I have tried to reduce, and even stop, writing about the war but as everybody I continue to dig into news and information to try to understand why this has happened and -- something that concerns and even scares me more -- what is going to happen next, more wars, more diplomatic escalades, more anti-<place your contradictor here>, more resent between France and the USA... I have tried, but in the last 24 hours, two things made me mad to the point that I need to vent my colère in some foolish hope that it might help in a way.

Yesterday night, the France-Germany TV channel Arte broadcast a documentary by William Karel titled Guerres Secrètes (Secret Wars). 52 minutes of comments by former executives of the FBI and the CIA who served under the Bush (father), Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations. As wrote Laurent (sur, j'invite les francophones à aller le lire), it came as a chock. If you have not seen it, you really have missed one of the rare moments where TV broadcasts mind-blowing content (Arte will rebroadcast it on Saturday 26, 1h55 am and on satellite on the 23rd). I hope this documentary will find its way to a broader audience than the French and the German ones. It has all the ingredients to be banned from American channels which is a shame since this is America looking without concessions into its demons. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 project might be their only chance to come close.

I just cannot summarize this documentary, but boiled down to its scariest bit it gives this: if you ever wondered what can happen when right-wing extremists take control of a democracy, look no further than the White House! I now measure the difference between a permanent democracy (where mandates can be withdrawn at any time) and a temporal democracy. I, with billions of people around the globe, am waiting for the next democratic window to happen in the US, i.e. the presidential election in 2004. Meanwhile I can only watch what has become the biggest threat on earth: an hyperpower controlled by extremists who do not give a damn about democracy, who despises their allies, who lie like they breeze, who shit on the UN and can unleash hell when and where it pleases them. If you think that the US are presently a democracy, please give me some hint.

Today, I stumbled on this post from Anil Dash:

Maybe someday America's great love for the world will even extend to the poor people of France, oppressed by their backwards government.

I read that post many times, trying to find some irony or double meaning to that particular sentence as well as the entire post, but gradually came to the same conclusion: WTF? Writing under anger and lost temper is a bad idea, I know, and I will probably regret that later(*). Still, WTF are you to impose your simplistic mono-culture to the rest of the world? Have you ever considered that like many other cultural aspects, there are more than one version of democracy and that none can be considered better than the others? Could you, for a second, envisage that there are other countries that are better places to live than yours? Can we disagree with you without the fear of being bombed some day?

Speaking of the poor people in France, I had to go to the emergencies at the hospital yesterday for a knee problem. I spent three hours there in something that is far away from the ER show but it reminded me that despite all the ranting you hear every now and then, social care in France means something. I had plenty of time to watch all the people there take good care of patients with the same professionalism, respect and humanity regardless of their social statute. They do not even ask for your social security number anymore.

And you know what Anil? I still have vivid memories of the homeless people of New York and San Francisco. I am sure that with only a ridiculous part of the hundreds of billions that your government is throwing into this military micro-theatralism (as Emmanuel Todd named it in Après l'Empire), the US could give a historical lesson to the entire world by getting rid of poverty in its homeland once and for all. That would be quite a contribution to humanity.

A force de chercher la paille dans l'oeil de son voisin, on ne voit pas la poutre qui est dans le sien. I may calm down now.

(*) I already do, after the comments Anil left on this post. Consider that the "you" in this post are for those "knee-jerk reactionary anti-French American people" as you wrote. And we'll take the offer for getting Lousiana back. I love the idea that Air France could do domestic flights up there and import massive amounts of stinky cheeses so close to Texas ;-). Napoleon did a stupid mistake selling it in the first place.


The france thing was a joke. Sorry to getcha all riled up. Actually, what I've been trying to do is get the knee-jerk reactionary anti-French American people to agree to give back the Louisiana Purchase. Who's with me?

That being said, having an official organization to decide which words are part of your language is a pretty stupid idea. So I am anti-French in that regard.

Au revoir!

Oh, and while I fully agree that there are many beautiful countries and regions in the world, there's no way there's a better place to live than New York City. Heh.

You're trying to convince a Parisian that there is a better place than Paris on earth? You'd better try to convince W. that he should resign and take some booze ;-)

Great documentary on CIA. Frightening when you here all those people in charge or use to be in charge at the CIA saying (talking about Bush) "when you have a bad student, unable to cop with complexity, leading international affairs, you're going to a crash"...

The director of this documentary said that he has fiew hope to see his work on an american chanel because there is few space for that kind of TV now, and the medias depends on big companies.
It would be easier to judge if it could be on US TV.

If you want to see what's really going on in irak, see this blog made by an american independent journalist now in this country :

PS : If you bring us back Louisana, don't forget the statue of liberty ;-)

As you see I'm also able to be short minded. Some passed from french fries to freedom fries, then pass from statue of liberty to statue of the french, 0/1 mind thinking is great, isn't it George ? so confortable

First time reader, long time American, long time Bush hater. ;)

Wonderful post, I love a good, seething rant. However, before we start giving back land to France, we need to make sure that we give first dibs to the Native Americans, after all ;)

I would also hate to lose New Orleans. I would have to say that the food from that city is quite possibly the best in the world. And it might just be a better place to live than NYC ;)

very interesting post, but I will hasten to add that as a new zealander it grates a little to see a french person 'complaining' about CIA etc operations...
France isn't exactly lily white in these types of affairs!
And if you don't know to what I am refering, the bombing of the rainbow warrior in Auckland harbour for starters, but I could go on from there.
So essentially I am saying that everyone has there little secret wars!
meanwhile, you mentioned that you thought that documentary wouldn't air in USA... I think it is just the kind of thing that would air... (and rate spectacularly poorly)

It's not about how bad are secret service, it's about the relationship beetween secret service/experts/information and american president of the USA since George Bush Father to the George Bush Son. To make a long story short : From Gulf War I to Gulf War II, from the first terrorism act in the world trade center to the 11th. How CIA lost some power during Clinton, some info could possibly avoid the 11th if Clinton listend to the CIA. How Bush now avoid thinking the complexity of our world and differences (is he really able to ?), and act like a cowboy (I know, it's not nice for cowboys, sorry). How he couldn't find ben laden, so he try Hussein, trying to explain funny things (judging from the CIA representant opinion) like Hussein is a terrorist leader, he has chemical weapon or whatever. Any excuse is good to act.
I'm not saying CIA is evil and French secret service are good. I'm talking about the conclusions and the fear that I share, to my surprise, with people in charge at the CIA, I would expect them to tell me I'm wrong. I'm not, it doesn't make me happy, I would prefer to be wrong, frankly.

Doxa - You're missing one key point, I think. For me the crux of the broadcast was the implication that the CIA + FBI failed to stop September 11th because there is pressure from the White House (Bush and maybe Clinton, too) _not_ to look too closely at the middle east because the Bush people don't want these agencies to discover some of the business relationships that exist between the neo-conservatives and the oil-producing countries.

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