Je Suis… Tu Es… Nous Sommes…

Paris
This might not be the best time to ask, but I have a question.

For once the world is bonding in unison. One voice in anger. One voice in hate. Calling for revenge.

Not even global warming and the possible total annihilation of mankind has been able to bring us together like this; Conservative and Liberal, Republican and democrat; Moslem, Christian, Jew; we have found seamless solidarity in our repulsion of the monstrous throwbacks to the medieval ages — The ISIS. The anomaly. A group clearly not part of our shared humanity — for only Evil deliberately targets innocent civilians.

Moslems are tripping over each other apologizing for the aberration. Mostly they deny association with the mutation altogether; as they should.

United in their stance, Russia, U.S. and Iran have formed unlikely bedmates, not withstanding the Islamic regime’s misgivings about indiscriminate sex with the infidels.

France, the original red white and blue, the bastion of freedom has declared a state of emergency; curbed civil liberties and is conducting indiscriminate search and seizures.

Even the otherwise wimpy president Hollande has suddenly found his inner Sarkozy and overnight dropped 20 bombs on the presumed stronghold of ISIS, never mind the several hundred thousand civilians who live there.

The only difference of opinion seems to run among our illustrious Republicans: Should all Moslems be tagged and contained, or only those from Syrian origin, and if so, how should the tags be designed so as not to be reminiscent of … you know … – because that, they say, was a whole different story.
So here is my question: When you target civilians deliberately; and they die; is that very different from when you target ….well …. “a target”– knowing fully well that civilians will be killed. And they die.

The Brookings institute has reported that there were ten civilian casualties for every one militant killed by drones in Pakistan.

UNAMA places the civilian deaths in Afghanistan in a single year at 350.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, in a survey of 860 confirmed strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia; have reported between 735-1330 civilians killed; more than 200 children casualties; and 1489-1927 injured.

Which brings me to my next question: When you kill thousands of people in the name of Islam; is that very different from when you kill them in the name of Democracy?

According to terror experts — and there are lots of them these days – ISIS rank and file are stacked with disenfranchised, purposeless young men, brainwashed by their leaders whose principle motivation is the annihilation of the West. Well that, and a $350 monthly salary plus benefits for their families if they die.

Our boys in the U.S. Army, contrary to the patriotic fanfare played against uplifting soundtracks in the media, are majority high school graduates with no direction, financial means or prospects, actively recruited on school grounds.

According to a 2007 Associated Press analysis, “nearly three-fourth of U.S. troops killed in Iraq came from towns with per capita income below the national average. More than half came from towns where poverty rates topped the national average.

Recruits are guaranteed salaries and benefits. They are instilled with a sense of purpose by policy elites with a single mission: to annihilate the “bad guys”.

An ex-drone pilot conscientious objector described the “bad guys” in Afghanistan as males in white tribal garb “fitting” the description of a Taliban.

What about the beheadings? I know. Disgusting. But I also wonder about the humanity of a civilization that finds nothing wrong with targeting nameless faceless human beings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Yemen, from the safety of “cockpits” thousands of miles away in Vegas or Langley.

Besides, why fuss over beheadings when our close ally, Saudi Arabia conducted 192 such executions just last year – twice as many as ISIS; and no CNN coverage.

You say torture? I say Guantanamo. Water boarding. Extra judicial renditions. Abu Graib.

As for Terror? 130 people are killed in Paris and a state of emergency is triggered. Travel advisories go into effect and fear grips the citizens of the free world as far as the streets of New York. We debate how much of our moral and democratic values to sacrifice for the sake of security; and what human cost is acceptable for effective retaliation.

…A pitiless war it is! Because no attack on us shall go unanswered.

As Marc Rubio says, “If you kill one of us, we will come for you, we will find you and we will kill you.”

I don’t know the Arabic translation.

In the lawless stretch of land across Iraq and Syria; Afghanistan and Pakistan; from Yemen to Libya and all across the Sahel, 15 years of war on terror have left cities, villages and institutions in ruins, livelihoods and economies are destroyed.   Sunny days are no longer happy days. Children stay indoors because everyone knows those are the days the drones come looking for Moslems to kill.

In the new Middle East and beyond, Terror is the new industry, Revenge is its currency, a transnational generation of disenfranchised angry men its citizenry and the powerful its beneficiaries.

I look at the faces of the young Moslems responsible for the attacks in Paris and I see a reflection.

…extensions of a shared humanity.

Je suis Paris.

We are all Paris.

… we are Beirut, …Bamako, …Raqqa, …New York, …Baghdad, Kabul, Yemen…
Republique

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