Friday, September 26, 2003

The French are such cards

I am so ashamed to say I am part French... and so glad to say I'm mostly... well, let's leave that out just in case. Let's say I'm glad to say I'm American.

Why am I ashamed of my French heritage? Because of this. A French author, Thierry Meyssan, created a deck of cards naming the "most dangerous" U.S. leaders. The deck takes a jab at the Iraqi most wanted cards given to U.S. soldiers hunting down the likes of Saddam Hussein and "Chemical Ali".

In a article, Meyssan is quoted as saying, "I found it completely indecent to present a manhunt as a game..." He completely missed the point.

I have friends in the military. When you're on an operation in a foreign country, especially in hostile territory, there's not much to do on your downtime. It's not like you can run to the mall and hang out. One of the favorite pasttimes is cards. Whether it be solitaire, gin rummy or a group poker game, cards are portable, cheap and versitile.

So, if you want to have your soldiers familiarize themselves with the names and faces of the people they're looking for, you don't hang posters everywhere... you put those faces right in front of the soldiers. By putting them on playing cards, you force them to look at them while they're relaxing and you force them to look at them over and over and over. Plus, you have the added bonus of giving them a handy reference they can - and will - carry with them.

Just imagine two soldiers on watch. A man walks by near their checkpoint.
"Say, Fred, isn't that the ten of hearts."
"Gee, Wally, I think you're right."
"I have my cards right here, Fred, let's check him out."
"Okay, Wally. And after we capture him, we can sit down for a rousing game of 'go fish'."

Of course, Meyssan's attitude didn't surprise me once I learned he is the author of a one-time French best seller, "9-11: The Big Lie," claiming that no plane ever crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, and that the attacks were plotted by a faction within the U.S. military. Yeah... RIGHT!

Tell you what: If you're American, raise your hand. If you're French, raise both hands.

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