Washington, Feb. 27- Brimming with frustration over France's vocal
opposition to U.S. war plans in Iraq, House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Wednesday
urged going nose-to-nose with the European nation over its Iraq policy and a
series of trade disputes, and recommended slapping bright orange health warning
labels on some imported French wines.
During a half-hour interview with the Tribune, Hastert, an Illinois Republican,
launched into a lengthy and passionate denunciation of French obstreperousness
toward the United States and advocated giving no ground to objections raised by
the longtime American ally.
Hastert is preparing possible legislation to require that warning labels be
placed on French red wine bottled before 1998. The labels would warn that the
wine may contain cow's blood, a traditional agent used to remove excess tannins
from red wine that was banned by the European Union in 1998 because of concerns
about mad cow disease.
"I think that's wrong, especially with a country that had mad cow
disease" Hastert said. "I think it's a health issue that we ought to
at least let people know this product has been manufactured with raw bovine
He also offered a long list of trade-related grievances against France,
including the leading role it has taken in European opposition to American-grown
genetically modified food and a French-led challenge to a U.S. tax incentive for
"I'm sorry, but we fought a war 230 years ago to not have European nations
tell us how to tax and not tell us what we have to do. And all of a sudden,
we're having this same type of imposition come back to us from the French, for
God's sake" Hastert said.
Hear hear! The EU
is considering banning GM foods without a shred of evidence that they are
harmful, but seems happy to go on selling wine with traces of blood in it, which may
transmit Mad Cow disease. Before insisting on labelling GM
foods they should label French wine. Vegetarians are being duped!