An Argument Re-Tread From the Bush Years

No, I’m kidding, in truth.  This opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung contributed by Bernard-Henri Lévy is so comically opposite to what the Europeans chanted from 2003 onward that if I hadn’t actually read the thing I’d have doubted that anyone could be so sanctimoniously hypocritical.

Yet it is even so.  This homily comes from same tribes that, during all the long years America with a very small group of supporters fought the Islamofascists and their state enablers in Iraq and Afghanistan, shot out their lips and shook their heads, saying:  We were just in it for the oil.  Now that exploration concessions in Mali for oil, gas, gold, uranium, diamonds, other gemstones, and other spectacular wealth are jeopardized, those preachers of the Gospel of Peace now remind us of our “duty” (BHL’s own words) to intervene.

Why?  Here are the reasons advanced:

1.    It will hinder the formation of a terroristic state in the heart of Africa.  Not, mind you, that it’s presently a terror state.  But it might become one if this particular band of Islamofascists takes over.  And it would be in the “heart of Africa,” you know, right across vital trade routes and astride a principal reserve of . . . I’m not sure what, but it’s sure to be vital to the peace and prosperity of . . . well, France at least.  Now, Iraq actually providing assistance and sanctuary to the guys who’d brought down the Trade Center after we’d made things hot for them in Afghanistan, and actually sending senior officials to sniff around for sources of uranium, and actually playing hide-the-ball with UN weapons inspectors, and actually rattling sabers around a part of the world that controls a huge proportion of the world’s supply of petroleum, without which pretty much every nation outside sub-Saharan Africa will go belly up within weeks — none of that justified the U.S. in taking down Saddam . . . because he hadn’t done anything recently yet.

2.    The military resistance of the rebels France is attacking (no, seriously: BHL actually gives the resistance of the groups France is attacking as justification for the attack), including their ability to shoot down military aircraft, proves that we’re dealing with a proper “army of criminals.”  A proven criminal sitting atop modern aircraft, armor, and artillery in Iraq was just fine with France, however.  And while we’re talking about organized criminal activity, what about the U.N. and its oil-for-cash program, in which close family members of senior U.N. officials were getting thoroughly greased?  And what about France’s billions of Euros in trade with Iran, trade which has allowed that country to continue merrily on its way towards achieving the nuclear ability that will finally enable it to wipe Israel from the map, as it has formally announced to be its policy?

3.    The intervention is justified because it frustrates the actual goals of the loonie in charge of the rebels, which is nothing less than throwing in together with other Islamofascist lunatics across Africa, establishing an “axis of crime,” the destruction of which without military intervention would be “nearly impossible.”  An axis of crime, huh?  This comes from the same mouths which ridiculed the notion that Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and several others too odious for words might be an “axis of evil.”  Evil is OK with BHL, it seems; what one must avoid is crime.  Now is that clear enough for you stoopid American cowboys?

4.    The intervention strengthens the notion of an affirmative duty to butt in of protection, already so nobly vindicated in Libya (yes, he really says that too; he seems to overlook that in 1986 we had to fly our FB-111s around France to put Khaddafi back in his sandbox because France refused us overflight for the mission).  It is a step forward for all those who believe that democracy doesn’t end where terror begins.  Apparently BHL hasn’t been reading the news from Libya recently.  Whom, exactly, did France protect in Libya?  Cui bono?  That war was a war for oil if ever there was such, and the rebels against Khaddafi were scarcely a bunch of refugees from a Vermont town meeting.  Now they’ve taken over and what have we seen established?  Oh, that’s right: another Islamofascist terror state (see point 1 above).

5.    Lastly the intervention confirms the pre-eminent role of France, which fights for democracy (as in Libya, apparently).  This is a fight which we most recently saw France waging in Algeria in the 1950s and 60s, in Vietnam in the 1950s, and across all Europe from 1792 through 1815.  I hadn’t realized that “emperor” was a democratic office.  Talk about a self-referential proof.  I once years ago heard someone observe that since marxism believes itself to be an inherently liberating ideology, all wars to spread marxism are inherently wars of liberation and therefore just; thus it is impossible for a marxist state to fight an unjust war.

BHL frets over the difficulties of building a country without a state, a nation without government or army.  I thought “nation building” was per sé imperialistic, impossible, bigoted, and oppressive.  Or is that only when done by the United States?

You know, I’m just going to go ahead and ask BHL and those of his ilk when was the last time a people flourished under French rule or guidance.  Since the days of Louis XIV France has descended on its neighbors far and near and plundered them to their corsets.  With the exception of Panama (which as Barry Goldwater observed we stole fair and square) and a few square miles of island which we picked up off Spain, and Hawaii, wherever Americans have gone all the United States has ever asked is that we be allowed to set up a stall and do business on terms no less advantageous than others.  There’s not been a single place we’ve taken over that has not been the better for it.  As Colin Powell observed, for more than a century, whenever we’ve invaded the soil of another country, the most we’ve ever asked is enough ground to bury our dead.

Let us not forget that France has raised to a fine art undercutting every effort the United States has attempted to rid the world of butchers.  To see one of that country’s most prominent public hand-wringers intellectuals piously sermonizing on what a solemn duty France has to go marching in to defend its mineral concessions maintain good order and common decency is just a bit over the top.  I’m not buying it.

One of the several larger questions of why the difference between French reaction to Libya and Mali on the one hand, and Syria, and Iraq, and Iran, and Afghanistan on the other — other than that France had money on the table in Libya and has it in Mali (one should never underestimate the ordinary motives of avarice in accounting for French actions) — is that by intervening in Libya and Mali France is not interfering with the designs of anyone who can reasonably be expected to harm Israel.  France and the French have a long and rich tradition of Jew-baiting; of all Hitler’s collaborators in exterminating the local Jewish population, the French have a very strong claim to be ranked the most enthusiastic.  Mali’s too impotent and too distant from Israel for it to be a meaningful threat.  And by toppling Khaddafi to empower the Islamofascists, France actually put a more violently anti-Israel faction in place.  Does BHL share that hatred of Jews and a Jewish state in the Middle East?  I’m not aware that he does, but his arguments make him at the very best a useful idiot waving a flag alongside the parade of those who do.

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