What is there really to say about the Paris attacks?

French soldiers guarding the Tour Eiffel

In some ways, there isn’t that much to say about the Paris attacks. They’re horrific, of course. But no more horrific than the ongoing Syrian civil war. It hits home, of course, for those of us who’ve been to Paris, or who know people in Paris, or who care about Paris for whatever other reason. Paris is familiar, whereas Syria is not. But I do have a few other thoughts in the wake of this awful tragedy.

  1. This attack is not going to achieve what ISIS wanted it to achieve.

The one thing this attack is guaranteed to do, is to galvanize the people of France to supporting the campaign against ISIS. The French are already coalition partners with the United States, and this will just strengthen their resolve. Oh sure, there will be some outsiders who will counsel – not at all unreasonably, by the way – that France should withdraw from the coalition. But it’s not going to happen.

  1. If there is one country I wouldn’t have fucked with, it’s the Russians.

By now, it’s pretty clear that ISIS is also behind the downing of the Russian Metrojet Flight flying to St. Petersburg from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt last week. The Russians have no sense of humor about this kind of thing. None at all. And while they maybe in opposition to us around their support of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, they are now united with us around their opposition to ISIS. This is not a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. If there are two countries you probably don’t want to unite in opposition to you, the United States and Russia might be at the top of that list.

  1. I do worry about the offspring of the current Syrian refugees who will turn radical in their own time.

Right now we have the Syrian (and other) refugee crisis, which has been so much in the news. Literally hundreds of thousands of these Flüchtlinge will end up in Germany, and most of them will be very grateful at the chance for a new life. Their offspring, the next generation, not so much. Many of them will be grateful, but many others will be frustrated when Germany inevitable does not turn out to be the paradise that their parents imagined it to be. (Believe me when I tell you that the weather alone insures that Germany is no paradise. Just like England.) But worse, many of them will experience small but repeated forms of racism and other kinds of ostracism, and the more easily frustrated of them will be a receptive audience for the ISIS of the future, whoever that may be 25 years from now. It’s kind of inevitable.

  1. For all those frustrated Muslims longing for a return of a great Caliphate, those dreams are about to be crushed. Once again.

There were, of course, great Caliphates after the death of the prophet Muhammed. And during the crusades the Muslims repeatedly fended off attempts by the Christian Crusaders to retake the Holy Land, and particularly the city of Jerusalem. But Western technology overtook the Muslims, and now the countries of the Middle East are no match for the military might of the United States, Europe, and also Russia. While I have some small amount of sympathy with their frustration, running headfirst into a brick wall is not going to solve their problems. And that’s what Muslim Radicals are doing, metaphorically speaking, when they try to attack the West militarily.

  1. I have a Fantasy about the moment that these Muslim Radicals come to the end of their life.

I’ve had this persistent fantasy – which started after the September 11 attacks – that at the moment that they perish, in a burst of airplane jet fuel or as the consequence of a suicide belt, there is a short interval where these Muslim radicals discover that they did it all for nothing. There is no God. There is no afterlife. Their death was completely meaningless, in the service of a gigantic lie. I have this fantasy that at this moment of revelation time is suspended almost infinitely, and in this suspended state these assholes after come to grips with the complete meaningless of their lives. Oh the cognitive dissonance that would ensue!

Of course, it’s just a fantasy. These “martyrs” will die believing that they really are about to encounter 70 virgins, or whatever other infantile fantasies animate their belief system. “Allahu Akbar” they were heard to shout. But God is not great. God is not even good. God is nonexistent. He/she/it doesn’t exist at all. There is no God, not of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or even Wicca Pagan variety. The fantasy of a God is no more real than my fantasy of a moment of revelation for all of these misguided idiots mowing down French citizens and then blowing themselves up. People think there is no harm in believing in a God. But they are profoundly wrong. It’s a great delusion to believe in any kind of God, but especially in a God who would countenance or reward the kind of thing that happened in Paris yesterday.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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6 Responses to What is there really to say about the Paris attacks?

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. jakester48 says:

    I don’t disagree with what you write. This is the way war is waged in the 21st century. There is no “front line”. No distinction is made between military personnel and civilians. We (the “West”) bomb IS controlled villages, towns and cities, and call civilian casualties “collateral damage”, just as we did with al-Quaeda and the Taliban. They put bombs in our airliners and fire off Kalashnikovs in restaurants and theatres. If there is more morality to our actions than to theirs, it has to derive from what we are fighting for, as sometimes I am not sure that it lies in how we do it.

  3. It’s your blog, and you’re free to do with it as you deem fit, but up until you started talking about God, I actually thought you had something interesting and worthwhile to say, until I noticed the tone and perception of hate in your rhetoric (specifically about God), and realized that in a sense, you have no idea about what you’re talking about.

    1. Not going to achieve what ISIS wanted it to achieve.
    Okay, so let’s see it this way. You hate someone. You hate them so badly that you want to kill them. However, you need support. You have the support of none, not even your friends and family. You realize that by antagonizing that person you hate, they will antagonize those around you, in order to get at you. Big mistake. By antagonizing your friends, they helped you. Now your family will follow you. You still don’t have enough support. You take it one step further. You antagonize the enemy a little more. They fight back. Now your friends follow you! More back and forth… Now your family’s friends follow you, and their families, and their families’ friends, and their families, and their families’ friends, etc. The network compounds exponentially from one point. Well look at that… Now you have enough force to beat the crap out of and kill that person you hate.

    It’s a small example, and I won’t go through any other of your points to show you how I can provide examples against your arguments, but what am I really saying in the end?

    I’m saying that you don’t seem like the person who has thought the whole “God” thing through. Your vehemence toward the subject (yes, in correlation with the attacks, but I suspect still carrying your own prejudice) shows that you actually don’t know enough to be able to support your argument beyond, ever, beyond “even” a standstill with a person who believes (devoutly) in God.

    This is what is so beautiful about the issue.
    You say, with your bias and prejudice, that God doesn’t exist (to you and all the people who “believe” what you do) yet there’s enough evidence (in “all” the people who believe that he does exist) certifying that he exists.

    Isn’t that interesting? That actually says a lot more about the issue than you’re capable of admitting.

    This issue is, has been, and always will be, about “faith”, my friend, and as you know, you have “none”.

    • I think you have missed a1’s point. a1 seems to have complete and absolute faith – faith in truth, transparency, known facts. Neither does a1 seem to me someone who has no empathy which is what you imply by accusing such things as ‘bias and prejudice’.
      There is no prejudice in saying ‘I don’t believe in God’ and in fact, I think a1 says pretty much is something like this: “if that’s what you want to believe, then that’s fine, just don’t go on some crusade to make me or anyone else think your way… and by the way, why don’t you look at the stories you believe – created centuries ago – in today’s context and try to make them more relevant?” (look at the post that follows this as well to see it clearly spelt out)
      The sad thing, in terms of religious doctrine, is that one of the justifications that governments will use to combat ISIL is “God’s on our side”. No greater harm has been done to individuals and to nations than by those with any power saying “in God’s name”.

  4. jakester48 says:

    Pandora’s Key, something does not exist just because a lot of people believe it exists. No concept is validated simply by how many people believe in it. In that context, “faith” just means “I believe it, even if you don’t”. And to come back to the Paris bombings, consider the role that faith played in that atrocity.

  5. Pingback: Some people berated me for my Post yesterday. But I stand by it. | A (or One) Skeptic

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