Cheese-eating surrender monkeys? The much-trotted-out trope that the French are cowardly--a meme still thriving among the chickenhawks at Bush's rally in St. Paul last week--is "total bullshit, and anybody who knows anything about European military history knows damn well that over the past thousand years, the French have the most glorious military history in Europe, maybe the world," says "war nerd" Gary Brecher. He runs off a list of battles won by the French, from our Revolutionary War ("Well, news flash: 'we' didn't win that battle, any more than the Northern Alliance conquered the Taliban. The French army and navy won Yorktown for us.") to Austerlitz and Jena. A sample of Brecher's colorful verbiage:
Verdun. Just that name was enough to make Frenchmen and Germans, the few who survived it, wake up yelling for years afterward. The French lost 1.5 million men out of a total population of 40 million fighting the Germans from 1914-1918. A lot of those guys died charging German machine-gun nests with bayonets. I'd really like to see one of you office smartasses joke about "surrender monkeys" with a French soldier, 1914 vintage. You'd piss your dockers.

Shit, we strut around like we're so tough and we can't even handle a few uppity Iraqi villages. These guys faced the Germans head on for five years, and we call them cowards? And at the end, it was the Germans, not the French, who said "calf rope."
(Via Metafilter.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you are going to give France credit for the American revolution, perhaps you should send them some blame for Vietnam. Oh, and for almost joining the wrong side of the American Civil War (a certainty, had Lincoln not issued the emancipation proclamation, effectively making the war "about slavery" and keeping the French out of it.)