The United States.
Such a complex relationship we have.
Of course, who doesn’t gratefully recall Lafayette and the Statue of Liberty?
And who doesn’t love a glass of wine?
“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”
--Charles De Gaulle, in Ernest Mignon's “Les Mots du General”
On the other hand, here we were, all ready to go invade Iraq; and here was France, in the United Nations, trying to stop us from going ahead.
“It felt comfortable to be in a country where it is so simple to make people happy...Everything is on such a clear financial basis in France. It is the simplest country to live in. No one makes things complicated by becoming your friend for any obscure reason. If you want people to like you, you have only to spend a little money.”
--Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
In the years before the invasion, Iraq had spent a little money in France, which meant in some quarters, France was the enemy.
And by God, if France was the enemy, America had to act.
“It's not ludicrous. We in the nation's capital need to send a signal. We need to tell our troops we're with you. This is symbolic. Walter knows that. I know it. But I think it's a wonderful gesture and our veterans are very proud. If somebody thinks it's ludicrous, they can go privately eat their French toast. We're going to eat our freedom toast.”
--Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH), on CNN
And with that, along came to the rescue Congressman (and, amazingly, a fluent French speaker with a French family lineage) Bob Ney (Inmate 28882-016-OH), and Congressman Walter Jones, (R-NC).
To save Cubby’s, and by extension, America, through Freedom Toast and Freedom Fries.
Apparently the thinking was that if we showed that dastardly France how America supports its troops, we would be propelled to victory in Iraq because our troops would know we were so strongly behind them.
Now you might say to yourselves: “selves, there’s just something fundamentally wrong with people who think like that”...and you’d be right.
Of course, Congressman Ney went and got himself caught up in the Abrahamoff scandal-but what about Walter Jones?
“I, Walter Jones, promise the voters of eastern North Carolina and the 3rd District I will not flip-flop”...
--The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, September 1st, 1994
Ex-Democratic candidate Jones made that promise to his brand-new Republican constituency just two years after losing the Primary election to fill his (Democratic) father’s own Congressional seat to Eva Clayton, who won the General and served as a Member until 2003.
After making the promise, he won his seat in North Carolina’s 3rd District in 1994 on the back of the Republican Revolution. Mother Jones quoted the Congressional Quarterly’s “Politics in America”, who described him as: "one of the unreconstructed ‘true believers' of the GOP Class of 1994."
His record suggests that he does fit that description (lots of defense, supported “reforming” bankruptcy, all “flag burning” bills, cutting student aid), more or less, and The John Birch Society (click on the “Freedom Index” link in the middle of the page) seems to like him.
Of course, it’s hard not to flip-flop sometimes.
Consider the books in your school libraries.
Now most conservatives would say local school districts should control what books local school districts buy, and that the districts should set their own policies about those purchases. Most conservatives would never support ”one-size-fits-all” Federal mandates for our local schools.
And Congressman Jones agrees.
Unless, of course, he doesn’t like the contents of the books.
That’s why he introduced legislation to require all school districts in the US to follow “certain procedures” mandated by the Federal Government before they could purchase books. Basically he wanted every school district to create “parent review councils” whether the districts wanted them or not, or he would see that the district’s Federal funding would be cut off.
So after flip-flopping from Democrat to Republican, and flip-flopping on “State’s Rights” issues, it should be no surprise that Jones has come to see what a fool he was to buy the Administration’s war stories, hook, line, and sinker-and to the great consternation of the Rs, he’s flip-flopped again.
But at least it’s in the right direction.
At the moment, his Congressional website seems to report he opposes the surge, but not withdrawal, despite his informing the Charlotte News & Observer “the US went to war “with no justification”” (is this guy a gymnast, or what?).
He has been given credit for his change of mind, but that’s not good enough for me.
I want Members of Congress to be independent thinkers who see this stuff in advance, not cheerleaders who figure out they missed the boat 3500 US lives too late.
I want a Member that can have the flexibility of mind to know in advance that they will make mistakes, will have to change position...who are, frankly, smart enough to know that they will have to flip-flop from time to time- if only because change inevitably demands it.
If I were Walter Jones, and I had to go to sleep every night thinking of those thousands of dead people I led the charge to kill, and I had to think about my role in their deaths every time I wrote letters to family members on Saturday afternoons; I think my own soul might tell me that the time had come to leave Congress.
That I had done enough damage.
That I, who had been so blind, might now see that I am not qualified to serve in a position that requires vision and good judgment.
That blind obedience to ideology, until the death toll, and the waste, and the lies behind it all shock even me is no measure of a good public servant.
And if I was voting in North Carolina’s Third District, I would never vote for Walter Jones again.
There’s no reason to support a candidate who broke his flip-flop promise so many times he probably spells it plif-polf; and next time we’ll talk about a better choice-retired Marine, and former Airport Director of Basra, Iraq’s International Airport, Marshall Adame.
I don’t know about you, but all that writing makes me hungry.
Think I’ll go have a few French Fries.
Author's Note: Although I'm in no way associated with, or compensated by his campaign, it should be fairly evident I'm an Adame supporter.