The Terror Haunting France

Bernard Cazeneuve, French Interior Minister, in Nice

A Pitiless Response

15th July 2016

logo_lefigaro_35px Le Figaro Editorial | Alexis Brézet

Merah, Charlie, the Bataclan, Magnanville, and now Nice… How many times before our eyes are opened? How many savage attacks, blind massacres, before our leaders resign themselves to admitting that Islamist fanaticism has joined a fight to the death against our country and our civilization? How many more innocent victims — men, women, and children — before those who govern us decide at last to respond ruthlessly, as demanded by the barbarity of these madmen of Allah?

Merah, Charlie, the Bataclan, Magnanville, and now Nice… More than two hundred names branded on the memory of our country, and still the same stiff upper lip, the same solemn declarations, the same quavering voice. And then? A few more soldiers in the streets, some legislative band-aids, a few more bombs dropped far away, and then, nothing more…

“We’re at war!” Now at least it’s been said. After so much procrastination, the expression is suddenly on everyone’s lips. But, deep down, who really believes it? “To arms, citizens!”, we cry at the top of our voices, but our weapons are those of peace: candles, hashtags, processions, and the procedural niceties of our penal code.

In truth, a phoney war! We leave our borders (soldiers would say, our highways) open to our enemies. Recruiting agents for the jihad preach their ideology of hatred with impunity in mosques financed by the enemy. “Traitors” who have fought in Syria are subjected to a simple course of “deradicalization”. As for the “code red” individuals, capable of forming a “fifth column”, they just wander around freely on the ground that “they haven’t yet committed a crime”…

War, what war? We behave as though we were at peace! The state of emergency forbids neither union demonstrations nor festive gatherings, which are billed by some, without a smile, as “the best response to the Islamic State”… The president of the Republic himself appears not to believe in the war: he announced serenely, on the 14th July, the end of the state of emergency and the winding back of operations under project “Sentinelle”, before going full astern overnight when tragic reality caught up with him…

The soldiers of the Caliphate themselves, of course, don’t make war by halves. “They’ve come to take the blood of our sons and our companions“, and we offer the protection of our laws to the very people who want to destroy us! Never in history has an enemy benefited from so much complacency on the part of those it fights.

This obtuse blindness has gone on long enough. To win the war, we must prosecute it without half-measures or pusillanimity. And to give some chance of winning to those whose mission this is, we must rearm. Rearmament of the military and the police, of course. Legislative rearmament wherever necessary. Above all, moral rearmament to overcome collectively this perverse syllogism draped in faded cloth, that of “vivre-ensemble [living together]”, which in France is used to quash any action the least energetic against the roots of radical islamism, on the grounds that “this would play the game of the terrorists”. As though we might fight them better by offering our throats to their knives! As though the surest path to intercommunal strife were not precisely the abdication of the State, which is the sole possessor of legitimate force, and the sole guarantor of civil peace…

Evidently, there is no miracle weapon for overcoming the islamist Hydra. We shall never eliminate all risk of attack. Is that a reason for not trying anything? Of course, this war that has been declared on us will be long and difficult. Undoubtedly, we shall endure other defeats. One more reason not to lose any more time. Merah, Charlie, the Bataclan, Magnanville, Nice… The time to act is now, if we want one day to halt this ominous litany.