Saturday, November 14, 2015


French President Francois Hollande vowed a “merciless” response to the deadliest attacks on the country’s soil since World War II as ISIS claimed responsibility Saturday for a coordinated assault on Paris.

A state of emergency was declared and France deployed 1,500 troops after a near-simultaneous series of explosions and shootings brought the city to a horrified standstill overnight. The death (toll was at least 120)...

French police were hunting possible accomplices of eight assailants, who attacked concert-goers, cafe diners and soccer fans in a coordinated assault targeting at least six locations in the French capital. Authorities said that seven attackers blew themselves up, while the eighth was shot by police.

Just Parisians and tourists enjoying a night out.

Islamic State claimed responsibility on Saturday for attacks that killed 127 people in Paris, saying it sent militants strapped with suicide bombing belts and carrying machine guns to various locations in the heart of the capital.

The attacks, described by France's president as an act of war, were designed to show the country would remain in danger as long as it continued its current policies, Islamic State said in a statement.

The French have been at the tip of this spear before, when the offices of cartoon satirists Charlie Hebdo were attacked in similar fashion.  Could this be swift retaliation from the drone assassination of "Jihadi John", aka Mohammed Emwazi, just a day or two ago?

There have been remarkably inappropriate responses from American politicians already.  First, Ted Cruz, who believes that the appropriate response is to kill civilians in the vicinity of IS.

We must immediately recognize that our enemy is not ‘violent extremism.’ It is the radical Islamism that has declared jihad against the west. It will not be appeased by outreach or declarations of tolerance. It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life.

Cruz did not specify where these airstrikes should take place or what they should be targeting.
Cruz also called for “a halt to any plans to bring refugees that may have been infiltrated by ISIS” to the United States. Previously, Cruz has misquoted U.S. intelligence officials to make the case against taking in Syrian refugees.

There is no evidence yet that any refugees were involved in the attacks. 

Then there's Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.  There won't be no ferriners in his district, he's tellin' ya raght now.

If you have looked at your Twitter feed this morning, you'll see the following trending topics: #ParisAttacks, Islamic State, and ISIS, along with Stop The War, #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist, and #MakePeaceIn5Words.  Earlier, #WW3 was also trending.

I don't know what the appropriate response is so soon after this horror, but I don't think Ted Cruz or Jeff Duncan or any other Republican are ever going to have the proper one.  It seems that IS at the very least has managed to export its very radical definition of terrorism well outside the borders of Syria and Iraq, and the West's response is -- sort of like Israel's to the Palestinians -- hit 'em back harder.  We've had a few hundred years, it seems, to learn that this is probably not the best path forward.

The Democratic debate tonight will have some fresh questions.

“American leadership is put to the test,” (CBS' Steve) Capus said. “The entire world is looking to the White House. These people are vying to take over this office.”
“This is exactly what the president is going to have to face,” he added.

Mr. Capus said the news team had planned a different debate, but “there is no question that the emphasis changes dramatically.”

“It is the right time to ask all the related questions that come to mind,” he added. “We think we have a game plan to address a lot of the substantive and important topics.”

It will be revealing to me to see where Mr. Capus drives the bus tonight.  My prediction is that we're going to watch as Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley put on their most hawkish facade and talk tough, to avoid being called doves by the thuggish GOP (which will happen, even if Hillary Clinton threatens to turn the western Syrian desert into glass, trust me). 

There's a larger national conversation that it feels like we ought to be having.

Do we bomb or do we talk?  If we talk, do we talk about what influenced and radicalized, from the beginning, the people who carried out the bombings and beheadings and killings?  Or are they just too crazy to talk to and we keep on droning them until they're all dead.  (Except they won't be; there's always a fresh generation provoked by the martyring who wants to 'get some payback', too.)

Update: If you want to better understand this dilemma straight from the horses' mouths -- i.e., every living CIA director -- then start there with the second page of the report on drone assassinations, and then back up and read how Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et. al. got it wrong in 2001.  (The documentary will air at the end of this month on Showtime.  Here's the trailer.)

And when does America get hit?  Sooner, or later?  Does the guy/gal sitting in the Oval Office catch the blame if it happens on their watch?  Do we invade some country that had nothing to do with the attack because they're close by?  How about more troops on the ground, which means more flag-draped caskets, more solemn, longer Veterans Day parades, and eventually -- a couple of decades from now -- a granite monument to the fallen in DC, and other towns across the country?  How about some more torture and wiretapping of American citizens?  More VA atrocities, more homeless vets, more suicides of vets?

I've seen this movie before.  Can we rewrite the script?

1 comment:

Charles Turner said...

There are two options that could work. Genocide of the region, meaning, kill them all, or try to work in some statesmanship and reach an accommodation that will ease off the non stop killing. In between is a few more generations of the same thing we have now.