Letter to the editorMarch 4, 2003
Jonathan Ludwig, Thursday's guest columnist, should think about a trip to France this summer. France is not like America. People do not own their car at 16 (in fact they cannot pass their driving license before 18, and it costs no fewer than 300 Euros to get it, so most people delay it until they graduate, when they're around 23 years old). France is a small country of 60 million people, and there are only 30 million cars in the country. In Paris, the average is one car per family. France produces its own electricity through 17 nuclear power plants.
Ludwig and others like him should develop a capacity to see from different perspectives, especially toward a country that does not rely on cars like America. Besides, contracts of $38 and 1.5 billion are statistically insignificant compared to the net income of the French oil companies (one of the them is ranked No. 15 by Fortune 500 global).
France has had a stake in Iraq since 1972, before Saddam Hussein came into power and sold to Iraq a myriad of weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. But France never hid it, and it is well known that France is the third largest exporter of weapons in the world. However, the United States had a stake in Iraq in the '80s also, and they never denounced the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds back then.
Moreover, saying that the United States has been blocked from tapping the unexplored reserves is a lie, as the United States was the most willing to keep enforcing the embargo against the population and never sought any commercial relationship with Iraq.