The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, February 13, 2003  

I Think I’m Catching This One Early

This little essay is making the rounds on the internet today. I could be wrong, but I might actually be early in catching this one.

Yes, I’m against waging war on Iraq, but I’ve never been a Francophile, so I’m allowed to republish it. (Besides, it’s my blog and I’ll, well, you know the rest.)

“What is it like to go to war without the French?”

“Going to war without the French is like going to Thanksgiving dinner without your mother-in-law.”

“Going to war without the French is like . . . well . . . World War II.”

The Complete Military History of France:

Gallic Wars: Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.

Hundred Years War: Mostly lost. Saved at last moment by a schizophrenic teenaged girl, who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare: “France’s armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman.”

Italian Wars: Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

Wars of Religion: France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

Thirty Years War: France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

War of Devolution: Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

The Dutch War: Tied

War of the Augsburg League/King William’s War/French and Indian War: Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

War of the Spanish Succession: Lost. The war also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved ever since.

American Revolution: In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as “de Gaulle Syndrome,” and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare: “France only wins when America does most of the fighting.”

French Revolution: Won. Primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

The Napoleonic Wars: Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

The Franco-Prussian War: Lost. Germany plays the role of drunk frat boy to France’s ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

World War I: Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States. Thousands of French women find out what it’s like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn’t call her “Fraulein.” Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

World War II: Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

War in Indochina: Lost. French forces plead sickness, take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu.

Algerian Rebellion: Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare: “We can always beat the French.” This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Esquimaux.

War on Terrorism: France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to the Germans and the Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald’s.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be “Can we count on the French?” but rather “How long until France collapses?”

[Thanks, Professor Pinkerton.]

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