The French have faced some serious charges in the past few months. They've been called traitorous, lazy and odious. But now, it seems that those charges haven't gone nearly far enough: It appears that the French have engaged in espionage against the United States and coalition forces in the Middle East.
The other day, I received a letter from a U.S. Air Force officer stationed on a base in Saudi Arabia. He wrote that coalition commanders expelled French soldiers from his base late last week. The French had apparently been caught hacking into the U.S. secret computer system. Their rooms had been evacuated, and British and American troops were allowed to move their own belongings into the plush surroundings the French had previously enjoyed. The officer reported that the information was 60-70 percent reliable, as a couple of semi-reliable sources had corroborated the story.
This story has been kept under tight wrap by the governments involved -- perhaps because the information is false. But if the French troops were indeed removed from the base for spying on the U.S. military, relations between our countries will have reached a new low.
This latest breach of international relations would be the logical culmination of a pattern of deceit and treachery. After stifling a United Nations vote on any resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, France has frustrated U.S. goals as much as humanly possible. On March 24, the French refused the United States' request that France expel Iraqi diplomats and freeze the French-held funds of the Saddam Hussein regime.
French President Jacques Chirac pledged to oppose any U.S.-led effort to gain an "after-the-fact" U.N. resolution condoning our campaign to disarm Iraq. In a letter to fellow peacenik Pope John Paul II, Chirac reiterated his commitment to "defend the primacy of law, justice and dialogue between peoples." Chirac's commitment to law and justice ends where physical force begins; Chirac said that he "deeply (regrets) the start of armed operations." Despite France's opposition to the war, the French maintain that any post-war mess must be cleaned up with the help of the United Nations, aided by -- you
guessed it -- France.
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