Chirac's reputation boosted by Lebanon deployment

French President Jacques Chirac restored some luster to his political reputation with a simple announcement: More French peacekeepers for Lebanon. The French leader, nearing the end of his 12-year presidential with low approval ratings, united France's bickering political classes and drew praise Thursday by committing 1,600 more troops to a UN force in Lebanon. It was about time, observers said. Chirac, 73, had come in for scathing criticism last week after initially offering just 200 more troops, in addition to the 200 French peacekeepers already part of the force - far short of expectations of a country with historical ties to Lebanon.