasement hit list have been dealing with home grown and Islamist terrorists within their borders for decades, while we just had two attacks within our borders.

Of course, the number 1 appeaser in WWII was UK, our number one partner in this war.

7:57 PM, February 03, 2005  
Blogger Kevin said...

Ditto what AOL said.

Not only did France and Germany, the main two victims of anti-Europe screeds by Freepers, participate in the Afghan War (aka War on Terror), but France was in there right alongside our forces from the very beginning.

Whether bringing relatively fair elections to Iraq was worth the enormous costs in lives and taxpayer funds, the fact remains that Iraq didn't attack us. When it came to fighting those who attacked us, France and Germany were front and center. France in particular.

11:00 PM, February 03, 2005  
Blogger Kevin said...

I would ammend the title to "Left, Thy Name is Cowardice," but that is just me. Europe wasted many prime opportunites and probably will waste them again.


12:08 AM, February 04, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

AOL, two-thirds of the countries you list are "New Europe" and wouldn't seem to be part of the thrust of the article. In any case, while I don't necessarily agree with every word, I think the ideas in Dapfner's article are thought-provoking and justified by recent history. It also seems that he focused on general trends in history and current circumstances, rather detailing the relative degree of appeasement practiced by one country at one time. Beyond that, I'm not sure I understand your point on Afghanistan.

Kevin, France wasn't really "front and center" in regard to Afghanistan. While they did deploy about 10 fighter bombers, and they sent a very small number of troops, mainly to promote and protect aid efforts, they didn't make significant contributions to combat operations. Beyond that, they opposed us in many respects, particularly regarding proposed NATO activities in Afghanistan. However, I don't dispute that the Germans and the French were there.

9:12 AM, February 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, the thrust of my comment is that labeling an entire continent with the title "Coward," is just plain silly; continents are not cowards. The people who live in those countries are no less or more cowards than others.

10:00 AM, February 04, 2005  
Blogger American On Line said...

I have no idea why its say Anonymous in the previous comment Tom, that was I!


1:07 PM, February 04, 2005  
Blogger Kevin said...

Tom, your characterization of the French effort in Afghanistan is at odds with published reports which nobody in our government has ever, to my knowledge, denied or disagreed with.

October 8, 2001, a day or so after Rumsfeld first vaguely admitted that there were American forces inside Afghanistan, French Defense Minister Alain Richard admitted that there were French special forces and/or intelligence operatives inside Afghanistan "providing logistical support to the United States in the form of assistance in locating targets inside Afghanistan."

In March of 2004 it was widely reported that French troops came close to capturing Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Gen. Henri Bentegeat, the chief of staff of the French armed forces spoke about it in an interview with France's Europe-1 radio station. From there the story was picked up and repeated widely.

Noteworthy is Bentegeat's assertion that he had aproximately 200 French special forces troops who were operating alongside American forces on the front lines (ie. the most dangerous job in the theater). It was these forces who reportedly nearly captured bin Laden. Run a Google on it and you find a number of sources on this story.

A month later, in April 2004, an embarrassing translation problem got reported. Again, French special forces troops operating alongside American forces were involved.

Note the posted comment following the main piece on that last link. Reportedly our own military was saying that the French had 500 troops in Kabul alone. That would obviously be well above and beyond the 200 special forces and whatever other forces they had in the country.

Are these reports fabricated? I have no way to verify one way or the other, except to note again that I'm not aware of anyone in our government disputing any of them. Clearly these reports indicate something more substantial than merely "a very small number of troops, mainly to promote and protect aid efforts" or the lack of "significant contributions to combat operations."

I dunno about you, but I would call inserting covert operatives inside hostile territory for the purposes of identifying and calling in target locations a pretty significant contribution to major combat operations. Likewise, I think that several hundred special forces, a significant contribution in it's own right, on the front lines constitutes something more substantial than merely protecting aid organizations.

1:31 PM, February 04, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, you could be right, but I can't find a specific reference. Most deal with logistics support, support to and security for humanitarian operations, airlift support, engineer construction support, etc. At one time France planned to send around 10 fighter/bombers, but I don't know if they actually deployed or were used. French resources could have been involved in reconnaissance and intelligence operations, and may have been to some extent. I do remember, but didn't find a reference to, a minor dust-up over U.S. forces not wanting to work with French forces, just at the discussion level, because of the serious mis-matches of capabilities, technology, etc. Nothing I can find or was previously aware of indicates "significant contributions to combat operations." In any case, I take your point, and I wouldn't intentionally minimize any country's contributions.

Having said that, French petty obstructionism and back-stabbing has been sufficient over the past few years to leave me with little inclination to play the apologist for them.

5:14 PM, February 04, 2005  
Blogger Kevin said...

I certainly don't want to be misunderstood as a French apologist either. I only lived there briefly. But, it would be something of an understatement to say that I came back with a worse view of them than I had before I went over there. My buddy used to try to get me to talk about France as a way to pick up chicks... his theory being that he'd benefit by association. I tried a couple times. But, I couldn't romantacize a country that I had such a negative view of. So, it backfired pretty badly and I quit trying.

That said, I think the French feel that they could make a pretty good case for our having obstructed them and done more than a little back-stabbing. Remember, they spent quite a few years as a permanent member of the UN Security Council rubberstamping us during the Cold War. Undoubtably they feel used and unappreciated. Remember also that while successive American administrations have for decades treated NATO as little more than an extension of our military, it actually resides in their back yard, not our's. I can see some reasons why the French might oppose the Afghan situation being dumped on NATO while Bush diverted our assets to wage a war of choice over which many countries beyond France disagreed with.

My point is that our feces stinks as bad as their's, to clean up an old saying that I'm sure you recognize anyway. There is fault on both sides. To only point out their's without also pointing out our's does a disservice to the entire issue, IMHO.

7:40 PM, February 04, 2005  

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