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by Mark Neckameyer


November 18, 2004

French President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday, keeping up his vocal opposition to the war on the eve of a visit to London, that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq mobilized Muslim extremists and made the world more dangerous.  In another time Chirac might have said that D-Day had mobilized German soldiers in France and had made that country more dangerous.

Some thirty-five plus years ago I was a very young army officer helping to train South Vietnamese forces to resist incursions from North Vietnam.  The North Vietnamese were mostly Buddhists with a culture closer to the original Vietnamese culture with more than a little Chinese influence while the South Vietnamese, especially their officer class, had been educated mostly in French schools.  You know the story.  While there were many brave individuals, my impression that when the NVA, North Vietnamese Army showed up, the South Vietnamese troops tended to run away.

Who knows what makes one people brave, willing to fight for their land while people in another culture fold and submit to domination and defeat.  We have it while the French definitely do not.  I am reminded of that Country music hit of a few years ago by Darryl Worley called "Have you forgotten" where he sings;

I hear people saying we don't need this war
I say there's some things worth fighting for
What about our freedom and this piece of ground
We didn't get to keep 'em by backing down
Now they say we don't realize the mess we're getting in
Before you start your preaching let me ask you this my friend

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away ... Have You forgotten?
C 2003 EMI April Music Inc./Pittsburg Landing Songs (ASCAP)

I think it is safe to say that Jacques Chirac has forgotten!
Mark Neckameyer
Irvine, CA - USA



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