*. U. N. *
One of my favorite stories from the war in Iraq involves French surveillance jets co-located with US and British combat aircraft. In the days leading up to the start of combat in Iraq, Chirac's intransigence and treachery reached new heights, and the tension was palpable on our base. American and British aircrews would fly their missions, while the French sat idly by drinking their contraband alcohol in their mini "Cafe Paris." I refused to set foot in that building, though I did consider leaving a "steamer" on top of their bar. Unbelievably, the French still had access to the joint command center, and they used this access to transmit classified information to the enemy. They were rightfully ejected from the command bunker for about six days, if I recall, but inexplicably regained access privileges afterwards. It boggles the mind. The idle French jets on the flight line had the letters "U. N." painted on their fuselages, indicating their mission to monitor Iraq in conjunction with existing U. N. resolutions. A few enterprising British engineers conducted a late-night, covert mission to paint a 'C' and a 'T' on either end of the big UN letters, but were unfortunately caught by security. It would have been the ultimate coup.