Look, you're dead wrong, but I'm not going to argue with you about what my intentions were. I know what they were, you don't and that's as far I'm going to take it.
I acknowledged that there is no evidence that the statement is true, that it was wrongly worded and should not have been used at all. If it struck some personal nerve for you, I regret that too. There's nothing more to add on this score either.
I don't blame you for being pissed off about shoddy reporting that impugned your government, or stupid political stunts like calling French Fries, Freedom Fries, and if you want to take it as an attack against the French people then you shouldn't bat an eye if Americans take criticism or lies about their government personally too. If you intend criticism of the US government to imply criticism of people of the US, that's fine too, just don't object too loudly if you see it in reverse.
Sorry Olivier, but I don't hold your government in any higher esteem than I do my own, and I don’t think the actions of any government is necessarily indicative of the will, beliefs or attitudes of the people they govern. All governments, including both yours and mine, are capable of mistakes, lies, crimes, and perfidy. Some of the allegations that are made against the French government are without merit, and some of the allegations made against the US government are too, but not all of them are. There's nothing defensible about false allegations, but it's not like were discussing throwing mud at the Virgin Mary.
Just about every French person I came across in Paris in 1971 treated me rudely or worse and particularly when they found out I was an American. I didn’t get into a fight with three French college students because they criticized the American government, but because they kept going on and on at a party about how all American soldiers in Vietnam were “baby-killers “ I didn't stick around long enough to find the decent French that, intellectually, I know had to be living there and around the rest of the country. I booked it to London with a group of British musicians who were playing in the Metro and had had enough of Paris too. It may have only been a matter of luck, but I was treated a whole lot better in London than I was in Paris. So, yes I developed a prejudice as far as France and the French go. I know it’s based on a limited experience and shouldn’t be extended to all the people I didn’t come across, but I also know it wasn't in play here. If you don't believe it, that's fine too.
It's as simple as that.