Thanks to the reader who sent me these two links. The first from Neuen Zürcher Zeitung (in German, sorry) says that the Poles have apologized to Chirac for suggesting that the missiles were manufactured in 2003. The second, from Le Monde (in French) is slightly more ambiguous. The Poles are apologizing for having released this information, but the apology seems to be focused on how they did so (it was through unauthorized channels), not on what they said. Le Monde however goes on to report one explanation for what the Poles discovered: the ‘2003′ on the missiles was the last date they were checked (by the Iraqis) not the date of manufacture. Le Monde also repeats comments from the French foreign ministry that Roland-2 and Roland-3 missiles ceased to be produced in 1988 and 1993 respectively. They could not, therefore, have been manufactured in 2003.
I hate to say it, but it looks to me as if the French are off the hook on this one.
On a different point, I’m intrigued by the name of these missiles. Could they possibly be named after this guy? If so, that may not be altogether tactful.