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Raymond J. Learsy Headshot

France's "Cri de Guerre"

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Ironically it is America's first ally, France, that has held firm to the precept of holding the Syrian regime accountable for their slaughter of innocents in breach of international law by the indiscriminate use of poison gas, and at that the most gruesomely deadly agent in the lexicon of gas, namely the nerve agent "Sarin."

"The chemical massacre of Damascus cannot be and must not remain unpunished. There are few countries with capacities to inflict sanctions with the appropriate means. France is among those" as M. Hollande, President of France, was quoted in the French daily Le Monde.

After Britain's parliamentary rejection of military intervention this past week, and President Obama's newly formulated hesitancy to proceed, subjecting the decision to go forward to Congressional approval, what will this mean to France's willingness to stand at the ready? Certainly, in France, President Obama can count on one major Western ally should he move forward. But if a Congressional mandate is not forthcoming, what then?

Impossible to say? Perhaps. But consider that France together with Britain assumed a leadership role in disposing General Gaddafi in Libya and, even more tellingly, almost singlehandedly, by putting boots on the ground, rescued Mali from a brutal takeover by radical Islamists, thereby securing Mali's independence and in consequence practically all of Central Africa that surely would have become in time, vassals to a Radical Islamist Mali State. France has also played a role and continues to play a role in support of the Algerian government and its confrontation with radical elements such as Al-Qaeda of North Africa.

Yet, perhaps there is another profound element weighing on M. Hollande and France. It is the historical connect of the gruesome images of the hundreds of unbloodied, lifeless pathetic gassed bodies of children, women and men strewn and stacked on broad expanses of earthen turf. The profound visual horror brings back to mind the deepest perversion and anguish of European culture, namely the horrors of the likes of Deutschland's Auschwitz of which France too was the victim. Perhaps it is solidarity with the victims of Damascus that has caused Hollande and France to voice their determination, and now to assume a leading role. As if to declare, 'We know, we have been there, it can not be permitted to happen again."