John Gibson is one of the Fox News Channel's most outspoken personalities. Now, as the aftershocks of the war in Iraq reverberate around the world, Gibson exposes the outrageous tenor of anti-American sentiment filling newsprint and airwaves beyond our borders and how disagreements over policy have mushroomed into poisonous hatred. "I loathe America . . . and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world." -Margaret Drabble, British novelist From the "Arab street" to the halls of even the most historically friendly foreign governments, extreme anti-Americanism has grown disturbingly pervasive throughout the world since the shell-shocking moment of 9/11. Over the year that followed, Gibson writes, "I began to watch the overseas press with a morbid fascination punctuated by bursts of outrage. The things that were being said about America and Americans were marked by an off-the-charts level of venom, a scandalous parade of mistaken assumptions, an endless font of suspicion, mistrust, and the promulgation of outright, willful lies.
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April 05, 2005
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Excerpt from Hating America by John Gibson
France's War on America
France does not know it, but we are at war with America. Yes, a permanent war, a vital war, a war without casualties, at least on the surface.
--Former French President Francois Mitterand to his longtime confidant, Georges-Marc Benamou
Americans thought we could always count on France -- and it turned out to be true. We could count on the French to be troublesome, to be haughty and demand respect, to threaten to refuse cooperation before eventually capitulating. That unflattering sketch was a picture of the France of old -- before things got even worse.
In the weeks after September 11, France gave America good cause to wonder. John Rossant, who writes for Business Week from Paris, noticed it two weeks after the 2001 terror attacks in New York and Washington. "Members of France's center-left coalition government also are starting to chime up," he wrote, and quoted Green Party member Noel Mamre: "The reality is that American policy could only result in the kind of terrorism we've just seen."
Once again, for the French, even a vicious attack against America could be the fault of no one but the Americans themselves.
Ever since the United States evicted France's embedded Nazis at the end of World War II, the French have followed this predictable, if maddening, pattern -- causing difficulty before eventually falling in line. But in the run-up to the war in Iraq, it was clear something had changed dramatically. The behavior of the French was beginning to sound more than merely cranky and irksome, until Americans had reason to wonder: Which side is France on?
The answer could be found in the Arab media, which reported intently on developing events and shaped the news into an almost mythical tale that every Arab would have recognized.
Their story went like this: The clouds of war were darkening a near horizon. As the Arab world stood in abject horror, an Armageddon of invader hordes promised catastrophe, with no army to stand in sensitive Arabs, the clash appeared to be over -- in a cascade of humiliation -- before it even began.
But as the long period of argument and debate dragged on, momentarily holding off the spectre of humiliation, one man stood to lead the Arab Nation, to speak eloquently and cleverly for the cause that would stave off the worst catastrophe in a millennium. Ultimately his mission failed, and the spectacle of outmatched defenders falling valiantly in the face of Western onslaught was salved only by the memory of that one man, who had the courage to throw himself before the inevitable conflagration. To the Arabs, his cause was in vain, but his defiance was noble and proud.
This man was proclaimed leader of the Arab Nation, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf -- the man who shamed the ineffectual poseurs who pretended to lead the desperate Arabs, but who only grew irrelevant and fat in their weakness.
Who was this savior of the Arab people?
Jacques Chirac, the president of France.
So strenuous were Chirac's efforts to defend Saddam Hussein's regime that Iraq's state newspaper, Babel, awarded him the ceremonial title Al-Munadhil al-Akbar: Great Combatant.
One Algerian fundamentalist leader, Abdallah Jaballah, praised Mr. Chirac as "the only truly Arab leader today."