A Perspective on the Paris Atrocity

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By Steve Max

Was the brutal attack in Paris just one more irrational bloody act by a demented sect, or was it more in the line of an act of war, a type of war where causalities on all sides are overwhelmingly civilian? If it was an act of war, what are its origins? 

A recent headline said: "France Launches First Airstrikes Against Syria." You probably think that it announced the French retaliation for the brutal ISIS murders in Paris. It didn't. The date was September 27th, 2015.  After the Paris shooting, French President Hollande said "This is war."  He apparently didn't mean that it was the start of a war. That had already happened. He must have been describing what war is – you hit them with whatever you have, and they hit back with whatever they have. That's war, and countries that engage in it expect at the outset to sacrifice a certain amount of their civilian population.  ISIS is an exception, as it has virtually no civilian population. It hijacks Iraqi and Syrian civilians who, if they aren't killed by ISIS, are killed when bombs fall on ISIS,

The New Yorker magazine reports that ISIS made it clear: the mass murder is retaliation for being bombed.  “As long as you continue to bomb us, you will not live in peace,” a bearded IS militant said in a video claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks. “You will even be afraid to go to the market.” While horrified, we should not be surprised.

The history of these awful events goes back much further. Said the Guardian (UK)," France, the former colonial power after the Ottoman Empire broke up, has been one of the most outspoken western powers on Syria from the start of the crisis. Two years ago France was pushing for military action against Assad. . . ." Two months later, France announced that it was starting weapons shipments to Syrian rebels. "Despite being one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fiercest critics, France has until now resisted arming the rebels, fearing that the weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist militant elements fighting in the country. . . . According to British defense consultancy IHS Jane's, up to 10,000 jihadists from all over the world are fighting alongside the rebels in Syria as they try to overthrow the government. However, there are also jihadis who are fighting to replace the Assad regime with an Islamic state." France 24. 9/20/13.

Of course, the role of France in Syria is miniscule compared to that of the U.S., which has been trying to install a pro-American regime since the 1950s and has armed and bankrolled the Syrian opposition. The U.S. claims to be able to distinguish between arming moderate militias and arming extremists, although it has been noted that if they have guns, they aren't moderates.  We are seeing both a terrorist and a refugee crisis that was manufactured in the West as a result of the mistaken view that the U.S. and its allies can change any regime at will.

 The Irish Times put it well, saying, "But ultimately, the chaos in the Middle East – and by extension the attacks in Paris – are the result of George W. Bush and Tony Blair’s mendacious, disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq. High-ranking Baathists from Saddam Hussein’s intelligence services, though secularists, joined forces with the jihadists who fought the occupation of Iraq. . . . Al-Qaeda in Iraq bred the even more extreme offshoot, IS. There’s a straight line between the radicalization of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader imprisoned a decade ago in the Americans’ Camp Bucca, and France’s present torment."

Of course, knowing the roots of the crisis is not the same as solving it.  The first step, in my view, is to end the Western-sponsored war against Assad and unite all forces in Syria willing to fight ISIS. The next could be ending the ongoing threats of an invasion of Iran. Yes, we can bomb ISIS, but we can't bomb an idea or seven guys with guns who live next door. A new ISIS will spring up if the present one goes. Peace and an end to imperialist regime change is the only solution. 

Steve Max is a DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

 

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 9 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.