Back in early March, Jim wrote a very good letter to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on the history of US-France relations. Unfortunately, at about the same time, the PG wound up printing a very similar letter with even more historical tidbits. However, since Jim’s was still a good letter, here it is:
Our Congress has done a number of silly things over the years, but some of their actions in the last week have been so childish that they make many of us feel ashamed of them. Changing the name of French Fries and French Toast in the cafeteria to Freedom Fries/Toast was a childish waste of time (especially given all the important things they should be addressing).
And the latest move by one representative to pay to bring home the remains of WWII soldiers is both silly and insulting. The claim that, by not agreeing with us on this issue, the French somehow don’t appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers in WWII makes no sense. It also seems to imply that those of us in this country who don’t agree with President’s Iraq policy somehow don’t appreciate the actions of our soldiers in WWII. This is absolute nonsense. This is a different war, with different circumstances, and supporting one doesn’t mean that you have to somehow support the other. Nor do other countries — including allies — have to agree with us on every issue. Despite Mr. Bush’s statements, those who aren’t for us in every issue aren’t somehow enemies (and can in fact still be friends)
Also, all those folks who are jumping on France over this issue need be reminded that, while France owes us a debt of gratitude for what we did for them in WWI and WWII, we owe them a debt of gratitude for our very independence. Without France’s backing, we’d have never broken free from Britain in the Revolutionary War. (Yet of course 10 years later, when a new French government was involved in a very different war, we (wisely and rightly) did not back them and did not go to war at their side.)
(Jim Mann, early March 2003)