Serge Dassault is simply shocked, SHOCKED that Poland snubbed his aerospace giant's offer of Mirage 2000-5 fighters and opted for $3.5 billion-worth of American-made F-16s. Predictably, Dassault's shares fell on the announcement last Friday. The purchase was the biggest ever in the former Warsaw Pact and a rare prize on a Continent that is stingy on defense. "Scandalous," says the veteran French industrialist, adding ironically: "As a thank-you present for [Poland's] entrance into Europe, it's a success!" Mr. Dassault wasn't left to stew alone. For three days running this week, Le Figaro published angry letters from readers, accusing the Poles of being BAD Europeans, ingrates, eager to spend French taxpayers' money on their farmers (talk about ironic, given that Germany pays for French farmers) and all the while ingratiate themselves to Washington. Mr. Dassault, incidentally, happens to control Le Figaro. LOL! [sarcasm on]Polish taxpayers owe a big debt of gratitude to the shareholders of Dassault Aviation and Mr. Dassault himself. After all, Dassault valiantly came to Poland's defense when Nazi tanks rolled across its western border in 1939, defeated Communism, got Poland into NATO and championed its EU bid. Thanks to France and Monsieur Dassault-the two get conflated easily in this holiday row -- Poland is lucky to find itself in Europe.[sarcasm off] Well, the Poles look at history differently. Poland was in Europe before the great and good of the EU were kind enough to invite them in last month in Copenhagen. If any country brought Poland out of Soviet shackles and firmly into the West, it was the U.S. not France. No doubt Poles are aware, too, that in the EU France alone has more people opposed to its EU entry than in favor. Lost amidst the anger is the fact that Lockheed Martin Corp. promised to invest twice as much as Dassault in Polish industry, the big "offsets" sweetener in the package. Half of NATO countries already fly that plane already. The Swedish-British consortium in the competition offered their Jas-39 Gripen fighter more cheaply than the planes of either Lockheed or Dassault. Let the Polish voters judge whether their government made the right choice.