Saturday, January 10, 2015
The French Islamic Terrorists: Is Their Aim To Provoke the West Into Over-reaction?
The French terror attacks, which have now left 18 dead, have been summarily described by one French official as "the French being at war". No, I don't think so. That fulsome rhetoric embodies precisely the memetic mistake the U.S. made after 9/11 which enticed us into nearly bankrupting ourselves by two useless 'wars' (I call them occupations) that have merely left us with $4 trillion in debt (when all the medical costs are finally toted up). Rather than treat the al Qaeda imps as what they were - criminals- we inflated them to the level of another superpower just like us, as demonstrated by the military response in Afghanistan (now 13 years and counting) and the debacle in Iraq.
Anyway, Juan Cole has some insightful words on the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. He points out that the shooters were neither "attacking free speech" nor "defending Mohammed"; they were using a time-honored tactic of radical extremists (of all stripes): "sharpening the contradictions," hoping to provoke an overreaction that would lead to repression and persecution of Muslims in general -- thus helping the extremists recruit new members.
This is similar to what bin Laden did with such spectacular success with 9/11: provoking an endless global war, with Western "interventions" and "targeted assassinations" and drone strikes that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people -- all of which, as our own security services tell us, have fed the flames of extremism and made the situation worse.
Much of this was highlighted in my blog post of May 4, 2011, referencing Rachel Maddow's excellent analysis from the night before. Maddow showed, using assorted news releases, past documented video quotations and third party reports how we'd all been had in a classical 'rope a dope'. While we had our eyes and minds focused on the DEATHS brought by Bin Laden from his 9/11 terror attacks, we lost sight of his hidden goal: to bring the whole American Republic to its knees by making it spend itself into oblivion. Which is damned near what we have succeeded in doing, by erecting an entire security -defense establishment (much of it contracted out) in addition to an expanded military -industrial establishment.
In the meantime, most of our civil liberties have been extirpated or at least seriously compromised by the Patriot Act and other provisions exposed by Edward Snowden.
According to Maddow, in her then introductory remarks:
"When we think about Bin Laden we think about murder, mayhem and perverted, pseudo-theology. But Osama Bin Laden himself always thought about money. Money was always how he explained what he was doing, and what al Qaeda was up to. One month after the September 11 attacks, gave an interview to Al Jazeera in which he said, quote:
"The losses on Wall Street amounted to 16 percent, and they have said this was a record loss that had never happened in the market's history in 230 years. The capital in circulation in this market amounted to $4 trillion. If we multiply 16 percent by $4 trillion to find out the losses their shares suffered, that is $640 billion. This is what they lost in one hour. The national income in the U.S. is $20 billion.
Bin Laden, in Maddow's quote from Al Jazeera, then goes on to brag about the hidden economic costs latent in the "psychological shock" after the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon.
Maddow then played the infamous Bin Laden video that emerged just on the eve of the 2004 U.S. presidential elections. In this video he's heard to state
"Al Qaeda spent $500,000 on the attacks but America in the incident and the aftermath spent more than $500 billion"
So even three years after the horrific 9/11 events, Bin Laden wasn't bragging about the deaths or physical damage inflicted on New York or Washington but the financial costs to the country. Obviously, as Maddow pointed out, that was where his head and major purpose were, though Americans always believed it was about death, destruction.
Juan Cole's insight and suggestion is that, like the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11, the aim of the French terrorists might well have been the same - to provoke France and the West into a disproportionate response that will cost blood and treasure.
Do the French have the good sense not to fall into the trap that we fell into, set by bin Laden? (Who must still be laughing from his watery grave)? Only time will tell, but when one hears any kind of "war" rhetoric the future doesn't appear very auspicious.