THE FRENCH OFFER TO HELP INVADE IRAQ:
France was not always opposed to the American invasion of Iraq. One persistent Pentagon rumor, however, might explain why the French came to oppose the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. In December, 2002, a French staff officer visited the Pentagon with a proposal from his government. France would send 18,000 troops (about what they contributed in 1991) to join the Iraq invasion force. However, France wanted a specific area of occupation after the war, with full authority in that area for as long as Iraq needed to be occupied. The American State Department backed the French proposal, but the Department of Defense didn’t trust the French, and were suspicious of their motives. So the French officer went home empty handed, and the French government decided that invading Iraq was really an evil thing to do.
What exactly were the French up to? No one is sure, but the most plausible theory was that the French wanted to be in Iraq, after Saddam fell, to make sure no embarrassing documents, or witnesses, showed up.
Read the whole thing. I suspect that there’s a lot of interesting diplomatic history yet to come out.