Are you wondering why the French won't come to Iraq (search) to help us, or rather to help the Iraqi people?

It is a bit puzzling, because the French have now made a year's worth of noise about how their reasons for opposing the war was the plight of the Iraqi people. How they opposed the American occupation because of the plight of the Iraqi people. How they argued in the United Nations for an international mandate because it would ease the plight of the Iraqi people.

Well, now President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have offered a deal in which the U.N. would be able to act to ease the plight of the Iraqi people and the French are still saying no?

Why?

Is the plight of the Iraqi people a thing of the past? No.

Have things got to the point where additional forces are not needed in Iraq? No.

Has the crime wave eased in Iraq? A bit, but not enough.

Have the conditions that the French wanted to help solve, are those awful living conditions over, so the French are not needed? No.

The reason the French won't come in now is simple. It's too much of a mess. They don't want French soldiers killed and they don't want to deal with the hassle of fixing a badly broken Iraq.

The French will stay away, inventing new excuses by the day.

The real test will come when George W. Bush offers a big fat reconstruction contract.

My guess is when there's money on the table, the French will agree to put their troops in the line of fire.

That's My Word.

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