Andy Rooney really pissed me off when he declared that the French of no right to criticize George W. Bush’s foreign policy because we saved them in World War II. I’ve heard similar sentiments from other people. I bash the French all the time, but not for any of these so-called legitimate reasons. I bash the French like I bash Canadians, because in American we overlook them, we hold silly and baseless stereotypes. When I bash the French, it is really a backhanded compliment, a bashing of America for being the great land of the free that just doesn’t want to worry about the history of freedom. I would never bash the French because we “bailed them out.”
Luckily, Molly Ivins agrees with me, and gave me the history that I wish I knew:
George Will saw fit to include in his latest Newsweek column this joke: “How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? No one knows, it’s never been tried.” That was certainly amusing. One million, four hundred thousand French soldiers were killed during World War I. As a result, there weren’t many Frenchmen left to fight in World War II. Nevertheless, 100,000 French soldiers lost their lives trying to stop Hitler.
On behalf of every one of those 100,000 men, I would like to thank Mr. Will for his clever joke. They were out-manned, out-gunned, out-generaled and, above all, out-tanked. They got slaughtered, but they stood and they fought. Ha-ha, how funny.
Well, by the end of AMST 100b this semester, I’ll finally get the WWI and WWII history that I’ve always wanted but the public schools, with their focus on the American Revolution, never provided. Maybe because sometimes American wars can’t be glorified, and we just want to forget them? Well, if we’re trying to forget our history, it seems to be working splendidly.