Thomas Wictor

The French confirm that they’re serious this time

The French confirm that they’re serious this time

The French have struck again. First it was in Paris, and now it’s Mali, where Islamic State terrorists took 170 hostages at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako. American, Malian, and French special forces freed the hostages and killed the terrorists. It isn’t clear how many hostages died. It may be as many as twenty-seven.

However, the Islamic State terrorists had semiautomatic rifles and hand grenades.

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They also brought a flag.

Islamic_State_flag_Mali

This could’ve been an absolute bloodbath, but the special forces saved the lives of at least 85 percent of the hostages. I’m familiar with some of the new technology that the soldiers used, and I can make educated guess about more. But it wouldn’t be right for me to discuss it. What I can say is the same thing that the French are saying.

Will this new form of terrorism change your intervention techniques?

Jean-Michel Fauvergue, Director of RAID: It has already modified them. We have used the experience of our foreign friends, including techniques used in Israel but also in other countries. These are techniques for trying to have the least possible damage by a suicide bomber.

Israel! Imagine that. A friend to France. Amend that: A friend to French special forces who kill terrorists.

The French text in the interview with Fauvergue uses the term “kamikaze” for suicide bomber. As you may know, the Japanese had suicide aircraft in World War II called kamikaze: “Divine Wind,” named after two storms that sank invading Mongol fleets in 1274 and 1281 respectively. Filled with explosives, kamikaze aircraft were flown into Allied ships.

American servicemen feared kamikaze more than anything, because the notion of deliberately killing yourself in futile attacks was so alien. The Japanese also had suicide bombers, suicide infantrymen, suicide speedboats, suicide manned torpedoes, suicide rockets, suicide frogmen, and suicide civilians armed with sharpened bamboo poles and hand grenades.

The Japanese said they would never surrender. Each battle that brought the Allies closer to the Japanese home islands came with an increasing cost. In the Battle of Okinawa (April 1 to June 22, 1945), there were 20,195 Americans killed, 55,162 wounded, and 26,000 removed from combat due to “battle fatigue.”

That’s a euphemism for psychiatric collapse. The most famous case of the latter is a soldier who reported back to his camp saying that he was wasting his time fighting because he kept killing the same man over and over. This soldier was calm and rational, but he explained that he’d killed the same Japanese five times, and he wouldn’t stay dead. Though the Japanese soldier kept changing his uniform and rank, it was the same man.

Operation Downfall was the code name for the planned invasion of Japan. The Allies expected a million casualties. In preparation, the United States minted over 500,000 Purple Heart medals, the award given to those wounded in combat.

Purple_Heart

Instead of invading, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, and the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945. The US military is still using Purple Heart medals minted in 1945. They’ve seen us through the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We defeated the Japanese, who were just as savage as the Islamic State. Imagine the Islamic State with fighter aircraft and submarines. The Japanese had submarine aircraft carriers.

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One was used to carry a seaplane that dropped incendiary bombs on Oregon. Another was supposed to carry seaplanes that would drop uranium-based “dirty bombs” on Seattle, but the Nazi submariners delivering the radioactive material surrendered to the US Navy instead.

In a lot of ways I’m glad that the French will take the public, western lead in the fight against Islamic terrorism. We Americans are too childishly politicized to do what it takes to win. Actually, our troops will do it clandestinely, which is what the knee-jerk opponents of common sense want. All they care about are symbolic victories over their real enemies: those who dissent.

In the US it’s become normalized to accuse dissenters of bad-faith motivations. Anyone who disagrees is a racist, an idiot, paranoid, hateful, hurtful, and all the other insults that immediately come tumbling out. Today I took issue with someone on social media after he said that we have nothing to fear from Syrian refugees. He told me this.

Will_McAvoy

I didn’t know that Will McAvoy is a TV character from the defunct series The Newsroom. He’s a Republican TV commentator who hates conservatism. Don’t all sensible, moral Republicans?

Since I haven’t watched TV in about seven years, I missed lots of really worthless shows. This is more of the typical leftist bilge of how liberalism is the default position, and conservatism is a perverted aberration. The series was created by Aaron Sorkin.

Aaron-Sorkin

I’m pretty sure that Sorkin is the guy tweeting as Will McAvoy. Sorkin HATES conservatives, and “Will McAvoy” said several Sorkinesque things to me.

Wll_McAvoy.2

I remember that kind of labored, gaseous rejoinder from The West Wing, another show meant for a conservative-hating demographic.

On Twitter, “McAvoy” said that refugees can apply for asylum in the US only when they’re in the country. He was wrong.

Asylum

Sorkin McAvoy said that the second and third bullet points are the same. So his claim is that already being in the United States is the same as seeking admission to the United States at a port of entry. His legions of followers agreed. I really didn’t know what to say after, “Seeking admission to the US is not the same as already having been admitted to the US,” so I began telling people that they had to stop tweeting me.

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Everything in the US is politicized, but our politics have devolved into supporting things only because you want to anger your opponents. Not one person in the US—not one—calling for the acceptance of Syrian refugees actually cares about the welfare of these people. Syrian refugees are just another weapon in the war against those who disagree.

Imagine: In the US decisions of national security and life and death are based only on the degree that they’ll upset the opposition. We’ve become ridiculous.

The French can be justifiably criticized for being too accommodating of radical Islam. However, they didn’t do it as a raised middle finger to those who disagree.

I know that sometimes the world seems like a very dark place, with vast herds of cretinous, destructive anachronisms thundering across the land.

But as I’ve been saying for a while now, I’m very optimistic. There have been genuinely earth-shaking changes taking place behind the scenes. I know we’re supposed to have our eyes on Russia right now, but that’s just theater.

According to [Defense Minister Sergei] Shoigu, Russian warplanes have flown 522 sorties and destroyed over 800 targets over the last four days. Russian long-range bombers and navy ships have launched 101 cruise missiles in four days, including 18 fired Friday by Russian navy ships from the Caspian Sea.

The Russians claim to have seriously damaged the Islamic State’s income stream by attacking oil refineries in Syria. That’s not true. For one thing, the Islamic State gets more money from extortion and taxes than it does from oil. And I don’t know why everyone’s saying that cutting off the Islamic State’s money will defeat it. Do you think Boko Haram in Nigeria has hundreds of millions or billions of dollars?

But there’s another reason why Russia won’t destroy the Islamic State’s ability to sell oil.

Many parts of Syria controlled by other rebels —even ones fighting the Islamic State group — rely on IS for oil since they have few other sources. Even the Syrian government is said by Western diplomats and Syrian opposition member to buy oil from IS through middlemen, though Syrian officials deny it — and the main source of oil for government-held parts of the country is shipments from Damascus’ top ally Iran.

Assad buys oil from the Islamic State. You can’t make this stuff up.

This is the real reason Russia is doing what it’s doing.

Russia has close to fifty combat aircraft based right in Syria, with all of the fixed-wing portion of the force able to lob dumb bombs on targets. These aircraft also have free run over Syria’s airspace, they are unchallenged by aerial or ground based air defenses. As such, there is no tactical purpose for Russia to launch very expensive cruise missiles, especially stealthy ones like the advanced KH-101, from its heavy bomber fleet.

The practice would be almost comical if its true purposes weren’t so ominous. The reality is that these missions are a massive show of force by Russia on a world stage, and are used to spark a war-time nationalist sentiment back at home. They are a reminder that Russia can reliably strike from well over 1,000 miles away with their standoff weaponry. It also underscores the relevancy of their long-range combat aircraft force and these missions are also one hell of a sales pitch to countries looking to obtain similar capabilities.

It’s not really ominous, because the US and our allies can easily defeat Russian missiles and bombers. One of the Russian bombers allegedly firing missiles at Syria is the Tu-95 Bear, a seventy-year-old design.

Tu-95

The Russian intervention in Syria is an arms exposition. Russian weapons are much cheaper than their western counterparts. And the Russians back home are going, “Yay for us! Russia has risen off its knees!”

That’s fine. But the people who are now committed to some serious killing are the French. I wondered if they’d join the Arab League and Israel in the upcoming war.

Well, I wonder no longer.

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