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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&Ms attendance for the Alabama game was at 108,101 fans ranking it at the third largest game in Kyle Field history.(Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
‘The Mexican 12th Man’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • May 30, 2024

Growing up in the hills of Monterrey, Mexico, Pedro and Carlos Luna were surrounded by soccer.  Clad in the gold and blue of Tigres UANL,...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Letting freedom ring?

Despite the inevitability of the use of force to disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, France and other members of the United Nations Security Council are still standing their ground and threatening to veto a second resolution authorizing force against Iraq. While France is not known for its courage, the country deserves a small measure of respect for its refusal to bow to U.S. pressure, but none is forthcoming. Instead, U.S. officials are passing absurd legislation to get back at the French.
Last month Neal Rowland, owner of Cubbie’s restaurant in Beaufort, N.C., decided to change the name of the French fries sold in his establishment to “freedom” fries. He told CNN the decision was not meant to slight the French people for their antiwar stance concerning Iraq, but to show his “patriotic pride” for American troops and President George W. Bush. Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina and the chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, decided to followed Rowland’s example last week by removing “French” from the cafeteria menu. The House restaurants will only be serving “freedom fries” and “freedom toast” from now on, or until France changes its mind.
That is not the only action a member of Congress is taking against France. According to CNN, a representative from New Jersey has introduced legislation to prevent French companies from receiving U.S. aid to help rebuild Iraq. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite from Florida introduced a measure to have the United States pay for the removal of the bodies of U.S. soldiers who died during the world wars and are buried in France.
Yet another measure is discouraging Americans’ participation in the 2003 Paris Air show.
Not only are these attempts at “patriotism” a waste of time, it also makes the House and Americans, in general, look ridiculous. It is embarrassing to think our government officials actually took the time to make this “freedom” change. What’s next? Freedom kissing? Freedom poodles? Freedom onion soup?
Is Congress going to ostracize the French Quarter of New Orleans? What about the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from France? Is it okay to leave it alone, or should it be covered?
Does Congress not have anything more important to work on?
The most ridiculous aspect of this move is that French fries and French toast did not even originate in France. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Belgium claims to have invented the idea of deep-frying potato strips, but because France was the first place American soldiers encountered them around 1918, France got the credit. French toast is said to be named after Joseph French, the owner of the roadside tavern in New York where the dish was invented in 1724, according to the Food Network Web site.
Will this have any impact at all, other than making Americans look idiotic? Sure, we love the fattening side dish, but what it is called is inconsequential. It is not as though eating a stick of fried starch makes a person suddenly and Uncontrollably pro-France.
In not supporting the United States, France is trying to protect its economic interests. According to CNN’s Moneyline, almost one-fourth of France’s exports each year, more than $500 million, goes to Iraq through the food for oil program.
Is this trend of renaming things going to stretch to the other countries — Russia, Mexico, China, Germany — that do not support the U.S. position on Iraq? “Independence” roulette? “Victory” hat dance? Are we going to have to change the name of hamburgers?
The United States cannot erase or ignore countries simply because they do not agree with the government’s position. Dissent and freedom of speech and thought are two principles the United States is supposed to champion. People have a right to disagree and trying to punish them because they do, and especially through such ludicrous means, only makes the government look foolish. This whole renaming decision is not patriotism; it is pettiness, and it should stop.

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