98. "The French are sloppy-looking soldiers. One look at them and you know they're not good fighters."

     You don't tell how an army fights by the way it looks. The Greek soldiers wore funny white skirts -- but they licked the pants off the dashingly dressed Italians, and they put up an amazing fight against the might of the Wehrmacht, the Panzers, and the Luftwaffe.

     German officers called American GIs "sloppy," "careless," "undisciplined" soldiers - but it was the Germans who got the shellacking.

     The army of George Washington often looked like a ragged mob. Their fighting record is another story.

     The French under General Le Clerc fought their war from the heart of Africa to Lake Chad and up to North Africa in an astonishing campaign. No one sneered at their uniforms then.

     It might be helpful to remember that many French soldiers had been guerrilla fighters (in the FFI, the Maquis, the resistance). They still dress, act and carry themselves like guerrillas.