On May 22, by a vote of 302 to 123, the House passed an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill (HR 1588) to lower the required rank of the defense attach√?¬© to France.
Although innocuous in itself, the amendment was an obvious and deliberate slap at France, a nation that U.S. troops bailed out twice at critical moments in the 20th Century.
Earlier this year, France fiercely supported former Iraqi dictator and repeat war criminal Saddam Hussein against President Bush and the United States.
Frances opposition to tough diplomacy during the Iraq crisis was a key factor in bringing about the war in March, leading to the loss of over 100 U.S. troops and probably thousands of Iraqis. The French opposition was entirely politically motivated, as French President Jacques Chirac used it to catapult himself to astronomical levels of public approval in France.
France also continues to work against President Bushs goal of creating peacefully coexisting Israeli and Palestinian states in the Middle East by trying to revive the relevance of Yasser Arafat, the terror-linked Palestinian leader. French diplomats have also worked to foster hatred of America in the rest of the Muslim world.
“This amendment will repeal the statutory requirement that an officer in our Armed Forces, in order to be selected for assignment as the Defense Attach√?¬© to France, must hold the rank of brigadier general, or-in the case of a Navy officer-rear admiral lower half,” said Rep. Jim Saxton (R.-N.J.), the sponsor of the amendment.
“The Department of Defense included the repeal of this requirement as part of its budget request for fiscal year 2004, and there is no justification for continuing this statutory mandate, in my opinion.”
No one was even willing to speak against this relatively non-controversial amendment, specifically requested by the White House, which actually brings the rank rules for France in line with those for other military attach√?¬©s.
In fact, the amendment could have easily been added to the bill in committee.
However, the conservative House leadership was eager to force individual congressmen-especially liberals-to go on the record as supporting the French over President Bush. This could make for damning campaign commercials in some competitive districts in 2004. For example, France could become a campaign issue next year for Julia Carson (D.-Ind.) of Indianapolis and Leonard Boswell (D.-Iowa) of Des Moines.
Saxton was one of the few congressmen to speak on the amendment.
“Under President Jacques Chirac, France actively opposed the United States and our allies in the recent war with Iraq,” he said. “The French government used all of its influence to prevent the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and hindered our efforts to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions that required the removal of weapons of mass destruction from his possession. By doing so, France failed to accept its responsibilities and deliberately acted counter to the national security interests of the United States.”
A “yes” vote was a vote to snub France by reducing the rank of the American military attach√?¬© to that country. A “no” vote was a vote against the amendment.
|FOR THE AMENDMENT: 302||AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 123|
|REPUBLICANS FOR (219):
Davis, Jo Ann
DEMOCRATS FOR (83):
|REPUBLICANS AGAINST (2):
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (120):
INDEPENDENT AGAINST (1):
NOT VOTING: 9
|REPUBLICANS (7):||DEMOCRATS (2):||INDEPENDENTS (0)|