“We’ll always have Paris.” Those words from the movie Casablanca may have taken on an entirely new meaning on Friday the 13th. With the co-ordinated attacks in Paris by sympathizers or members of DAESH (now the preferred term for the artist formerly known as ISIS since it reportedly pisses them off), the anti-Muslim rhetoric and threats of revenge are reminiscent of the hysteria after 9/11, in tone if not quite in degree.

More bombing is needed, let’s send troops in, keep the Syrian refugees in pens not fit for the animals we slaughter for our table, shut down the mosques…all are demands made by politicians and ordinary citizens alike. Of course the one about refugees has not been said literally but the tenor of the words several governors have uttered evoke that picture as they declare no Syrian refugees are welcome within their borders.

Never mind that the cowardly murderers responsible for Paris have mostly been identified as home-grown Europeans to date, several from Belgium, and did not enter France with any refugees it may have accepted. That all still needs to be sorted out but jumping to the conclusion that the violence was due to the refugees is unjustifiable now.

And since some were from Belgium one wag suggested that Belgian waffles and Brussels sprouts be re-named in protest.

But isn’t it odd that Americans and the Western World express such outrage over Paris and promise solidarity while adding a subtle tri-color effect to their Facebook profile picture, but no such love match has been made with Beirut which saw a series of car bombings the day before Paris or with Garissa, in Kenya, where the university saw nearly 150 students murdered by terrorists last April. Do we even know what the colors of their flags are, let alone display them in empathy? And the bombings in Beirut last week were merely the latest of a series of such attacks tormenting the citizens of that city.

And really if DAESH stuck to bloodshed against fellow Muslims instead of occasionally adding some beheadings of Christians or journalists to the mix would Americans give as much a shit about them?

The reality is that DAESH, claiming a Muslim jihad as its goal, kills mostly Muslims in its poisonous quest. Many more Muslims than anyone else.

But I’m hearing echoes of the days after 9/11, when images of the carnage remained stark in our minds, and the drumbeat of naked revenge gained power, eventually leading to two wars and numerous other mis-steps that have done more to destroy American freedoms and ideals than anything any terrorist or groups of terrorists could ever hope to accomplish from their vicious tactics alone.

Tom Engelhardt is a blogger and writer whose work I have read in several on-line publications. This piece appeared in The Nation a couple of months ago.

In the essay Engelhardt writes from the viewpoint that everything Al-Qaeda hoped to accomplish by its 9/11 masterstroke has been accomplished by our own hands with wars, suppressive laws, warrantless searches, and otherwise. All have torn the fabric of our nation to a damaging degree.

I have often thought in similar terms but Engelhardt pulls it all together in a cohesive  way. I may not be totally in accord with all his opinions but the exceptions are not important for this discussion. It is worthwhile reading. If you do peruse it, make of it what you will.

My main concern post-Paris is the ugliness in the reactions of us Americans. Even usually sensible people sound as if they could be swept up in the militaristic tone taken by Trump, Cruz, Carson, et al as they pimp for votes in the upcoming primaries and caucuses.

Post-9/11 was a scary period  to me, not because I feared an attack that could touch me or my loved ones directly, but because I could smell war brewing and being transported by a runaway train whose passengers in their past rational lives would never have been talked into the inglorious adventures ahead. Yet, there they were, all the liberal dirty news rags endorsing the wars and  pretty much accepting  any imprudence that survived illogic and unreason and became policy and practice.

Though not as hot and raunchy as those regretful days, it’s getting pretty warm here as the guns are oiled, warheads are loaded, drones are programmed, and anyone with somewhat darker skin wearing headgear not conforming to the requisite sports team logo ball cap worn backwards (itself a sign of a society in decline) or trendy fedora but which instead suggests some possible religious signifigance should beware treading the streets. After all, with many yahoos out there who cannot tell their right foot from their left, how can we expect them to distinguish Muslim from Sikh?

Much of what is said is intentionally aimed at causing fear. Fear often makes one use bad judgment, especially when it is a fear that is not visible at the moment. And the fearmongers want you to be afraid, be very afraid, so they can get their way to compel America to contribute ever more carnage to the piles of stinking corpses it has already produced around the world in numbers far more than any loss we have ever suffered due to the terrorists they warn us about.

And despite the total failures of our “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Afghanistan there continues to be a call for more American boots on the ground.

You know what? I will accede to that on one condition. That condition is that those who express this demand loudest fill those boots with their own damned feet.


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  • Devildog  On November 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Despite the total failure of our “no boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, there continues to be a call for no American boots on the ground in those countries and Afghanistan.

    What does Daesh want? It wants an apocalyptic war in Syria-because it believes it will win it. Not likely!

    Nice treatise UMOC-but what is it you propose other than negotiations? Or, perhaps, lying on one’s back and enjoying it to the extent possible.

    The fabric of our nation has been torn to a damaging degree? I don’t think so-well, not as much as has been accomplished by Obama.

    • umoc193  On November 18, 2015 at 12:20 PM

      Your first sentence mis-states the situation. Our failure was putting boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. Doing so in Iraq upset the apple cart to the extent that now ISIS/DAESH exists to the extent it does. Doing so in Afghanistan was dommed from the beginning and it is inevitable that when…or if…we fully completely withdraw forces, that nation(?) will descend into its inevitable chaos. The Russians found this out and don’t we like to think we’re smarter than they are?

      As to whether negotiations are the sole answer to present conditions I am not willing to go that far, But there sure as hell more creative ways to deal with this than simply more war. Looking behind the scenes, the way the U.S. and the rest of the Western world often treat Muslims is the greatest recruiting tool DAESH has.

      • Devildog  On November 18, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        My first sentence does not misstate the situation-your last sentence is typical liberal bullshit which tries to explain, to rationalize, to (in a sense) justify why madmen are madmen. “They” see it as there obligation to establish a caliphate as taught to them by “messianic”, Hitler-like leaders.

        With people like that, “creative ways” must be preceded by military victory-or creative ways are needed to achieve military victory. If there can’t be a military solution, military victory is the only way to achieve a non-military solution.

  •  On November 17, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    Excellent! Excellent!

  • Little_Minx  On November 17, 2015 at 4:53 PM
    (Of course it’s not just Trump and his frothing acolytes, as so many other GOP Presidential candidates are also now demonstrating re Daesh, Syrian refugees, etc.)

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