30 December 2006 | Saint-Aignan
"French bashing" in "The Unit" ?
Just watched all the first season's episodes on this new series (only recently broad casted in France, sorry). I'm a huge fan of "The Shield" and I thought Shawn Ryan would create another wonderful show. A bit disappointed, but i really like "The Unit" as a whole. It's realistic, even in some details aren't technically true for spec ops' experts. Of course, showing the wives'lives side is an excellent idea.
Fiction is fiction, and I understand that US audience may prefer a American-centered point of view or maybe not be aware of every technical or historical details, but still, I must admit I've been shocked by the first season last episode, "The Wall".
First, the end, the shoot-out scene. Can someone explain how six heavily-armed ex-Yugoslavian war criminals, including a man wanted by an United Nations warrant, managed to enter the US homeland and a US military base without being noticed ??? How did they know where the unit base is ? How did they even identify Blane's group ?
Second, the French Foreign Legion troops seen in the 13th episode, supposedly in Bosnia. They wear British army uniforms and helmets, and drive American military vehicles... OK, they use French assault rifles. The beret's color isn't right. French Foreign Legion soldiers wear a light green beret, not black or dark green as seen in this episode. But the emblem on it is right. The "sword and wing" emblem is the French paratroopers' emblem. Even if all Foreign Legion units aren't airborne, there is only one of them among nine units... I know them, I served as lieutenant and captain in a French Army's Airborne Cavalry unit (with red berets), including six months in Bosnia.
Third, their commanding officer (played by Sebastian Roche, a French-Scottish actor), allegedly named "Jean-Marc LeClercq" as an arrogant French aristocrat. "Leclerc" or "Leclercq" are very common family names in France, not aristocratic at all. They are like "Smith" in the US... Aristocratic names always are composed of the word "de" (meaning "of") followed with the former family castle name. For example, my name is "de Saint-Aignan", because my family comes from this small town in central France and owned a castle there far long ago in the past (until French revolution in 1789, just after the US Independence war, so I think we can say that's history). Since then, we're just normal people, not richer or more arrogant or less democratic than usual folks. Coming from an aristocratic family doesn't necessarily mean you're a bad guy...
I suppose this "Leclerc" name used for this fictional character comes from General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, one of the most famous Second World War French heroes. But "Leclerc" wasn't his real name, it was his code name. In fact, he was Philippe de Hauteclocque, aka Leclerc.
Fourth, I was amazed by the way Bob's character says (at final dinner) that French people are lazy and that they would have lost First and Second World Wars without US help ! He's even happy and proud to have stolen this old family emblem and everyone seems to find that normal. Is it that normal and admitted to insult a foreign nation and its army ?
I can understand that some Americans don't agree with French government foreign policy, although France never made anything against the US and is still recognized as a US friend and ally, but lying about historic truth in a prime time show isn't for sure the best way to help world peace.
It is true that Second World War Allies' victory against the German-Italian-Japanese Axis wouldn't have been possible without the US. But they didn't win this war alone... Nothing would have been possible without British and Soviets troops.
And although France praises and appreciated the US military help on First World War, there were "only" four million American soldiers (126.000 of them died, may them rest in peace and be thanked for their sacrifice) in France. Compared to 14 million Russian, 8 million British, 8 million French, 5 million Italian troops... This war could have been won without the US, even if it would certainly have been harder.
The United States of America and France have the strongest links any nations can have in the world and helped each other many times in the past. As a military, I always worked efficiently with American troops on NATO and UN missions, and our mutual cooperation always was respectful and professional. I've been several times to the US, had an American girlfriend, even lived a while in northern California. And it makes me sad to see this kind of "French bashing" becoming so much usual and trendy, even in a prime time and supposed to be realistic show... Did the producers think it would make it more popular ?