Monday, August 30, 2004

But, But ... We're On Your Side!

This Financial Times article on the French reaction to the Iraqi kidnapping of two of its citizens leaves one bemused at the refractory nature of certain delusions.

Jacques Chirac, the French president, on Sunday night called for the release of two journalists taken hostage by an Iraqi militant group as he refused to bow to their demands to withdraw a law banning Islamic headscarves from state schools.

Michel Barnier, foreign minister, was on Sunday sent to the Middle East to reinforce diplomatic efforts following widespread condemnation of the kidnapping by politicians and Muslim leaders. The kidnapping of Christian Chesnot, of Radio France Internationale, and Georges Malbrunot, of the Le Figaro daily, has shocked many in France. They had hoped that the country's opposition to the US-led war in Iraq would spare it from being a target of terrorists and other militant groups. The fact that there are no French forces in Iraq and that the invasion was vehemently opposed by the establishment has raised hopes that a deal may be possible. (emphasis added)
This candid admission of an attitude of appeasement has been reflected in virtually every single article I've seen thus far on this hostage taking, regardless of the country of origin, suggesting that it isn't just the misguided impression of a few reporters. When I said as much with regard to Zapaterror's* craven surrender to Islamist demands in the aftermath of the Madrid bombings, I received a great deal of harsh criticism from a lot of people, but here I am vindicated in the end. The French, the Germans and the Spanish should have taken to heart Churchill's old saw about appeasers and crocodiles, but it seems some people are slower on the uptake than others.

*No, that wasn't a typo.