And now the most intriguing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:

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Outburst After Argument
French President Jacques Chirac's outburst last night at the smaller European countries that have sided with the United States on Iraq came after a dinner at which he reportedly lost an argument with fellow European Union heads of state on Iraq. The Glasgow Herald of Scotland reports today that Chirac waved his arms, claimed that thousands of innocents would die in a second Gulf War, and said, "It’s a matter of life and death," to which Italy's Silvio Berlusconi replied, "I'm just as concerned about life and death as you are." Britain's Tony Blair said, "There is no intelligence agency of any government around this table that does not know that the government of Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction."

Following Blix's Lead
Chirac, meanwhile, is saying the disarmament of Iraq is up to the U.N. inspectors and for them to determine if force is needed. Asked by Time Magazine what would justify war, the French president said, "It's up to the inspectors to decide. We gave them our confidence. They were given a mission and we trust them." One person in complete agreement with that is Bill Clinton, who is now saying the United States should "let [Hans] Blix lead us to come together." Clinton called Blix a "tough, honest guy who is trying to find the truth." Meanwhile, over in Plains, Ga., Jimmy Carter is praising the London Daily Mirror, which has called the United States a rogue state, the Bush administration a criminal gang  and said in a front-page headline that Tony Blair has blood on his hands. In an interview with the <I>Mirror at his home, Carter said the paper was "doing a good job. I'm glad about that."

Different View on War
If you're wondering how the United States and France could have such differing views on war, you might take a look at French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's book <I>Les Cent Jours, which means <I>The Hundred Days. In it, de Villepin says of Napoleon's loss to the British at Waterloo, "This defeat shines with an aura worthy of victory. The final symphony of the greatest military composer ever, it only just failed to turn to France's advantage." De Villepin adds  that Napoleon carried "a certain idea of France, a superior vision of politics."