Charles Krauthammer's Nov. 26 op-ed column on the arrogance of the French for having the impertinence to criticize the United States mentioned several historical events that supposedly illustrated the superiority of America and the perfidy of the French. He should have given those examples more thought.

James Madison was surely a less-lethal person than Robespierre, but Madison would have been hanged by the British if it hadn't been for French financing of the Revolution and the presence of the French fleet and Rochambeau's forces at Yorktown.

It is to America's credit that it could produce a Lincoln while France showed its sense of humor with Napoleon III. Great countries produce great leaders at critical moments. America's great moment at the time was to destroy the greatest slave nation since the Roman Empire, one that our forefathers had allowed to exist and prosper.

And as to French forces firing on Allied troops during Operation Torch, they were under orders from the collaborationist Vichy government. Free French forces were loyal to the allied cause.

The complexity of the relationship between France and the United States was brought home to me years ago while I was arguing some obscure criticism of U.S. policy with a French colleague as we walked down Avenue Roosevelt in a Provence town. We argued until I bade him good night at his hotel on Rue Kennedy.


Morristown, N.J.