Listening to a BBC News Podcast today, there was interesting part that started with Jeb Bush's remarks on Marco Rubio (in the Republican debate) that he should resign from Congress because of his poor voting record. Bush said, "When you signed up for this, this was a six-year term. And you should be showing up to work. I mean literally, the Senate, what is it like a French work-week? You get like 3 days where you have to show up?"
In the middle of checking facts (about French work-week), a journalist working in France (with a thick French-English accent) mentions, "The French are used to being commented upon, especially by the Bush family bacause a brother of Jeb, George the former President, 12 years ago labeled France as a cowardice when it came into the war in Iraq."
Question 1: Cowardice means:
fear that makes you unable to do what is right or expected : lack of courage [Merriam-Webster]
and there is no indication that it can be used interchangeably to mean a "coward". Are my understanding and research wrong?
Question 2: Is there a possibility the journalist used a "cowardice" because it rhymes with "France" or because it is a country rather than a person?
Question 3: Is it more perjorative to call someone/a country a "cowardice"?
Question 4 (Most important question): Did the word "cowardice" used to mean "coward" etymologically in the past and has it lost the meaning? Which of the two words became an English word first and how have these 2 words evolved?