Au Revoir, Frenchies!


The Washington Times weighs in on the fate of the French Foreign Legion, the ultimate casualty of France's diminished status as a world power and unwillingness to jump into the next Algerian war:

The Foreign Legion isn't what it used to be. Killers on the lam are no longer welcome, and unhappy recruits have a year to back out without being branded deserters.

These days a bigger issue faces the 175-year-old force that made its name fighting France's overseas battles in jungle and desert. Its primary mission—to be a crack professional force of non-French volunteers available for instant, no-questions-asked deployment in far-flung conflicts—has all but evaporated….

"They are an anachronism, the last remnants of a medieval mercenary tradition," said Dominique Moisi, a political analyst. "While they were the only professionals in a conscript army, they made sense, but not now that everybody else is professional, too."

More here.

The Legion's demise as a militar force may or may not be a trenchant commentary on contemporary soldiering. Certainly the Legion's demise as a cultural signifier helps explain the decline into outright suckitude of Crock, the long-running, long-tedious comic strip about a Legionnaire. Well, that and the absolute lack of humor in the writing of the strip.