I am NOT Charlie Hebdo. I am an American Christian Soldier.
I believe the Global War on Terror in the modern era started on November 21, 1979, with the wanton killing of U.S. Marine CPL Steven Crowley, guard at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, by militant Islamists who mistakenly believed that U.S. military units occupied their most holy mosque at Mecca.
In May of 2013, President Barack Hussein Obama declared the War on Terror OVER. He releases known unlawful combatant Islamists back into the War on Terror as if they were VICTIMS and not at least potentially deadly adversaries.
I believe the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is the finest such faiclity on earth. The islamist equivalent is a PILE of HEADS. I believe that Gitmo is a reasonable cost of doing business in the War on Terror, and that releasing detainees will not help win the War on Terror.
With that, and in this post-9/11 world one must take precautions. If one has been threatened and then had their office firebombed one should take reasonable measures to prevent an attack by those who threatened and then firebombed them.
Charlie Hebdo’s response to the threats and firebombing was to move their offices and install locked doors, not stop what some have called “hate speech.”
Charlie Hebdo continued to insult, demean and ridicule those who threatened and then firebombed them. Was this smart? Was this rational? Was this naïve? Some have called it bold, fearless and courageous.
Continuing behavior deemed offensive to the point of violence by others is at least bold, isn’t it? The principle of liberty is in play. “Give me liberty or give me death!” is as American as apple pie, and we got that attitude FROM the French. Heck, they even gave us a statue called “Liberty.”
Free speech is treasured in the western democracies of Europe and North America. Being able to depict anyone in any way one wishes is highly valued in art and journalism.
However, there are limits, and there are consequences apparently for surpassing those limits.
Yelling the “N” word in Harlem at noon on a workday may bring some stares, some comments, and perhaps some confrontations, possibly violent confrontations. Wearing a Nazi uniform in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, may bring some stares, some comments, and perhaps some confrontations, possibly violent confrontations.
Depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad, and/or Allah himself in an offensive, or ANY manner in an Islamist enclave would bring some stares, some comments, and most likely some confrontations, and probably some violent confrontations.
In this day of Internet and social media we enjoy a buffer from those with whom we interact. For that reason, some people feel they can say or do pretty much anything without consequences. People are much more inappropriate and bold on the Internet and in print or on TV or in the movies (have YOU seen “The Interview” yet?) than they would be in person.
That personal interaction is governed by a different set of mores and expectations. If you offend someone in person there is always the possibility the person you offended will respond violently, so we tend to be more polite in person, less so the more people we are around who feel the same way we do. But one-on-one we tend to size up our opponent and then instantly determine whether or not this is someone we could “take” physically should the need arise, before saying something disparaging about their mother, or their deity. Some parents spank their children, or an offended woman might slap a “fresh” potential suitor, to get their attention and to send a message that their behavior was inappropriate or unacceptable. Grown ups, especially grown up males, tend to raise the stakes a bit. In general terms, “Oh, yeah? Say that to my face,” creates an entirely different set of possible circumstances with men than it does with children or women.
On the Internet, in print or television media or the movies this is seldom a consideration, as there are few consequences to free expression in these venues. In journalism and art the writer/creator is less concerned with offending someone than they are with making whatever statement they want to make. They think less about consequences. Yet, they still revel in the idea of getting a reaction out of someone, any reaction.
Strong reactions can mean accolades, awards, and . . . MONEY. After all that’s really what Charlie Hebdo is all about, isn’t it, money? The paper is in business to make money. They make money if people buy the paper and advertisers buy ads.
Shock and smut sell. And today probably 3 million copies were sold – unprecedented.
Were the writers, cartoonists and editors of Charlie Hebdo sincerely in the business of serious journalism, or were they in the business of peddling smut? In a free society that values liberty above all else that wouldn’t matter so much, especially if there were enough people around to buy the art/smut. If no one bought the paper/magazine would they still do what they do or would they create something else to sell? Does that matter?
After all, twelve people died creating art/peddling smut, shouldn’t that matter more than why they did what they did? Isn’t it enough to say they were exercising their right to free speech? It should, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t because they were murdered for it in cold blood. If they had been in the building when it was fire bombed they would have died then.
The Judeo-Christian ethic teaches us to love one another, and to treat others as we would have them treat us. But in a decidedly secular society, anything goes. “If it feels good do it,” humanism, and “if it’s useful to me it’s good,” utilitarianism rule the day, not tried and true religious principles. Christians would say one treads on thin ice if one tempts fate by ignoring the Golden Rule. Sooner or later . . . call it karma, call it yin and yang, call it just desserts, the world has a way of balancing itself out, seeking equilibrium, entropy.
France has allowed hundreds of Islamist enclaves that shun French culture and society, and that disallow French civil services in their communities, and that operate their own religious courts that enforce their own religious laws. These enclaves are not unique to France. They exist throughout Western Europe, and evenin the U.S.
What then should be our reasoning in the aftermath of the Paris shootings by alleged Islamists?
Perhaps a realization that certain segments of society get pissed off enough to kill people if those people insensitively insult them. As anti-social as that response is, it is a response. Killing someone when life in the here and now means so little to some people is like the smack in the face for getting fresh to others. Believe it. Allegedly, the Islamist attackers said they wanted to “die as martyrs.” Life is so very cheap to those who would make such claims.
Dealing with murderers is difficult and complex. One segment of society wants to know “why?” the perpetrators did what they did, and want to defend them with public resources. Others would rather see the killers killed, rationalizations and psychology be damned.
The French avoided that complexity by killing the SUSPECTED Islamists. Everyone here is ASSUMING those persons killed by the French police (if any were killed at all) were the perpetrators. We may never know for sure. We only know what we are told. We assume the French are telling the truth about the whole thing. If not, what would be their motive?
For all we know the perpetrators were goaded into acting in order to flush out more of them, to lead authorities to the planners and facilitators. It would be stupid to cut off the only source of information about the bigger fish in this story, wouldn’t it? Unless of course you already had all the valuable information you thought you could get from them, i.e., their communication with their superiors.
If the French goal was to create a scenario wherein EVERYONE would buy-in to eliminating Islamists in France, including the leaders of Israel and Palestine, this was it.
With no live perpetrators in hand the French can say whatever they want to about it. Who’s to question them?
What we are witnessing currently are vast emotional outpourings over the destroyed innocent lives of heroic artists and journalists – who are supposed to enjoy neutrality in war, aren’t they? Seems to me theIslamic State has TARGETED journalists for capture and dismemberment.
For all we know the whole thing was fabricated in order to extract a certain public and world sentiment the liberal French government could NEVER perpetrate on their own without Islamist fall guys. And all this has acted as a smoke screen to Boko Haram’s worst atrocity in Nigeria, where they reportedly slaughtered hundreds of innocent people, not twelve, hundreds. Where are the outpourings and marches for them?
Multiculturalism is a hallmark of socialism. “We are the world,” is a favorite refrain. “Tolerance,” “understanding,” immigration appeasement, etc., are all liberal agenda items thrown in more conservative faces as political correctness and social justice, humanism, utilitarianism, commonism (exploitation of the commons for minority greed).
The false narrative of liberals has come home to roost. Terrorism is alive and well and living in Paris. Or is it?
Je suis NON Charlie.
I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1
I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Author web page: http://sbpra.com/montgomeryjgranger/ Twitter @mjgranger1