I read somewhere recently that books and TV shows on etiquette are all the rage in Germany. At first I thought it odd that the Germans were still taking instructions on how to blow their nose in public.

But then a story in the Financial Times of London brought it all into perspective.

'Germany in Rethink on Iraq Force Deployment'... read the headline.

What's this? The Germans who said never, never, never when it came to Iraq... are now changing?

Well, it appears so. The German foreign minister says if conditions in Iraq change, the Germans might consider sending troops.

Aha... conditions in Iraq... or conditions in Washington, D.C. — particularly in the White House?

Sure, the Germans now want to tell the American people — "If you fire the cowboy and hire the windsurfer, we will finally offer the help we have withheld all this time because we hate the cowboy so much. Here's an inducement, Mr. and Ms. American voter: vote Kerry and Germany will be your friend again."

This is why the Germans need etiquette books.

I submit Americans will not care what Germans think, and will not respond to crude interference in our elections.

But more importantly, isn't it now obvious that the Western Europeans — Germans and French in particular — have refused to help the U.S. in order to inflict pain on Americans for their support of Bush and his war in Iraq?

For years, the Europeans have said they're interested in the betterment of the Iraqi people, but events now show they will make that secondary to punishing America and Bush.

They have made it clear that if we dump Bush and bring in the guy who wants a world test of U.S. policies, the Germans will take us back as friends.

This comes at just the moment when the French are trying to get a Pentagon contract for hundreds of new military air refueling tankers — big jets.

I think it's time we told the Euros to butt out.

That's My Word.

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