http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,111382,00.html?ESRC=eb.nl Whenever I write an article critical of the French government, it usually evokes numerous e-mails accusing me of an anti-French bias. To set the record straight, that charge is absolutely incorrect. I like traveling to France. I enjoy drinking French wine. I like many French people. I am, however, strongly opposed to many of the policies of Jacques Chirac's government. They are often short sighted and proceed from an unduly narrow view of national self-interest. Here we go again. During the height of the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah, the French stepped forward and began behaving like a responsible super power. They worked constructively with the Bush administration in fashioning a reasonable, fair, and evenhanded cease-fire resolution, which if implemented would have represented a real gain for the region and for world peace. Under that resolution, Hezbollah was to be disarmed, as it was to have been disarmed under a previous U.N. resolution. In addition and most important, there was to be a fifteen thousand member international military force which was to join the Lebanese army in maintaining peace along the Israel Lebanon border. The French made it clear, and everyone understood, that France would send the majority of a 15,000 troop international force and would become the military leader of the force. This was a natural development because the French had ruled Lebanon and Syria for many years in the twentieth century. Paris still views these two nations as still being in the French sphere of influence and acts as if it has a special relationship with them. Thus, Chirac's government raised its voice loudly when the Lebanese politician Harari was assassinated. It was Paris who called for the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. In reliance upon this U.N. resolution and the French promise to send troops, Israel suspended its military operations in Lebanon without achieving its ultimate objection of destroying Hezbollah's military capability along its border. Had there been no cease-fire, Israel would have continued in what would have been a difficult and bloody campaign with heavy casualties on both sides. However, most military analysts believe Israel would ultimately have prevailed. Israel stopped, however, once the U.N. resolution was adopted. Now we come to the morning after. Before the ink was even dry on the U.N. resolution, Chirac's government announced that rather than contributing the majority of the 15,000 troops, the French would send merely 200 support personnel. There were a number of flimsy excuses given for this change of position. One is that the rules of engagement for the international enforcement had not been specified. A second is that the French say they are waiting for the Lebanese government to force Hezbollah to give up its arms and withdraw from Southern Lebanon. It is possible that the French generals and other military leaders were not consulted prior to Chirac's commitment, got cold feet, or felt free to repudiate the commitments of their lame duck president. Among the military, there could have been a recollection of recent battles and deaths of French troops in Lebanon. Paris cannot have it both ways. If the French wish to be a superpower, then they have to commit troops. Once troops are on the ground in a hostile environment, there will be casualties. That's the price that a nation must pay for responsible leadership in the present world. The United States is paying that price in Iraq and numerous places in the world. Our military is not turning on the President as the French have done. A democracy means that the military follows the decisions of the civilian government. Another possibility is that Chirac never had any intention of sending troops. He merely made the representations to obtain the cease-fire. Once that was achieved, he deliberately fudged on his commitment. Regardless of the rationale, as a result of the international outcry France has now agreed to increase its troop contingency to 2,000. This is still far less than was promised and even less than the 3,000 Italy has agreed to send. The unfortunate losers in all of these developments are the Lebanese and the cause of peace in the Middle East. There is a real possibility that if the U.N. resolution is strictly implemented, Hezbollah could be weakened, the Lebanese military and the international force could purge southern Lebanon of these terrorists, and a real advancement could be made in the interest of progress in the Middle East. With the French double cross, it is unlikely that those positive events will occur. So much for French honor.