Former CIA director Jim Woolsey provides a useful chastening in today’s Wall Street Journal. He writes that we ought not be so quick to bash the French and the German people. He mentions two friends of his, the German Ewald von Kleist, who as a German army officer strapped explosives to himself in an aborted (by Hitler, who changed his plans) attempt to assassinate the Fuhrer; and Jeannie Clarens, a Frenchwoman who infiltrated the Nazi V-2 missile program, and provided the British with information that likely made D-Day possible, and won the war. Writes Woolsey:
It is appeasement of Saddam by Messrs. Chirac and Schroder that should draw our anger, and our satire — not the people of these two countires and their cultures. To take only one case, Internet messages mocking French courage and denying that the French have ever successfully defended Paris should not only be beneath us but are quiet false — the drafters of this nonsense should consult, among other things, the history of the Battle of the Marne in September, 1914. Gen. Gallieni’s mobilization of the taxis of Paris to rush reinforcements ot the front and save the city is as famous in France as Washington’s crossing the Delaware is to Americans. We diminish ourselves and our arguments by denying the noble side of these nations’ history and slandering their national honor. Yes, the Germans had the Nazis and the French the Reign of Terror and Vichy. And we had slavery. We have both had our villains and our heroes — we have had our Audie Murphys, they their Ewald von Kleists and Jeannie Clarenses.