MEMO TO ANDY ROONEY: We saved France . .almost 60 FUCKING YEARS AGO????!!!!!

Let me couch this by saying I don’t particularly like France’s foreign policy, or some French attitudes towards Americans. Heck, I am guilty of making fun of France for surrendering to Germany in six weeks on this Board many times.

But Andy Rooney’s jingoistic commentary this weekend on 60 minutes is making me reconsider some of my attitudes:

In it, Andy Rooney dredges up world events of half a century ago, and sounds like a tired, old WW2 vet who STILL thinks France should be kissing our asses up and down for saving them from the Germans. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Some highlights:

You can’t beat the French when it comes to food, fashion, wine or perfume, but they lost their license to have an opinion on world affairs years ago.

France is a sovereign, democratic nation, therefore has as much a license as any other country to participate in foreign affairs.

*They may even be selling stuff to Iraq and don’t want to hurt business. *

In the 1980s, The United States supplied Saddam Hussein with many of the weapons he has today.

The French lost WW II to the Germans in about 20 minutes.

6 weeks. Many other European countries surrendered to the Germans in a short amount of time too, but we don’t call the Czechoslovakians, Polish, Danish, Dutch, Norwegians, Belgians, Luxembourgois, Greeks and other countries cowards.

*Along with the British, we got into the war and had about 150,000 guys killed getting their country back for them. *

There’s no denying America deserves a debt of gratitude for the sacrifice made. But there was a French Resistance that fought bravely as well, and provided a lot of intelligence that the Allied forces needed before invading Normandy.

*They don’t want to call attention to the fact that we freed them from German occupation. *

Are the French expected to pat themselves on the back every year and say “We suck— if it weren’t for the Americans we would be speaking German?”. How many countries celebrate surrender, Andy? I get it: France should have a National “We Are Spineless Cowards” Day. I mean, who WOULD want to be reminded of that?

*Americans have a right to protest going to war with Iraq. The French do not. They owe us the independence they flaunt in our face at the U.N. *

Let me get this straight. The reason this old codger went to France to fight was so that the French could be free and have freedom of expression, right? I thought World War II was about protecting democracy. Aren’t the French entitled to their say, whether or not you agree with their opinion? Or is that a right only Americans have?

*The next day, the pompous Charles de Gaulle marched down the mile long Champs Elysee to the Place de la Concorde as if he had liberated France himself. *

As I pointed out before, the French resistance fought against the Germans, and De Gaulle was a big part of that effort. I think he deserved a parade. Plus, it was very important that the French had a leader they could look up to so that we wouldn’t have to baby sit them for the next ten years.

*When we go to Paris every couple of years now, I rent a car. I drive around the Place de la Concorde and when some French driver blows his horn for me to get out of his way, I just smile and say to myself, “Go ahead, Pierre. Be my guest. I know something about this very place you’ll never know.” *

Gee, no WONDER they hate Americans! We go to their country, drive like idiots, and then assume that everyone is named “Pierre”.

*The French have not earned their right to oppose President Bush’s plans to attack Iraq. On the other hand, I have. *

In other words, “I fought in a war and have more right to my say than anyone else.”

Based on Rooney’s logic, maybe it’s the AMERICANS that need to back off, not the French. After all, I don’t see us sending thank you cards to France every year to thank General Lafayette for his help defeating the British at Yorktown, so that America could have IT’S freedom.

Hey, you can go back to 1944, I can go back to 1783.

Andy Rooney, it is time for you to retire. I’ve watched you for years, and most of the time you are funny- when you are talking about paperclips, TV shows, and carpeting.

But when it comes to politics, you sound about as used up as dried up banana. This segment was neither funny nor satirical- it was mean spirited and ignorant.

I don’t agree with French politics either, but they have as much a right to say what they want to say as we do. And in return, we have the right to tell them to sod off.

Take your tired rhetoric down to the VFW lodge, maybe someone there will listen.

Who the fuck listens to Andy Rooney?

They put him on last for a reason, ya know.

I’ll have to admit, I kind of like his sense of humor on some of his commentaries.

But not this one. He is giving a stereotypical example of why some people don’t like Americans abroad. He can take that attitude and shove it up his old, wrinkled up ass.

Oh yeah, memo to Andy:

The US did not liberate France all by itself. You do not get all the credit.

Some people don’t understand the difference between the words “liberate” and “conquer”. They are liberated, and hence have the right to their own opinions and foreign policy. They are not a settlement or colony of the US.

I am very touched, sincerly, by your message.
I am French and live in the States, so you can imagine what I hear all day long lately…
People confuse French politics and French people, and it goes the other way around too.
I am very grateful the Americans came and helped in the second world war, but when I keep hearing the French are cowards, it drives me nuts.
I don’t think anybody from any country has the right to critized what happened during the war. Yes, some things could have been dealt with differently, but we (French) know that, it is over, that’s it…! Nobody can predict how they would have reacted if invaded. It is hard for the Americans to undertand, I think, because you can’t put it on the same scale. No other country that big would put them in the same situation the French (and other countries like you stated) were in when invaded in 39. Different times, different area.
I believe the French owe some gratitude to the US (of course) but it doesn’t mean they should just agree with everything the US have to say until the end of times…
I myself don’t really agree with some French politics but I would never dare make those comments.
Also, it is honorable for the US to be going after Iraq their own reasons, France has it’s own reasons not to fight Iraq as well but that doesn’t seem to count.

Interestingly enough, there are some historians* who say that, based on newly discovered evidence**, their opinions are that Andy Rooney saved France single-handedly and is therefore the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not acceptable for French people to think.

*Andy Rooney
**Andy Rooney’s opinions

This has to be said: I have yet to meet a WW2 vet who thinks the countries they saved should “kiss their asses”, for the record. The liberators got overwhelming receptions by the peoples they liberated, including the French.

I can’t speak for all those countries, but the Netherlands fought hard against its intruders. For 6 whole days. Our 30,000 man army (we had one tank - one) was unable to defend our (then neutral!) state, and nobody blames the Dutch for it now. The Danes were in a similar position, and pretty much decided not to fight at all. A pragmatic decision: what’s the point? They were as outnumbered as we were - why bring your sons to the slaughter?

I think the main objection against France is that it had a fighting chance against the Germans, and bowed out anyway. There is something to be said for that. It’s not inaccurate to say the French leadership in 1940 did give in too easily.

It is of course another matter to hold the current regime responsible for a 63 year old surrender. Fully with you there.

I do know that in the 1930s France was considered to have perhaps the best army in the world, IIRC, so that might be part of the reason people harp on France so much for losing in 6 weeks.

Then again, Iraq has a highly feared army in 1991, and they were pretty much decimated in a few weeks in the Gulf War. The United States got bogged down for over a decade against an inferior army in VietNam. I’m sure there are countless examples of supposedly powerful armies underachieving in world history.

But I’ll cite this resource that seems to get at what happened in 1940:

http://www.euronet.nl/users/wilfried/ww2/foreword.htm

France, The French army was considered be the best after WW I.In 1939, however very different than the one that marched into war in 1914.France was been racked by civil disorders and strikes, and the entire political system was divided between the right and left, the division power had a bad effect on the army, many often lacked proper discipline and their morale low. This led to the defeat in 1940, too with an out-of-date tactical doctrine.
The French infantryman are best suited for defensive roles, properly equipped, of lesser quality than the German, they did not know what was going on.
France made several types of tanks, all were excellent design and well-armored, the doctrine, had been dominated by tactics from WW I and tanks were for support of infantry and not for exploïtation roles.This was a great mistake even the failure to use tanks in groups.

I’ve read similar before, that it really might have been the incompetence of French military leadership versus a highly organized Nazi army that lead to their defeat, and not necessarily the cowardice of the French people.

In France’s defense, they DID hold off the Germans for three years in World War I before the US came in at the last moment and helped force an armistice, and the French Foreign Legion for decades (and I’d say still is) has a reputaion of one of the elite fighting forces in the world. The French have militarily involved themselves in several Third World conflicts, the most recent being the Ivory Coast.

Wow. Excellent and moving column by Andy Rooney. I never would have thought the old man had it in him, but I could not agree more with what he said. Kudos, Andy!

:confused:

By God, I hope that was sarcasm, zuma. If not, color me confused. Or maybe annoyed. Whatever.

These sorts of arguments are self-defeating. If they really mean what they say, then it means they didn’t actually liberate anything: they simply took it over on behalf of another power, and the French should be speaking Enlgish instead of German (let alone French). But that’s ridiculous. The French have a right to make asses of themselves: and to face the sort of repercussions that any nation would face. They don’t belong to us anymore. They should be thankful that they have a chance to make themselves utterly irrelevant in world politics, but they shouldn’t feel obligated. :slight_smile:

Andy Roonie is a cheese-eating surrender commentator.
well, somebody had to say it!

Remember, too, the Maginot Line. Here are two paragraphs of John Corrado’s informative Staff Report on it:

"When Maginot returned to the War Department in 1928, plans for French defenses were lacking–some funds had been allocated for testing new defenses and fortifications, but not nearly enough for the construction of a solid defense. With France planning to evacuate the Rhineland in 1930 rather than Versailles’ stipulation of 1935, Maginot was convinced that work needed to start immediately. To that end, he began a brilliant lobbying job to secure Parliament’s support. To the pro-military right-wing, he promised security and more money for the military. To the anti-military Socialists and Communists, he pointed out the number of jobs that would be created in the construction of the forts. He told pacifists how the forts were for defense only, and militarists how the forts would help solidify French defenses so that troops could be sent to other fronts. And so, in the last few days of 1929, the French Parliament voted more than 3 billion francs toward construction of the fortifications.

“Then in early May of 1940, Germany declared war on Belgium and Holland. France, expecting Germany to attempt to flank the forts to the north, moved the bulk of its army north towards Belgium to meet the incoming Germans. But the Germans instead marched in force through the Ardennes forest–which Pétain had called “impenetrable,” and which at his suggestion had been left unguarded and unfortified. With little resistance, the Germans easily pushed through and surrounded the main French army in Belgium while advance units pushed on to Paris. Other German forces surrounded the Maginot Line, but had no real success–by the time the French government fell in early June, only a single fort on the Line had been taken.”

The whole thing is well worth reading for a look into an aspect of the war that is often overlooked if it’s known about (and as I’ve yet to see it brought up on the SDMB, I figured it might be put to use here). Here’s a link to it.

It was not sarcasm. I’ll color you whatever you wish. It was a moving speech.

alright then, I’ll amend my smilie

:EEK:

France appears to forgotten that the US invasion during WWII was not a liberating force, but one of occupation. The Americans have always been subtle about it, and especially not let on about this to the rest of the Allies.

France therefore isn’t allowed to think or do anything with American say so. Ever. U.S.A. own their ass.

Huh? That nuttiness came completely from left-field. The conspiracy theorists still walk the earth.

You appear to have missed the point of Futile Gesture’s post. Please reread and try again.

Hang on a second, I’m confused here. WW2 wasn’t just won by the USA – the USSR had an even larger part in the victory. So even if you accept that France has to kiss the asses of its liberators, that just means that the French have an obligation to support Russia, who’re opposed to the war in Iraq.

Owie. My head hurts now.