Monsieur le Président,
It has often been said that Americans take a short view of History. This American does not.
This American remembers that France was one of the first nations to recognize our Independence, in 1778.
French soldiers fought side by side with Americans in our Revolution. Without the aid of the Marquis de Lafayette, Count Rochambeau, and Admiral Comte de Grasse, we might have lost the struggle. These men are considered heroes in our country. Their names adorn our streets, our warships, and our public squares.
The treaty that sealed our Independence was signed in 1783, in Paris.
Our nations were born of the same Age of Enlightenment.
Liberté --“Give me Liberty or give me Death!”
Égalité – “all Men are created Equal”
Fraternité – E Pluribus Unum
We are spiritual siblings.
This American recalls that a French architect, Pierre L’Enfant, designed our capital city. He is buried within sight of that city, in Arlington National Cemetery.
Our largest territorial expansion occurred in 1803, when Napoléon Bonaparte sold the vast Louisiana Territory to the United States for the bargain price of 80 million francs.
This American remembers that it was a Frenchman, Alexis De Toqueville, who penned the first definitive analysis of “Democracy in America” in 1840.
Two talented Frenchmen, the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and the architect Gustave Eiffel, designed and constructed one of our most treasured icons, the Statue of Liberty. Dedicated in 1886, it was a gift from the people of France to the people of America, acknowledging our lasting friendship.
This American recalls that in 1917, when Paris was in danger of being overrun by the Kaiser’s armies, President Woodrow Wilson sent two million men and pledged ten billion dollars to save France. Over 30,000 of those men did not return home.
Twenty-eight years later, American forces, side-by-side with Free French forces, liberated France from the scourge of Nazi occupation. Cemeteries full of tens of thousands of American soldiers who died in that struggle dot the French countryside.
This American remembers that France was present at the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1991, French forces joined America in the coalition to reverse his unprovoked aggression. French aircraft subsequently participated in the enforcement of the no-fly zones over Southern Iraq.
After the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, France lent material and intelligence support to the American campaign against the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
For well over two centuries, we have been friends and allies.
So how, sir, do you explain your recent behavior?
It is not unprincipled to be opposed to war. War is terrible.
But we have been in agreement, for over twelve years now, that Saddam Hussein must cooperate with the United Nations and abandon his weapons of mass destruction. Together, we passed seventeen resolutions in the Security Council demanding as much.
The last resolution, which was approved unanimously, called for “serious consequences” if Iraq failed to disarm. But the regime of Saddam Hussein continued to play games of obfuscation, denial, and deception.
We all know what “serious consequences” means, sir.
Yet, when the United States and United Kingdom presented an eighteenth resolution with concrete deadlines for compliance, you opposed it. When some of our allies expressed support for our position, you called them “infantile” and “reckless.” You actively lobbied nations in opposition to our efforts.
Had we presented a united front against Saddam Hussein, armed conflict might not have been necessary. But your intransigence has made that outcome impossible. In the process, you undermined the very foundations of NATO and the United Nations.
Your actions have grave consequences, sir. Like so many others, this American had to leave his home and family and go to war – a conflict from which over one hundred Americans will never return.
Today, in a newly liberated Iraq, we are learning the true extent of your betrayal.
Damning documents have been discovered. Reputable media outlets have reported that your government provided intelligence assistance to Saddam Hussein. This assistance allegedly included briefings covering confidential conversations between yourself and President George W. Bush.
These are not the actions of a trusted ally, much less a friend.
You, sir, have no honor.
- LT Smash
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this letter stated that France was the first nation to recognize the United States. As several of you pointed out, that honor belongs to Morocco, who did so in 1777.