Sunday, April 08, 2007

Are the British Now "The French"?

Little Green Footballs is logging some pretty impressive comment figures (500-600) on their posts about the contingent of British sailors and marines held captive for two weeks by the Iranians (compared to say 200-300 on other issues).
Some comments were relatively circumspect, there were plenty of irrelevant ramblings and some flame-wars as one might expect from any large blog thread. I didn’t have the patience to determine the majority viewpoint.

However there was a large contingent of the “Fighting 101 Keyboarders” who charged the British sailors and Marines as cowards and traitors for not fighting to the last man (or woman), and interestingly for not being abused-enough in their captivity to justify their televised “confessions”.

By the action or inaction of a mixed group of sailors and Marines on what was a maritime policing mission, members of the Fighting 101st are convinced the entire British military are cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
Following that logic, the entire US military is really a bunch of closeted homosexual rapists, murderers and torturers (as evidenced by Abu Ghraib, Al-Haditha, Guantanamo and various internment camps in Afghanistan—not to mention all the renditions that have taken place). But of course the fighting 101st doesn’t quite see it that way.

According to the fighting 101st this ad-hoc team of military personnel functioning as customs agents should have opened fire, and damn the facts that they faced overwhelming force, had nowhere to run, weren’t at war with Iran and were in no position to start one.

It is true that a soldier’s lot is essentially to fight and if necessary die for an objective. But each objective has a conjoined practical and political component in time of war—cities for example may be overrun or pounded into oblivion not for military gain but for significant political advantage. What possible advantage would have been gained by these British sailors and marines escalating a small confrontation into an excuse for open war?

But open war is what the fighting 101st want—not that they themselves will serve, nor that they expect to suffer the consequences. As they sit behind their keyboards they accuse others of cowardice and desertion, not recognizing their own.

To them, what is great and good in the world is strictly American and what’s American is defined by them exclusively. Everyone else who doesn’t subscribe to their view is “French”—even, it seems, the British.


teaghan's mom said...

we americans are a xenophobic people. but then, there isn't much difference between the french and the english - you're both rather inbred, snooty and look down on americans as ignorant bastards.
*waits for virtual verbal smackdown*

sumo said...

English have bad teeth...and the French are rude. And, yes...they think they are superior.

Carl said...


I was wondering when you'd chime in on this.

It doesn't surprise me that there's an ignorant element in self-indulgent America who would presume that situational ethics demanded a violent response, ugly and vulgar.

Hell, we do it all the time.

But I for one applauded the soldiers for thinking one step ahead. Sure, they could have fired on the Iranians, and probably gotten themselves killed. And then their side would never have been heard, and all we would have had is a "he said, she said" dysfunctional dialogue.

Cooler heads prevailed, thankfully, and if a power can't take a little humiliation when they are wrong, they might want to think of some radical therapy methods to calm themselves down and sort their own heads out.

After all, making up stuff that never happened is wrong and you pay a price for your deceptions. Better to take a long look in the mirror, and maybe grow up a little.

5th Estate said...

teaghan's mom...I know you are being sardonic but do you recall that drunk asshole in the bar when we were having drinks with Ian?
He was perfect example of someone who thought himself superior by simply being American.

5th Estate said...

Sumo....on the other hand they have provided croissants, great cheese and wine,significant scientists, philosophers, artists and memorable phrases like "Sacre Bleu!" and Zut! Fuff! Peng!" Oh and the decimal system which the British finally adopted--and that the US has yet to do (beyond it's money system).

5th Estate said...

Oh sumo, you forget to metnion how fat and self-indulgent Amrericans are :D

5th Estate said...


Had this situation occurres 100 years ago there would probably have been a similar demand from the British public to pound the crap out of the Iranians to make the point that Britain could not be dictated to--because back then GB was the world's superpower.

What certain elements in the US have to understand is that in this century the US is not actuallly a "superpower" in the same sense as the British or Spanish or the Romans were in their day.

The position of "superpower" is tenuous, and national jingoism is an old concept... the sooner abandoned the better. I think I might write a post about that next.

Carl said...

I look forward to it, my friend.

I'll see if I can email you a clip from a Peter Gabriel concert I attended a couple of years back.

He has much to say on that particular topic.

Aeneas the Younger said...


Other than New York, San Fransisco, Boston and parts of New England, I view the USA as a place to Golf in the late Autumn, or Winter.

When I want to travel and do interesting things - I go to England (UK), or the Continent.

I cannot bear the basic ignorance of the majority of Americans.

How you ended up there is beyond me. We could have used you up here.

sumo said...

You are so right! I don't know if fat comes first or the self indulgent...but you are certainly correct on that one. Oh...and very self-righteous...can't forget that one!

betmo said...

and those of us who aren't most of those things (i cop to being chunky) are branded the same way as the europeans. we are traitors to our country and should all move to france. sigh. if only i had the money and spoke the language. :) i am of the mindset that we have to fight these people over here so that the rest of the world won't have to. the verdict is out on how successful we are- but if we are half as successful as the iraq venture...

5th Estate said... did I end up here? I think I missed the turning...

sumo...I'm pretty self-righteous these days, maybe I;m more american than I thought! ( And I'm getting a bit fat).

"we have to fight these people over here so that the rest of the world won't have to"

LOL! Clever turn of phrase!

Nomennovum said...

5th Estate,

Ah! The old "chickenhawk" calumny. It always works. It is the zenith of cheap red herrings. The fact of the matter is, you have no evidence that the LGF posters are cowards; however, we have plenty of hard evidence that the UK sailors and Marines are.

I find it hard to believe that a man as intelligent as you cannot imagine why someone like me or an LGF commenter may not be in the armed forces of the United States. It simply defies logic to think that a non-military man calling a Marine a coward makes the accuser himself a coward.

But never mind. You seem to have forgotten that it is the job of a Marine (or sailor or soldier) to be brave in the face of danger, to resist coercion, and not to lie about their country when faced with the prospect of incarceration by mad Iranians. I expect the painter whom I hire to paint my house to be competent. I expect him to do a good job. Why? Because it's his JOB. If he fails at his job, I rightly call him a bad painter. Likewise, we expect a soldier to be brave when faced with danger. When captured, a soldier is expected to give his name, rank, and serial number. Every child knows this. How did these fifteen forget? Their JOBS are to be brave in adversity. That I not my job, 5th Estate (though I hope I would under similar circumstances).

The evidence is quite persuasive that most, if not all, of these fifteen are cowards. They certainly shamed Great Britain. They embarrassed themselves and their comrades. They made me embarrassed for them. You should be embarrassed to have such pitiful men fighting for your native land. It was shameful. It does no good to call their critics cowards themselves because it does nothing to change the evidence before your eyes.

Nice twist, though, making this episode another opportunity to bash the United States. The country must have done you great wrong. I am curious to know why you haven’t taken up Aeneas’s suggestion.

Aeneas, your hatred seems to be all-consuming. Observing your gratuitous cheap shot here and glancing at your website, I have to say that it doesn’t take a psychiatric genius to diagnose a serious inferiority complex.

Parklife said...

“we have plenty of hard evidence...”
I know what youre thinking.. and get your mind out of the gutter. The 101 Keyboardys do not, I repeat.. do not attack from the rear. In addition, it should be noted that Butch Cassady, here, would have blasted his way out with only his six-shooter.

“someone like me…”
Umm.. so you are in the military? Frighten’ them over there so we don’t have to.. well you know.

“Their JOBS are to be brave in adversity…”
Just how big is your gun? 6 inches? 7 inches?

“these fifteen are cowards…”
Butch Cassidy: How many are following us?
Sundance Kid: All of 'em.
Butch Cassidy: All of 'em. What's the matter with those guys?

“opportunity to bash the United States”
Because.. the Fightin’ 101 = the United States? Please see Betmo’s comment and 5E’s response to it. Really, you can do it. Its right above your comment.

“your hatred seems to be all-consuming…”
Really, once you get out of SF and Boston.. what else is there? Just kidding, I’m sure there is something going on in NYC...

Westside - Peace out!

Nomennovum said...


Your response made no sense but thanks for taking the time anyway.

Parklife said...

Damn! I guess we have something in common.

Parklife said...

Sorry about that.. I didnt know you were linked to the other side.

Nomennovum said...

Not really. For some strange reason, you attempted to answer a comment you now purport not to have understood. That seems ... a little odd.

I try to avoid wasting my time commenting on things that do not make sense to me.

Nomennovum said...


Carl said...

The fact of the matter is, you have no evidence that the LGF posters are cowards

Sure we do.

There's a whole flock of chickens out there, who won't sign up because there's "so much work to be done here to support the troops".

The only support those troops need from assholes sitting behind keyboards is for those assholes to pick up a gun and stand a watch in the Green Zone.


Carl said...

Which of course raises the obvious question to you, Novocainumb...

KEvron said...

"I try to avoid wasting my time commenting on things that do not make sense to me."

"try" was a good choice of words: it allows for the possibility of failure.

please, don't feel compelled to waste any time in telling me how you avoid wasting time....


Nomennovum said...

OK, Kevron.

But may I ask you if you are in need of any help?

Nomennovum said...


I see you've been on earth 49 years.

Is that the best you can do?

Carl said...

Nomennovum said...

I see you've been on earth 49 years.

Is that the best you can do?

"Know your audience" was the first thing I learned in acting, son.

So? The answer to my question is....?

Nomennovum said...

Oh, Carl, you don't know anything.

KEvron said...

"But may I ask you if you are in need of any help?"

i have this itch, right between the shoulder blades. be a dear....


Nomennovum said...

It's not a good enough reason.

Carl said...

Nomennovum said...
Oh, Carl, you don't know anything.

Sure I do. Would you like a list? I wouldn't want to hog up Brit's bandwidth, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind a quick summary of my CV.

Put it this way: Jeopardy refused to let me take Ken Jennings one on one, lest they have to give $6 million away to me.

Carl said...

So I'll take the answer to the obvious question, Novocainumb, is no.

I know of a fine recruiting station in your neighborhood. It happens to be my old neighborhood. Perhaps I can walk you over?

Nomennovum said...


You are smart? If you say so. You still don't know anything.

Love the continued use of the chickenhawk stuff. As I said, it's cheap and easy, if ineffective, rhetoric. You belie your claims to genius, though. But no matter ...

Sure, walk me over to the recruiting station in your old neighborhood. Let's see what they say. Where and when shall you and I meet?

Carl said...

Why, Novocainumb! I thought you were leaving this fabled tavern????

Or are you as bloviating a liar as you are a hater?

Nomennovum said...

Who's the hater, Carl? Judging from all of the comments to me, I am the least likely candidate here.

Further, are you SURE I said I was leaving?

Carl said...

Nomennovum said...
Who's the hater, Carl?

Um. You.

Maybe you missed it in all your cross-talk and self-referential droolings.