Retrospective Howler of the Week

Michael Ledeen, Francophile.

Excluding outright cranks, neoconservative think-tanker Michael Ledeen is America’s most anti-French terrorism expert. In a notorious March 10 column in National Review Online, Ledeen came close to suggesting that the United States declare war on France and Germany. (It’s Ledeen’s belief that France and Germany are in league with Islamist radicals to destroy the United States.) Ledeen is also the likely source for Newt Gingrich’s dubious contention that France forced Turkey to veto America’s invasion of Iraq from the north (i.e., from Turkey). Ledeen, like Gingrich, hangs his hat at the American Enterprise Institute, and he’d been making this novel allegation in print prior to Gingrich’s speech.

Many other people are angry at France these days, including many other neoconservatives. But Ledeen’s anger is in a league of its own. Why? Because this is a love affair gone sour. Behold Ledeen’s 1997 essay, “In Defense of Machiavellian France“:

Many [have] accused the French of cravenness. Nothing could be further from the truth. They have been second to none in the fight against international terrorism, and, unlike so many other modern countries, they do not shrink from the unpleasant but necessary actions required to defeat the terrorists. The French have always been with us when the stakes were high. … If we had a serious policy to remove Saddam’s evil regime, they would be the first to join with us. In such matters the French are deadly serious, perhaps the last serious nation left in Europe.