A funny thing happened to me yesterday at Camp Bondsteel. A French army officer walked up to me in the PX, and told me he thought we (Americans) were a bunch of cowboys and were going to provoke a war. He said if such a thing happens, we wouldn't be able to count on the support of France.
I told him that it didn't surprise me. Since we had come to France's rescue in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Cold War, their ingratitude and jealousy was due to surface at some point in the near future anyway. That is why France is a third-rate military power with a socialist economy and a bunch of [deleted - BL] for soldiers.
I additionally told him that America, being a nation of deeds and action, not words, would do whatever it had to do, and France's support was only for show anyway. Just like in ALL NATO exercises, the US would shoulder 85% of the burden, as evidenced by the fact that the French officer was shopping in the American PX, and not the other way around.
He began to get belligerent at that point, and I told him if he would like to, I would meet him outside in front of the Burger King and beat his ass in front of the entire Multi-National Brigade East, thus demonstrating that even the smallest American had more fight in him than the average Frenchman. [Emphasis added - BL]
He called me a barbarian cowboy and walked away in a huff. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Now the last piece of information you need to fully appreciate this email is that "MJ" is Mary Beth Johnson and she is a Lt Colonel in the U.S. Marines. I've also heard the allied officer in question had about 6-8 inches and 75-80 pounds on "MJ" .... which really, really, isn't enough.
Now, I'm not for picking on the French as much as some of my colleagues. Sure, it can be fun but it isn't polite and it just gets boring after awhile. But I will say, with devil-dogs like these we may still need allies for the going-along-for-the-ride political part of battle but not so much for the shooting part.
Wish I had been there to see this conversation. Cracks me up to tears almost every time I think about it. I've edited out some of the more "salty" language in the email and a bit of the tone - I'll bet the actual wording was something to behold.