The joie de vivre of the wonderfully joyful city of Paris has been quashed by AK-47 armed, suicide-belted extremists bent on wantonly taking as many random lives as possible before welcoming their own demise.
These inhumane attackers on 6 venues have essentially locked down an international city of 2.25 million for the duration. This will until Paris can regain its equilibrium in the wake of a horrific terrorist action in the early morning hours of Saturday, Parisian time. While the numbers are still not finalized, there were anywhere from 123-153 fatalities at last count.
The vast majority (112) lost their lives in what should have been a fun date-night event; a Batacian theater concert by a California rock band, “Eagles of Death Metal.” The band was on a European tour that included Brussels, Cologne and Zurich. Their performance sheet list posted by the band on Facebook, included such terribly ironic titles as Make a Bang, Kiss the Devil, Already Died/Stuck in the Metal and Boys Bad News.
Perhaps even more ironic, is the hint of the dark death metal music in the band’s title. The New York Times reports, however, that the group is anything but dark. They favor blues-rock of 70’s vintage. Their name is a satirical reflection of the fun and irreverence that knowledgeable audiences can always expect at one of their concerts. The Batacian was packed. Well over 100 concert goers were killed as at least 2 or 3, upwards to 7 or 8 unmasked, young terrorists indiscriminately opened fire on the helpless crowd. When the French authorities finally rushed the venue, it was reported the gunman all died by activating their explosive belts.
French police seemed to take their own sweet time in responding to the slaughter as desperate texts were sent from inside the theater to friends. Those trapped said the gunman were coldly executing people one by one.
At the same time, France and Germany were playing a spirited football (soccer in the U.S.) game in Stade de France. I was glued to the tube and you could hear two powerful explosions from just outside the stadium. At least 3, perhaps 4 suicide bombers were killed. An additional 14 victims lost their lives at a small Cambodian restaurant. There were 4 victims in a nearby bar and 4 on the street. These numbers must still be verified as the count remains fluid. But, you get the idea.
Paris is essentially a ghost town. Most visitors to Paris have marveled at the Eiffel Tower, a must stop for tourists, and have taken a ride on the Metro underground that will whisk you to any of 303 stops in the city. Brussels is also a delightful neighbor to visit. As of last report, the tower is closed indefinitely, the French border is sealed and the Metro cars are not moving. Saturday reports indicate a few souls have taken to the streets and virtually all retail outlets are closed.
This is what a handful of radicals can do. Change the lives of every citizen resident of a major city.
Most terrorist experts and pundits are pointing the finger at ISIS, or perhaps Al Qaeda. The attacks have been described as planned and carried out in a logistically sophisticated manner. Multiple locations, splitting up law enforcement so all police and equipment couldn’t be dispatched to the same venue. All of the locations were deemed “soft” targets unlikely to mount much resistance and not obvious terrorist destinations such as embassies and other government centers.
Combine these elements with young people willing to blow themselves to smithereens for a cause, no matter how misguided, and you have a boiling cauldron of terror.
Saudi Arabia’s Islamic leadership condemned the act. “Terrorists are not sanctioned by Islam and these acts are contrary to values of mercy it brought to the world,” a statement by the Council of Senior Scholars quoted in the Saudi Press Agency.
The first thing we need to hear is a cacophony of like-condemnations from Muslim world leadership: this means a mass denunciation of brutalizing innocents. We need the leading religious voices of Islam to speak up. These include Imams and Grand Imams for the Sunnis and the Ayatollahs and Grand Ayatollahs for the Shiites and anyone else who commands the ear and respect of the Muslim community.
The responses need to be loud, sincere and repetitious. Silence is acquiescence, however benign.
This tragedy will become huge political fodder for next year’s presidential and congressional elections. It will certainly be central to Saturday night’s Democratic debate. But for a ready solution to this terrorism business, we need only to turn to real estate mogul and opinion-molder, Donald Trump. Last Thursday, prior to the Paris obscenity, Trump told an enthusiastic Iowa rally that he’d “bomb the s**t out of ISIS. He supposedly ‘ranted’ for the better part of 90 minutes. Not bad for a guy pushing 70.
In a rare defense of Trump, I think he represents a majority of Americans on the subject. Most of us would like to “bomb the s**t out of people responsible for the vicious murder of a sweet, 22-year-old concert attendee, being covered by a blanket having done nothing that will have even the slightest impact on her homicidal tormentors.
So, let’s say we “bomb” the Batacian theater populated by roughly 1,500 innocents and 6,7 or 8 radical assassins. We “bomb the s**t out of them: level the building. Kill every one of the assassins. And instead of 112 innocents, take almost all of them out too; maybe 1,100 or so. Then we go “bomb the s**t out of a family-run Cambodian restaurant, then it’s on to a football (soccer) stadium. Four victims become probably the equal of the theater death count, maybe twice as many.
We’ve already seen the shock and awe “bomb the s**t” out of Iraq. How’d that work out? Huge bunker busters capable of penetrating 100 feet into the ground, and gosh, don’t you know, a bunch of Iraqi men, women and children got in the way and you could pick them up with a teaspoon.
Another point about the random bombing (because that’s what it is), of the ISIS enemy or whoever might be the terrorist flavor of the month. They don’t gather in divisions of ten or twenty thousand. As we discovered in the recent Afghanistan hospital bombing, it’s even difficult to ascertain whether a terrorist is even present at a bomb site that could claim dozens or hundreds of non-combatant civilian personnel.
Any mass bombings are a guarantee of a Third World War. A long Third World War. A global destruction war, that would inevitably find its way to our shores. A timely assassination of a charismatic leader might lead to some short-term peace, but didn’t that happen about 3½ years ago in Abbottabad? And look at the mess we’re still in.
Sorry, hawks. We protect our own interests with limited actions, but it’s mostly about sitting across tables with the enemy and utilizing the world body that deals with the 194 member and non-member states. It’s a team effort, not a macho power conceit.
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
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