So you thought the “freedom fries” episode was bizarre? It gets worse. Now a Republican congresswoman from Florida is calling for the repatriation of American war dead buried in France. Seriously.

The Florida media are all over this. One paper, The [Lakeland] Ledger, writes:

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite … is writing legislation that would encourage the exhumation and return of American war dead buried in France and Belgium. She expects to introduce the legislation today out of frustration with those countries’ opposition to a war in Iraq.

[…] Brown-Waite’s bill would require the Department of Defense to exhume and return the bodies on request by a qualified family member. The soldiers could be buried at a national cemetery or, if the family wishes, turned over for private burial.

[…] More than 56,000 Americans are buried in France and more than 13,000 in Belgium from both world wars. A frequent complaint about the French position on Iraq is that the traditional ally has forgotten that America lost so many lives fighting for France.

[…] A spokeswoman for the French embassy said repatriation of American soldiers would take this dispute to a far different level than renaming french fries on Capitol Hill. “The french fries, it’s a joke,” said Agnes von der Muhll, the embassy spokeswoman. “If the other thing would happen, it would be very, very sad. We didn’t forget. We will never forget what contribution America made to our peace and security.”</blockquote>

The Orlando Sentinel’s subeditors couldn’t resist the headline“ She has bones to pick with France.” This story contains this gem from Rep. Brown-Waite, who, incidentally is a member of the House Veterans Committee:

“The remains of our brave servicemen should be buried in patriotic soil, not in a country that has turned its back on the United States and on the memory of Americans who fought and died there,” Brown-Waite said. “It’s almost as if the French have forgotten what those thousands of white crosses at Normandy represent,” she said.</p> Patriotic soil? Does one grow potatoes for freedom fries in patriotic soil? In an editorial, the St. Petersburg Times rips “Les nincompoops” in Congress. It’s worth a read.

Should you feel the need to express your opinion on this matter, the congresswoman’s contact details can be found here.