FRANCE AND THE WAR….The latest French-German idea for avoiding war with Iraq is to send in lots of UN troops:

The plan, which is expected to be formally introduced as soon as Thursday, calls for the open-ended deployment of U.S. troops outside Iraq to maintain pressure on the regime, but it would otherwise take control of the showdown with Hussein away from Washington by introducing a permanent U.N. coordinator for disarmament in Iraq and a U.N. court to deal with infractions and human rights abuses, French sources said.

Blue-helmeted U.N. troops — “a couple of thousand,” according to one official — would provide muscle behind the inspection teams inside Iraq.

The initiative also would make all of Iraq a “no-fly” zone, extending the northern and southern areas now patrolled by U.S. and British warplanes. Permanent surveillance would monitor Iraqi activities by air, French sources added.

This just gets weirder and weirder. Isn’t this basically a military occupation that’s completely open ended? And didn’t we try this in Yugoslavia for several years with an utter lack of success?

This is why I think the French are acting strangely. Opposition to war is understandable, but this hardly seems like a practical alternative. I mean, thousands of UN troops permanently stationed in Iraq and thousands more U.S. troops stationed permanently on their border? All the while knowing that Saddam will be doing his best to evade inspections? I just can’t make any sense out of this.

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