Paris Attacks Show the Many Faces of Terror

As we come to terms with the awful carnage wreaked in Paris over the weekend, those of us who cover these sorts of events on the Internet should remember all too well the risks associated with forgetting the effects of the fog of war on the accuracy of news media coverage whenever a terrible event like this occurs. Obviously, it’s far too early for us to know much about the attackers that’s tremendously reliable factually, and much of what’s been said on the news over the last 24 hours may yet well turn out to be incorrect, in the fullness of time.

Nonetheless, it is reasonably clear from basically countless eyewitness accounts up to this point that the attackers viewed adherence to Islam as the primary motivating force behind their attacks, unless you are the sort of willfully clueless person who believes that people shout “Allahu Akbar” because they have concerns about economic policy – which is to say, a good portion of the American media.

What we don’t know yet, at least as of this point, is the precise nature of the attackers’ connection with ISIS (if any) or other terror groups (if any). It seems pretty obvious as of now from the level of coordination of these attacks that they were well coordinated and executed with a fair degree of training, which certainly suggests affiliation with a relatively well funded and organized terror group.

What’s interesting – and by “interesting” here I of course mean “maddening” – is the way the West responds to attacks of this nature. Whenever an attack of this kind occurs, Western countries by and large respond by attempting to prevent future attacks of the same tactical kind. For example, when 9/11 occurred, the principal lasting change (especially given the degenerating situation in Afghanistan) was a change to United States airport security.

Other terror attacks against Western governments have been met with the same backwards-looking revision to security procedures, but an objective observer must grudgingly admit that what these backwards cargo cult Islamic fanatics lack in terms of ability to actually produce a military worthy of the name or military technology, they make up for in tactical ingenuity. The London 7/7 attacks were so successful at least in part because they were such a huge surprise. What we know about the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 suggests a plot of a completely different kind than any yet seen before. And last night’s coordinated attacks against diverse targets in a sprawling metropolitan area represents yet another new tactic heretofore unseen in the West.

The French, who are responding with a public face of anger and resolve, are nonetheless treating this as a case of “find those responsible and retaliate”:

Speaking at the Bataclan, which saw the worst of the carnage, French President Francois Hollande struck a defiant tone, saying “we are going to lead a war, it will be pitiless” in tracking down and eliminating those connected with the attacks.

“When terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities, they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow,” he said.

This is all well and good, and I’m sure that as a result of last night’s carnage, moving about freely in Paris (and other cities in France) will become more difficult as new security measures are put (at least temporarily) into place.

But at the end of the day, what we have seen is that our enemy is capable of possibly infinite fundamental adaptations, tactically, and that “finding those responsible” and plugging the security holes that allowed the last attacks to occur is just an invitation to more attacks of a different sort next time.

At the risk of sounding defeatist, it is difficult to see the West emerging victorious from this existential struggle because the West refuses to admit that it is involved in an existential struggle in the first place. All across the West last night, numerous prominent men of public authority – not random eggs on Twitter – publicly expressed more concern about the idea that people were accusing Islam of being a motivating factor in an obvious attack of Islamic terror than they were about the idea that those accusers might have been correct. Prominent media outlets actually treated it as a matter of genuine mystery as to why these attackers killed so many French citizens.

As I noted a couple of days ago, the West has apparently involved itself in a dumb suicide pact that I never agreed to be part of:

MEANWHILE, across the country on the campus of UC Merced, an actual act of violence occurred about which there is no factual controversy – a student stabbed four of his fellow classmates and was himself killed by authorities who were attempting to subdue him. Several days later, it’s still a HUGE MYSTERY what might have POSSIBLY MOTIVATED this action:

The California college student who stabbed four people last week was carrying an image of the black flag of ISIS according to a report Tuesday, as well as a handwritten manifesto with instructions to behead a student and multiple reminders to pray to Allah, yet authorities continued to insist Faisal Mohammad’s motives had nothing to do with radical Islam.

You can’t win a war by pretending that you aren’t in one. Only the gross scientific ineptitude of the radical Islamic world has allowed us to even survive this long with our heads buried in the sand. Sooner or later even that won’t be enough, and on that day, we will have to decide whether we will wake up or whether we’ll allow ourselves to die as as civilization rather than risk being tut-tutted for our supposed bigotry.