Michael Totten

Department of Duh

John Kerry must know the truth about France and Germany. He’s a senator. He’s been around a while. Our two “allies” didn’t refuse to help the coalition in Iraq because they don’t like Bush’s cowboy talk or because Rumsfeld said they’re old. They didn’t lend a hand for their own reasons that have nothing to do with the Bush Adminstration’s alleged lack of diplomacy.
So I doubt he’s surprised by today’s news in the Financial Times unless, like me, he’s surprised at the timing.

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Mr Kerry, who has attacked President George W. Bush for failing to broaden the US-led alliance in Iraq, has pledged to improve relations with European allies and increase international military assistance in Iraq.

Kerry’s entire anti-Bush strategy rests on convincing the American public that Bush did not try, or did not try hard enough, or did not try properly, to get the French and Germans to help. But Jacques Chirac was never going to say to a President Kerry or to an alternate-universe President Bush: “Oh, you want our help? We’d love to. Thanks for asking.”
You’d think that if the leadership of France and Germany hopes Kerry wins the election they would have kept this to themselves. Instead they knocked out the legs from beneath his campaign.
I doubt this is the reason, but it’s an interesting bit nevertheless:

In fact, high-ranking German officials are privately concerned at the prospect of Mr Kerry becoming president, arguing it would not change US demands but make it more difficult to reject them.

Bush, apparently, is a convenient excuse for inaction.
It could not have been more obvious all along that the Germans and French wouldn’t help no matter what. But I’m glad all the same they did us the favor of clearing it up for those who thought otherwise.