May 06, 2004

HAPPY CINCO

"Today is Cinco de Mayo," writes Texan reader Bob C. "It celebrates the day that Mexico kicked France's ass. Do you know if the following countries have similar holidays?"

Britain
Germany
Algeria
Vietnam
Haiti
Austria
Italy
ad infinitum

Thatís just mean and unfair France-bashing, Bob. You know they donít like to be bashed, or hit, or poked, or otherwise touched inappropriately. Greater sensitivity is also demanded of Pugs of War, who confesses:

I see that the American soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison were torturing prisoners by forcing them to perform auto-erotic acts. Apparently I've been torturing myself for years and I didn't even realize it.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 6, 2004 04:42 AM
Comments

Mmmm, auto-sado-masochism.

And don't forget, the American colonists helped kick France's ass too, in the warm-up for our real war with England. Hell, we didn't even need to be a country to kick Jean Jacques around.

Good times, good times.

Posted by: R C Dean at May 6, 2004 at 04:49 AM

RC Dean:

And don't forget, the American colonists helped kick France's ass too, in the warm-up for our real war with England. Hell, we didn't even need to be a country to kick Jean Jacques around.

Emphasis is mine, pointing out an error.

That statement is so far out of reality that I think that you need to either get some sleep, stop snorting that white powder, or get a history lesson. Possibly all three. Funny/sarcastic/whatever this isn't.

Try again.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 05:11 AM

Greater logic should be demanded of "Pugs of War", too. "Gee, those prisoners were forced to remove their clothing. I take off my clothes when I take a shower. I must be torturing myself, yuk yuk yuk."

Please, let's not try and minimize what those soldiers did in any way. Military bloggers have been pretty consistently enraged by this incident, it wouldn't hurt to try and emulate them.

Posted by: dorkafork at May 6, 2004 at 05:20 AM

Real JeffS,

So your contention is one of:

1) France's ass was not kicked in the French and Indian War, or

2) the American colonists did not help do this.

Which is it?

Posted by: Angie Schultz at May 6, 2004 at 05:27 AM

Don't forget Czarist Russia and Ancient Rome!

The French have been getting their derrieres handed to them since time immemorial. Bigger losers than the Irish.

"TheReal JeffS" is correct -- France did not get its *ss kicked during the Seven Years' War (that's why all of Canada except Quebec is Anglophone), and the Colonists did not contribute in any way (for instance, the colonial militias who mustered to defend the Mowhawk Valley settlements against the Huron, or Geo. Washington leading the Virginia militia and later both militia and British regulars after Braddock's army was ambushed near Fort Duquesne...shall I go on?) to France NOT losing all of its North American colonies.

Glad I could help you out, Real JeffS!

--furious

Posted by: furious at May 6, 2004 at 06:17 AM

Even little old Portugal kicked France's ass...In the Peninsular war Wellington's armies were composed of between 1/3 and 1/2 of Portuguese soldiers.

Posted by: madne0 at May 6, 2004 at 06:25 AM

I forgot about the French and Indian War. Thank you, dorkafork! So much for my self-awareness, plus my own history lessons.

This goes to show what happens when one does not think before speaking.

Electronic ruler slaps are now authorized.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 06:38 AM

PS:

And I must apologize for my response. It was not necessary.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 06:53 AM

madne: Plucky Portugal certainly put up a valiant fight (under Brit direction and with many Brit officers commanding units in the field), but Wellington's defensive fortifications, the Frogs' stretched supply lines, harassment by Spanish and Portugese guerillas, and the real enemies of 19th century armies -- the inevitability of illness stalking prolonged encampments and the denuding of the countryside in progressively larger circles as nearby fodder and supplies were exhausted -- were the real causes of French defeat.

You could argue that Wellington, wonderfully evil and absolutely ruthless bastard that he was, might have finished the French earlier, when their supply lines first began breaking down. Instead, he withdrew behind his fortifications and let starvation, disease and guerillas do most of the work for him, thus making sure that what would have been a severe defeat became a catastrophic rout.

Lady Longford's "Wellington: The Years of the Sword" provides an excellent overview of the man whom the vastly over-rated Bonaparte, nor any of his generals, ever managed to defeat.

Posted by: superboot at May 6, 2004 at 07:13 AM

Please, let's not try and minimize what those soldiers did in any way. Military bloggers have been pretty consistently enraged by this incident, it wouldn't hurt to try and emulate them.

Agreed. General Karpinski and her crew of scumbag morons have done more damage to the US and to the cause of freedom than Noam Chomsky ever could. They're not a joke, they should be shot.

Posted by: Otter at May 6, 2004 at 07:32 AM

What's the matter with you guys. It was France who helped the States to become independend . Remember Lafayette?
In any case often the US dropped its friends. Think of when they dropped the Netherlands in the New Guinea question.

Posted by: dirk at May 6, 2004 at 07:32 AM

Cinqo de Mayo...big deal. Once, a couple of friends and myself were hanging around the 7 Eleven and France was all like, "hey scram". So my friends and I got up in France's face and said we were going to kick it's a$$ and it got all scared and ran away. But where's MY parade??!! Where's MY holiday??!!!

Posted by: JohnO at May 6, 2004 at 07:35 AM

Real JeffS -- Well, thanks a lot. It won't be any fun beating you up now. Dammit, I hate guys who apologize when they're wrong. Party-poopers.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at May 6, 2004 at 08:31 AM

Of course Britain has a day set aside to celebrate the defeat of the French. I believe it is called Friday.

Posted by: derf at May 6, 2004 at 08:56 AM

Dirk --

That's the same France that then tried to sell the U.S. out in favor of the Spanish at the 1783 peace conference, and then was the first post-independence country the U.S. military fought (in the Quasi-War over the XYZ Affair).

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at May 6, 2004 at 09:07 AM

Warmongering lunatic:
And other countries dont' sell out?

Posted by: dirk at May 6, 2004 at 09:16 AM

Warmongering lunatic:
And other countries dont' sell out?

Posted by: dirk at May 6, 2004 at 09:16 AM

Hey dorkafork - I said it was a joke you humorless buttmunch.

Posted by: BlogDog at May 6, 2004 at 09:17 AM

superboot - did those supply lines just fail...or was it because Portoguese guerillas helped them fail?

Posted by: Duke at May 6, 2004 at 09:33 AM

Huh?

Posted by: Rebecca at May 6, 2004 at 09:44 AM

Damn, people -- why can't we talk about something that won't get everyone all upset? Like the (American) Civil War or some calming topic like that.

(Oh look -- another joke! Bang zoom!)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 6, 2004 at 09:57 AM

Duke,
the guerillas, both Portugese and Spanish, choked supplu lines already stretched to the limit, and Wellington made the impact worse stripping the countryside bare. This starved the Portugese peasantry, whom he didn't care lived or died, and ruined the French, whom he very much wanted to kill with as little expenditure of men and arms as possible. As I said, Wellington was an evil genius.

Posted by: superboot at May 6, 2004 at 10:31 AM

Cinco de Mayo is for eating good Mexican food (which I am about to go and do) and drinking good Mexicanish adult beverages (again, which I am about to go and do.) Please try and not remind me of France as it has already cast a shadow on the evening.

Posted by: Brent at May 6, 2004 at 10:39 AM

Dirk --

All I'm pointing out is that the French spent its War of Independence goodwill shortly after that war; "Remember Lafayette?" is two centuries past its sell-by date.

And yes, countries sell each other out all the time; that's merely another reason to ignore what the long-extinct Bourbon Kingdom of France did over 200 years ago.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at May 6, 2004 at 10:41 AM

Angie, yeah, I am known as a world class party pooper. I'd apologize for that, but then I'd be an apologist, and that wouldn't be right...that would be left. ;-)

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 10:43 AM

On the subject of the prisoner abuse, Citizen Smash has a post about Iraqi Bloggers React, with some good links.

I see the reaction from the left as yet another stick to beat "The Empire of Evil", as the US response to the situation has been swift, and far more surer than what would have happened under Saddam.

What is there is not all positive, but that is expected, and more than reasonable, from their persepective. And mine, for that matter.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 10:51 AM

"...you humorless buttmunch." Yep, pretty much. What you did was clever, but I'm still angry about the whole thing and don't find the situation particularly funny. I'd probably think a joke about those jerkoff MPs would be funnier. (Lord knows I've made jokes in poor taste, too.)

And The Real JeffS, that was very classy of you.

Posted by: dorkafork at May 6, 2004 at 11:00 AM

Of course, there's other ways to beat up on the French that don't require military force at all, and hey, they'll even cooperate(see also: the Louisiana Purchase.)

Posted by: Vexorg at May 6, 2004 at 11:00 AM

dorkafork, thank you for your understanding. But one must set the example for the children, er, left wingers and trolls.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 11:01 AM

"Once, a couple of friends and myself were hanging around the 7 Eleven and France was all like, "hey scram". So my friends and I got up in France's face and said we were going to kick it's a$$ and it got all scared and ran away."


'Cuz this is my U-ni-ted States of Whatever!!!

Posted by: Dave S. at May 6, 2004 at 11:04 AM

Real Jeffs: here's the direct link to Lt Smash's post. Interesting.

As for jokes about the creepy MPs... I've got a toothache and still getting over this virus, so all I can come up with is a scenario involving them bending over in their undies and saying "thank you sir may I have another" over and over for some reason. You guys fill in the details.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 6, 2004 at 11:18 AM

I prefer a long stay at the Fort Leavenworth "Hilton" with a steady diet of institutional food and fresh air on alternate Thursdays for the soldiers guilty of prisoner abuse.

Thanks for the direct link, Andrea!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 11:25 AM

Warmongering Lunatic,

France did not assist the colonies to become independent as much as it sought allies to defeat the British.

And don't forget M. Genet's tour of the U. S. attempting to foment a French style revolution in the 1790's.

Posted by: Mr. Davis at May 6, 2004 at 11:28 AM

It's a shame Australia never got a chance to beat the French. Though I once spat on a mime.

Posted by: Amos at May 6, 2004 at 12:40 PM

Apropos the colonials vs the French, the place was Louisbourg and the year was 1745:
http://www.louisbourg.ca/fort/siege1745.htm

Cheers
JMH

Posted by: J.M. Heinrichs at May 6, 2004 at 01:02 PM

I have never been able to prove this, but I have heard anecdotally that an Australian Aborigine was a gunner at Trafalgar.

It is at least possible. Australia settled 1788, Trafalgar 1805.

Aussies could have been at Waterloo, 1815.

As for the scumbag American female general, it occurs to me this may be a result of giving a woman high military command. The traditional role of women in war, particularly in the East and middle east, is to torture prisoners. Remember Kipling's advice to the young British soldier:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your God like a soldier."

Posted by: sue at May 6, 2004 at 01:04 PM

Er sue. What would the traditional role of women in war "in the East and middle east" being "to torture prisoners" (which I'd like to see a little more factual evidence of than a 19th century poem talking about Afghan tribal women, by the way) have to do with an American woman whose sins seemed to be more of omission (the general apparently took too distant of an approach to her command -- her style was described as "managerial" in one report I have read, when it should have been commanding) than commission?

But thanks for finally piping up with the first instance I have seen of "see what happens when you let gurls in the army!" in regards to this matter.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 6, 2004 at 01:12 PM

Dirk, et al ó Do you know how many military actions France fought against Britain in North America before the American Revolution? The AR was just another chapter in their great game against the UK...

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at May 6, 2004 at 02:10 PM

sue, your attitude is appalling. I've been in the military for 25 years, and I see nothing to condemn the MP brigade commander because of her gender. I've seen male generals who weren't even managerial during their "command", but more like the pointy haired boss in the "Dilbert" strip. Glory be, they never went into combat.

This particular general is to be condemned for crimes committed while she was in command and therefore ultimately responsible for all activities of her command. As an officer, not a woman. Don't sully the military with your narrow views.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 02:19 PM

If those Iraqi prisoners want to give a headjob to our troops, it's the very least we can allow, given the hardships our guys are experiencing over there. What's wrong with a little sport with the prisoners anyway?

Posted by: narkynark at May 6, 2004 at 03:01 PM

narkynark, you should volunteer to be a cellmate of one of the US soldiers up for courtmartial, since you are clearly fixated on sex in prison. This might be your chance to shine.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 03:24 PM

When the Mexicans defeated France, it was the worst army in the world crushing the best. One hell of a triumph.

Unfortunately, the French came back in a year or two, wiped out the Mexicans and installed a man named Napolean (no, not that one) as Emperor.

But it was fun while it lasted.

Posted by: Jason at May 6, 2004 at 03:50 PM

Heh, looks like Andrea and the Real JeffS are on "troll patrol" tonight.

Posted by: dorkafork at May 6, 2004 at 03:50 PM

In America we celebrate kicking the French's ass every day.

Posted by: aaron at May 6, 2004 at 03:56 PM

Hey Jeffo, did you mean shine or polish?

Posted by: narkynark at May 6, 2004 at 04:42 PM

narkynark, that depends on if you are AC/DC.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 04:47 PM

Well, Jeffo, we'll just have to workshop through our gender insecurities together. Your place or mine?

Posted by: narkynark at May 6, 2004 at 05:02 PM

Heh! Looks like our trading insults has gone nowhere. We're not even funny.

Thing is, narkynark, is that people here are disgusted by the prisoner abuse. Too bad you can only see another stick to beat people with.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 6, 2004 at 05:34 PM

Amos

Re - Aussies beating up the French.

During WW2, Australian 7th Div (as part of a British force including Indian troops)fought in Palestine/Syria against Axis forces, which had a goodly proportion of Vichy French troops.

After much severe fighting against some good enemy troops, the Allies were succesful. In the fighting, a VC was won by Roden Cutler (later Sir Roden Cutler)who became a distinguished diplomat for Australia.

Then of course there is always the rugby (and league).

Posted by: DaveACT at May 6, 2004 at 08:05 PM


To those who criticised my last posting (which was meant to be provocative rather than serious) here's a piece from the Wall Street Journal today. Seems my point wasn't that un-serious after all.

"The most distressing of the scandal photos is, to me, the one of an American woman, a GI, who is laughing, holding a cigarette and aiming her fingers as if comically shooting or aiming at a group of prisoners, presumably Iraqi. They are naked and hooded. She looks coarse, cruel, perhaps drunk. And as I looked at her I thought Oh, no. This is not equality but mutual degradation. Can anyone imagine a WAC of 1945, or a WAVE of 1965, acting in this manner? I can't. Because WACs and WAVEs were not only members of the American armed forces, which responsibility brought its own demands in terms of dignity and bearing; they were women. They apparently did not think they had to prove they were men, or men at their worst. I've never seen evidence to suggest the old-time WACs and WAVEs had to delve down into some coarse and vulgar part of their nature to fit in, to show they were one of the guys, as tough as the guys, as ugly at their ugliest.
But the young woman soldier in the scandal photo--she looked, shall we say, confused about these issues. It was chilling. Perhaps we should be worrying about that, too."

Posted by: sue at May 6, 2004 at 11:35 PM

Sure the treatment of prisoners was inappropriate, but what's happended here - dog leashes, nudity, blindfolds. Its like they were pledging a fraternity or part of some military initiation. BFD.

While the media has been hysterical, you'll notice that you don't hear the reflexive condemnations from Arab goverments, whose track record in this regard is of course exponentially worse. I

Posted by: peter at May 7, 2004 at 12:26 AM

sue, the behavior of a woman in the prison, and the behavior of a soldier, are two different issues.

Yes, before the military became "co-ed", the picture of a woman abusing prisoners would not have happened.....because women would not have been assigned those duties. That the time have changed since 1945 is not under discussion.

These people are being held to the standards of a soldier, not to their gender. If someone wants to re-start the argument about women in combat, that is a separate discussion.

Those soldier committed crimes. They did a lot of damage of the sweat and blood of other soldiers. I don't give a damn what their gender is. That's called equal opprotunity. In this case, to an equal opprotunity to screw up.

Let's focus on the real issue here -- prisoner abuse, not the role of women in the military. If you have a problem with that, contact your congressional delegation about getting the applicable laws changed.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 7, 2004 at 12:58 AM

That it was a female in the picture shouldn't even be up for debate. This is what woman wanted, equality in the armed forces. There is no defense, no excuse. She didn't look confused or drunk to me, she looked as if she were having a good ole time. That the idiots took pictures of the fun only adds to the stupidity.

I was in the Army for 3 years. I can't imagine doing anything so deplorable. I can only imagine what the response from the democratic underground must be. I'm sure they love it because in their eyes this proves all soldiers are stupid, uneducated hicks. We all know not every person who joins the military or goes to war are all hero's or fine, upstanding people, but neither are they all like the soldiers featured in the photo's. By God the media will show that crap over and over, but ignore all the stories of rebuilding of schools, water treatment facilities and schools.

The story wore out about 3 days ago. They are going to be punished, apologies have been made, that should be the end of it.

Americans were truly shocked by the photos I think. The shock expressed by Arabs is fake. This stuff and much worse goes on as matter of government policy in the middle east (such as not letting uncovered school girls out of a burning building). They were probably more shocked that the soldiers are actually going to be punished.

Posted by: KellyW. at May 7, 2004 at 01:37 AM

OK, the prisoner abuse thing was nasty, inexcusable, and did damage to our credibility. But why am I surprised that it's gotten as much (or more) press as the Muslim-run people-shredding machines, mass graves, torture chambers, etc. of... well, just about anywhere in the Middle East?

Posted by: Rebecca at May 7, 2004 at 02:06 AM

And let us not forget the mutilations of the 4 contractors in Fullajah. Nor the desecration of the grave of the Spanish policeman killed by terrorists. Hypocrisy is easily identified because it is ugly.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 7, 2004 at 02:50 AM

McEnroe:"Do you know how many military actions France fought against Britain in North America before the American Revolution? The AR was just another chapter in their great game against the UK..."

How about the Brits beating up the French as part of their great game? or for that matter the Brits beating up the Dutch to pinch their
colonies..etc.etc.
Come on don't be naive.
Adn don't be upset that America was let down by their "friends". They themselves let their friends down all the time.


Posted by: dirk at May 7, 2004 at 08:31 AM

I've long thought that October 15th, Trafalgar Day, should be a national holiday in the UK for no other reason than it would annoy the bloody Frogs.

Posted by: David Gillies at May 7, 2004 at 09:25 AM

dirk, Richard McEnroe doesn't sound naive to me. He points out that France and England had been fighting each other for generations, and were willing to go to extreme lengths to do so (i.e., fighting our colonial ancestors in the French and Indian War, and then supporting them in the American Revolution).

One of the common themes in this blog concerning France (aside from the fact that is, well, French) is that France hasn't changed much since then. Except that they are snottier about it lately, since they lost all that oil revenue from Iraq.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 7, 2004 at 10:10 AM

The point is not that the prisoner abuse was so bad in itself - as several have rightly pointed out, it wasn't major-league torture such as Saddam et al practiced and continue to practise without a second thought. The point that does who did it (a) should have known better and (b) should have known they were handing the enemy a major propaganda weapon.

Posted by: sue at May 7, 2004 at 12:22 PM

It's good to see some commonsense has finally entered this string. I was beginning to tire of all the phoney hysteria. Have people forgotten what some of these prisoners did? A little roughing up and humiliation pales by comparision.

Interesting to see the shocked reaction that a woman soldier was involved - and that she was smoking!

Posted by: freddyboy at May 7, 2004 at 01:27 PM

"The Real JeffS:
One of the common themes in this blog concerning France (aside from the fact that is, well, French) is that France hasn't changed much since then. Except that they are snottier about it lately, since they lost all that oil revenue from Iraq."
Come on Jeffs: The British have changed since then??
To all: stop raping Iraq and ridiculing France. When we intervened in Jugoslavia we didn't bomb as many civilians. This is becoming a racist war.

Posted by: dirk at May 8, 2004 at 06:53 AM