Vichy France Redux

Secretary Rumsfeld likes to distinguish between “Old Europe” and “New Europe”. And he apparently likes to re-enact some of the worst (non-democratic) practices of “Old Europe”, while disapproving of the new democratic practices of the current OE (Old Europe).

Thus we have a bizarre situation in which the U.S. Government, having overrun Iraq much as Nazi Germany overran France in World War II, has installed a surrogate government in Iraq comparable to Vichy France. Here is how a website devoted to the historical recollection of Vichy France recalls the purpose of that entity:

“The ‘state’ was under total German control but tried to maintain the fiction of an independent state, with a French administration, especially for police and justice.”

Marshall Petain was installed by the Germans as the head of the government of Vichy France. The “Free French” government in exile was led to Charles DeGaulle, who the U.S. supported in general terms, to the degree that Free France’ interests aligned with U.S. interests, particularly during the War.

So, at the time, the U.S. provided military arms and support for the Free French, who opposed the puppet Vichy Government. Whereas in Iraq, the U.S. opposes any Iraqi organizations that reject its own puppet government (which is in the process of formation currently).

The U.S. is seeking out “collaborators” — the same sort of people who were eventually despised and shamed in France after France took charge of its own affairs. At present, the U.S. considers Iraqi nationalism to be indicated by collaboration with the economic needs of the U.S.

But, one day, a true Free Iraq movement will arise, just as the Free French nationalists did. The French themselves had to deal with a similar situation in Algeria, which could ultimately parallel what the U.S. will experience in Iraq — a very bloody war that results in severe oppression, leading to outrageous, bloody violence, dragging on for years with increasing repression by the dominating force, which in this case will be U.S. backed.

We have to realize that the U.S. is involved in Iraq now, not for altruistic motives, not for spread of democracy in its purist form, but for U.S.’ long term economic and strategic interests. The U.S. will not easily give up its control over Iraq. Iraq is effectively annexed to the U.S. for the rest of this century, and there is no De Gaulle on the horizon, and there is no powerful benefactor available in this world today to help the Iraqis free themselves.

The Iraqis will have to live with their Iraqi Vichy Government (IGV) for a long time, it appears. Vichy redux it is, with the U.S. on the side of the Old, un-democratic European values.

The writer is a member of several falconry and ornithological clubs and organizations. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from California, USA.