Letters to the editor
I am writing in response to Richard Carnes’ column “No more croissants for this American,” which appeared in the Commentary section of the Vail Daily.
More often that not, Richard’s articles are bursting with strong, sensible arguments. However, on this occasion it seems that he is using schoolchild banter in an attempt to convince his American readers that the peaceful plans of the French, German and Russian governments are far less superior than the USA’s “two wrongs make a right approach,” on the grounds that the French are not allowed to voice an opinion due to the stereotypical notion that they smell, do not shave their armpits, and eat snails.
I could create a list far larger than this space allows, highlighting the many positive aspects of the French lifestyle and political policy that seem to be non-existent in the USA, but as that is not the key to the argument I shall only name a handful:
Firstly, the French have history. Along with this comes culture which can be observed almost every French hamlet, town or city. Each of these conurbations contain a plethora of diverse, character-laden, small family-run businesses, with minimal chain-store presence. Within each of these delightful settlements, one would find small, non-polluting cars or mopeds designed for city use and not for moving your house, herd or ton of trash, all of which Americans must do on a regular basis according to the size of their vehicles.
Now, taking a large step away from the somewhat childish act of comparing the lifestyle differences of France and USA, I will move onto Richard’s opening analogy: “The strongest attribute of the weak is their hatred of the strong.” Paraphrased from a Ludlum novel, this quote clearly emphasizes his narrow-minded rightwing tendencies.
The reason these Second World nations, Third World countries and Islamic terrorists are “weak”and thus hate the “strong” is they have fallen to the mercy of corrupt political leaders-dictators, unfortunate political decisions and extreme, inhumane religions.
To compare the recent peaceful and responsible anti-war plans of the French (and Germans and Russians) to such regimes is incredibly thoughtless. Just because previous evil dictators have been overthrown by violence does not mean that the same trigger-happy, civilian-unfriendly methods need to be deployed today.
One would expect that in an age of high technology, high intelligence and abundance of information and education, that we as a developed world global community could act together and overthrow Saddam and other dictators without the barbaric force that has been the norm ever since the first caveman killed another for stealing his berries.
The French, Germans and Russians understand as well as anyone else the possibility that Iraq is harboring weapons of mass destruction. But instead of shooting first and asking questions later, they are putting forward a plan to bring in more inspectors in an attempt to bring everything out in the open.
Aided by a large presence of U.N. soldiers in Iraq, the country will be peacefully targeted from the inside outwards.
As with any problem in life, help must be given at the very grass roots. With such a large U.N. presence, the civilians will feel safer, they can begin to rebuild their lives, better educate themselves, and with the aid of foreign knowledge, understand that they are not free but are controlled by a ruthless dictator.
Eventually, with such huge U.N. presence and increased education and truth, the true perpetrator, Saddam, can be overthrown and replaced by a democratic leader, without civilian casualties.
Granted, the effects of such a strategy would not be instant – it could take years to implement. But this is the key – very few positive, good things happen overnight. Just look how quickly a Wal-Mart store or McDonald’s restaurant can be constructed.