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'nothing is to be believed until it is officially denied.'
Americans have no history. Probably just as well. The
French, on the other hand, have too much. Practically every
street in Paris reminds them of a slaughter somewhere. Upon
the Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides, and dozens of other
piles of stone, the names of towns in Germany, Spain,
Italy, Poland, Russia... or North Africa... are inscribed.
Each one marks the deaths of thousands of French soldiers -
gone early to their graves for who-remembers-what important
national purpose. Every town in France, even the most
remote and forlorn little burg, has at its center a pillar
of granite or marble - with the names of the men whose
bodies were torn to bit by flying lead or corroded by some
battlefield disease. A whole race of orphans grew up after
WWI... and special seats on the subway were designated for
those "mutilated in war" including thousands of "sans
gueules" - men who had had their jaws blown away and yet
survived, too horrible to look upon.
The French have had enough of war - at least for now. Let
them enjoy a well-earned cowardice. We will get our chance.
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