LA MARSEILLAISE….I think Jacques Chirac could fairly be deemed today’s Wanker of the Day:

France has rebuffed U.N. pleas to make a major contribution to a peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon….

The French decision…seriously complicates U.N. efforts to get a vanguard force of peacekeepers from powerful European countries within the next two weeks. Senior U.N. peacekeeping officials said they had hoped that a commitment to have French troops form the “backbone” of the U.N. peacekeeping mission would spur other countries to join.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called Chirac today to see if he would change his mind. Following the meeting, Chirac’s office released a statement indicating he had not yielded. He said that France would only double its contribution to the U.N. force, which is headed by a French general, and hoped to continue commanding the mission.

….France has expressed concern that Hezbollah fighters are not prepared to disarm and may turn their guns on French troops. In 1983, Islamic militants killed 58 French paratroopers in bomb attacks in Beirut.

Please. Chirac didn’t realize before today that Hezbollah was unlikely to disarm voluntarily and might present a danger to troops that tried to force its hand?

Let’s summarize: Chirac personally rammed through the ceasefire resolution; insisted that it call for a UN force; did everything he could to imply that France would contribute several thousand combat troops; but in the end is only willing to stand up a 200-man military engineering company. Because Hezbollah might shoot back. And yet he still wants France to command the overall force.

Give. Me. A. Break.

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