Foreign Policy

Au Revoir, Frenchies!

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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.

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  1. The only two funny newspaper comics during my lifetime were the Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes. Both of which disappeared before I was an adult.

    Also, the link to the Washington Times is broken.

  2. “Crock” is still around? Wow, you learn something every day.

    Why do the French need a powerful military. We’ll undoubtedly bail their asses out of any trouble, just like we always do.

  3. FinFangFoom –

    “Calvin and Hobbes” and “The Far Side” both kicked ass. But I’d add “Bloom County” to that list. The political satire aside, that strip was just damn funny imho.

  4. Hey ChrisO, like in the Suez, or maybe WW1?

  5. What about “Kathy?” She is on a diet and doesn’t like the way her swimsuit looks. Hilarious.

  6. The FFL had neat hats.
    They even looked good on Stan and Ollie.

  7. Bill Rechin, the creator of “Crock” lives on my cul-de-sac. He’s a very nice elderly man who recently lost his wife. I hope your snarky comments don’t get back to him.

  8. Hey ChrisO, like in the Suez, or maybe WW1?

    Well no, not in the Suez, nor in Algeria or Vietnam.

    But without American cannon fodder, the Germans’ 1918 Spring Offensive would have had a very different outcome.

  9. And without French weapons, training and naval support, us Americans would be speaking English, and drinking warm beer.

    When a WWII vet takes credit for liberating Europe, that’s right and proper. But when somebody takes credit for what their country did before they were born, it’s a bit less. IMHO, of course.

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