Posted by: Christian | March 26, 2008

Quote of the Week #2

No intro for this quote. Just take a guess as to who it is:

“Here there is a war against terrorism, against fanaticism, that we cannot and must not lose. That is why it is important that we help with the emergence of an Afghan state that is legitimate, democratic and modern.”

That John McCainesque quote is from none other than French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who made the comment while visiting Afghanistan late last year. Sarkozy has backed up his rhetoric and plans to deploy up to 1200 additional troops, likely to Eastern Afghanistan. This is with 36,000 French troops already deployed overseas, most prominently in Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, Kosovo, Guyana, Chad, Western Sahara, Central African Republic and Lebanon.

Two things are certain: 1) French soldiers will conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and bravery; and 2) The lame references to the French being cowards will continue to be uttered by those who have very little grasp of the difference between prudence and cowardice.

Photo: Ceremony for a French soldier at the Kabul Airport. France has lost 15 soldiers in Afghanistan so far, a number that will definitely rise substantially with the increased deployment.

[Added comment] What Sarkozy said yesterday in the UK:

We cannot afford to lose Afghanistan. We cannot afford to see the Taliban and al Qaeda returning to Kabul. Whatever the cost, however difficult the victory, we cannot afford it. We must win.

Churchillian rhetoric that is.


  1. Merci à vous!
    Very kind to read something else as the common depiction of French as “surrender monkeys”.
    French soldiers are professional ones who waged many complex stabilization ops throughout the “arc of instability” for many years. My comrades are today in Chad (where my regiment, whose Reserve component I belong to, is the core of EUFOR), and some of them died in an air bombing in Ivory Coast (the same day their fellow US Marines were assaulting Fallujah in November 2004).
    French Special Forces worked with the CIA Operatives during the shaping phase of Enduring Freedom. Many of my friends participated through Operations PAMIR (I to XI) to the training of newly ANA’s officers…
    Stéphane TAILLAT

  2. Oh, if only ONE politician in my more or less beloved home country had the guts to say something like that!

    Last time someone did (former Minister of Defence Struck saying that Germany’s security would be defended there) he was (and still is) ridiculed …


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