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April 22, 2004

French Journalists

Steven den Beste has been debating an idiotic French journalist from Paris Match. This is the magazine that had a reporter working with and filming Iraqi terrorists who were trying to shoot down an airliner just outside of Baghdad. The French journalist and a few bloggers have missed the point, so I'd like to clarify a little, using just a basic bit of common sense human standards. Unfortunately this went longer than I wanted, which is how I ran myself out of smokes while sitting at work. Damn...

Suppose you're working as a reporter for your local TV station, oh, Action 10 or something. You cover the city beat, and come up with a cute idea for a behind the scenes look at crime. So you start running around with some people who make the mafia look like boy scouts, as they commit sabotage, arson, and murder. But to preserve your "exclusive access" to these nefarious thugs you carefully protect their identities so they can keep on murdering people. Finally you find yourself out in a field near an airport with them, where they're going to try and shoot down an airliner full of people. Maybe all the reporters for your competing stations are on that airliner, who knows? But if they pull it off it will surely lead the local news, now won't it? Still you do nothing but film their little escapade, even making sure they'll get away with the act if the missile actually downs the airliner full of people. You don't warn anyone. You don't call the police. You don't call the airport. You don't provide any information that can even help prevent a future attack. At that point you're working with the terrorists.

You get called on this outrageous and unacceptable behavior and try to hide behind the fact that your evening news program also covers the mayor's office and chief of police, so what you did just represents "balanced" reporting. Clearly this is not the case, and every station that isn't running around acting as the PR representative for mass murderers also covers the mayor's office. The fact that these other TV stations don't employ morally vacuous reporters who aid and abet terrorists doesn't mean they're "biased". It means they retain some integrity and act with at least a minimal level of public responsibility.

There are many ways that reporters cover crime. They can simply report on the story that's already unfolded, which is not much different than covering other incidents. They can go undercover to get the story, then in later reporting expose the criminal's activities so the public is better protected. They can write articles sympathetic to the criminals if they so choose, after the criminals are captured. They can try to explain the motivations of criminals still at large, to advocate for broad social change for example, so the public is better protected. They can even interview the criminal if in setting up the interview the criminal makes sure that there's no way the meeting will get him arrested. The criminal by his anonymity or methods of self-protection can render the reporter unable to inhibit his actions or impinge on his freedom, which also absolves the reporter of doing so.

What the reporter can't do is happily run around with the criminals for an extended period, while the criminals are actively attempting to kill people, when the reporter has both the means and opportunity to stop them, yet instead makes sure they're protected from capture and prosecution. In doing nothing of the sort the reporter becomes nothing but a criminal co-conspirator with a camera and an audience. Having a camera and a notebook doesn't confer any extra rights and privileges on a person, and any normal civilian running around with a criminal, with full knowledge of his crimes, and especially staying with him while these crimes are being committed, is himself committing a crime. On top of this the reporter is even more involved because the criminal will commit extra crimes just to gain notoriety.

What's really heinous about such reporters is that they'd argue that they merely reported a story and so maintained their journalistic integrity because they didn't pull the trigger themselves. But they'll admit that it would be wrong to buy a missile and make their sound-man put on a hood and shoot down the airliner full of people himself, since that would be manufacturing "the story". The people killed on the airliner probably don't care whether the reporter cleverly saved his company some money or not, by luckily finding someone else who was willing to furnish the missile. The reporters also may argue that they're absolved of responsibility because the terrorist was just going to shoot at the airliner anyway. Well the terrorist wouldn't able to take that shot if the reporter would drop a dime on him, now would he? How did the reporters manage to escape this little nugget of human responsibility called criminal negligence? The rest of us, if given the chance, would feel compelled to get away and at least notify the US military about the general area where a terrorist with an surface-to-air missile is prowling, just as anyone who spotted a periscope in the North Atlantic in WW-II was obligated to report the location of the U-boat to any and all ships in the area. A story is just ink on a page but lost lives are real.

It boils down to bringing death to others through action or inaction. CNN already crossed this line in their coverage of Iraq under Saddam, when they actively buried stories about Saddam's atrocities just so they could maintain their access to Baghdad. They now admit that this was a mistake and a serious breach of ethics. During the war all the reporters were keenly aware of this line. Filing a report that would directly result in people getting killed was pretty obviously not a line to be crossed. Yet the militaries of both sides were also there making sure that the line wasn't routinely faced.

A reporter embedded with the enemy forces doesn't have the capacity to significantly change the enemy's actions, or our own actions, since information that's immediately useful to us will be censored by the enemy, and information useful to the enemy will have been gathered while co-located with the enemy anyway, so it's not telling the enemy anything they don't already know. Conversely, reporters embedded with our own forces aren't allowed to broadcast information that would result in the death of our own troops, and they also won't be finding out things about the enemy that we don't already know, since they're getting their information from us in the first place.

In short, our militaries keep the reporters from being able to adversely affect the ongoing clash. Since the reporter is effectively defanged as far as causing the death of this particular man or that one, they don't have to wrestle with such a huge ethical dilemma. They're much like an innocent bystander who is rendered unable to cause or reduce harm. When you effectively can't do anything to affect the immediate situation then you're not having to wrestle with your moral obligation to do the right thing. So in actually neutralizing the reporter against immediate and lethal consequences of their actions our military frees them from some level of responsibility for their reporting. Others may try to hold them accountable for their overall tone, or may snipe at them, but nobody can accuse them of knowingly and intentionally causing the death of this or that man. Thus they are morally free to report what they want because, oddly enough, they aren't free to report, in that we make sure particular people don't live or die based on the ink they put on the page. As for their occassional responsibility in bringing about an overall increase in the death toll, that's another story.

So let me get back to the big fight. The clash of armies is too large for a reporter to significantly affect, as long as the clashing armies are taking care to make sure no reporter manages to sell anybody out with a D-Day scoop. This is also the beauty of embedded reporters who can't accidentally report the presence of a fleet off the coast of Normandy. So normally the actions and inactions of the reporter don't get particular people killed in a clear and traceable path. The strike packages are already dedicated, the ground units are maneuvering according to plans that the reporter won't significantly influence, and he can just sit back and report the unfolding events, given that any of his reports that would have an effect are withheld until they can't effect the particular actions. We've reduced the reporter to an observer who is not part of the story.

Using a physics analogy you might say that the masses of the armies engaged are too large and too fast to be significantly perturbed by the reporter's observations. He may have some small influence but you can't say he provably altered the outcome of particular people's lives. However, as things cool down, the actions become discrete, the units become small, and many of the reporters are no longer embedded. Not only can they have a large effect in the sea of much smaller particles, but they can accidentally report the presence of those invasion fleets. The French reporter in question could've reported this group of terrorists with the expectation that there would be an actual dedicated mission in response. He didn't do that, which is telling. He's put himself in a position to affect the outcome of people's lives and made a choice, as if there weren't actually consequences to that choice. But since when have the French and consequences ever been found in the same croissant?

Anyway, when a human is out taking actions in the world of life and death consequences, their choices affect the outcome. At this point a human can't pretend that some press badge insulates them from choice, action, and morality. That protection was stripped away when they inserted themselves into life and death actions, just like hoping in a sedan with a mafia hitman going on a mission. We might like to think that we're not responsible for the events around us, but refusing to acknowledge responsibility is, well, irresponsible. When men are working toward killing each other you can bow out and leave, removing yourself of immediate responsibility, you can just help care for the wounded, or you can stay in and play a role in events which will likely result in some men living and some men dying. If you choose to stay and play a role you have to realize that your presence is going to help either one side or the other. It's impossible not to bias the outcome one way or the other. So your actions have consequences, and those consequences have a moral dimension. The French journalists chose to play such a role while pretending their actions had no consequences.

They could've convinced the Iraqis with the missile to delay, as they can't be a part of such an action, and point out that another plane will certainly be coming by soon enough.
Then they could have gone back and called the Americans with a warning but no precise location and identity of the bandits, and the Americans would've simply diverted the flights, which is what happened after a plane was hit. In following this course the Frenchmen would've chosen to have no one die, but this isn't what they chose.

They could've provided a detailed location and description of the terrorists, which probably would've resulted in the deaths of said terrorists. But the French didn't choose this option either. So they avoided choosing an action that could've stopped the firing of the missile, resulting in no deaths, and they avoided choosing an action that would've stopped the terrorists from firing further missiles, since by all accounts they never aided the US in tracking these terrorists down.

What they did choose is the course that could've resulted in American or Coallition deaths. In a lethal encounter you can tell which side someone's on by which side will likely suffer deaths as a result of their actions, so I'm will to say that these French were siding with the Iraqi terrorists and against the US. And they not only filmed the attack, but published it as well. And this is not a neutral action, as we saw in the murder and mutilation of four US contractors in Fallujah. I'm sure if these French reporters had been in Fallujah we'd have merely gotten better camera angles on the carnage.

In closing, I'd like to get back to the idea of reporting. Whether for good or ill, information needs to flow from the real world to the public's mental models of reality, so that we may observe and hopefully understand what is going on around us. Reporters play a key role in that process, and the need for understanding is why we have so many stories that try to convey the bigger picture. It's at this higher level that most of the slant comes in, however, because facts are explained within the larger tapestry of our worldview, and these worldviews vary dramatically as you look across different cultures and political spectrums. Unless of course you're in a press room, in which case the worldview seems to be quite uniform.

But aside from this, the reporter on the scene acts much like the eyes of the body politic, conveying immediate information on up the chain. As reporters and pundits begin fitting raw events into a storyline these events become part of a larger picture which conveys some view of the world. This view provides meaning to the unfolding events. You'll note that once the left bought into the global warming story, suddenly every major storm went from being weather phenomenon to being a data point in a story arc. Events in Iraq are no different, as much of the reporting makes evident. The accounts coming back from both our soldiers and many Iraqi bloggers bears little resemblance to what we hear in the press, whose overall storyline doesn't bear repeating.

Now a reporter in the field is going to try and report what they think the story is, to provide some facts and anecdotes to reinforce their worldview. At this point they've got the story and just need to fill in details. The French journalists were no doubt trying to fill some data points on the inevitable Iraqi resistance as America sank into a quagmire.

Well we already know that Iraq is filled with remnant Ba'athists and fundamentalist revolutionaries itching to sieze power, this is not news. We know they can't win if we don't let them, yet the press continues to push the idea that we are either beset on the one hand or overbearing on the other. Basically what we see in these contradictory opinions are competing mental models of how it is we eventually get defeated, and why. But the trouble with having a bad storyline is that the facts on the ground keep defying prediction, as if the actors won't stick to the script. So writing becomes a constant scramble to gloss over what you'd just set up for upcoming episodes while scrambling to make the new dialogue fit the story. Such scrambles always make for fun Fisks since you can just keep pulling up the same persons contradictory statements from a few weeks prior.

Conversely, if your mental model of reality is a pretty accurate representation of the world then you're not constantly surprised by events and then having to blame everything on some vast criminal conspiracy of the oil industry, Freemasons, Illuminati, George Bush, and the Joooos…. You're free to plan for the future instead of sitting there constantly confounded by unfolding events, like wondering why the insurgents you'd been running around with for days would pull out a SAM and take a shot at an airliner, or why the German Army isn't driving up to the Maginot line like they were supposed to.

April 22, 2004 in Politics | Permalink

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Comments

I don't think this attitude is restricted to the French media. Din't Dan Rather say he's do much the same thing a few years back?

Posted by: Sean at Apr 22, 2004 7:57:59 PM

Journalism has always been the easiest degree to get. Any idiot can be a journalist and many are.

Also, from what my husband (a Parisian) says, this 'Paris Match' magazine is a tabloid like E! or MTV magazine. It's trash; not 'mainstream' French journalism. Still, though, I think that the company that owns the jet that was struck should sue these two 'reporters' for the repair bill (or a new jet; whichever is more expensive).

Phoenix

Posted by: Phoenix at Apr 22, 2004 10:50:13 PM

Sean: Dan Rather is the reporter in the middle of a now-famous CBS news report from Viet Nam where the camera focused on a mortally wounded U.S. soldier, pleading for medical attention, in which Rather and his crew did nothing more than watch the soldier die, supposedly to illustrate the horror that was the Viet Nam war.

Posted by: Thom at Apr 23, 2004 3:24:22 AM

"Suppose you're working as a reporter for your local TV station, oh, Action 10 or something."

Surely you meant to write Action Cool News 5, didn't you?

Posted by: cp at Apr 23, 2004 3:52:07 AM

Anyone have a link to something about the dan rather story mentioned by Thom above?

Posted by: zargon the magnificent at Apr 23, 2004 5:10:41 AM

In my opionion, those reporters were (and still are) dead wrong, in a moral sense.
But, I think that once those mujaheddin were set up to shoot down a plane, the same reporters could have done almost nothing to stop them.
They could have tried (apparently they did not), but with little chances of success.

Posted by: FabioC. at Apr 23, 2004 5:26:26 AM

Some years ago a fireworks storage located in the middle of a Dutch city exploded. There was a large outrage in the press that a camera man continued filming instead of helping a nearby wounded reporter. Of course, there was no outcry about the fact that he was also ignoring several wounded civilians.
It is painfully obvious that the press consider themselves in a class apart from other, simpler mortals.

Posted by: Andries Thijssen at Apr 23, 2004 8:02:45 AM

There was a French movie about five or six years back called Man Bites Dog, filmed as if it were a documentary by some hard-chargers who were filming a hitman/serial killer as he murdered people on-camera. It was a comedy.

Maybe it's something in the water?

Posted by: Mitch H. at Apr 23, 2004 9:01:27 AM

Excellent essay. I would, however, dispute your use of the pronoun "we" at many points. I think this is not trivial, but gets to a deeper change in Western society over the past few decades.

Consider World War 2. The American journalistic establishment self-identified with the US polity and, mostly, with US war aims. What would have been the answer, 1942-45, had you asked a reporter or cameraman or copy editor, "Who do you want to win?" "Our side--The Allies--The Western Allies--The United States! Of course!"

So, in that case, the word "we" fits in a discussion of journalism and war.

From the original Paris Match article, and also from the exchange that den Beste relates, this WW2 analogy is invalid as far as the Coalition presence in Iraq. Few journalists and editors want the Islamofascists to win. I get more of a sense of bemused detachment, of the sort that a WW2-era reporter might have brought to a cockfight in a backwater Southern town. Being objective and impartial means not picking a side. Of course.

There are also, of course, sentiments like those famously expressed by Columbia professor de Genova--hoping for "A Million Mogadishus"--presumably because the bounty of "our" defeat outweighs the downside of jihadi victory.

I don't see these French reporters' views as out of step with the attitudes expressed by many Western and American members of the journalism establishment. Off the top of my head: Peter Arnett, Robert Fisk, Orville Schell, Dana Pincus, Katie Couric, Dan Rather, John Pilger, Paul Krugman, Robert Scheer, Chris Hedges. These are not modern-day Lord Haw Haws, but mostly respected members of the journalism establishment.

Whatever this war is, it's actually two wars--one within the Islamic world, and one within the West. Regarding the latter, to the extent that journalists have a side, it's not "our" one.

Posted by: AMac at Apr 23, 2004 9:37:35 AM

Taking the whole French angle out of the equation, you know what I don't get about these losers? Free speech and Freedom of the Press was born in this country. True, the rest of liberal Democracy has taken it up to a greater or lesser extent, but we invented the idea.

Yet you have guys like Wallace and Rather explaining that they are "journalists first" and US citizens second. If it weren't for the US these guys wouldn't have any right to freedom of the press or free speech at all. Don't they see that they also have a stake in the success of liberal Democracy?

Its like the leftist feminists protesting against the liberation of Afghanistan where women can't even go to school and are routinely stoned for walking unaccompanied.

Talk about cognitive dissonance. Even leaving sleazy and traitorous out of it, its just forking st00pid.

Posted by: Calliope at Apr 23, 2004 9:37:38 AM

If you ride with outlaws, you hang with outlaws

Posted by: kugelblitz at Apr 23, 2004 3:59:10 PM

AMac,

The journalists you mention may be "respected" by the journalistic establishment, but are pretty derisively regarded by a large number of people outside that establishment for not really having any sense.

Barbara Walters is also a respected member of the establishment, yet back during the break-up of the Soviet Union, when the Russians were putting pressure on Estonia, she suggested that the US send troops in to top them. Did she sleep through the cold war? Did she forget the Russians might be upset if we invaded? I couldn't imagine how anyone could conceive of kicking of WW-III with a land invasion of the Russia as a bright idea. Nevertheless, she's still "respected".

As for Peter Arnett, he got himself fired for siding with Saddam on the air. Much of Saddam's oil money was going to European journalists to buy press coverage favorable to Saddam and very opposed to America.

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 23, 2004 4:06:03 PM

It wasn´t a civil airliner full of people : it was a DHL cargo. If DHL wants to take risk to help the occupation army slaughtering innocent iraqi people, their planes deserve being shooting down.

Soory for my poor english. Hope you got my point.

Posted by: Antoine at Apr 23, 2004 5:53:21 PM

Antoine,

You vacuous twit. Your jihadi pals could not tell it was a cargo aircraft from that distance. Their whole purpouse in life is to murder infidels.

You fuckwit.

Pardon my french.

Posted by: Jerkpork at Apr 23, 2004 6:32:03 PM

Oh, yes Antoine, we got your point. You are a morally confused imbecile - and that has nothing to do with your poor English. If you believe that the U.S. is an "occupation army," that it is "slaughtering innocent iraqi people," or that commercial companies doing busines with the U.S. or the Iraqi Governing Council "deserve" to have their property destroyed, then you are fact-challenged beyond the ability of anyone here to remedy, and you have nothing to say worth wasting space on this blog. If George wants to tolerate your presence, hey, it's HIS blog - but your moral obtuseness offends the hell out of me.

But, then, based on your name and your English skills, I would speculate that you are a citizen of the same country (France) whose policitians took blood money from Saddam Hussein, through the corrupt "Oil for Food" program as well as directly, then bleated about their moral superiority in attempting to block U.S. action, when all they were trying to do was protect their place at the feeding trough.

Moral lessons from such people? You have NOTHING to teach us. Pfeh! To quote Monty Python, "I fart in your general direction!"

Posted by: Flagwaver at Apr 23, 2004 6:35:51 PM

I´m french so ?
I don´t give a sh... about Saddam nor the peophe you call the "jihadis".

I know your president (a wino) told you that the biggest threat on earth was a tall bearded guy living in a cave, but, sorry, we don´t buy this.

FYI, in Le Monde, last week :

% of french people loving GW Bush : 7%
% of french people loving Oussama Ben Laden : 4%

What a gap !

But (and you´ll like this one) :

% of french people disliking GW Bush : 78%
% of french people disliking Oussama Ben Laden : 73%

Back to the iraqi quagmire : if your idea of a good business is to spend 5.000.000.000 us$ per month in Iraq for getting 100-150 corpses per month, please : go ahead. We´re watching : you told the world it was an american show didn´t you ? So let´s enjoy the show !

Posted by: Antoine at Apr 24, 2004 7:40:00 AM

"I don´t give a sh... about Saddam nor the peophe you call the "jihadis"."

I'd guess you are going to be caring soon Antoine.

What I'm wondering after reading your post is why exactly you'd think anyone in the US cares how Bush polls in France.

"...if your idea of a good business is to spend 5.000.000.000 us$ per month in Iraq for getting 100-150 corpses per month, please : go ahead."

If this had anything to do with "business" or a bodies per dollar then we could easily address the shortfall don't you think Antoine? If that's the way you (or the French) view the War on Terror that explains a lot. Now that I think about it in light of French complicity in bribery and corruption in the Oil for Food program maybe it is the way you view it.

Has it occurred to you that you might be missing something here? Your post says far more about you than it does about your target(s) Antoine.

Posted by: Calliope at Apr 24, 2004 8:12:41 AM

Well gee, Antoine

At 100-150 corpses a month it will take us seven to ten years to equal a Paris heat wave, but after we roll up Fallujah and al-Sadr we'll be back down to normal levels, if not lower, so it'll take us 30 years to break the French record.

But on the bright side, at least these Iraqi thugs who you'd been supporting for illegal oil kickbacks have some fight in them! They're very non-European, indeed.

And we don't worry about the $5 billion a month. It's just a small part of our defense budget. It does, however, vastly exceed Frances entire defense budget of just $3.9 billion a month. To play in the big leagues, you have to have an economy that actually works.

Oh, and you all loved Hitler too, so it's no surprise that you'd back Saddam. All those nice oil kickbacks to the French ministers and Elf-Fina and all.

Oh, hey! Isn't it almost time for you're annual garbage worker's strike? Thought I was smelling something around here.

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 24, 2004 8:41:58 AM

"War on terror" : there is NO terror.

Ben Laden is just a guy who wants :

* USA out of Middle East
* Destroying Israël
* Making a coup in Ryad (the dictator there is friend of the USA)

3 legitimates goals.

"Your post says far more about you" : who cares about me ?

The only issue you should try to adress is : why the whole world hates USA so much. Come on ! Your president cannot visit London without 10.000 cops. Even the Queen needs only 20 cops...

Posted by: Antoine at Apr 24, 2004 9:09:47 AM

George Turner.

France is obviously a smaller country than USA.

But our HDI is as high as yours according to UN.
We have the best health system in the world according to OMS. We work less than you : 35 hrs per week, our holidays ara longer : 5 weeks minimum per year (executives like me who works 40 -sometimes 45- hrs per week get 2 extra days per month as compensation meaning 24 days more of vacation : I got 11 weeks per year). We eat better, (drink better too) AND live longer (France n.2 behind Japan for longevity). France is so great more than 70 millions people visit us each year (another record). What else ? Should I mention Airbus, TGV, Concorde, Mirage, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Lacroix, Chanel, Moët et Chandon, Pommery ?

En conclusion, our everyday life is as good as yours but we work less, take more vacations, stop working earlier, enjoy free health, free education (sorry not free, I used to pay $ 150 each year for university), eat and drink better, can travel freely without hiding our nationalty, live longer.

Posted by: Antoine at Apr 24, 2004 9:28:38 AM

Nope. No terror at all. I guess that's why 10,000 French railroad workers were out walking the tracks looking for bombs. Madrid? Never happened. 9/11? Never happened.

No wonder the French got blindsided in WW-II. They probably ran around saying "There is no German army."

Well, we're not going to play bin Laden's little game, because he's an idiot hiding in a cave.

The USA will maintain our bases in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and elsewhere. We also won't tolerate a jihadist coup in Saudi Arabia, and now Saudi Arabia is fully committed to crushing ALL the terrorists, everywhere. They were feeding the alligator, thinking it would eat them last. Now they've found they were always high up on the menu.

As for thinking the destruction of Israel is a legitimate goal, that's not surprising coming from a Frenchman. After all, they blame everything on the evil Joooos..... Before that they blamed everything on the nobility, and before that it was the Huegenots. Truthfully the destruction of France is the only worthy goal going right now. It's become the weak link in the West's fight against Islamic fundamentalism, and with millions of unassimilated Muslims may already be doomed.

And as to the question as to why the world hates the USA so much, that's mostly concentrated in France and Germany, were the people are delusional fools.

A Frenchman recently wrote a book about it called "anti-Americanism", which was a best seller in France, of all places. He lays out a clear case that the French anti-Americans are living in their own paranoid world from which they can't escape.


Posted by: George Turner at Apr 24, 2004 9:34:31 AM

"And as to the question as to why the world hates the USA so much, that's mostly concentrated in France and Germany"

False.

Take a look at the travel warnings issued by the State Department.

Antiamericanism seems pretty widely spread.
BTW tell me why your embassies look like bunkers or fortresses ?

You lack something for undestanding how the world works : Quai d´Orsay. Ministère Français des Affaires Etrangères (simply the best diplomatic network in the world).

Posted by: Antoine at Apr 24, 2004 9:40:30 AM

Antoine, you're crazy if you think anyone but those who are stuck reading the French papers think France is even close to the US standard of living. 2/3 of our per capita income, and people sitting around waiting for their aunt to die so they can move into her flat.

NOBODY goes to France for the health care. It's a joke. You're lucky if you don't just die of heat death in the hospital. The doctors and nurses won't even work overtime.

You are correct that you work less than us, and just about everyone else. How could you not, since overtime is illegal in many cases, lest people work to hard and take jobs away from the poor.

Should I mention Airbus, TGV, Concorde, Mirage, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Lacroix, Chanel, Moët et Chandon, Pommery ?

Why thank you for mentioning those! When you mention Airbus, did you mean Airbus France, Airbus Deutschland, Airbus España, or Airbus UK?

TGV. Ooo.. Trains. There's the future. To bad rail technology is not compatible with a society of disaffected Muslim immigrants, because as they say, "The faster they go, the harder they hit when the bomb derails them!"

Concorde - A plane that never made money, and are now being cut up and auctioned off as curios.

Mirage - Generally known as manned target drones.

And a bunch of fashion companies. How positively French.

I would list US companies, but it would be a waste of time, obviously, since it would stretch on forever.

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 24, 2004 9:46:43 AM

Antoine, France has always maintained the most inept diplomats on the planet. If our foreign policy had been as bad as France's this past century, we'd be back to 13 tiny colonies hugging the coast of the Atlantic. I mean there's failure, and then there's staggering, unbelievable failure. How many colonies did you start out with in the 1900's? How much land area? You're now so far down you can't even project force in Europe.

Your country has become one giant bribery scandal, with 0% growth, and unaffordable social guarantees. In case you haven't noticed, all the countries following the statist communist type models were abysmal failures. But heck, just pack it full of unassimilated Arabs! That'll really help out!

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 24, 2004 9:53:09 AM

"who cares about me ?"

Precisely the point of my post. Nobody here does. Get it this time Antoine?

"3 legitimates goals."

Destroying Israel is a legitimate goal Antoine?

By the way, your 4th post answers the question you ask in your 3rd post, albeit I suspect unintentionally. You say France is a smaller country and then go on to explain why France is superior. Why do people hate the US, especially people like you Antoine? Its easy enough to understand. As you demonstrate so aptly its simple envy.

I'd like to think that if I lived in a second world country like France that had to be liberated from outside conquerers twice in the last hundred years and have its existence guaranteed for 50 years by the very US military power you so disdain that I'd be a little more thoughtful to say nothing of grateful.

Bah. Enough with you. Go live in your little world where France is a great country while it continues its descent into currupt, bribe taking socialist collapse Antoine.

Posted by: Calliope at Apr 24, 2004 10:13:27 AM