Saturday, January 10, 2009

Disposable Heroes, French Style

Often far from the imaginations of many people in the western world are the French Foreign Legion.

Often operating in total secrecy, the famed Foreign Legion are foreign citizens recruited to fight for France. In many cases, these individuals are leaving behind badly tattered personal lives in order to be put through a strenuous month-long basic training followed by near-certain combat:

It isn't difficult to grasp the benefits of having a force like the French Foreign Legion at one's disposal. Whenever a mission emerges that is almost certain to involve absorbing casualties, the French have someone they can send to fight their battles for them. Because they aren't French citizens, there's little need to worry about outcry from the French populace when a few soldiers die.

The negative implications of having a force like the Foreign Legion go deeper than a simple threat to the government -- as was the case when the Foreign Legion conspired to assassinate Charles DeGaulle over his policies regarding Algeria. The existence of such a force also undermines the responsibility a government owes to its soldiers: to only send them into harm's way when absolutely necessary.

Once again, because Legioniarres aren't French citizens it's easy for French politicians to regard them as unworthy of the same concern that would be shown for the life of a member of the French regular army.

While some may say that it would be better for many people -- except, perhaps, the French -- if France were to abolish the Foreign Legion.

However, for all the negative implications of the Foreign Legion -- including turning out thousands of potential mercenaries into the open market -- the ultimate decision for that will be left to the French. And so long as there remain foreign nationals willing to fight and die for France, it's certain that French politicians will see little reason to do so.


  1. Danke. You can find some great things on Google video.

    I never really looked around there much before. Now, I look around much, much more.


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