Europe needs a few good lessons about gratitude

Tuesday, February 4, 2003 at 1:00am

As the squabbling between the United States and Europe intensifies, I keep thinking of the movie A Few Good Men. What comes to mind is a long speech delivered by Jack Nicholson.

Nicholson plays the courtroom drama's bad guy, Col. Nathan Jessup, a career Marine. When being cross-examined by Tom Cruise, a pretty-boy, smart-aleck lawyer, Col. Jessup explains:

"I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I prefer you said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand to post."

Now, I know Nicholson's supposed to be the villain, but in many ways, this speech neatly summarizes my attitude toward many of America's European critics.

For most of the last 60 years, Europe

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