An August 22 article in the UK's Times Online gave some insight into the paper's behind-the-scenes views with this headline, “Paris vacates the moral highground to give Washington a helping hand” (h/t Fausta).
For the Times, France's “moral highground” was a four-year diplomatic lock-out with Iraq that began after the “US-led invasion” (and, interestingly, at the end of several Frenchmen profiting from the corrupt UN Oil For Food scam) that Sarkozy broke by sending his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to Baghdad yesterday for a three-day fact-finding trip with the goal of helping the Iraqis, through the UN, rebuild and stabilize a country that could easily devolve into genocide without adequate attention.
The Times could have taken its own “moral highroad” by writing a headline that better reflected the article's contents and did not inject anti-Iraq war bias, but, instead, the paper chose to portray France as somehow morally deficient for wanting to help prevent the international spread of religious conflict, the destruction of a nation and Rwanda-like violence and death. Go figure.
The article explained France's use of limited engagement to help Iraq (emphasis mine):
The position had changed since President Chirac led an international coalition against the invasion, he said. “The world knows that the Americans cannot get this country out of its troubles all alone. The more the Iraqis seek the intervention of the United Nations, the more France will help them,” he added.
“What plays out here will shape the world,” he said, talking of the risk of spreading religious conflict. “We want to be at the side of this large and important country at the birth of its democracy.”
Dr Kouchner used his fact-finding visit, during which he met Shia, Sunni, Kurdish and Christian leaders, to press the Iraqis to save and rebuild their nation. President Talabani and Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, called for French public and private investment in reconstructing their country. Iraqi media said that President Sarkozy was organising an international conference on Iraq, but French officials would not confirm this.
Yep, that's pretty immoral.
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