What's France up to now?

The interim governing council in Iraq is starting to get accepted around the world, but before the United Nations (search) will come in and help the beleaguered U.S., France wants its own man — a former French defense minister — named as the U.N. representative overseeing the construction of a constitution and holding elections.

There are other proposals as well that, according to columnist Amir Taheri (search), will expose Iraq to diplomatic rivalry among the great powers over its fate.

Taheri says the only justification for President Bush allowing this to happen is because of domestic politics — the American people will feel better about all of this if the U.N. is involved.

But, Taheri says, U.N. involvement is being driven by the French and Germans who have set their demands so high that the Americans won't accept unless they are desperate.

They would then march in and say, "Okay, you made this terrible mess, you ignorant cowboys. Now we will save Iraq."

Taheri is a smart guy. That is precisely the name of the game. France wants to take the spoils of war somebody else fought.

Bush should stand firm. Beating the Iraqi army and then losing to France is one of those things we generally call "not an option."

That's My Word .

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