Viva la France, the land of wine, cheese, surrender, arrogance and hypocrisy, or so the current political situation seems to indicate. Once again, France is on a moral high horse without a leg to stand on.

Given the current situation with Iraq, the French government has zero room to talk, as it would show its true intentions, past and present. But talk they do and a quite lot at that.

The biggest outcry against U.S. military action on Iraq comes from France. But the outcry doesn’t come from the love of peace or diplomacy or even concern for the Iraqi people. There is madness to the motive here.

To begin with, history doesn’t help France out in the matter since France has been the one of the nations behind the cause of instability in the Middle East. From colonialism within the region to support of the Hussein regime to the supply of nuclear technology and weapons, as well as current support of Iraq’s plight, France leaves much to be desired as judges against what would free the people of Iraq from the thuggish grips of Saddam Hussein.

Why all the opposition from France? Cheap Iraqi oil. They get barrels of it at bargain prices, compliments of the U.N. “oil for food” program. Sure, they pay money for it, but the problem is where the money goes and how it is used.

The money is supposed to go for food and medicine for the people of Iraq. Instead it goes into Saddam’s presidential palaces and weapons programs that are banned by the U.N. resolutions established in 1991.

The French will always lay blame on the U.S. for creating Saddam Hussein during the Iraq/Iran war in the 1980s. Alright, France has us there, but some very important facts are being omitted.

Remember the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor the Israelis bombed back in 1981? That was both provided and built by the French and was the beginning of Iraq’s attempts at nuclear weapons capability.

What about all of those Mirage fighter planes and Exocet missiles in Iraq’s arsenal? I’m sure not many remember the USS Stark incident in the Persian Gulf back in 1987. But those were French missiles accidentally fired from a French Mirage fighter plane flown by an Iraqi pilot that struck a U.S. ship killing 37 sailors and wounding 21 others while protecting oil tankers from being attacked by Iranian gunboats.

The U.S. is far from perfect. But for France to take the moralist view on matters of a military action by the U.S. on Hussein is highly hypocritical and basically reeks of self-righteous snobbery.

The case France makes against the toppling of Hussein is based on greed for cheap oil. Iraq has it, France wants it and that’s all there is to it.

Why was France quick to jump on the coalition bandwagon in 1991 and not now? They saw a chance at cheap oil as a result of the Persian Gulf War’s outcome. All France’s criticism amounts to lip service for Hussein’s regime in exchange for cheap oil.

Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the U.N. Security Council was a class act similar to Adlai Stevenson’s presentation to the same body during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And as with then, sufficient accurate data was provided. But France chooses to ignore the obvious for cheap oil and its fear of terrorism hitting its soil.

They used the same approach back in 1986 when they forbade American aircraft from utilizing French airspace en route to a military air strike on Libya. The bad news was even though they kept American aircraft from using French airspace thereby distancing them from a pro-American position, terrorists sympathetic to Libya wreaked havoc on the French subways by exploding some bombs.

So here’s to France, not for a legitimate anti-war sentiment, but for exhibiting the arrogance they’ve always shown in past sprinkled with a touch of hypocrisy and a greed for cheap oil at the expense of the Iraqi people. When it comes to the French position there’s only one thing left to say; C’est le merde!

Henry Sarria is a long time Isla Vista resident.