Letter to the editor of the Philly Metro, re Eric ladley's article France should learn from Ronald Reagan:
Eric Ladley has a weak grasp of history and a partisan view of politics.Posted by illovich at February 26, 2003 01:27 PM
1) If France followed the lead of Ronald Reagan, we could be counting on them to be supporting and arming Saddam Hussein; it was the Reagan administration that guided Mr. Hussein to power--financially, militarily and politically. Furthermore, we could count on France to be selling missiles to enemy states so that they could fund right-wing guerillas in Latin America, and we could also expect that France would be reducing taxes and increasing military spending to the point of near fiscal ruin.
2) If the Shah had held on to power to this day, Iran would be a seething morass of militant Islam that hated the United States with a fervor that would make Al-Quaeda look like a church booster club. The Shah held on to power via the brutal Savak, an American trained and funded secret police force. Jimmy Carter rightly ended U.S. support for this (and other) repressive regimes, via drastic cuts to the CIA and other policy changes. It is ironic that this action contributed to the overthrow of the Shah and the taking of American hostages, but it was certainly not Mr. Carter's policies that led the Iranian people to hate us.
3) The contention that France is "perfectly in line with the far left in this country, represented ably by former President Carter and numerous movie stars" is cute, but it omits a more important observation. France and Germany are democracies, and the majority of people in both countries are opposed to military action against Iraq at this time--and their government policies reflect that. Perhaps Mr. Ladley admires the sort of democracy that Turkey practices, where the government supports US Policy even though 90% of their population are opposed to war in Iraq. I hope that is what Mr. Ladley likes, becasue it is increasingly the kind of democracy we practice in the United States as well.
4) Mr. Ladley's use of the statistic that "59% of Americans support military action against Iraq" is hard to argue against directly. He probably should have included his source...but that's besides the point. From what I can find, the latest statistics according to a An ABC News/Washington Post survey taken Feb 19-23, 54% of Americans (that's 4% more than half) think we should attack iraq, and 39% (that's 11% less than half) are against it. Those numbers are hardly a mandate from the people. Furthermore, a Zogby poll found that if Americans were asked if we should attack Iraq without "significant United Nations or international support" the numbers fell to 43% in support, and 50% opposed.