Friday, June 25, 2004

Bomb France?

This is something I wrote for English after Colin Powel's speach to the UN...if you didn't get that from reading it...

To Go to War with Iraq?

Should we go to war with Iraq? That is the question that has been on the minds of every one who has any interest in world affairs. Many people think that we should. The current administration is in this camp. Many others think that we should not. This includes people all around the world. They each have their reasons for their views. I, personally, do not think we should go to war. I believe that all war is morally wrong. I will support the decisions of the president, however, whatever they may be.

Colin Powel, the Secretary of State, has recently made a speech before the United Nations Security Council. He made a case for going to war, and tried to convince the other nations in the council to agree with him. He gave evidences that Iraq had violated the terms of the UN resolution stating that it must destroy its weapons that are in violation of a resolution made twelve years ago. He also provided evidences that Iraq was testing new weapons, and hiding weapons from inspectors. He stated that Iraq in the past had used these weapons on its own people. He stated that Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, was willing to use the weapons he has, and that he was the one who ordered their use in the past. With these evidences, I believe that the United States would be justified in using military force to depose Hussein and his lieutenants, and to enforce the destruction of the weapons of mass destruction, and any other illegal weapons, if it should come to that.

Many parties, however, believe that this is not enough evidence to justify military force. These parties include most of the Security Council. They believe that the inspectors need more time to do their work. As of yet, there is not enough evidence to say that Iraq is not complying with regulations.

Many people around the world think that there should be no war at all. Many people in the United States think that we should wait for the inspectors to finish, and that we should not fight without the United Nations. However, I do not think that we should not go to war just because the UN says it will not. The main opposition to force is lead by France and Germany, followed by China and Russia. Siding with this coalition is logically wrong. Russia has problems of its own, including a severe depression in that country and a civil war in Chechnya, and they could ill afford another war. China is the main Communist government left, and it is inherently opposed to the U.S. However, Germany has never sided with France exclusively before, especially against the United States. This leads to suspicion that France is influencing Germany in some unethical way. The most important thing to consider, though, is France.

France should be the only reason necessary to not support not fighting Iraq. Logic suggests that anything that France says against the United States is probably wrong. In fact, France has been a cause of many of the political and social problems in the world in the past hundred years. And any person with sense should see that, in most decisions involving military involvement, France is wrong. I propose that, if anyone should be bombed, it should not be Iraq-though something does need to be done there-it should be France.

To begin with, France should not be involved in military affairs. France has not won a major war without some extraordinary support in the past thousand years. In 1066, the Norman ruler William invaded and conquered England. Because Normandy is in France, one might suppose that a Frenchman had won a war. However, the Normans were Viking conquerors that had been given a country to live in exchange for not destroying France. Little did anyone at the time think that that would be the last time an enemy army set foot in England, French or otherwise.

The power of the Capetian kings grew because the French nobles were killed during the Crusades. They died because they lost, obviously.

The French lost even more battles after that. They lost most of the battles against the English during the Hundred Years’ War. The English king Edward invaded France at Normandy. He and later kings then proceeded to conquer most of the rest of France. Only the aid of one person, Joan of Arc, led the French to their one major victory at Orléans, after which they proceeded to quickly drive the English out of most of the country. It can only be assumed that the French won because Joan was a woman, thus being an extraordinary help; also, she probably bestowed special favors to the most gallant men, which caused them to fight extra hard to get said favors. She was burned at the stake for being a witch. It then took the French more than twenty years to drive the British out of their few remaining strongholds. The English retained the city and port of Calais for over one hundred more years. It should be noted that the English had only about a third of the French forces, and yet were winning for ninety-two years. The English forces were cut off from their homeland, while the French were fighting for theirs. This war also marked the beginning of the rise of the English fleet.

The French would not fight many important wars for the next two or three hundred years. During this period of time France and other countries were forming colonies in the Americas. The French claimed lands from Quebec to the Ohio River, Mississippi River, and beyond. The English wanted the lands around the Ohio River, and also French lands in India. The English started a war with France, in which the French lost almost all of their colonies. When the American colonists rebelled against English rule, the French eventually decided to send aid. The French general Lafayette went to help train the Americans. He was a brilliant trainer, an oddity. And very few actual troops or ships were sent. The French only really had a big impact on the battle at Yorktown, which just happened to be the battle that ended the war, for the most part. The French also fought the English around the world. Even though they were helpful in the American victory, they gained little from it but debt, because they spent all possible funds helping the Americans. This led to the French Revolution, which had a Reign of Terror, in which many of their own citizens were executed (fourteen thousand of the best and brightest, to be exact). The French Revolution ended with a foreigner in control of France, Napoleon.
Some ignorant people may argue that Napoleon was French, and therefore could not be a foreigner to the French. In actuality, Napoleon was a Corsican, an island south of France, which the French had recently occupied. The Corsicans viewed the French as alien invaders, and resisted French rule as much as possible, before the French put a stop to it. Therefore, Napoleon was not French. He was undoubtedly a great general, one unsurpassed by few in the history of the entire world. He led the French army to conquer most of Europe. That is right, the French army. He did have the help of the Prussians after he conquered them, which accounted for the quick victories afterwards. Only nature could defeat him now, as he invaded Russia. This lead to a lesson for future generations: never invade Russia during the winter. After he lost most of his troops, he was pushed back to France, where he was exiled to an island in the Mediterranean. He came back and led another French army, only to be defeated in the Battle of Waterloo. That day he had a fever, so he laid down to rest for one hour. At the beginning he was winning. By the end of that hour the French general he put in charge had lost the battle and ruined Napoleon. Almost any general from any other power could have kept the victory, but few others than the French could have lost it.

The Franco-Prussian War was the next major war in France. The Prussian chancellor Bismarck all but started the war, because his aim was to have a common enemy for all of the German peoples, whom he was trying to unite. France actually started the war. Prussia easily won the war, and France lost Alsace and Lorraine, two important French territories.

The next time France had an opportunity to fight was in the Great War. Germany would have quickly overrun France if it were not for the intervention of the British Army. Even then, the Germans got just outside Paris. When the Germans started moving forces to the Western Front after the Russians surrendered, there was little chance for the Allies to keep from being overrun. When the Germans finally crossed no-man’s-land, only the American aid kept the Germans from Paris, and supported the counterattack. After the war the French were so bitter that they put an unfair burden on Germany to pay for the entire war. But more on that later.

The treaty at the end of the Great War severely limited the German military and industrial potential. Even so, the French built a massive fort along the entire German frontier, the Maginot Line, built to repel any German aggression. When Hitler rose to power, he started to rearm his forces. France did nothing to stop this. France also let Germany invade and occupy Czechoslovakia and Austria. Perhaps this was the point where the white flag became the unofficial main arm of the French armed services? France finally declared war when Germany invaded Poland. After a few months of no fighting, Germany invaded Scandinavia and the Low Countries. It then invaded France north of their “invincible” barrier. They just went around the line! France was conquered in a month. A puppet government was set up in Vichy. This was later taken over by Germany. Thus the entire country was taken over by one that was formerly the loser. The Brits and the Americans again had to come and save the French. Even though the French were losers in that conflict, they got to occupy some of Germany at the end of the war and have some of the spoils.

Even with this record, France was let into NATO. In the 1950’s, the French colonies started rebelling. The first was Indochina. The French could not keep these backward and poorly armed peoples from gaining their independence through force. Another rebellion was much closer to France, in Algeria. The war lasted through the ‘50’s, and was very costly. About 500,000 men were in combat there. The Arabs there still gained their independence through force of arms, and the other colonies were freed through diplomacy. Eventually France left NATO, at least militarily, because it felt that NATO was controlling the destiny of France. It has avoided war since by courting to both sides to keep it out of anything.

France, in its history, has done other things that did not help the world at all. During the Depression, France delayed a moratorium that would have suspended Germany’s reparation payments in hopes that it could get more payments. During the two weeks that France delayed, most of the banks in Germany failed, preventing reparation payments that were used to pay off other debts, causing banks in those countries to fail. Thus, France was the major contributor to the Great Depression in Europe. France was the major cause of the punishment of Germany after the Great War. It wanted Germany weak and poor so it would have no competition on the Continent. France wanted the entire blame for the war placed on Germany, and it was. The resentment of the treaty that made these conditions, the Treaty of Versailles, was a major cause of Hitler rising to power, and thus World War II. As mentioned earlier, France dropped out of NATO (though this might not seem such a bad thing), depriving NATO of valuable bases near where a war would have taken place. The French Revolution set a poor example for future revolutions, making radical revolutions seem the only possible way.

In conclusion, I do not believe that the United States should go to war with Iraq. I do believe that something should be done about Saddam Hussein. I believe that if there can be a diplomatic solution to this problem it should be pursued. I do not think there can be one, however. I do not think we should avoid war because of the opinion of the United Nations, but because avoiding war is the right thing to do. I believe that the focus should not be on Iraq, but should be on France.


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