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Lessons from Paris
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After the tragic shooting at a provocative magazine in Paris last week, I pointed out that given the foreign policy positions of France we must consider blowback as a factor. Those who do not understand blowback made the ridiculous claim that I was excusing the attack or even blaming the victims. Not at all, as I abhor the initiation of force. The police blaming victims when they search for the motive of a criminal.

The mainstream media immediately decided that the shooting was an attack on free speech. Many in the US preferred this version of “they hate us because we are free,” which is the claim that President Bush made after 9/11. They expressed solidarity with the French and vowed to fight for free speech. But have these people not noticed that the First Amendment is routinely violated by the US government? President Obama has used the Espionage Act more than all previous administrations combined to silence and imprison whistleblowers. Where are the protests? Where are protesters demanding the release of John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the CIA use of waterboarding and other torture? The whistleblower went to prison while the torturers will not be prosecuted. No protests.

If Islamic extremism is on the rise, the US and French governments are at least partly to blame. The two Paris shooters had reportedly spent the summer in Syria fighting with the rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Assad. They were also said to have recruited young French Muslims to go to Syria and fight Assad. But France and the United States have spent nearly four years training and equipping foreign fighters to infiltrate Syria and overthrow Assad! In other words, when it comes to Syria, the two Paris killers were on “our” side. They may have even used French or US weapons while fighting in Syria.

Beginning with Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US and its allies have deliberately radicalized Muslim fighters in the hopes they would strictly fight those they are told to fight. We learned on 9/11 that sometimes they come back to fight us. The French learned the same thing last week. Will they make better decisions knowing the blowback from such risky foreign policy? It is unlikely because they refuse to consider blowback. They prefer to believe the fantasy that they attack us because they hate our freedoms, or that they cannot stand our free speech.

Perhaps one way to make us all more safe is for the US and its allies to stop supporting these extremists.

Another lesson from the attack is that the surveillance state that has arisen since 9/11 is very good at following, listening to, and harassing the rest of us but is not very good at stopping terrorists. We have learned that the two suspected attackers had long been under the watch of US and French intelligence services. They had reportedly been placed on the US no-fly list and at least one of them had actually been convicted in 2008 of trying to travel to Iraq to fight against the US occupation. According to CNN, the two suspects traveled to Yemen in 2011 to train with al-Qaeda. So they were individuals known to have direct terrorist associations. How many red flags is it necessary to set off before action is taken? How long did US and French intelligence know about them and do nothing, and why?

Foreign policy actions have consequences. The aggressive foreign policies of the United States and its allies in the Middle East have radicalized thousands and have made us less safe. Blowback is real whether some want to recognize it or not. There are no guarantees of security, but only a policy of non-intervention can reduce the risk of another attack.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Charlie Hebdo, France, Islam, Terrorism 
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  1. Mark says:


    Sir, this all happened because we let the 3rd world aliens in, by giving them visas. If not cartoons, they will rape, murder and kill for some other reason. They don’t even need any excuse.

    There are more immigrants who are now living in the US than the rest of the world combined. The US not only issues the most visas (6+ Million per year), but also lets in more people illegally than the rest of the world combined. As a result, the US is now the third most populous nation on earth, after China and India. The latter 2 have more sense and have 0 immigration, but are glad to export their human flood to the world’s most corrupt nations–the USA and EU.

    Immigration (legal and illegal) is the root of all our problems. It was our own govts. that gave visas to the 9/11 hijackers and other terrorists (who entered “legally”), that have led to multiple terrorist attacks and trillion dollar wars and thousands of lost lives.

    The alien flood is causing congestion and urban sprawl, shortages of land, water and food, more pollution, more cultural clashes and more crime. Jobs are becoming scarce and wages are falling due to a larger labor pool while home, food and other prices keep rising due to more consumers. As a result, more and more people are slipping into poverty.

    According to various studies, aliens cost about 100 Billion per year and their total costs exceeds several trillion dollars. Aliens are bankrupting social security and Medicare. Banning all immigration (legal and illegal) and deporting illegals especially will slash unemployment and virtually eliminate the US deficit and still provide. 80% of American voters from both sides are against immigration.

    I hope our govts. will ban all immigration (legal and illegal) and save USA and EU/CAN/AUS.

    Groups such as Numbers USA (, or FAIR (,, the Minutemen, etc. are leading the fight.

    We also need to amend our constitution to allow binding superseding national referenda, since the people want immigration banned.

  2. Ivy says:

    Security people will tell you that there are plenty of non-Hispanics crossing our southern border. While some may be benign, meaning humanitarian refugees, others are most surely malignant.

    Whether Blowback or Invade-the-World, Invite-the-World, we have our brilliant politicians to thank for our ongoing social and economic troubles.

  3. Mr. Paul is too smart to miss the correct lesson from Paris: Ban Immigration. If you can’t ban all immigration, ban Muslim immigration.

    I understand why Mr. Paul doesn’t bring it up. However, this article amounts to pissing on my head and telling me that it’s raining.

    Please show some respect Mr. Paul.

  4. The truth is is that these attacks are tolerated because they serve the purposes of the ruling elite.

    These periodic outbursts of mayhem keep the population terrified and a terrified population will willingly cede authority to an almighty State that promises to protect them. That the attacks are “random” only increases their effectiveness in instilling terror, just as a random reinforcement optimizes frequency of response in a conditioned rat.

    If it weren’t Muslims terrorizing us then those who pull the strings would find someone else to fill the bill. The reason these guys could slip between the cracks is that there is no interest in completely stopping them. Sacrificing a few citizens is a small price to pay for control. There will be no immigration control, no crack down on interracial “random” street crime etc.

  5. Jefferson says:

    Ron Paul has a D- on the issue of immigration according to NumbersUSA.

    That is why I did not shed a tear when Mr. Paul did not win the Republican primaries in 2012.

  6. Dr. Paul’s assessment is correct. In reality, we’re getting tragic blowback because some of “our” oligarchs decided to invade someone else’s backyard for their financial advantage, paid for with public losses against their private gain. We the people reap the double burden of also having our own freedoms taken away so that the draconian actions always necessary to maintain empire over foreigners can continue, for these oligarchs’ benefit. Not only is it that they don’t hate us for our “freedoms” (which is steadily eroded) but that now they are fighting us “over here” precisely because “we are fighting them over there.” Why don’t we just stop invading, occupying and fighting and mind our own business? If we wouldn’t suffer it ourselves, doesn’t it make sense no people are going to love their occupiers, no matter how we kid ourselves? End of problem – for the American people, if not the oligarchs’ investments in “regime change.” Take care of business – the plight of Americans – here at home, instead.

  7. Jimmy Carter just told Jon Stewart that the Paris assault by Muslims has its roots in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I agree. After WWII moderate Muslims were in control. They tried to use their influence with the United States to settle the conflict fairly. But Israel ensured that these efforts were fruitless. Thus the moderates lost influence in the Middle East and radicals took their place. It’s been downhill ever since. We will have continuous conflict with Muslims until the Israeli Palestinian conflict is settled in something like a two state solution.

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