Don’t tell me that the US government treats Western Europe as an equal. We tolerate them only when they go along with all our harebrained military schemes. For example, when the French, the very people who sacrificed their own economic prosperity to give the Americans their independence from the British, refused to believe the lies that the US government told the UN about the “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq and Saddam’s alliance with his enemy – Al Qaeda – and threatened to veto the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the American officials and media went berserk:
Freedom fries was a euphemism for French fries used by some conservatives in the United States as a result of anti-French sentiment in the United States during the international debate over the decision to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq. France had expressed strong opposition in the United Nations to such an invasion. The French position was frowned upon by some in the United States, leading to campaigns for the boycotting of French goods and businesses and the removal of the country’s name from products.
On March 11, 2003, Representatives Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-North Carolina) declared that all references to French fries and French toast on the menus of the restaurants and snack bars run by the House of Representatives would be removed. House cafeterias were ordered to rename French fries to “freedom fries”. The simultaneous renaming of French toast to “freedom toast” attracted less attention.
The Embassy of France in Washington, D.C. made no comment beyond pointing out that French fries probably come from Belgium. “We are at a very serious moment dealing with very serious issues and we are not focusing on the name you give to potatoes,” said Nathalie Loisau, an embassy spokeswoman.
The patience and sense of humour with which foreign diplomats deal with the infantile and humourless US politicians is laudable.