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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Sunday, 3 August 2003
As freedom fries
Here you've got to put the two together as a phrase: 'Drink it black as freedom fries'

You know it's been a long time since mainland Europe copped a serve from their friend Uncle Sam yet the outcome of the Iraqi incursion was that Germany, and more particularly France, were on the receiving end of some cutting remarks.

It seems boorish to dismiss France's concerns. True, they don't have a stirling history internationally if the nuclear atoll tests and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior are anything to go by. But what they do have is intrinsic links with the United States. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France and an especially thoughtful one. It should serve as a boost for American citizens in knowing where they stand but also serve as a reminder of the vigilance required to see that it is not a hollow symbol for something lost.

They share Thomas Paine, the great overlooked figure of two Revolutions - the American and the French. An American founding father, Paine nearly lost his life in France. Paine had a great mind and a strong sense of what could best ensure democracy and freedom of thought. He was a deist who believed the only proof of God could be in His creation; in nature. His texts are well worth the read, being more soundly reasoned and more clearly expressed than more famous thinkers.

France and America both have lively intellectuals who can contribute much to the debate from their specialist fields. I don't mind politicians doing more than their fair share of gloating when things go right but I do object to them stifling discussion on important issues.
I think the fact that the Coalition of the Willing were prepared to defy the judgement of some of their closest allies on the basis of wonky intelligence speaks volumes as to who out of France and the US emerges best from this lamentable episode.

Posted by berko_wills at 3:02 AM NZT
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