The nation of France issued its official reaction today to Secretary of State Colin Powell’s dramatic address to the Security Council over Iraqi deception regarding its banned weapons programs. In a move that surprised no one, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, despite being in the room at the time, claimed he saw no convincing evidence that Powell had actually appeared and spoken to the U.N. body. “Perhaps Mr. Powell was present but I was constantly looking at my feet, shuffling papers and tapping my pencil during that time and certainly didn’t see anyone,” de Villepin asserted. “I thought I heard a person speaking but it could have been someone playing the radio in the next room. It’s obvious to me that the U.S. has yet to make its case that Colin Powell was there and spoke or, frankly, that this ‘Powell’ exists at all.”
The Foreign Minister then demanded that inspectors be sent in to investigate such sources as television news footage and Pentagon personnel records to establish Colin Powell’s existence before France would demand that those inspectors be given more time to firmly establish a generally accepted reality.
Following a tersely worded statement from the White House that Secretary Powell had indeed given a presentation in New York, the French Embassy responded by claiming that tit had seen little convincing evidence that the U.N. was actually in New York and asserted that the organization was actually headquartered on a lovely tree-shaded boulevard in downtown Paris. An embassy spokesman, asked by a reporter if this latest example of Gallic denial was part of his country’s attempt to serve as a check on American power, admitted that the only checks they were concerned with were those issued by Baghdad Savings and Loan to pay French industry for dual-use equipment.
For its part, Germany took the occasion of Powell’s address to denounce the Bush administration’s tendency towards unilateralism. “Leave it to the Americans to once again go it alone and have one man, Colin Powell, speaking on one topic, Iraqi weapons,” German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer complained. “A multilateral approach, for instance, having a dozen representatives from different nations all loudly blathering on at the same time about a variety of more important issues like Libya’s bold leadership of the human rights commission, would have been so much better. And more in keeping with the general spirit of the U.N., I might add.”
The Germans then took the Americans to task for being belligerent and war-like, one of them adding, “After all, when it comes to being war-like, we certainly know what we’re talking about!” The French countered by saying that without convincing evidence that the Germans had once marched into Paris, they would remain skeptical.
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The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
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H/T to National Review Online