Once again, a violent jihadi terrorist attack has hit France, this time with at least 450 victims, 129 of them fatal. Rallying around the French flag, even pasting it over our Facebook avatars, follows, because an attack on European soil somehow “exports” the war in the Middle East to our front doors. We remember and mourn Berlin, Madrid, London, and New York. But deaths at the hands of terrorists in Beirut on Nov. 12 (43 dead; 200 wounded), or Baghdad the day after (26 dead; 46 wounded); Dhaka on Oct. 24 (1 dead; 104 wounded); or in Ankara on Oct. 10 (95 dead; 246 wounded) have not brought the same outpouring of grief and flag-draping. Even the killing of 224 passengers on a commercial Russian passenger plane, brought down by a terrorist bomb over the Sinai Peninsula, pale by comparison to the outpouring of emotion following the attacks in Paris.
The war against terrorists, especially the Islamic State — reputed sponsor of all those non-European attacks — has “come home,” we say. In reaction, French politicians, like former President Nicolas Sarkozy, demand “total war.” Republican presidential candidates thump the tub to escalate a ground war in Syria.
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