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Old 04-01-2003, 11:37 PM   #1
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French Polls

One in three French backs Saddam
By Charles Bremner and Alan Hamilton

ILL-FEELING between Britain and France over the invasion of Iraq has plumbed new depths with the desecration of that most sacred of memorials, a war cemetery.
The defilement of Commonwealth war graves in northern France coincided with a poll for The Times which found that 54 per cent of Britons no longer regarded France as a close ally because of its opposition to the war.

Relations will be further rent by a second poll, in Le Monde, showing that only a third of the French felt that they were on the same side as the Americans and British, and that another third desired outright Iraqi victory over “les anglo-saxons”.

Eleven thousand Allied soldiers lie buried in well-tended peace at Etaples, on the Channel coast near Le Touquet, victims of the struggle by Anglo-Saxons to liberate the French from the German invaders during the First World War.

Last week the obelisk raised in their memory was defiled by red-painted insults such as “Rosbeefs go home”; “May Saddam prevail and spill your blood”; and, in a reference to the long-dead casualties beneath the manicured turf, “They are soiling our land”.

Local gendarmerie have launched an inquiry, but have so far found no clues. They say there had been no significant demonstrations against the war in that area of France.

The graffiti have been scrubbed off, but the incident has provoked outrage among British politicians, war graves staff and the few remaining relatives of those buried at Etaples. French politicians have joined the condemnation.

Bruce George, Labour chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, said: “Remembering what sacrifice these men made for the liberation of France, I cannot believe any mature, sane person would be so stupid as that.”

David Uffold, 63, a Shropshire farmer, is the only surviving relative of Rifleman Frederick Uffold of the London Regiment, who is buried at Etaples. “I find it sickening that anyone would vandalise the cemetery,” he said. “It is the last place they should be protesting about Iraq. These fellows were drafted in to fight for France. I can’t see any connection between the men buried at Etaples and the war in Iraq.”

Peter Francis, of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said he was disgusted that a place remembering those who died defending freedom in world wars long ago should be dragged into a current political debate.

French politicians did their best to portray the desecration as an isolated act, but it nonetheless underlined anti-American and anti-British emotions running through France over what is seen there as a bungled invasion rapidly turning into a humanitarian disaster.

President Chirac’s spokesman said: “We are indignant and shocked by the desecration of the graves of soldiers who fought for our liberty.” Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the Prime Minister, said: “The Americans are not the enemy; just because we are against this war, it does not mean that we want the victory of dictatorship over democracy.”
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Old 04-01-2003, 11:38 PM   #2
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forgot to add my source for the above:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...631671,00.html
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:37 AM   #3
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I thought these people wanted "peace" but apparently it's not quite like that for some.
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:48 AM   #4
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This was done by some pretty ignorant F##kers.....
My grandfather was in WWII , luckily the questions I ask him , he can still remember,there's not too many of those guys left now.
Those men saved the world , and with very little complaints afterwards, they just came home and went back to work...
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:53 AM   #5
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My grandfather was also in WWII. These people turn my stomach.
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:57 AM   #6
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Maybe it is time the US re-examines its long-term relationship with France....









this is not a call for a boycot of all things French
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:11 PM   #7
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Ouch. This isn't the first time the U.K. and France have had strains in their relationship. Maybe it's time to examine our relationship, but I hope the end result of the examination is a renewal of a 225-year old alliance rather than the trashing of it. I still have no plans to stop using French products. In fact I'm trying to get a skating tape from French TV. The moderator of one of my skating lists is French. I'm not signing off of it just because some of the people are French. Most of the people on it are either Russian or Bulgarian. There are also a fair number of Americans, Canadians and Brits on it. It's got nothing to do with politics.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:16 PM   #8
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I don't want to point fingers, but it seems to me that the French are bringing most of these bad feelings on themselves. Renaming food and even not using American or French products is one thing. It's childish, but fairly harmless. Desecrating grave sites and defacing statues and monuments is a whole other.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Maybe it is time the US re-examines its long-term relationship with France....
I honestly hope you're being sarcastic.

This is ridiculous. I would think that most people in this forum would realize that polls mean nothing. Any poll can be tilted to reflect what you would like it to reflect. Or are you basing this on the acts of a few people who did the vandalism. Or are you all pissed off that France didn't back the US. Who cares? Why is everyone attacking the French they aren't the only country to oppose this war. A large number of this world opposed this war. Has France done some questionable things? Yes, but so has every other nation. The US is getting way too sucked into this "if you're not with me than you're against me" bu**sh**. The Bush administration is single handingly destroying so many foreign affair relationships it's not even funny. It makes me sick that everyone is falling for it too.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:21 PM   #10
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The statement was not meant to be reactionary or necessarily result in a break in relations with France. There does, however, seem to be some underlying differences and I think it is healthly if the differences were discussed rather than ignored.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:28 PM   #11
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And again the blame is put on Bush and the U.S. - not on an "ally" that would rather stand with the Russians and Chinese because of their dirty money and weapons deals Iraq.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:42 PM   #12
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womanfish:

you're right, it's sad but true.. every nation prefers to complain what the other did wrong instead of looking what they did and really feeling ashamed (Every big nation i can think of did their part to make the situation worse)

Seems like a "great human tradition" guildy? just the other ones

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Old 04-02-2003, 12:54 PM   #13
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It just made me really realize it when I read a newspaper column a few days ago. This guy was born in France, then moved to a French speaking area of Canada. He said it's really scary to think that after having allys in the U.S., U.K., Australia for so long, that now it seems that the French (and in some ways Canada) would rather be allys with Russia and China. He even went so far as to say that it's not just about not "backing" your allys, but it seems they are almost supporting or rooting for the enemy. When I read the article posted above, it made it even more clear.
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Old 04-02-2003, 01:19 PM   #14
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womanfish:
Yes you're right
The only reason i can think of why this change happens is that lots of countries become affraid of the last superpower because they decided not to listen to anyone and do what they want to do.
So many Europeans start to think that the only way to force the US to care about international laws is to find allies who are powerfull enough that G.W. will listen (China+Russia for example)

Klaus

p.s. this is NOT my opinion, i just wanted to show you the opinion of average people on european streets
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Old 04-02-2003, 01:40 PM   #15
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It seems to me that some talks between the U.S, the U.K, and France, and maybe Russia and Germany also, would be productive. Rather than not talk about this at all, talks about shared interests would be in the best interests of both France and the U.S. Even if one-third of the French people support Position X on the war, what about the other two-thirds? What's their opinion? What do they want? Talks would be great. Lack of talks might be really bad news.
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