It was only natural that "world leaders" would place themselves at the head of the Paris "unity" demonstration held to express outrage at the vicious Charlie Hebdo murders. Daniel Wickham, a student at the London School of Economics, compiled a list of the enemies of free speech who elbowed their way to the head of the march. Most hypocritical of all are the French themselves, who have laws against "hate speech" which are only selectively enforced and which have been used against the editors of Charlie Hebdo in the past. This cognitive dissonance was eloquently expressed by one Frenchman who carried a sign saying: "I’m marching but I’m conscious of the confusion and hypocrisy of the situation."
That politicians would steal the spotlight and turn the sincere outrage of millions into an opportunity for self-advertisement is hardly surprising. Sincerity has its uses, however, and these will become apparent in the days and weeks to come. Those marchers will soon be cheering their soldiers as they go marching off to war, with "Je suis Charlie" inscribed on their banners.
The target? Syria, where "links" have been found between the Paris attacks and the self-proclaimed "Caliphate"of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The New York Times reports:
"Amedy Coulibaly, one of the three gunman responsible for the terrorist attacks in France last week, produced a video that appeared online on Sunday, two days after his death, showing him sitting below the flag of the Islamic State militant group and pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organization’s leader."
If you read the transcript of the video it reads almost like a script prepared by our biggest warmongers. It takes the form of an interview, with the invisible interviewer represented by words on a screen and Coulibaly answering:
"Which group are you linked to and do you have an Emir?
Coulibaly: ‘I am pledging my allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. I have made a declaration of allegiance to the Caliph and the declaration of a Caliphate.’"
The Islamic State has been trying to provoke a major military response from the Western powers for months now, executing American journalists and aid workers and posting videos of the executions on the Internet, but so far the US has reacted with caution. So they resorted to attacking the West on its own soil, and now the chorus of voices calling for an all-out invasion of Syria will become deafening, drowning out all reason. And Coulibaly dots all the i’s and crosses the t’s:
“Are you linked to the brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo?”
"Coulibaly: ‘We are a team, in league together. I am with the team who did Charlie Hebdo. I went out a little against the police too. So that’s that. We did some things together, some things separately to have most impact. [Sound of TV news in the background in which newsreader can be clearly heard talking about the attacks].
‘We have managed to be synchronized together, to come out at the same time, because we are close in the same business.’"
It’s all so pat, an engraved invitation: Come and get us!
From his permanent pulpit on the Sunday morning TV talk-fest, Senator John McCain declared his intention to oblige them. Railing against the failure of the United States to defeat ISIS, McCain is asked by journalist Gloria Borger what exactly he has in mind, and his response is a preview of things to come:
"ISIS right now is winning. And we need to go after them, and we need to have more boots on the ground. We need to understand that Syria and Iraq are the same. We need to arm the Free Syrian Army. We need a no-fly zone, which many of us have been calling for, for years, and a coherent strategy that can be presented to the Congress, because they’re going to be wanting an authorization for the use of military force."
There’s something more than a little counterintuitive about McCain’s call for a no-fly zone: after all, ISIS doesn’t have an air force, while the most effective counterweight to them – the Syrian government – does indeed. If McCain’s concern is ISIS, then why go after Bashar al-Assad? And as for arming the Syrian Free Army: those arms are more than likely to show up in the hands of ISIS. As Debka File reports:
"The Syrian rebel militia Al Yarmouk Shuhada Brigades, backed and trained for two years by US officers, mostly CIA experts, in Jordan, and supported by the Israeli army, has abruptly dumped these sponsors and joined up with the Islamic State in Iraq."
If McCain has his way, the next terrorist attackers who show up in the streets of a Western city are more than likely to have been trained by our very own CIA. A purer form of "blowback" could hardly be imagined.
In a more general sense, the principle of "blowback" operates in the terrorists’ favor as the US and its allies get more deeply involved in Syria and Iraq: if the Western powers follow McCain’s advice, jihadists will stream from Europe to the region in even greater numbers and the legitimacy of the "Caliphate" in the eyes of Muslims everywhere is increased. McCain and his fellow interventionists have a symbiotic relationship with the terrorists: both are legitimized on the home front by the actions of the other.
So how does this policy of creating and succoring the very threats they rail against benefit the leaders of the West?
Without the threat of terrorism, our foreign policy of perpetual war would have zero public support. Without the excuse of having to monitor the ever-escalating activities of the Coulibalys of this world, the very idea that the government has the "right" to scoop up our communications and store them in a giant facility out in the Utah desert would be dismissed as a dystopian fantasy.
But then again, that’s the world we live in, in the year 2015: a dystopia so absurd that no writer, prior to September 11, 2001, would have dared put it into print, either as fiction or speculative nonfiction.
And so the hypocrites march on, right over a cliff and into an abyss of their own making.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.