When a Frenchman pats you on the back, you can be comforted indeed, for he is giving the utmost consideration to the exact location wherein he will insert the knife.
How many plunges of the French blade must Americans endure before we realize France is not our friend?
Remember, for instance, the incredible insult when the French would not bother to part the clouds in their airspace to let U.S. fighter planes reach Libya when Moammar Gadhafi needed a trim in 1986.
It's also quite likely that the French resistance to turning the screws on Saddam Hussein diplomatically resulted in the need for war. Had the French not been bilking the oppressed and starving Iraqis for millions in their sweetheart oil and business deals with Saddam's evil regime, the world no doubt would have stood more united in forcing a peaceful end to the standoff.
French unwillingness to participate in any way in the subsequent liberation of Iraq - a bitter defiance of international interest and security that quite possibly cost American lives - is particularly conspicuous in the shadow of the 60th anniversary of France's own liberation at the hands of the United States and its allies.
Indeed, the white grave markers placed with military precision across the somber cliffs of Normandy bear solemn witness to the naked truth that, were it not for the sacrifices of such men, the French might be speaking German today.
Moreover, the death of former President Ronald Reagan should serve as a reminder of France's further fortune: that a U.S. president assured through his prosecution of the Cold War that Frenchmen would not be uttering Russian phrases at the start of the 21st century.
The word "ingratitude," however, has French origins - if not linguistically, then in spirit.
Not content to merely fracture the G-8's fragile new solidarity at Sea Island this week - by arrogantly dismissing out of hand U.S. suggestions of a greater NATO role in Iraq - French President Jacques Chirac happily found a soft new location for a knife in America's back:
Unbelievably, inexplicably and unforgivably, he refused to deign to attend today's funeral for former President Reagan.
For the French president to have tolerated the American president's presence on his shores only days before - and to then turn his back on America once again when he is merely a hop and a skip away from Washington, D.C., only a day before the funeral - is a slap in the face to every American. And another knife in the back.
It is the final insult in a loathsome line of affronts washing ashore from the French side of the Atlantic.
As you turn your back on America, Mr. Chirac, rest assured you will no longer have access to ours.
You and your country, sir, are no friend to America.