It has become fashionable lately to bash the French, and I admit to repeating a joke or two at their expense, such as: “How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris ? Nobody knows—it’s never been done.”
The latest assault on the French national character was brought back from Washington by our Assignment Manager, John Perry Fisher, who was in the federal city on…well, assignment. It was this: if you go to the Google search engine on the web, and ask for “French Military Victories,” it comes up with “no standard web pages containing all your search terms were found.” “Did you mean French Military Defeats (in bold face italic type)?” Not missing a beat, it goes on to offer such Francophobe fare as “NewsMax.com,” where you’ll find a list of French military engagements which, the wag says, they lost, or at best tied, the only one they won being the French Revolution, and that only because they were fighting other Frenchmen. They point out even Napoleon eventually lost, and, besides, he was Corsican, not French.
Well, all that is very droll and chuckley. But, in all this jingoistic banter, we should remember that the French did help us out during the American Revolution (even if they were only trying to pester the English), and they gave us the Statue of Liberty. That was nice.