By Steve Browne
Well, it’s happened again to everyone’s shock and horror, but to no one’s surprise.
Jihadists struck at several locations around Paris. The latest death toll stands at 129.
Some of the attackers are dead. More believed responsible for planning are being sought.
France reacted by bombing areas held by ISIS in the Middle East.
Satisfying for sure, but not likely to affect anything in the short run.
Other reactions include cries of “false flag!”
Some people love this one. It makes them feel wise and powerful to know they have the world figured out when all us peasants are still in the dark.
I have a couple of observations. One is that it violates the Principle of Parsimony expressed in William of Occam’s famous razor.
Paraphrased it means that of competing explanations, the simplest is most likely to be closest to the truth. In this case you have a bunch of murderous fanatics screaming they did it, they’re glad they did it, and they’ll do it again. Versus the CIA/Mossad managed to talk a bunch of peaceful Islamists into doing something they’d never have thought of on their own.
As the late Christopher Hitchens said, “What is asserted without proof may be dismissed without proof.”
Another predictable reaction is that they’re “not really Islamic.”
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, has a doctorate from the Islamic University in Baghdad in Islamic studies and history. His immediate family include professors of Arabic language and rhetoric.
Could you please tell me how he’s “not Islamic” with citations from the Koran and Hadith – in Arabic with notes on translation?
Then there’s the blowback hypothesis. We caused this by our meddling in the Middle East and all the people we’ve killed there.
This argument has some merit to it. We have meddled, and continue to do so and lately our meddling has caused two large Arab Muslim countries to collapse into chaos. Iraq because we didn’t have the stamina to stay and do the imperialist peacekeeping thing after we deposed a murderous tyrant. And Libya because we knocked off a murderous but relatively well-behaved tyrant and didn’t even bother to march in and fix things.
And by the way, the U.S. did those in spite of vociferous objections from France.
One can point out that lately Muslims have killed hundreds of times more Muslims than Westerners have.
Doesn’t matter. That’s what cops call a “domestic dispute” and they hate them precisely because attempts to break up a fight often end with both parties turning on the meddler.
We could talk all day about why they hate us and miss the essential point – that they hate us, and there is probably little we can do about it. They have their reasons, but they are theirs not ours.
The attacks on Paris were well planned and involved French citizens born in the country but who do not feel themselves to be French, coordinated with fellow-jihadists outside the country.
And they will do it again.
Why? What do they hope to gain by it?
Well, sometimes they do manage to affect state policy. After the Madrid bombings in 2004 that killed 191 people and wounded 2,050, the Spanish voted out their government and withdrew the miniscule force they had in Iraq.
What I think they’re doing is counting coup.
The Plains Indians gave the highest honors not to warriors who killed the most enemies, but to those bold enough to ride in amongst their enemies and slap one in the most insulting way possible.
The jihadists come from a proud hyper-macho culture that sees the wealth, freedom and accomplishments of the West as deeply humiliating. They cannot hope to overcome the West by military force, but they can humiliate us back.
And no matter how much we bomb them in return, one coup counted against the West is a greater victory in their eyes.
If I am correct, this is going to go on for some time.
I would give a lot to be wrong.