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As Paris Bleeds

| November 14, 2015

paris bleeds pierre tristam

Paris in more ordinary days. (© FlaglerLive)

I can’t think of a more trite thing to say at this moment, or a more truthful: I love Paris.

I’ve never lived in Paris. But it’s always felt like home whether I’m there or not. I can rarely be there. So when I need to feel its cobblestoned streets on my soles, I read Balzac. When I need to smell the foul odors of its tempers, I read Zola. And when I’m in withdrawal from not hearing the pompous lilt of Parisian French, I watch the news on French TV, which calms my need to hop the next flight. I feel that way about only one other city, New York, where I lived for seven years. The parallels now intersect where madness does.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive Friday’s attacks on Paris don’t come near those of 9/11 in any way. They’re more like copycat amplifications of the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s staff in January: same kind of soft targets, same primitive tactics and idiot fanaticism. But the attacks are just as emotionally painful. I didn’t feel that way when suicide bombers, in a little-noticed preview of the Paris attacks, killed and wounded 200 people in Beirut Thursday evening–the worst bombing since the end of the civil war in 1990–and those victims were once my compatriots. But I feel that way about Paris, and I don’t doubt a billion people who’ve never set foot there feel that way too. It’s our city as most other cities could never be.

Like it or not, Paris defines us historically, politically, culturally. It is the birthplace of human rights (if not quite human rights’ best model over the years), the ornery matron of democracy, and of course the Holy See of rationalism. That’s what those bastards attacked Friday. Acts of barbarism reduce our reactions and emotions to something equally primitive: I love this. I hate that. What else can we do but weep and scream, show solidarity in what little ways we can. It’s not as if any of us, the commanders of every military in the world included, could up and strangle the perpetrators or carpet-bomb them back to the age of amoebas from where they came, even though it’s what most of us wish we could do. You can’t defeat kamikazes when they beat you to the punch.

ISIS, al-Qaeda, Islamism (as opposed to Islam), they’re strains of the same disorder, the same epidemic. And like all diseases, especially diseases of the mind, there’s only so much that can be done in the absence of a cure. More bombings isn’t it. “Boots on the ground,” that revolting euphemism that reduces soldiers to that symbolic grave-marker even before they’re killed, isn’t it. It’s what got us to this point to start with. Let’s not kid ourselves: there was no al-Qaeda before the CIA armed the mujahideens in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets in the 1980s. There was no Taliban before Pakistan did the same with its own radical Muslims. There was no Hezbollah before Ronald Reagan chose to aid and encourage the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. There was no ISIS before George W. Bush invaded Iraq and atomized a dictator into a thousand mirror images all over the Levant.

In every case, an insurgency arose out of reckless, short-sighted interference for military gain. In every case, the United States and the West have had to retreat in defeat. Reagan surrendered and retreated from Lebanon. Afghanistan is no less lost to us than it was to the Soviets, with the Taliban ascendant. Iraq was never close to won, and is still the second-most violent nation in the world after Syria. And we want to make the John McCains and Lindsay Grahams’ fetish for more troops sound more reasonable than the fetish of ISIS fanatics for more heads?

15 years of occupations and bombings haven’t stopped terrorism. They’ve fueled it.

Of course we’re behind the curve, but only to the extent that we refuse to acknowledge that this is not an offensive on ISIS’s part. It’s blow-back. It is the continuing consequence of decades of false assumptions that American or western weaponry can make a difference in the Middle East, let alone effect change that mirrors western ideals. It can’t. It can only instigate the sort of mayhem we are now contending with. There is nothing to do but absorb these attacks. That sounds anathema to a nation of jingoes. But it’s a nation of jingoes that led us to the blood-pits we’re in now.

We can fight back. But not by attacking in turn, and again, but by ending the murderous cycle to the extent we can and should: by closing Guatanamo, which has served as an excellent recruiting symbol for a generation of jihadists, by leaving Afghanistan, and by leaving Iraq for good. Syria and Iraq are Iran’s and the Arab world’s problems. They’re not ours. We’ve never won there. We’re not about to. Staying there is a guarantee of little more than western casualties–there and in the west. It might feel good to chest-thump for bombings and troops and another invasion here and there. It’ll accomplish nothing that the Iraq and Afghan wars haven’t failed to accomplish. That doesn’t mean western forces have zero role to play. But if it’s terrorists we’re after, the Abbatobad raid showed what works. Invasions and drone wars guided from a base off the Vegas strip does not.

And cracking down on civil liberties while stepping up the police state a-la-Patriot Act at home certainly does not. That, too, is a brutal lesson of the Paris attacks, which took place in the most police-heavy capital in Europe.

Two years ago the French legislature passed the Military Programming Law, whose Article 20 authorizes government agencies to spy on phone, Internet and any other electronic communications in real time, without a warrant or even a judge’s knowledge. That law was in effect when the attacks took place against Charlie Hebdo, and of course when they took place Friday.

In May, the French parliament approved an even more sweeping spying law that gave police the power to install recording or video spying devices in people’s homes and cars, tap their personal computers, their cell phones and any other digital device, and to target associates of individuals under surveillance to be monitored with the same scrutiny. The powers may be exercised on French citizens as well as foreigners. (The Constitutional Council, reviewing the law in July, struck down a provision that would have allowed international surveillance and given police authority to conduct unbridled and undefined operations in emergencies, without oversight, but let remaining provisions stand). Prime Minister Manuel Valls cheered the law as an effective weapon against terrorism. That law was in full effect Friday.

It did nothing to stop the attacks. The French had no clue. Nor did the NSA.

If anything, and perhaps counter-intuitively, because of its broadness, because of its lack of required, defined and calibrated targets (a definition that to some extent still applies in American domestic spying, though not by much), it creates a false sense of security while producing a mass of data that no agency could effectively analyze. It doesn’t improve the ability to search for needles in haystacks. It creates haystacks in the search for the few needles. Like the National Security Agency’s gathering of mass metadata, it dilutes the effectiveness of calibrated intelligence. Put another way: it stupefies intelligence gathering under the guise of omnipotence. To say that it doesn’t work is not speculation. Paris tells us: it did not work. Doubling down on spying and surveillance won’t improve matters any more than doubling down on missile tonnage against ISIS.

A newsman on French TV this afternoon was interviewing an anti-terrorism “expert” who’d allegedly been predicting an attack for a while. It’s a skill no greater than a clock’s ability to strike 12 twice a day: anyone who makes such predictions is proven right sooner or later in the age of terrorism, which stretches back to the 1970s. But the newsman asked the expert one of the most pointed questions of these attacks: how does a democracy respond to men dressed in explosives, wielding AK-47s and being willing to die.

The answer is that a democracy does not respond, cannot respond, without diminishing itself as a democracy and aping the traps of autocracy and militarism, as Europe and the United States did in the wake of 9/11 and the 2005 attacks. We have a choice. We can continue down that autocratic warpath, as we have for the past 15 years. Or we can begin to take a few lessons from the history and blood of those 15 years of failure. We’ve not lacked for lessons. Paris is the latest.

Of course it’s not the last. We’re too stupid and bloodthirsty to make it so.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Follow him on Twitter @PierreTristam.

paris place de la concorde metro

(© FlaglerLive)

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65 Responses for “As Paris Bleeds”

  1. Can't Say says:

    May all the victims of this travesty rest in peace and those responsible be held accountable.

  2. Dean Carpenter says:

    Taking the perspective of a Jingoe for the moment let me see if I understand.

    1. We never ever elect another Republican president.
    2. We never ever elect another Republican senator.
    3. We close Guantanamo.
    4. We pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq (military, commercial and charitable operations?).
    5. We identify the top terrorist leaders, and I mean top, and kill them (I think I got this one wrong).
    6. We stop spying on suspected enemies because it’s confusing.
    7. We do not respond to future terrorist attacks.

    I know I’m missing something. In your last paragraph you said we have a choice. Following this path the only choice I see is to become a Muslim. So rather than throw homosexuals off of towers. Or stone women. Or let my neighbor kill his daughter. Or give up pork BBQ. I will stick with the Jingoe’s.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can’t say more than what “Can’t Say says” says.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe you chose this event to advance your hate for Republicans. It reminds me of Obama after Bengazi, you should be ashamed. Can you at least wait a week or two, you should have learned something from Obama’s mistakes. You make excuses for cowards who murder innocent people, there is nothing that explains the hate that drives the Islamic Terrorist to kill women and children other than the fact they are evil.

    My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones, may France have the resolve to defend their freedom and liberties against those that harm them.

  5. Veteran says:

    So I guess we just continue ignoring ISIS and wait for the attack here in the US.

  6. Fredrick says:

    Pierre, Maybe I missed it, you gave lots of things that we have done wrong but did I miss your solution to the problem? Should we just pull everyone home and ignore the situation? Will that make it all go away? Will that have everyone singing around a fire holding hands? What’s the solution? Why don’t you layout a plan, make some suggestions.

  7. Patriots223 says:

    As a disabled veteran who knows what is like to stand for a cause…Pierre you disgust me. Luckily long after you are gone your children will remain to reap what you have attempted and failed to plant.

  8. Kamikaze says:

    The late Usama bin Laden unfortunately stated in one of his last interviews “You (Americans) fight to live, and (We) Al Qaeda fight to die.” Sad outlook with many more lining up to keep it going.

  9. ScotchRox says:

    Hopefully Obama will offer up a swift condemnation of these attacks. That usually stops this sort of thing from happening again.

  10. Dean Carpenter says:

    As you know I do not agree. Since you deleted my original post I have learned my lesson. I am relegated to the side of stupid, bloodthirsty Jingoes so you can silence me. Freedom of the Press ala Tristam.

  11. Dean Carpenter says:

    Not sure this apology is sincere enough considering. Do you read the comments on Flaglerlive? We’re not exactly afraid of opposing opinions. No conspiracy here to silence your take on a commentary, so keep that in mind when we want to take a few hours off from moderating comments on a Saturday night. ~FL

    Sorry my original post is now back.

  12. Rich Mikola says:

    Let 100K of those so called refugees in and it will be our turn next!!

  13. b&b says:

    Obama owns this one. When he pulled the troops out of Afghanistan it allowed ISIS to come in and gain strenght and start the murdering rampage which we all live with now. When he first came into office his goal was to destroy our America which him and his wife hate and he’s getting closer with one year to go..

  14. I/M/O says:

    I/M/o this is a must watch video as to what is going on in Europe.

    This needs to be read also: This is what Hillary Clinton’s State Department had set up all across our nation and with these relocation centers in place they are now starting to bringing the “Syrian War Refugees” into the United States. This is the list of the nationwide Population, Migration, Refugee-Office of Admissions-Refugee Processing Centers that have been established to bring the Syrian War Refugees into the United States to complete the Radical Transformation of Our Nation. First 10,000 Syrian Refugees Are Already Arriving in Louisiana – Estimated Cost To Taxpayers For Family Of Four Is $257,480. They are being settled in the New Orleans area.…/21Nov14_Public%20Affiliate…

  15. BeachcomberT says:

    I hope one day we can learn whether the masterminds of this attack simply were retaliating for airstrikes against ISIS (dubious — is France even taking part in the airstrikes?) or whether this is an attempt to swing US politics toward hawks and suck the US into a wider Mideast war.

  16. Mike says:

    How predictable from Pierre. He cuddles up with his idol, our current Sissy-in-Chief – “Let’s not make them even madder, or offend anyone, by calling them what they are – Muslim trash. We don’t want to hurt anybody, we don’t want to break anything. Let’s condemn the attacks and hope for the best.” We can only hope that our current laughingstock “leadership” will be gone before this Islamic sewer scum strikes the USA.

  17. Freddy says:

    This is only the beginning of attacks in Europe. With countries taking in refugees that plant Isis fighters in every European country and open borders, they can easily move from one country to another to carry out terrorist attacks. We will see the same attacks here in the US if we start taking in these Syrian refugees. We have our own mentally sick people that do the mass shootings to deal with. We do not need to add Isis to the equation.

  18. ken says:

    Pierre finds the causes of this tragedy to be the mistakes of his political foes, the Republicans. No mention of any mistakes by the Democrats. This is a classic case of a good, but closed mind, seeking ammunition to support his beliefs and ignoring anything that goes against them. Pierre, you are better than that.

  19. Pierre Tristam says:

    It’s not surprising to me, but as ironic as a cronut in Montmartre, that I’m getting a lot more approval for this piece from my numerous friends in Paris (where it seems half my UNIS Class of 1982 moved, with one of them a frequent patron at Le Petit Cambodge restaurant) than from American readers. Enlightenment of course is still more Paris than Palm Coast, unfortunately. But anyway. That does’t make these comments any less fascinating in their way, a mirror of our conventional thinking of the past 15 years that, as I thought was my point, got us to this point, and can’t seem to get us out.

    Yes Dean, you have my points half right (I see you ran up against the ire of my first-line moderator over your churlish impatience last night, when FlaglerLive’s staff of 600 was trying to enjoy a pizza out), though I don’t recall saying we should stop spying or attacking our enemies so much as doing so less like East Germany or Russia in their degenerate phases and more like an intelligence service and a thinking military. You can call smart bombs “smart” all you like, they’re no substitute for intelligence, which has been rarer than Trump modesty in this mess. Nevertheless Dean there’s a ton of room for disagreements, if not quite the sort of idiotic statements b&b makes about the Obamas wanting to “destroy America.” I have my issues with the GOP’s idea of foreign policy since Nixon (I would rather return to the Eisenhower kind, the last president who could, and did, drive through Islamabad in a convertible, at 5 miles per hour, and survived; those were the days when America was beloved in the Middle East, just before Ike decided to overthrow an Iranian prime minister, starting that domino effect from Shahs to Ayatollahs). But we should at least use as a starting point the notion that even Darth Vader Cheney has America’s best interests at heart.

    Beyond that, I see all sorts of misreadings about us “doing nothing” but I don’t see anyone saying what we ought to do that’s different from what we’ve been doing for 15 years. Isn’t that Einstein’s definition of insanity?

    So understanding that we have vast differences of opinions, which is a great thing (just as Sunnis and Shiites do: that’s the heart of the conflict in the Middle East, curiously enough, and we’re interfering in it, provoking this endless backlash: let them resolve their own madness as Catholics and Protestants did in Europe, though it took them a few centuries), let’s hear some pragmatic ideas. I gave you mine, and I can provide a few additional ones I discussed on my Facebook page. But generalities and “I’m with the jingoes” sort of chest-thumping is getting us nowhere. We supposedly have shared values, us and Europe, and presumably each other here, one of them being the free exchange of ideas, which we are too often confusing with the costly exchange of bombs. So let’s discuss those shared values, and how they square with our actions in the Middle East, understanding that these pious assholes aren’t attacking us—as opposed to attacking, say, Ecuador, Mongolia or Papua New Guinea—for no reason.

    OK. So now we have a new attack. What do we do? Invade Syria? Send more troops to Iraq? Re-start bombing Libya (oh, wait: we just re-started that Friday.) How many troops should we send in? What’s the objective? If ISIS is the problem and ISIS’s scrotum is in Syria, should we invade Syria? Is anyone here ready to say: let’s attack, let’s invade, let’s re-occupy? I’m all ears. Alternately, what? More bombings from the air? We’re doing that. So is France. So is Russia. But we did that in Afghanistan for more than a decade and it got us nowhere better than a Seal team finally did to our objective. If the objective now is the eradication of ISIS, how do we get there? Come on Strangeloves, I’m all ears.

  20. Anonymous says:

    All I read is a clueless person that hates all things republican, Well Obama made ISIS that is his bed to lay in. Writing and talking is not going to stop killers from killing. World leaders tried that with Hitler and it didn’t work. You have to remove and stop the horrid cancer from spreading as its the only way. ISIS is a cancer that is spreading. And Obama is going to let more people into the US, how do we know they are not ISIS supporters we don’t.

    I see from your article you are providing no means to stop this horrid madness around the world.

    Right now ISIS is shooting around the world, bombing planes, bombing buildings, shooting innocent people at a restaurants, sports events and musical events. If and when, the real key word is when ISIS comes to our shores and kills our friends and family, what are you going to do let them shoot at you.

    Think about it. Nobody, no police, no military is going be there at that time to protect you our your friends and family. Its just you so what are you going to do ?

    The world needs to stop ISIS and that means boots on the ground, increases boarder security in every nation, extensive background checks,increased security at airports and monitored baggage and mechanic personnel, All sporting events and places of business must require security walk through gates/devices to check for weapons and explosive devices sure its drastic but a least is some sort of protection.

    I served 15 years in the military and these nuts hate Americans, they hate anything that represents freedom which means our way of life. This is real people, not some board game.

  21. Geezer says:

    Well, at least the Muslims have an effective Migraine treatment.
    They simply behead you.

    These terrorist groups have achieved one thing which towers over
    all their other “achievements:” Islam has become a mostly reviled religion.
    There are no Muslim extremists – they’re simply adhering to the
    teachings of the prophet Mohammed. Just call them “devout.”

    The violence has only begun. This “religion” will usher in World War Three,
    which will probably be the last war ever fought. Pray that these lunatics
    never get control of missiles with atomic warheads.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  22. Guest says:

    Tristam isn’t saying “do nothing”. Rather, he’s pointing out that our foreign policy needs an overhaul. It doesn’t matter which party occupies the White House. Our foreign policy in the Middle East has been pretty much the same since the end of World War II. It looked like it worked for a while, but the blowback had been building up for a long time and will continue to smack us in the face if we don’t change course.

    By all means arrest those who planned these attacks and bring them to justice. But our corrupt system of funding these fanatics to do our dirty work in that part of the world and trying to eliminate them once they become too extreme must end.

  23. Fredrick says:

    Sorry Pierre, but just turning it around is not an answer. You did nothing but say what we have done wrong. You tell us what you think we should do. It sounds like you are promoting doing nothing but collect intelligence. What good is that if you do nothing with it. You do mention let them solve it themselves. If so, then turn around all the immigrants and let both sides battle it out and kill each other until one side becomes the victor. That’s not an option though I am sure there are those who would. The extent of this humanitarian crisis is real and needs to be dealt with. But draining the countries effected of it’s people, should not be the option. If the violence were to end there is nobody left to rebuild the country. Regarding your friends in Paris, no doubt they feel like you. My friends in Germany are waiting for the same thing to happen there. The village of 100 Germans that now has a population of 800 of which 700 are refugees is just loving life now. Yep I am sure those hundred are just a bunch of racists in your eyes because they are not welcoming 700 more. My friends in Germany keep telling me that the news reporting there is just as bad as we have here. It leans left and makes it sound like Germany is welcoming the refuges with open arms when the truth is tthe Germans are saying ENOUGH!!!!

  24. Linda says:

    Thank you Pierre. You never shy away from the difficult work of saying things that we as Americans rarely hear: that our foreign policy is failing us in this region and has failed us for decades. We don’t like to fail, and of course we kill the messenger who brings us the news. As always, I come to your site for insight into these issues, and you always unpackage the complexities surrounding this topic with clarity and intelligence. This was a powerful, provocative piece.

  25. Commom Sense says:

    The haters have once again found a way to blame President Obama for this. They think everything bad that happens in the world is his fault. What stupidity. We have learned nothing from Korea and Vietnam.
    Does anybody really think a Carson or a Trump can stop this?

  26. groot says:

    The Paris attacks are an appalling and inexcusable act of mass murder. We need to now deal with the source of the violence. At this point, causality does not matter . We have to stop these actions with whatever means we have at our disposal. After the violence has stopped, then we can deal with hundreds of years of inequality, mismanagement and injustice in the Middle East. However, now we need to stop the source of the violence.

  27. Fredrick says:

    Guest…. the point is “Tristam” provides nothing but criticism. Such an easy thing to do to sit back and just fuel the flames. The best I can tell his solution is to let them fight it out. If he wants to do that then send the refuges back, give them a gun and to the victor goes the spoils.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      So again, “Frederick,” what would you do? You criticize me for not giving alternatives (I disagree, I think the piece is clear enough on that, providing more of a historical perspective than criticism if you care to be precise about it, though admittedly this is the United States of Amnesia, where our historical perspective stops at yesterday’s Facebook status), but what would you do? And just out of curiosity, what are those quote marks around my name? Or is that a subtle personal insult of some sort alluding to past slurs?

  28. Anonymous says:

    If, as many pundits say, the roots of the Muslim Jihadi movement are nourished by poverty, illiteracy and hopelessness, I would think that a critical (and possibly more effective) solution would be for the many worldwide Muslim Mosques, organizations and oil-rich Arab countries (especially those in the Gulf) to step up to plate and organize and fund a comprehensive global network that can effectively target and address those problems. I don’t think expecting other nations to do so is appropriate, especially since many Muslim communities don’t seem to be assimilating well to the outside environments these elements then turn around and attack. So, perhaps the solution does lie with the Muslim community itself, Pierre. Sincere proclamations from moderate Muslims that the majority do not share these hateful ideologies are appreciated but protestations of Muslim solidarity and candles in the rain ain’t going to cut it. Violence seems to be begetting only more violence. Let’s see the global Muslim community seriously step up to the plate and literally put their money and their efforts where their mouths are. If this doesn’t happen, I fear that a terrible backlash of Islamophobia is inevitable, especially given the strains that will result from the current migrant crisis. It might also help if the Muslim community started addressing the problem of indiscriminate over-population within their own group. That may not sound fair or politically correct to some, but, let’s be real.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Anonymous, agreed in many respects. To repeat what I said on Facebook, It’s not our fight, but we’re not powerless: the Arabs should be owning this battle. I was thinking more in terms of a reverse embargo. We cut off oil imports, at great pains to us and Europe (but not at the cost of lives, so it’s a better alternative), absent a serious Arab coalition that takes on ISIS, including of course ISIS’s secret sponsor, our “friends” the Saudis (on the side of the coalition, if they dare), whose hands in evil are too many to count. We’ve been fighting the Arab world’s fight for them. They’ve barely lifted a finger, or a soldier, though they have all of our most advanced weaponry. What for? Let them show some spine and let us mend ours. ISIS is still a bedraggled bunch of little shits who know how to use social media, slash throats and blow themselves up, but can’t possibly present an existential danger to the west, when they’ weren’t even capable of holding on to a tiny Lebanese town they had their eyes on and haven’t been able to hold on to what desert territory they’ve held in Iraq and now parts of Syria. They’re a serious threat, as any band of fanatics with access to weapons and cash are, but we should keep that threat in proportion to its capabilities while doing what we can not to fuel it.

  29. Geezer says:

    It’s interesting that these sub-humans perpetrate their brand of terror in the name of “Allah.”
    They blow themselves up for a heavenly reward including some of a perverted nature
    (to deflower 69 virgins), so they ruthlessly murder anyone to punish those who offend their
    beloved and almighty creator.

    If their god is almighty, why does he need these feculent pigs to murder in his name?
    Does he not find these actions “offensive” in their own right?
    Is he so impotent that he needs bands of blood-thirsty criminals to pay homage to him
    by joyfully killing innocents?

    As an agnostic, I’m not a fan of religion in general, as it divides people.
    But to call Islam a religion – that’s a stretch. Islam a diseased way of life which enslaves people,
    ensures no intellectual growth, and a sows misery on a world-wide scale.

    I am open minded but seeing mosques in my country makes me ill. These are shrines
    to the injustices that human beings perpetuate on each other. Our constitution guarantees
    freedom of religion which only proves that even good medicine has unwanted side effects.

    It’s interesting and tragic how abysmally stupid the six billion “true believers” are.
    “Hit men” for god. I recall stories of Palestinians jumping for joy when the Twin Towers fell.
    I’ve long lamented the terrible treatment of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government.
    But sights like this certainly temper my feelings on the matter.

    Please visit this link for a running list of Islamist efforts to curry Allah’s approval.

    It’s eye-popping, blood curdling, and growing….

    I still have the images of Americans jumping out of windows as the twin towers burned.
    I still see the airliners flying into the twin towers.
    I still hear the growl of the engines before impacting the towers.
    I still see the survivors caked in ashes.

    I still cry for my loss and the other 3000+ families on September 11, 2001.

    I extend my middle finger to Islam forever along with two words.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Let’s not conflate Islam with islamism, because if we do, the list of christendoms’s continuing aberrations and war crimes, not least our own in Iraq, would put islamism’s to shame faster than you can say hellfire. And if we look back a few years, let alone a few decades, we get into genocides that would make islam’s worst excesses look like a Calcutta neighborhood where Mother Theresa hung out. If we’re going to be factual, let’s start with facts that go past yesterday.

  30. Fredrick says:

    No Pierre, The quote marks meant nothing in regards to the numerous comments that have been made about you and your upbringing. I don’t really don’t care. You moved with your family out of a difficult situation. Just as my family did a generation ago. The quote marks were because I fond it odd when “Guest” addresses you by your last name. Your liberal paranoia is getting the best of you. And no I don’t have a solution either but I do not sit here like an arm chair quarterback and criticizes what has been done on the past. That is the easy thing to do. The one thing I know, is we should not and can not let the cancer spread.

    “”FlaglerLive”” (double quotes for Pierre’s benefit). If you would call it “”””Radical Islam”””” you would have had it perfect. Not sure why you have difficulty doing that. These manics don’t represent what Islam is, just as anyone who does horrible things in the name of religion does not represent the true meaning of their beliefs. These nut jobs are doing this in the name of their religion. They are radical Islamists. It is time that the true Muslims stand up and do something about it. And the US and other nations should help these true Muslims fight for their country and their beliefs. But the question is, do these true Muslims exist, where are they, are they willing to fight for their true religion?

  31. Geezer says:

    Pierre: Thank you for remarking on and posting my comment.

  32. Brian Riehle says:

    Pierre…Here’s a solution to the problems in the Arab world….I don’t think anyone from the west since the days of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) really understood the Arabs, and he was undercut by the French & British politicians at the end of WWI. The Arabs are a tribal society, with no real appreciation for “country” or “nation”. Always have been, always will be. Plus they are split between Sunni and Shia, which exacerbates the problem. Calling them Iraqi and giving them an Iraqi flag is meaningless (if you are a Kurd), and this holds true throughout the region. They are still a bunch of tribes living under a flag that the Western world gave them about a hundred years ago. It’s been said that even Lebanon isn’t a country, just a “good idea”
    Just today I heard an American politician on TV talking about getting all the “tribal leaders” together to work out a solution the the problems in Syria.
    So none of “our ideas” will work over there. Let the Tribal leaders work on it.
    The west should pull all of our resources our of the region, and let the Arab world sort it out among themselves. Let them redraw their borders anyway they can work it out. (Don’t worry about Israel because they can and will take damn good care of themselves.)
    The supply of oil to the west and to China will continue to flow because the Arab states still want the income, and if Iran becomes the Big Kahuna in the region that will just be the way things turn out.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you about the Saudi situation, Pierre although outside interference in the Arab world does not seem to do anything less or more than make things worse. I remember that bizarre photo of George Bush holding the hand of a Saudi royal, like he was on a date! But, isn’t this the people’s fight and wouldn’t it be contingent on the Muslim world at large to organize against these terrorist and repressive regimes from the inside? Also, that particular point of the overall picture doesn’t address the base level challenges and needs that will inevitably result from the migrant crisis that is occurring right now and will probably not let up anytime soon. Again, the global Muslim world can (and should) organize its own charity (hate that word, by the way) and aid organizations and develop their own distribution centers and mechanisms. It must be accomplished in a way that the people most in need will feel comfortable (and safe) accepting. Dependence on foreign bodies also tends to breed resentment (sometimes, even an internal sense of shame/humiliation.) That’s one reason why I think it should come from inside the Muslim community itself.

  34. tomc says:

    Obama recently directed that an additional
    100000 Muslim “refugees” be admitted annually. This is in addition to the 380000 currently authorized. And of course their extended family members will eventually be allowed to join them.

    Do the math…over ten years that will be at least 3.9 million more Muslims. That is a huge pool of potential terrorists that Obama invited in.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Tom c I’m surprised you didn’t also refer to those filthy Arab refugees as drug pushers, child molesters, father-rapers and goat-buggerers. What, The Donald got your tongue?

  35. Matt says:

    I couldn’t agree with this article more. Within an hour of reporting the footage, the media was already blaming ISIS. They brought on “experts” from the CIA, the FBI, and law enforcement agencies. They kept on repeating “this is what the FBI is afraid of, this is what the FBI warned us about,” “the French government on highest alert since the Charlie Hebdo attacks and they were still unable to prevent this attack,” and etc. Yes, I reiterate the last one — no amount of government spying can prevent these kinds of attacks. These attacks spring from ideas which can be carried across borders, blockades, and barbed-wire fences. You cannot stop the spread of ideas. Turning the cameras and the gun barrels against our own citizens is not the answer. Maybe we do not yet have an answer. But instead of ignorantly jumping on the bandwagon, everyone needs to slow down and think. Eliminate the non-answers, bad ideas, and strawmen first. Then proceed to a workable solution. And jingoistically declaring “War on Civil Liberties” is definitively NOT the answer.

  36. YankeeExPat says:

    “French Warplanes Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria”

    N.Y Times NOV. 15, 2015

  37. Oldseadog says:

    This editorial at the link below pretty much hits the nail on the head! It is time for Government Leaders of the Nations of our planet to get real. Get together and solve this IMMEDIATE crisis instead of conferring such abstract topics such as world warming crap.

  38. Mike says:

    France is kicking major Isis ass with air strikes – glad to see that someone has the balls to reciprocate the brutality! Hey Allah! this napalm’s for you!! It was also reported that Ojamba will be dropping milk and cookies in a show of kindness…

  39. Anonymous says:

    Reported by CNN.

    French President Francois Hollande has blamed the Islamic extremist group ISIS for the wave of violence Friday that put parts of Paris under siege. He called the coordinated attacks on restaurants, bars, a concert hall and a sports stadium “an act of war.”


    I guess in France it’s ok to tell the truth, unlike what the Liberals in the USA want. Liberals really don’t have a clue what the rest of the world thinks, but they always assume they do.

  40. Dean Carpenter says:

    Pierre, I see your point. We have an enemy with no agenda but to destroy us. There is no better world vision. There is nothing to negotiate. They went after France for god sake. France – the champions of live and let live.

    Genocide is not a viable option. They don’t use drugs and alcohol.
    What is a body to do?

    1. Legalize drugs. On a roll out basis starting with Chicago. Specify what drugs are legal, and establish registration and a local distribution network. Globally contract with Afghanistan and or Pakistan to provide opiates bringing them in as long term capitalist partners. Expect to see the benefits identical to when prohibition ended. Syndicates and the related violence went away, safer products, fewer border issues and the product lost some appeal just because it was legal. At the same time enforce harsher mandatory penalties for illegal drugs. Please note I promote this idea after watching drugs become available to every grade school student in the US on a daily basis despite a 50 year war on drugs.

    2. Enforce immigration laws. Control our borders as a nation of laws should. Treat all immigrants the same. To resolve the mess we allowed ourselves to get into grant illegal immigrants who qualify (no felonies) amnesty. Deport the rest. Stop political amnesty shelters and political asylum. Stop granting citizenship to babies of non-citizens – it is being abused to the detriment of the US. Identify enemy nations and require travelers to document their travels. Those who have improper documentation or who have been to an enemy nation may be detained for national security.

    3. Simplify the laws. Laws should be written so they are understood without the input of a Supreme Court ruling, Senate subcommittee or the arbitrary mood of the IRS.. Understanding the laws we live under brings unity.

    4. Legalize line item veto. Looks like lobbyists are here to stay but this will allow the least amount of waste.

    5. Demand the truth. Life is pretty simple unless you start reading federal laws. Truth is usually simple too. But lies are stated, accepted, amplified, crucified, resurrected and deified because it’s all about the agenda and truth that subverts the agenda is becomes a lie (you listening Pierre?).

    So there you go. Not one shot fired nor one bomb dropped. Five easy steps to start defeating terrorists by making the US stronger.

  41. Knightwatch says:

    Well, Pierre, you certainly got the conservative hawks stirred up. Not one of them has any knowledge or appreciation of the complexity of Middle East politics or its internal cultural conflicts. The common thread of the warhawk right is simply to quarantine all Muslim citizens and refugees in all Western countries, declare war on the Middle East and just let loose our military might on Muslims – any and all Muslims – regardless of the fact that there are some 2 billion Muslims in this world of which about 40-50 thousand, at best, are ISIS fighters. Never mind that ISIS imbeds fighters into cities, towns and villages surrounded by innocent civilians who are just as afraid of them as we are, and far more abused. But, it seems our brave conservatives are perfectly willing to drop four or five hundred thousand American fighting men and women into chaotic Middle Eastern countries – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe Lebanon and Pakistan – lay waste to them and indiscriminately kill as many Muslims as we can in the hope that we’ll get the bad guys (remember our glorious Indian wars – good times!). Then I guess we permanently occupy these countries so that ISIS doesn’t regroup somewhere after we leave. Oh, by the way, we do all this whether or not any of our allies care to join us, because that’s “leadership”. So, above all, don’t think for a moment of the thousands of American and Muslim lives that will be lost and the many billions, even trillions of dollars it will cost, with absolutely no guarantee of success. Yep, it’s all so simple. Why didn’t our president think of it.

    Onward Christian soldiers!

  42. Robbie says:

    In August the UK Guardian reported that the US led coalition has bombed Syria over 5000 times. An investigation of 52 of those strikes concluded that over 400 civilians had been killed.

    Where is / was the reporting by US journalists and the corresponding outrage over this barbaric act?
    Does it make a difference if the loss of innocent life is from long range and impersonal or if it is up front and personal?

  43. Geezer says:

    RE: the hyperlnk: alluding to past slurs?
    What a good looking kid!

  44. w.ryan says:

    Remind me again What were you fighting for?

  45. Dave says:

    I’m still waiting for Pierre to tell us how he would rid the world of ISIS,.

    FYI: 72 hours before Paris attacks, ISIS-linked social media account reveals ‘God bless you in your mission’

    Where were the watchers of social media, where was the warnings to France ?

    There is NO talking with ISIS or diplomatic solutions ISIS is a cancer just like Hitler and his army and this cancer needs to be wiped out by the armies against terrorism.

    People can blame, Clinton, Bush, Obama whoever, the time is not to blame but to act before we have to face terror again on our shores. I spent 20 years in the military and I will defend my family , will you or will people just want to “talk”. FYI, ISIS doesn’t talk they kill.

  46. confidential says:

    I agree with Pierre this time.
    Look at history and remember we didn’t have this terrorism before the forced the creation of Israel in the Palestinians lands around 1943. Mayhem started then.
    The western allies intervention in the internal affairs of the middle eastern countries have created this current mess. As I recall started with the USA influenced deposition of the Sha Rheza Palevi in Iran and look what happened afterwards. Same thing with Bush and his lied based Iraq invasion and subsequent killing of Saddam Hussein now is a bigger disaster than ever before. Same with Hillary and her approval to intervene in Lybia and the killing of their ruler, now that country is also a heaven for hosting and training Isis. Currently why don’t we let Assad handle his fight against insurgents and Isis?
    Actually why don’t we let the Arab countries to resolve their problems themselves, pick their own fights and fund their battles? We should all stay out of those tribal societies that have nothing in common with us, they have a total different culture and we should not try to change it. Our western intervention exacerbates those problems generating extreme terrorist cells like Alqaeda and now Isis targeting us for our foreign involvement. We no longer can afford to police the world without bloody pay back.
    I have always felt that every time we get involved in conflicts in the Arab world is like we are totally ignorant of the magnitude of “their convictions” Conviction is what moves them to fight hurdling rocks against machine guns or use their bodies on suicide attacks when they do not have tanks. Let them fight their problems and wait for the winner to establish relations.
    Obama is not perfect but neither is he a war monger, that we no longer need. The man is right, didn’t we have enough yet with over ten years of Iraq war and another ten in Afghanistan so far, when enough is enough?

  47. confidential says:

    All those here modern crusaders, calling and approving more western intervention in the Middle East affairs, are you all ready maybe for 196 years of blood shed, war and more terror? “The Crusades were a series of religiously motivated wars occurring in the 11th through the 13th centuries, fought primarily throughout the Middle East. The Crusades began after Muslim nations captured Jerusalem, a city holy to Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The Catholic Church launched the First Crusade in 1095 to take back the city, and nearly constant warfare followed for the next 200 years”.

  48. yankee says:

    Americans should be way more concerned about ourselves than we are muslim extremists.

    Our right wing terrorists have killed more people in the USA since 2002 than muslim terrorists have.

    Keep looking outside the borders for danger, but we are killing ourselves faster than any enemy.

  49. Anonymous says:

    @Confidential Says–Israel is not at fault for Islamic Terrorism. To blame Israel for the criminal acts of jihadists is ridiculous. it is the jihadists who use the Palestinian issue as a excuse to vent their bloodlust (and it’s mostly other Muslims they have been killing thus far) and give free reign to their psychopathic pathology under the guise of it being a religious calling. ISIS has been quite clear about their primary goal and mission, which is to establish a global Islamic Caliphate (or rather, THEIR definition of such.) That is the essence of the genocidal brutal occupation mind-set that people like you just LOVE to accuse Israel of, usually on the flimsiest of pretexts (and without even as much of a glance at the terrible acts that are being perpetrated by their ever-present and relentless opposition.) People who exploit these terrible tragedies to forward their Anti-Zionist views are just as ignorant and reprehensible as those who try to use them as a springboard to justify their Islamophobia and stir up the pot.

  50. Linda says:

    Hi Pierre – You compare your ‘friends in Paris’ with your ‘American readers’. Get out of Florida & you will find ‘American readers’ with a very different impression than the one that prevails in this comment section.

    When we get in there & actually examine ISIS fighters, we see that they are not in that gang out of any belief in extremist Islam. They are the boy-characters in ‘Lord of the Flies’. Their general profile: barely if at all literate (comparable to 6th-8th grade educations if at all); family to support (married with kids); work experience as a manual laborer, until injury makes them unable to work in that capacity; offered work for ISIS; terrorized by ISIS after agreeing to work for them; no friends to speak of; self-identifies with his country-of-origin, with Islam, & with his family, NOT with ISIS; is tired of war; wants security; wants to be back with his family; ignorant about Islam (unable to answer rudimentary questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, & the caliphate); absence of any strict religious ideological training (unlike recruits of 10-20 years ago).

    These mostly illiterate recruits came of age after 2003. Without exception, they express their outrage against the Americans for killing Saddam & making their country unstable & dangerous to live in, & making it impossible to get food to eat (a basic survival need that now goes unmet). Nouri al-Maliki, our guy, was a vicious leader who promoted sectarian fighting, but we liked him because he did what we wanted for our own interests. While growing up as children, these boys had no life; they were unable to go out (due to the dangerous environment), & a big part of their adolescence included a complete absence of any female friends. At critical junctures of their lives (during adolescence), these boys were uprooted, fleeing violence in their provinces in search of shelter in the large cities. Many lost fathers due to imprisonment, execution, & insurgency fighting.

    They are not radical extremist fighters for Islam. They are angry young men without prospects for a productive life, angry at America for transforming their lives into being ‘children of the US occupation’.

    I have a young friend in Kabul who closely fits this description. He is the same age as my daughter – 20. He has finished all of the education that is available to him, with zero prospects to ever fulfill his dream of studying pharmacy abroad & then returning to his country & his family to try to make their lives better. What differentiates him is that he is driven to NOT be illiterate, so he is able to read online & to engage in discussions with people on social media all over the world; & that his father & uncles have mostly survived, given that his father is a tribal leader. He despairs that he will never have the opportunity to become ‘successful’. Every day in Kabul, there is horrible violence to avoid. His family would like to leave Kabul to return to their province that they fled when he was 9 years old due to violence there, but it is too violent to even attempt this relocation. Every day, 10-100 civilians are brutally killed in his country, mostly by ISIS, al Qaeda, & the Taliban.

    Americans are waking up to this reality. We are increasingly figuring out what a horrible mess we have, at the least stirred up, & at the most been responsible for. There will always be people who cling to the failed policies. Always. But they become increasingly irrelevant.

    I fear for my young friend in Kabul. For his life, & for his ability to not get sucked into the desperation that makes ISIS the only alternative for so many. As long as his family can maintain their vineyard, located about 150 miles outside of Kabul, they will be able to generate income. But this ability relies on many factors that they cannot count on, like staying alive traveling to & from the vineyard. He is hungry for books to read, but there is no way to get books to him. So I ‘read’ to him, chapter-by-chapter, when I can, on social media, & listen to his story. I cannot even begin to imagine what his life is like, but I do know that our contribution to that life is unacceptable.

    Most of the reader comments in this thread show utter ignorance for the facts. No point in discussing this when such ignorance prevails. But there seems to be a little pocket of ‘dumb-ness’ running here that is not so prevalent elsewhere. Not all American readers are this badly informed, & there are plenty of people in Paris & the rest of France who make our ignorance pale in comparison.

    That’s all. Good essay. Thankyou.

  51. tomc says:

    Pierre’s response to my facts speaks eloquently to his character.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      tom c, let’s not confuse facts with bigotry. In your numerous comments on FlaglerLive, you have a Pavlovian habit of equating anything black with “thug.” It’s always blacks. It’s automatically “thugs.” Not surprisingly, Syrian refugees give your racism a fat new target. I’ll stick with the eloquence of my character against yours any time.

  52. Sherry says:

    Thank you Pierre for your excellent analysis, and Linda for your first hand account of a broader perspective. Pierre, I agree with you completely regarding tom c and other bigots, racists and religious zealots who frequently comment on this site. They are directly playing into the hands of the terrorists.

    I would like to point out that the President of the US “alone” has LIMITED authority when it comes to committing the beloved lives of US citizens and the massive dollars of US tax payers to any kind of military action. President Obama asked Congress for an AUMF (an authorization for Military Action) on FEB. 11, 2015. That letter can be seen here:

    As usual, the Republican political obstructionists in Congress completely stopped the AUMF from going anywhere:

    ( Boehner said he would support additional U.S.-Iraq financial assistance. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in Washington this week publicly pressing for billions of dollars in foreign aid to boost his nation’s military, among other things.
    “They need equipment,” Boehner said. “We didn’t leave anything good behind.”
    Boehner said the Authorization for Use of Military Force the president sent to Capitol Hill earlier this year is going nowhere. )

    Please be aware, also, that our Republican Congress has the constitutional responsibility to introduce and approve it’s own AUMF/Declare War and has NOT done so!

    I, too, have been very busy communicating with our friends and loved ones all over France and other countries in Europe. They are most grateful for our loving solidarity and reasonable leadership in these terrible times. They understand. . . much more than we do. . . that this is NOT a battle between countries, NOT a battle over Territory or Land or Resources.

    The true ENEMY is a band of blood thirsty murders and cowards who come from ALL countries and all walks of society. They are called by many different names. Fascists, ISIS/ISIL, White Supremacists, Al-Qaeda, Nazis, KKK, Taliban, etc etc. They often use an insane radically twisted religious ideology to motivate other sick minded criminals to join them in their murderous scourge against ALL peace loving, civilized human beings. Their goal is to create TERROR!

    * If we PANIC- THEY WIN
    * If we act in FEAR- THEY WIN
    * If we blame ANY religion- THEY WIN
    * If we blame ANY race or culture- THEY WIN
    * If we become even more divided- THEY WIN
    * If we escalate military action to carpet bombing and taking more innocent lives- THEY WIN

    Our ENEMY wears many faces. They do not wear uniforms. They live among us all. Our ENEMY is a deadly cancer of HATE that flows internationally and infiltrates like smoke and water. Therefore, traditional “boots on the ground” and TRUMP’S idea of “bombing the shit out of them” would be completely ineffective. . . simply because we cannot easily and immediately identify and separate those who HATE from those who LOVE.

    We should ALL band together against these forces of EVIL. There are ways that we could and should unite by doing things like:

    * Requiring that our state and Congressional political leaders work TOGETHER with our President towards Common Goals
    * Sharing intelligence between ALL our police/FBI/NSA/CIA and military agencies AND our allies
    * Investigating/Deporting/incarcerating those suspected of being radicalized BEFORE they kill
    * Outlawing the sale of automatic weapons
    * Being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity to the authorities
    * Getting to know our neighbors and treating them as family
    * Opening our hearts and minds to ALL cultures and races (other cultures/religions/races are NOT the ENEMY)

    Our WAR is really against the spread of HATE and EVIL. . . Pray that LOVE will Prevail!

  53. Anonymous says:

    @Linda says–There’s no doubt at all that the Iraq offensive, that was predicated on the basis of absolute lies, birthed much of the turmoil that has played right into the hands of terrorists hell-bent on defeating anything smacking of freedom and tolerance. But the problem of terrorism existed before George W. Bush and Iraq and to blame its existence on him (or that) is a well-meaning but naive mistake. Very unfortunately, it’s a mistake that has become a popular way for those suffering under the yoke of oppression in the Middle East to act out their rage and bitterness instead of dealing with it in a way that will raise them up instead of burying their hopes (and their people) even further. There’s got to be a better way to address these problems and grievances. Enabling, justifying or excusing them isn’t it. Perhaps you might point this out to your young friend –compassionately and delicately but firmly enough to, perhaps, get that important message through.

  54. NortonSmitty says:

    I can no longer resist commenting on this post. All of you have won me over with your deep and insightful knowledge of the complexities involved in this multi-faceted conflagration of global economic, religeous and political interests and the ramifications it’s outcome will have on all our lives. Thank all of you for this line of deep, philosophical insights into the core conflicts of these troubled times.

    I know Our God will shine His divine light on you this week, instantly blinding you with His infinite carelessness.

  55. just me says:

    Amazing how many look to give excuses to these animals like its the fault of Bush, Israel ,there poverty , things that where done a hundred years back ,things that where done thousand years back. BUT they wont say it is the fault of those who follow islam. Maybe its not all of islam that is violent BUT one can not deny they follow islam and call themselves Islamic.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Islamic JIhadists routinely infiltrate the prisons to recruit, not so much to convert. They know they are likely to find like-minded psychopaths to do their dirty work in such venues. They also use mosques and so-called “educational programs” to insinuate their hyper-religious “mission statement” onto impressionable young people at a vulnerable time in their lives–young people who, perhaps, are suffering from a vacuum in whatever constitutes their lives up to that point. More needs to be done to cut these “recruiters” off at the root, Bombing the militants is one thing. Let’s cut off the feeding source that shovels both the criminal and the vulnerable into their fanatical ( and apparently well-financed–another issue) funnel of death and destruction. The religion itself is just a tool that megalomanaics employ to perpetrate chaos and death in their hateful quest for power.

  57. Anonymous says:

    JM, I follow dozens of cars every day and don’t call myself a Buick.

  58. NortonSmitty says:

    JM, I follow dozens of cars every day and don’t call myself a Buick

  59. Lancer says:


    Why don’t you educate everyone about the “Caliphate” ISIS is trying to establish???

    But, no…it’s more mindless liberal rhetoric, ignoring the abysmal foreign policy failures of the last 7 years.

    Le sad.

  60. Anonymous says:

    A 60 year old Brussels woman, speaking a mixture of French and Arabic, blamed the totality of what happened in France on the United States. That is the “outward blaming” ideology that continues to feed into the psyches of subsequent generations, both in the Muslim world and here in the United States. This is, at its heart, a human being problem. We can reach for what is best in us–and strive try take measures both reasonable and compassionate–or fall backwards into the abyss of our human failings–by giving sway to the most brutal and unthinking parts of our nature or refusing to reconcile the mere appearance of ideals with reality.

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