112 gripes

    8. "We've had more beefing from the French than from the Germans. We are always quarreling with them. They criticize everything. They have to put their two cents in. But the Germans - they just do what you tell them to. They're co-operative; the French aren't."

     Two men working together are more likely to tell each other off than a prisoner is to tell off the warden.

     Of course we differ with the French; of course we argue with them. Why? Because we have a common goal and face common problems. Because we, like the French, have been taught to think for ourselves, to "put our two cents in". Democracy is based on the idea that everyone has a basic right to "put his two cents in". In America we say, "I'm from Missouri" or "Sez who?" The French have the same attitude; they say, "Je ne crois que ce que je vois". ("I only believe what I see.") Or "Je ne demande pas mieux que d'etre convaincu". ("I don't ask much; I just want to be convinced.")

     There is a saying that in France everything is permitted that is not strictly forbidden - but in Germany everything is verboten that is not strictly permitted. We are in the French, not the German, tradition.

     Yes, we quarrel with the French. The members of a family argue pretty freely. inside the home. We quarrel with our allies. We don't quarrel with our enemies - we fight them.

     As for the Germans, they've got to be "co-operative". They have no choice. They're under military law.

     Which is better: a critical ally or a fawning enemy?

     "Flatterers are the worst kind of enemies." - Tacitus.