Man Without Qualities

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Plus Ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose

Vice President Dick Cheney: "We have a right to know what [Senator Kerry] is saying to foreign leaders that makes them so supportive of his candidacy. American voters are the ones charged with determining the outcome of this election, not unnamed foreign leaders."

OpinionJournal, March 15, 2004: A year ago John Kerry described the nations that would liberate Iraq as a "coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted." It turns out that may be a better description of his own antiwar camp. From Jacques Chirac's and Vladimir Putin's political cronies to Tony Blair's own Labour Party, many of the most vocal opponents of enforcing U.N. resolutions turn out to have been on the take. Were some of the most vehement and prominent American critics of the war similarly bought and paid for? There's no hard evidence to support such a conclusion, but it's a possibility worthy of investigation following the appearance of a politically connected Detroit-area businessman on a recently published list of individuals receiving oil money from Saddam Hussein. Shakir al-Khafaji's close ties to Iraqi Baathists and Michigan Democrats are a matter of public record.

OpinionJournal, February 9, 2004: [T]he Iraqi daily Al Mada published a partial list of names, compiled by Iraq's oil ministry, of those whom Saddam Hussein rewarded with allocations of Iraqi oil. ... The list reads like an official registry of Friends of Saddam across some 50 countries. It's clear where his best, best friends were. There are 11 entries under France (totaling 150.8 million barrels of crude). ... Patrick Maugein, a close friend of Jacques Chirac and head of Soco International oil company, says his dealings were all within "the framework of the oil-for-food program and there was nothing illegal about it."

XYZ Affair: is the name usually given to an incident (1797-98) in Franco-American diplomatic relations. ... [A] three-man [American] commission was immediately confronted by the refusal of French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand to receive it officially. ... The proposal that the Americans pay Talleyrand about $250,000 before the French government would even deal with them created an uproar when it was released in the United States. ... The XYZ Affair contributed to American patriotic legend in the reply Pinckney is supposed to have made to a French request for money, “Millions for defense, sir, but not one cent for tribute.” This reply was certainly not made, but a better case can be made for the alternate version, “No, no, not a sixpence.”

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