On Friday, I was joined by Jean-David Levitte (search), the French ambassador to the United States.
I hope you heard what he had to say. Here's what I think he should have said, in my opinion:
Saddam Hussein (search) was evil and we were wrong to support him in Iraq. We were wrong to maneuver for the survival of his regime and we should have never taken his money in such a way that it made us look like we were being bought.
We did all those things because we were saving Iraq for ourselves and that was wrong. We wanted to be a world oil power to compete with the U.S.-Saudi partnership and we chose the wrong guy — wrong because he was evil and murderous.
We were hoping to delay George Bush's war until after the election — which is coming up next month — in the hope of cleaning Saddam up, shunting aside his two murderous sons and somehow cleaning up the killing fields and mass graves. It was an ill-advised long shot and we shouldn't have done it. We should have sided with regime change and helped the Americans.
We were wrong.
In addition, France has decided its place in the world is in opposition to the United States. We realize this is wrong and we're going to stop such silliness now.
It's true we miss a grand spot on the world stage, but inasmuch as we are unwilling to spend our money on a military that would make us either a true challenge, or a true coalition partner of the U.S., we have recognized that we are one of those countries which can intervene in our former colonies and not much else. Therefore we leave these big regime change projects to the United States.
Iran is now France's biggest trading partner in the Middle East. As you are probably aware, this situation means things could go as badly in Iran as they did in Iraq.
We promise we won't do that again.
Now, since we have rejoined the U.S. on the side of things right, we hope you will come back to France... and bring your money. Things have gotten expensive.
That's what Levitte should have said and that's My Word.
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