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lundi 23 mai 2011

Expressions of the Week – “Navy Seals” and “Dogs of War”

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Une traduction en français sera publiée prochainement sur ce blog.

The American Navy Seals are an elite commando unit. The word SEAL is an acronym of Sea, Air and Land.

  The expression “The Dogs of War” was coined by William Shakespeare. In Act 3, Scene 1, of “Julius Caesar”, Mark Anthony says: “Cry ‘Havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war.”

Blood and destruction shall be so in use 
And dreadful objects so familiar 
That mothers shall but smile when they behold 
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war; 
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds: 
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge, 
With Ate by his side come hot from hell, 
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice 
Cry 'Havoc,' (1) and let slip the dogs of war; 
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth 
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

The phrase was also the title of a 1974 novel by Frederick Forsyth:


In that context the phrase has usually been used with a negative connotation but it takes on a positive sense when used to refer to the dogs that assist soldiers in warfare. When President Obama met the Navy Seals who had participated in the raid on Bin Laden’s hideout, one of the dogs that had been part of that assault team was also present to meet the President.

The Los Angeles Times of May 16 wrote: “Even as our technological ability to fight terrorism becomes more sophisticated, even as airport scanners electronically undress travelers and unmanned drones hover above war zones, we continue to rely on dogs to lend us their extraordinary senses of hearing and smell.”

Navy Seal Dog wearing Protective Armor
and infrared camera

U.S. Military Member Mike Forsythe, and his dog, Cara, break the world record for "highest man/dog parachute deployment" by jumping from 30,100 feet in this undated image released by the Canadian company "K9 Storm Inc.," which manufactures tactical body armor for military dogs. (Reuters)

Soldier and dog jump from 30,100 feet

This video clip pays tribute to military dogs: 

Additional sources:

(1) Havoc ! (dévastation, carnage) était en Angleterre, dans les anciens temps, le cri par lequel on ordonnait aux combattants de ne faire aucun quartier.

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