The Italians used to escort the Dutch Fuel Tankers in Afghanistan, they would turn up in their crappy armoured cars, get out and sit on top in their silk cravats and mirrored sun glasses. Definitly didnt look the part!
At least they have stuck at it until they could leave with honour - more than some countries. The Iraqis needed support, and the Italians helped them. Good for them.
I would not however comment on their effectiveness as Soldiers, as they were not really tested during their time here. THey do have some very nifty hats, though. Bersagliari with black c*ck's feathers in their helmets, and the current Bde, with their rather fetching red jellybag hats (like a sort of oversized beret) complete with long gold string and a big tassel on the end - fantastic!
Well said, OldSnowy. As easy as it is to make fun of the Italians -- and they do it themselves! -- their discipline and effectiveness should not be underestimated. Remember Beirut 1983? Between the Americans, French, and Italians, the Italians were the most effective at completing their mission.