Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Arbritary revelations and disillusionment 4

By the time he’d survived the Second World War, Corporal Harry Robertson had had enough of the world. The world was of criminal intent; only self interest, violence and luck held sway. The prospect of going home, marrying, raising children and pursuing a career in light of the great and sordid truth life had stuffed in his kitbag dismayed him. In all truth he couldn’t do it.

He got off the train at Victoria, forewent his de-mob suit and cadged a transport over to France. There he located the recruitment office of The French Foreign Legion. And there he enlisted.

Harry’s reasoning was simple. Only the world’s military instruments of policy were free from the taint of greed, hypocrisy and cant. They had no hidden intentions. You could trust an army.

The first thing he noticed during training was the large number of Germans amongst the new recruits. Most had a burned off SS blood group tattoo under their armpits. After them came Italian Fascist enforcers, Milice torturers, Cagoule assassins, Chetniks and others with similar incentives for anonymity.

Harry now shared a dormitory with the monsters from whom he’d spent the war trying to protect the world and from whom, knowing them to be the dominant species, he had attempted to escape.

There is no room for irony in the Legion. Over the next five years he and these new champions of French interest fought impossible actions in hopeless situations from Dahomey to Indochina, in the cause of the Free World. It was bloody, thankless but free from rationalisation.