Michael's Dispatches

French and NATO Intentionally Deceiving the Public

41 Comments


22 September 2008

Afghanistan

NATO and the French military continue to deny that a secret report exists concerning the loss of ten French soldiers last month in Afghanistan.  For the record, I have no intention of publishing any part of the secret report.  Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper heavily cited the report, and I merely confirmed that the report does in fact exist, that the newspaper article accurately reflected the contents of the report, and warned that if NATO and the French military maintained their position that the report was either inaccurate or nonexistent, they might find themselves contradicted by its publication.  More importantly, the document was handed to me with zero expectation that I would keep it secret.  In fact, there seemed to be an expectation that I might publish something, though I did keep it secret, other than to verify the Globe and Mail story.
Below is my original post:

20 September 2008

I was able to carefully read the secret NATO/ISAF report cited in this news story, which does a good job of reporting the facts in the report.   Photographs published in the report showed very accurate fire on vehicles, which supports the claim that the Taliban are becoming more proficient with their small arms fire.  The document also indicated that the Taliban had used armor piercing bullets in the ambush.  The French soldiers were completely unprepared for this level of combat.  Apparently, the survivors were rescued by American forces, including “Green Berets” who were nearby.

Michael


We can’t win this war if the people at home think the military here is deceiving them.

One of the reasons we succeeded In Iraq was that, for the most part, the American and British militaries had an open and truthful approach to journalists.  They let us see the good, the bad, and the ugly, though few journalists spent much time down in the “trenches.”  From the perspective of working journalists, most of us didn’t believe we were being systemically deceived by the military (except for a few notable exceptions).  This was especially true beginning in early 2007 when General David Petraeus took command.  Sure, the military constantly tried to shunt journalists to school openings, water projects and hug-fests, but that was fair play.  They wanted to get their message out.  Most of us saw nothing wrong with that, except that few journalists care to cover school openings or new clinics.  The military was trying to emphasize the positives (of which there were many) while journalists were more apt to cover the negatives (again, there were many).  Car bombs were more likely to get airtime and column inches.
   
Here in Afghanistan, I sense a storm brewing between NATO and the media.  The official denial of the secret report on the 18 August Taliban ambush on French forces is not an isolated incident.  There have been other instances which give the impression of a pattern of denial and cover-up.  NATO credibility is critical in this war.   Support is already weak in several NATO countries.  The Afghani and, even more so, Pakistani populaces are often skeptical of our efforts and question our honesty.  For example, when the U.S. was recently blamed for the deaths of nearly 100 innocent people in a single attack, the basic facts of the case were highly disputed.  Who are the people supposed to believe?  Because they know the impact on the propaganda war, the Taliban routinely lies about casualties, exaggerating the number of civilians killed and claiming their own fighters were civilians.  If NATO is found to be spewing propaganda, they will not be able to counter Taliban propaganda.  Western journalists here already do not believe the Taliban or al Qaeda.  We know they lie.  But enemy shams do not translate into NATO credibility.  Frankly, I do not know who to believe about the alleged killing of nearly 100 people.  I wanted to believe our side, but they don’t always inspire confidence.  If we didn’t kill 100 innocent civilians, why not invite some journalists out to the village to verify the facts for themselves?   And if we did kill them by accident, why not  just admit it?

In Iraq, Al Qaeda and other groups undermined themselves.  Our people wrestled away the high ground, but it was a long, hard fight, requiring diligence, discipline, and a sometimes painful honesty.    In Afghanistan, maintaining our credibility could be even more difficult than in Iraq.  Many people, such as Pakistani cab drivers, will likely never believe a word we say.   That comes with the territory.  What NATO cannot afford is to be seen by fair-minded journalists as being no more trustworthy than the enemy.

Denials like the ones recently made by NATO and the French military only undermine credibility and create an atmosphere of cynicism and distrust.  If both the Taliban and NATO are propaganda machines, the Taliban wins.  Also, these denials put the burden of proof on those journalists who have written about the report.  The Globe and Mail and I now must prove that the document exists, otherwise our own credibility is undermined.

The photos I published on the 21 September of the damaged Afghan Police vehicle were not from the secret report.   Those photos were from a separate, non-classified source.  Exactly how the damage was sustained was unknown by the source, but it could have been an accident during the fighting.

The French and NATO should come clean, make a straightforward accounting of the facts and move on.  Yet this morning, here’s the news:

BRUSSELS, Sept 21, 2008 (AFP) - NATO denied Sunday that French soldiers
had been ambushed by better armed Taliban fighters in Afghanistan last
month but expressed concern about increasingly sophisticated
cross-border attacks.

"We have no information and have seen no information that would indicate
that the French forces were in any way ill-equipped for this mission,"
chief NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.

Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, citing a "secret" NATO report, said
Saturday that Taliban fighters who ambushed French soldiers on August 18
-- killing 10 of them -- were well-trained and better armed than their
enemy.

But Appathurai said: "I am in a position to say that there is no such
report, either from NATO or from ISAF," the International Security
Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

"Neither the secretary general (Jaap de Hoop Scheffer) nor indeed NATO
headquarters has any knowledge of such a report's existence. After some
research we are still unable to find any evidence of such a report," he
said.

I get the foreboding sense the AfPak war might become far worse than Iraq ever was.  Everything here feels wrong.  In Iraq, I didn’t trust the enemy to tell the truth, but found that our side was generally honest.  Here in Afghanistan, the enemy is deceitful, but why should I trust NATO when their story keeps changing?  Now the French Defense Minister admits there was a report, but says it was not official, just a “fragmented” email expressing “a personal opinion.”

'Account' of ambush of French troops in Afghanistan: minister

1 hour ago

PARIS (AFP) — France's defence minister confirmed Monday the existence of a NATO officer's "account" of a deadly ambush of French soldiers last month, after a newspaper cited what it said was a report that said the force was ill-equipped.

Herve Morin told RTL radio the description of the battle in Afghanistan was a "fragmented written account done in the heat of the moment the day after or 48 hours after the operation, using elements at the officer's disposal."
    Yet it gets worse.  The sixth paragraph of today’s denial:
There had been no official report "but there was email correspondence between an ISAF officer and command HQ in Kabul, in which the officer expressed his personal opinion on what happened during the ambush," the source said.

The French and NATO should make their own on-the-record statements instead of using journalists as their messengers who can later take the blame for any “misinterpretations.”   They should say exactly what was “wrong” about the report and the Canadian newspaper article.  There might not have been an “official report”, but that seems to be a rather meaningless distinction, except that the obvious intent is to discredit the source.  Same with calling it an email (do French soldiers still file their reports on paper?)  The secret report was a genuine After Action Report.  The document was not an email missive done on the fly, but a detailed eyewitness account, written in an official manner that I have seen many times before.  NATO and the French officials are almost begging someone to publish the actual document.   

 

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    carol · 10 years ago
    I've just got back from business in South Africa. The people there are amazing, really wonderful. They all want to know about Obama. Nothing beats a face to face chat.

    Here I find another Michael Yon crusade - tell the truth guys or I'll expose your communications for what they are.

    Word to the French and to Nato. Michael won his crusade in Iraq. Just surrender and start telling the truth. You'll find it an awful lot less painful and embarrassing.

    You keep fighting Michael. No one on the planet has your power - power used for good.

    I haven't been reading here in a while. Have you been writing about the Afghan people? What about the girls? Are they learning English and computers? That's one way to beat the bad guys.

    Very best and I'll tip once I've got some wiggle room on my credit card again.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nomenklatura · 10 years ago
    Telling the truth doesn't come easy to French officialdom. Remember the story told about Chirac - you could walk in on him when he had an open jar of jam in his hand and jam dripping from his mouth, and still he would look you right in the eye and tell you he didn't like jam and would never even consider eating it. Part of the prestige of the French state involves being above any necessity to tell the truth. After 200 years, it's a hard habit to break.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    dtc · 10 years ago
    This report is full of crap, and if you don't like that, you can put it in your fat ass.
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    franchie · 10 years ago
    yeah, apparently the repot = crap

    who does want to self prise here ? OK, the Canadians are great fighters, but they also do die !!!!

    http://secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/defense/2008/09/afghanistan-q-1.html#more
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    Rix · 10 years ago
    NATO and the West in general have never been good at media ops. Somehow there is the feeling that propaganda is evil, even though we know that it is is part of the battle space of fourth generation warfare. The military needs to learn ""4th Generation Media" and prepare the battlespace.
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    Wind Rider · 10 years ago
    Go ahead and publish the 'secret' report - and a question - is it 'secret' because of the method that NATO used to forward it, or because of the content? I used to argue constantly with Marines who insisted on stamping a 'system-high' classification on every piece of hardcopy out of the printers on some systems, even if it was a .jpg of a hand drawn picture of Mickey Mouse.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    anon · 10 years ago
    What would happen if French troops were withdrawn from AFG because public support is lost? Likely implications for AFG and for the western alliance?
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    The Thunder Run · 10 years ago
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/22/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

    http://thunderrun.blogspot.com/2008/09/from-front-09222008.html
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rick · 10 years ago
    Michael: Very disturbing news from Afgh. What in the world are the French doing here? If their guys were ill equipped or not carrying the right gear just say so and make sure it doesn't happen again.

    We're shaking our heads here stateside about this.

    Stay safe and keep reporting!

    R
  • This commment is unpublished.
    gomer · 10 years ago
    who cares about obama. he's a favorite of the french i'm sure. he is just as deceitful as some of the french leaders. it's called integrity...neither obama nor the french involved in this coverup seem to have much of this in their character. thank you michael for the updates. stay safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    franchie · 10 years ago
    Obama, we fuckin don't care of your candidates, your just talking of abortion, God, drilling, Gore, where we should hear from your economy, externe policy, even wealfare that is of french inspiration of course, eh forget about brainwashing sometimes, we never inspired you, your still ontempting us wether your right wing or left wing, since Burke the puritain !

    don't believe your MSM about the supposed percentage of Frenchs that would suport one of your nuts candidate

    "But other analysts have looked at the incident in a broader context, speculating that trends in the Uzbin valley, and beyond, may have contributed to the deadly incident. Some observers connect the French ambush with attacks that killed nine American soldiers in July and another that killed three Canadians earlier this month, all of them examples of bold strikes against international forces by insurgents who seem increasingly skilled at guerrilla warfare"

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080919.wparatroopers20/BNStory/International/home

    though Nato is supposed to deny :

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iDwn8zccMzTknwAyey-DBMoQGoMA

    http://secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/defense/2008/09/afghanistan-q-1.html#more

    http://www.armees.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=63922&pid=711788&mode=threaded&start=#entry711788

    I recall you that our actual government has the majority at the national assembly, plus that a certain number of socialists also agree on the war plan

    so have you got anymore sure objective truth ?

    yeah, your a great army, how dare those surrender monkeys to show off at war ???
  • This commment is unpublished.
    argonaut · 10 years ago
    Concerning the 100 citizens killed, I believe during that particular action an embedded reporter and camera man were present and they stated they did not see anywhere near 100 bodies when they went into the village soon afterword. You just can not find their accounts in the mainstream media. When the media won't even believe/publish the media reports, one has to ask why blame the military?
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    RCO · 10 years ago
    Keep it up, Mr. Yon. And when you get back to Iraq, peek in on the NATO HQs there in the Green Zone. Find out the differences between what they're doing and what they say they're doing. Talk about opening eyes ...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lira · 10 years ago
    We'll it's nice to see some folks like to mention Obama talking. I have one expression to say about him with our miltitary. "He is like Nero..Who played the flut while Rome burned to the ground." If he were in office our troops would be dying and no support given with a increase of troops, no communication, just a lot of whislting in the grave yard like we are now. Just enough to piss you off. That's why we need McCain in office.

    Cover up with NATO and French folks. We'll we can say lack of commucication within themselves. Lack of better firearms. Last but not least "deny the truth with a lesser amount of information leaked to the public, and world.

    America is losing the war. If our leaders had any since they would see the patterns our soldiers are faced with everyday. For example, old providences are always a target. Look at the old biblical days and past recent attacks of fighting. Look at how they placed tatic's then. Now they are just using bombs and amor piercing bullets. The simple crap just kills us. We look at the lack of experience as well. Kill a "Terry" for every lost NATO, French, American, British, etc after America calls for a draft. That's next. I wouldn't be surprised. America needs to win to clean a mess up.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ernest Lane · 10 years ago
    I have heard the NATO soldiers have to operate with an ROE that is basically don't fire unless fired upon. Is this true? If so, it seems to me that that ROE si guaranteed to do only one thing: get more NATO soldiers killed than would otherwise be the case.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Howard E. Morseburg · 10 years ago
    One might say that the stories in Iraq and Afghanistan are both symbolic of battles between Good and Evil. It's surprising how they can kill each other over perceived slights, daughters over a supposed violation of the family honor, and suicide bombings that are almost beyond belief because they are so indiscriminate and those killed could even be related to the bombers. Let an American or United Nations patrol make a mistake and it is world-wide news. Our own media are the worst at it, villiifying our men above all.

    That mission to install huge generators to supply power to one of the most primative regions are earth, the perils and risks involved, but it is shown only on Michael Yon's website, is another instance where the truth is hidden from the public around the world. The soldiers guarding the convoy and the civilian engineers participating in the project are truly heroes, but the world knows nothing about it. The Taliban want us all to return to a 14th century world, because yes, they'd like to conquer or convert us as well. It is not the religion that is at fault, but those who use particular parts of it to justify the continued violence and hatred.

    At least some of what is hidden from us is brought to light in this continuing story. Those of us who read it are behilden to a man who stands out in the field of journalism and photo journalism, Michael Yon. Let's all send out his URL to ten people a week so that here in the U.S. (and elsewhere) we can get a better understanding of the overall picture in Afghanistan.
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    Papa Ray · 10 years ago
    Just want you to know that I am linking your stories. Everyone is amazed at and very interested in your reports. They (and I) are very worried about you leaving your embed and going off on your own. Yes, I understand that is where you will find truth and reality, but I lost one good friend (even though I never met him face to face) who did the same in Iraq. I'm sure you remember Michael, who was murdered in Basra a few years ago. I told him that he wasn't bullet proof and he replied in his light manner that he knew that and didn't intend finding out.

    As far as NATO goes, there are many great Warriors there, but mainly in the enlistedr ranks. The NATO Officer Corp mainly is nothing but rank seekers and do nothings. Not picking on the French but they seem to have forgotten how to take care of their troops and keep them supplied with what they need. It amazes me and my buds that they can't supply helicopters and other things that are badly needed.

    Take care and tell the real Warriors that they are admired and remembered.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas
    USA
  • This commment is unpublished.
    franchie · 10 years ago
    a few video reports on the supposed bad prepared soldiers, in this one it's the group that was hit, some of the guis are dead

    http://www.france24.com/fr/20080826-patrouille-taliban-parachutiste-rpima-afghanistan-reportage-embarque&navi=MONDE
    the legionaire in tha video was killed while taking care of the wounded

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4sh9r_envoye-special-une-guerre-au-nom-de_news (?ÿ suivre)

    Talibani who run away

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4sem2_envoye-special-une-guerre-au-nom-de_news
    http://patdollard.com/2008/09/french-army-firefight-with-taliban/
  • This commment is unpublished.
    franchie · 10 years ago
    The Frenchs were not bad prepared or not well cared, just that was a "routine" mission as they did tens of times

    the problem is that the talibani have good snipers now, they ruined the radio first, it tooks quite several minuts before their responsable could call for help. the munitions were normal for a normal reconaissance trip.

    it could have happened to any other Nato Cies, comprise yours
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Juan · 10 years ago
    I'm gonna take a guess and say someone who wasn't thinking was in the bed of the truck with a RPG and fired that sucker to the trucks six o'clock. Also who's to say that that truck was in perfect condition right before getting in the ambush?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Boyce · 10 years ago
    Michael, I want nothing more than to see the Western Allies execute operations in Afghanistan/Pakistan efficiently and effectively. I agree with your assessment that credibility in press reports of good, bad and indifferent occurrences must be maintained. I want to and will continue to support our troops and their missions, but it makes some things difficult if there is evidence of cover up at the command level. It throws all reports, positive especially into suspicious light. The war in this region is at best difficult for NATO/ISAF troops and a loss of credibility by the command structure leads to loss of credibility of our presence and the mission. There is always cause for specific types of "cover up and deceit" for the sake of sensitive information and operations, that is a given. If a damaging attack occurred, then admit it and carry on with renewed intent and concentration. NATO/ISAF forces will suffer tactical defeats, that is the nature of war. Keep up your good work and demand for truth. Take care of your personal security, as well.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott K · 10 years ago
    Michael:

    I will continue to support you. As a father of a soldier heading over there, I am concerned about what you are seeing. I bought and read your book, and continue to read your dispatches. Stay safe, and god bless you.

    Your dispatches remind me of a great quote by a great president.

    "I never gave anyone hell. I just told them the truth, and they thought it was hell."
    -Harry Truman-
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barry · 10 years ago
    Michael, unfortunately public life in Europe sways to constant deceits, while there are many exceptions, political artfulness and manipulation of events is quite normal, indeed it is not that far fetched to say that the prevailing ethos of modern European ideals lay centred on trying to prevent debate about the obvious.
    The second point that might be made is that failure in Afghanistan may suit the agenda of certain extreme European political manipulators desirous of trying to establish Europe as a force capable of standing above the US and anyone else in the realms of international affairs. While this is pure fantasy, it should be borne in mind when assessing motives for denial.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stephen Carter · 10 years ago
    The Left wants to lose in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Any European military personnel are either largely uninvolved in direct combat, or are deliberately underfunded & underequipped by their nations in order to achieve failure & defeat. Why? The multiculturalist paradigm long ago defined these wars as American imperialist payback for 9/11, while European elites believe America only got what it deserved re 9/11. They (Euro-elites) want to see America defeated & humiliated & America's form of hard power discredited so the (delusional) EU soft power can step into the breach. Europe truly believes history has moved on & hard power will never be needed again. The Democrats have such an inferiority complex vis-a-vis Europe that they've bought into this & try to advance it in the US. Democratic policies of surrender, withdrawal, & unconditional negotiations only make sense in this light. This (Left-inspired) betrayal would just be an extension of Europe's own decline & imminent demise. It is absolute lunacy to listen to Europe at all. They're gone, they're history. France seriously dreams it can attain la gloire francaise through its proxy use of the EU; they've been on the wrong side of history repeatedly ever since Louis XIV 300 years ago. So the French soldiers' participation in a Crusader combat mission & deaths will continue to be denied. The essential nature of the EU is totalitarian & tends towards constant deceit. They're deceiving their people about the extent of the immigration chaos as well of course, but they're so far down that inferno there's no turning back ...
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    Ian Bach · 10 years ago
    It does seem there is no informed public conversation or practical debates taking place RE: Afghanistan.

    Almost all parties involved seem to be at a loss of word. However, the enemy is at no loss for words.

    So where is the disconnect ?
    - Many of us who looked at Afghanistan saw a nation ripe for change.
    - The tight grip the Taliban have on the Pashtun community seems unending.
    - Many world gov's saw how well working with the Sunni and Shia militias (in Iraq) created a new environment - now they look to incorporate Taliban into the political process in hope they will change mindsets and help reign in terrorism.

    Well Afghanistan is not Iraq, not by a long shot. For over a year I made a strong effort to talk with people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, & Pakistan.....but those in Afghanistan and Pakistan I never felt connection and never felt any love or trust. This stems from many sources, but adds to what must be accomplished to bring about a safer Afghanistan. The biggest hurdle is trust. The Afghans have been helped by the US when they fought Russia and then abandoned. That piece of history weighs heavy on afghan minds. If they assist in helping coalition forces they fear being abandoned and left to be swallowed up by the next regime change and rebellion. They fear the Taliban will come back. The Taliban who hold strong Wahhabi views and sympathies, and they fight against Shia and western ideals. They see us as foreign invaders who mean to subjugate the Afghan people and Islam. But perhaps the Paki influence is the most daunting. Afghanistan is 25 mil people Iraq 25 mil but Pakistan is 190 million most with anti American and anti afghan views. The numbers of recruits to the Taliban cause is growing with no sign it will ebb soon.

    We should also think about Obamaƒ??s views where he says ƒ??he should go into Pakistan tribal lands to get bin ladenƒ?. I say he is jumping the gun and the result will be nothing less than devastation.

    We will not see success until we can start to insure security and until we start to wage information warfare on the Talibanƒ??s misdirected views. The Taliban will continue to receive money and men for their cause until we can show their cause to be misdirected and false.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    a Brit · 10 years ago
    Stephen Carter @ 24 . IMHO, an accurate analysis of French-led EU delusion. God only knows why my country wants to be part of it.
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    Franchie · 10 years ago
    Bach, I am afraid, but you are right

    stephen carter, so what ! are you a Brit ? actually they are likely "jaelous" of our position in EU with Germany, though, at the origin, EU was created by a French and a German, not to keep the "grandeur of France" as your remanent whinning keep showing, but to prevent from the happening of another war between our two countries, ans sorry if Sarkozy is actually president of the EU while a virtual major conflict with Russia could have occured, Tony Blair had his time either, but he did nothing for the externe relations, just made sure that UK kept his avantages from EU. Sorry if only Frenchs in EU have the balls to make that things move on in EU.

    Don't say that our government don't do the maximum for our soldiers, it has the majority at the national assembly, and 343 vs 210 voted the maintening of our forces in Afghanistan, but we are there with our means, then not with a budget like your army's, but just 2,5 % of our national PNB, that are shared with the other troops that we have in Lebanon, former Yougoslavia, Chad, Central Africa, Senegal, Ivory coast, Gabon... and the Dom Tom (our expat islands)

    Also I recall that Chirac (UMP) and Jospin (socialist prime minister) decided to send troops in Afghanistan at the first hour.
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    Gismo Fly · 10 years ago
    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for the insight. Just back from a short stay in France. I watched the very moving ceremony at Les Invalides for the French soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

    What's at stake here is French involvement with NATO in Afghanistan. The number of soldiers killed was a shock to the nation and the subsequent allegations that they were not prepared, inadequately trained or somehow sloppy in the job is causing great offence to both the French military and more importantly; the French public.

    Now, if the media want the French to withdraw from Afghanistan then they just have to press on with public laundry washing. This is the enemys objective and a good example of the western media being manipulated, once again, by the bad guys.

    The time and date for examining alleged mistakes in Afghanistan is sometime in the future. Not now - in the middle of a war.

    You did right, Mike. You are a man of preception.

    Vive La France!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Franchie · 10 years ago
    What's the H..l are you talking ?
    the national assembly voted 343 vs 210 for staying in Afghanistan
    Of course the Talibani are making a propaganda war on the french opinion as they also do on your country fellows
    Sarkozy made a great deal with the official bury of the soldiers, cause he has something to be forgiven among the army, cause of his "whie boocket", that says 60 000 jobs would be cut, mostly administrative and reserve. He haso had words with the former army head (in place from ages) and that he removed, another grief the army had, while Sarko was visiting the new president of Lebanon, he cancelled the visit to the french blue helmets. He just wanted to show to the army staff that he cared.
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    Gismo Fly · 10 years ago
    Bonjour Franchie,

    What worries me is that 210 minority who voted against sending French troops to Afghanistan. It's way too high to for any NATO field commander to be happy with.

    The professionalism and abilities of French forces are not in question. What is of great concern is the staying power of the French public. If the enemy get wind of Sarkozy becoming unpopular in France and the Taleban inflict another ten casualties on the Marine Infantry Paratroopers then that minority 210 may turn into a 343 majority to quit or at least cut back on offensive operations.

    If the French public don't want to turn their soldiers into priority targets in Afghanistan then they had better keep 'mum' about the downside of the war while it's being fought. Yes, censorship saves lives.

    Sarkozy is popular abroad and has put France back on the international map. You must admit that France had become introvert under his predecessors and was losing influence in the councils of the wise. All that's changed. I hope that makes you smile?

    Regards,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    franchie · 10 years ago
    hi Gismo
    I wouldn't worry too much about the 210 votes, this was a political reaction of the socialists that wanted to show that they still count in the spectre, they knew that the positive would won because of the assembly composition, therefore that their vote was not important, though they are divised, quite a few want to become "caliphe", and in private some of them are pro war in Afghanistan
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    a Brit · 10 years ago
    Comment on Franchie@27. ƒ??EU was created by a French and a German ƒ??to prevent from the happening of another war between our two countries ƒ??. Maybe. But the threat to peace post WW2 was the Soviet Union. They were faced down by NATO, US troops in Germany and nuclear deterrence. The revisionist propaganda that ƒ??the EU has kept the peace post WW2 ƒ?? must not be allowed to take hold.

    Good luck, Michael. Just donƒ??t underestimate the disdainful arrogance of the French ruling class. Or their potential vindictiveness
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Franchie · 10 years ago
    you forgot to mention that you were prompt to leave us facing the Bliztkrieg after that Belgium and Nederland surrendered in 1940, Dunkeerque anyone ?

    "Just donƒ??t underestimate the disdainful arrogance of the French ruling class. Or their potential vindictiveness"

    yeah, a Joan of Arc syndrom LMAO it's in regard to your contempt, sharia laws anyone ?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian Hart · 10 years ago
    Michael, in both our public and private correspondence you've been truthful. If you say you read the report that supposedly doesn't exist, one must fall back on trust. When truth ends, trust follows. Regrettably NATO is on the verge of losing the trust of the French people. Once that goes, so will any remnant of public support. ....

    If you have any doubt, read Lt. Gen. Moore and Joseph Galloway's new book, "We Are Soldiers Still" chapter eight entitled "back to the Hell that was Albany". It basically talks about how LZ XRay was talked up while the disaster at LZ Albany was completely covered up ... or at least lied about. On page 114 in that chapter I quote Gen. Moore, "With that began a years-long Army effort to cover up what had transpired in this haunted jungle clearing halfway around the world from home. The memoirs of Westmoreland and others speak glowingly of the battle at X-Ray but not a word is written of the battle they wanted to forget. Joe told me once that he dates the rot at the heart of our effort in Vietnam to that very moment when Westmoreland told Larsen to 'let it slide.' Valuable lessons are there to be learned from every battle, even the disasters or maybe especially the disasters. But you can't learn a thing from a battle you have tried to hide, for whatever reason."

    What more needs to be said? In a democracy, victory or defeat hinges on public trust.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Another Brit · 10 years ago
    Frenchie

    ƒ??Dunkeerque anyoneƒ? - what is that supposed to mean ?

    Lets just rewind for a minute; at the start of WWII the French army was the: Biggest, the Best trained and Best equipped army in the world. It had I believe more than 200 combat divisions. Even Winston Churchill said at the time ƒ??Thank God for the French Armyƒ? now he may have said this more in hope than in expectation, but he said it never the less. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France in 1940 numbered 10 divisions; this was just about the whole of the British regular army.

    In 1940 The French Army fighting on their own soil to protect their own families friends and homes, collapsed, the French army collapsed on the flank of BEF. The BEF were left with no alternative but to withdraw to Dunkirk or be encircled Luckily at that time we still had the biggest and most powerful navy in the world, they were there to lift our soldiers from the beaches. I believe about 150,000 French and Belgium troops were also rescued.

    Two Things to leave you with: where is Dunkirk ƒ?? yes its in France; if 200 divisions of the French army could not be bothered to defend their homeland this would hardly inspire 10 British divisions to stand and die for France.

    It always amazes me that when the French are in trouble they expect everyone to ride to their rescue ƒ?? when did the French ever lift a finger to help anyone else. Also the French never faced the Blitz, you surrendered; the British faced the Blitz and they endured.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Another Brit · 10 years ago
    Frenchie - ƒ??Dunkeerque anyoneƒ? - what is that supposed to mean ?

    Lets just rewind for a minute; at the start of WWII the French army was the: Biggest, the Best trained and Best equipped army in the world. It had I believe more than 200 combat divisions. Even Winston Churchill said at the time ƒ??Thank God for the French Armyƒ? now he may have said this more in hope than in expectation, but he said it never the less. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France in 1940 numbered 10 divisions; this was just about the whole of the British regular army.

    In 1940 The French Army fighting on their own soil to protect their own families friends and homes, collapsed, the French army collapsed on the flank of BEF. The BEF were left with no alternative but to withdraw to Dunkirk or be encircled Luckily at that time we still had the biggest and most powerful navy in the world, they were there to lift our soldiers from the beaches. I believe about 150,000 French and Belgium troops were also rescued.

    Two Things to leave you with: where is Dunkirk ƒ?? yes its in France; if 200 divisions of the French army could not be bothered to defend their homeland this would hardly inspire 10 British divisions to stand and die for France.

    It always amazes me that when the French are in trouble they expect everyone to ride to their rescue ƒ?? when did the French ever lift a finger to help anyone else. Also the French never faced the Blitz, you surrendered; the British faced the Blitz and they endured.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kent Mitchell · 10 years ago
    You asked about the rifles hanging on the shop wall.
    They Martini-Henry rifles. Brits used them in colonial times. Those might have been gathered in some Khyber Pass massacre.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marie Claude franchi · 10 years ago
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dunkirk

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France

    in Patrick Buisson's last book :"les ann??es ??rotiques 1940 1945", not honorific for us, neither for the Brits :

    "as the weeks went on, the autochtone male element happened to show off more "reserved". The time will not be very long over till the Brit soldiers will be reproached not to be numerous enough, and not placed where they should, though where they are, they are overwhelming. Despite its efforts, the Information Office has more and more hard time to hide the brit "wimped" participation to the strategic organisation.In February 1940 only 10 divisions stay on the french soil, instead of the 25 promissed at the end of 1939 october. Then again these divisions camped far from the german border, in the north, Normandy, and the Atlantic coast. The joke among the troops at the Maginot line was "Did you see the Englishman ?", afterword translated by the german propaganda : "the Brits offer their "machines", the Frenchs their chests" or in the french paper "Paris-soir" " the Brits will fight till the last French"...

    ... There is more pernicious, the "passe-droit" (pass-right) and the privileges that the expeditionnary Brit corps take for granted, that irritated the Frenchs, that was echoed in all the population strates. On the belgian border the brit commendement allows habitation tickets to its troops without even refering to the local mayors. In Wanquetin, near Arras, the "tommies" live in individual houses, while the french soldiers must sleep in barns cob. Fighting are regular in the cities where both troops have to stay : in Lille, the Mecca for the Brits that are off, where the latters invade dancings, make beer abuses, tighten too narrow the local girls, all that ends in boxing parties with the "continental gitanos"... Anglophoby starts to overwhelme Anglophily. The Frenchs can't stand anymore the insolent contempting and overwhelming Brits, enough is enough with saccage, roberies, brigandage... "
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Another Brit · 10 years ago
    Marie Claude

    I do not know the author or the book to which you refer or the reason for its inclusions in your post, other than it being just another example of the numerous ways the French have of expressing their disgust and dislike of the British. The passage from this book is no more than name-calling. Name-calling is normally what is resorted to when you have lost the argument, but if you feel it necessary to immerse yourself in this type of sentiment as a means to reinforce your contempt thatƒ??s your prerogative.

    There is, however, the small matter of historical fact; I believe actions speak louder than words. It may not be good enough for the French that hundreds of thousands of British service personnel died defending and liberating France. Maybe this is why our war dead have their graves in France desecrated by spray-painted graffiti with the words: ƒ??dig up your trash its contaminating our soilƒ?.

    Anyway my original point in my last post was: why do you expect the British or anyone else to fight for France, if my home was being attacked I would want to be the first line of defence not stand by and later complain that my neighbour did not help me defend it, but if my neighbour chose to help I would be grateful and thank him for it. In this analogy there could be two reasons why my neighbour would chose to help me: because we are very good friends or there are vested interests involved; for friends the help given is: unquestioned, unswerving and unconditional.

    I do not think that Britain and France are good friends.

    To the British the expression ƒ??The Blitzƒ? refers to the bombing campaign direct at British cities; Blitzkrieg (lighting war) is a battlefield tactic to project maximum force on a narrow front to achieve breakthrough, just in case you misunderstood my previous post.

    Wikipedia is okay for some things but I have many more ƒ??reliableƒ? books and encyclopaedia to refer to.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marie Claude · 9 years ago
    um, the Brits, medias and elites, had/have the skills to arrange the history facts at their best, thus a legend in their honnor

    actually we can see how they manage with their communoties, shariah laws are going to be your rules, they can escape to France, some do, quite a lot though
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Another Brit · 9 years ago
    Marie Claude

    When you said you were French I thought you meant you were from the France on Plant Earth, not the France on Plant Zeta Reticular Prime.

    Have you got anything sensible to say, what is all this nonsense about shariah law?

    Please bear in mind it was not Londonƒ??s suburbs and British cities that were up in flames night after night with rioting it was Paris suburbs and French cities.

    Also more than 500,000 French people live in London alone, some call it Franceƒ??s fifth largest city.

    My work takes me to France quite regularly, have you ever been to the UK

    I will do my best to refrain from replying to anymore of this nonsense.

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