Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in The Havok Journal on 15NOV15, but with the French Foreign Legion back in the news here in the US, I thought it might be time to dust it off and re-post it.
As with every terrorist attack and mass shooting, the internet has been ripe with keyboard commandoes, militia supporters, and Mil-Sim paint ballers telling the world how they would love to go over to Bahrain (because they often don’t know the geography of current international security threats very well) and shows those God damned ISIS goat lovers what’s what. Of course, most of these loud mouth, arm chair tacticians have never served a day in a uniform they didn’t design themselves or download as part of a video game mod.
Some of them know what they’re talking about when it comes to weapons. We all know the type – we see them at the local public shooting range in their expensive tactical pants and operator caps, usually armed with expensive weapons that include every imaginable variant of cool guy gear that can be attached to an AR-15 platform…much of it tan-colored. Because the deserts of the Middle East are tan. And that’s what the guys on the commando fan pages are wearing.
What they are usually not familiar with is having targets shoot back at them. Or tactical movement techniques. Or physical fitness.
This is in no way meant to disrespect or minimize anyone who has ever served in uniform, nor is it meant to disrespect anyone who served in peacetime. It is especially not meant to undermine anyone who simply never heard the call of military service and took a different direction with their lives.
This is meant to disrespect the chatroom big mouths and militia weekenders who have everything to say about how much they’d love to “go over there” and sling some lead on behalf of ‘Murica. The ones who take every opportunity to let people know that if the terrorists ever come to America, by God there will be hell to pay! But never served.
As a nation, we’ve been at war in the Middle East since CIA folks and U.S. Special Forces began linking up with the Northern Alliance in September 2001. Opportunities to deploy overseas have been abundant in our military. Even many members of the National Guard and Reserve have multiple deployments as part of the Global War on Terror.
If you really wanted to get in the fight, the opportunities have been there for you to do so.
For the U.S. military, things have slowed down just a bit as our operations have tapered off, although that could change at any time.
The French, I suspect, are getting ready to take the gloves off and demand payment in blood for the price they paid on Friday the 13th in Paris. President Hollande is no stranger to dealing with Islamic militants; just seven months after taking office, he launched Operation Serval into the West African country of Mali after forces of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, and other Islamic militant groups began taking over large swathes of land in the area and imposing Sharia Law on local residents who didn’t want it.
That didn’t work out very well for the militants. I suspect once the parent organization for the attacks in Paris is identified, things are not going to go well for them either.
So, keyboard commandos just itching to get your pound of flesh, this is your chance. The United States military may have been scaling down combat operations, but I suspect the French, including the legendary French Foreign Legion are just getting started.