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August 25, 2006

An Embarrassed France Ponies Up 2000 Troops For Lebanon

The real news here is that the French are capable of embarrassment:

French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that France would commit 2,000 troops to a new international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. The decision breaks a stalemate that has held up the dispatch of soldiers seen by diplomats as crucial to maintaining the 11-day-old cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel.

...

France helped broker the U.N. cease-fire and initially indicated it would commit 2,000 troops to help maintain the truce. But Chirac was chastised at home and abroad when he later said he would dispatch only 200 engineers to augment the 200 French troops serving in an existing U.N. monitoring force on the Lebanon-Israel border.

...

Chirac said he hoped France's decision Thursday would spur other countries to join the force, including the United States and Britain. Both have said they are too taxed in Iraq and Afghanistan to take part.

Then what was his hope, precisely, with his absurd first offer of sending 200 engineers?

Was Chriac hoping that would spur other countries to send a couple dozen engineers as well?

...

So far, Italy is the only other European country to make a major commitment, offering to send as many as 3,000 troops and to command the force.

But the direction of the expanded force appears to be in French hands. French and U.N. officials said French Maj. Gen. Alain Pelligrini will retain command of the U.N. mission until his term ends next February. U.N. officials said an Italian general will head a new military command center at U.N. headquarters to map out strategy for the operation.

The French mindset is truly breathtaking. They really think that their superior morality and culture -- and "leadership" -- alone is quite enough contribution to any mess. They scream the loudest, make the greatest demands for a leadership role, and then offer up 200 engineers.

Good Lord.

Italy has been relatively quiet as a state throughout this, has no historic ties with Lebanon, and immediately offered up 3000 troops -- to be led, presumably, by French engineers.

What insufferable Gaul.

Thanks again to Memeorandum.


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posted by Ace at 09:46 AM

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