Remember Stanley Kubrick’s classic anti-war movie, “Paths of Glory?” It’s a searing First World War tale of cynical, glory-hungry French generals ordering their troops into suicidal attacks on German machine guns – and then court-martialing them for cowardice when they refuse to advance.
Flash foward to 2009, and four French families are suing their government over an August 2008 Taliban ambush that killed 10 French soldiers. It seems that French officers, instead of leading their men, were at a French army VIP ceremony in Kabul that day (helicopters that should have been scouting for an ambush were also diverted to the ceremony).
I am not a France basher. Suffice to say that 200 years, when Napoleon was kicking ass up and down Europe, no one called French soldiers “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” But seeing the Afghanistan story, I had visions of a square-jawed Kirk Douglas (who played the heroic Colonel Dax in Paths of Glory) confronting oily General Broulard (played by Adolphe Menjou). “Cest la guerre, my ass, mon general.”