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Thoughts and prayers for the people of Paris

I don’t know what there is to be said right now about the terrible attacks that have hit Paris this evening, save that they are horrific. If past calamities are any indication, it will be days if not longer before we know exactly what happened, who the perpetrators and victims were, and how many will have ultimately perished in such a stupid, brutal fashion. Because of this I will resist the urge to make some kind of statement about it all, except perhaps to say this:

I know that I speak for the editors, the writers, and the entire OT community when I say that our collective thoughts and prayers go out to those in Paris tonight, as well as to those with loved ones currently in the city.

I’m sure that as the smoke clears and we know more than we do now, one or more of the writers here will have something more concrete and useful to say about this tragedy. Until then, feel free to treat this post as a statement of solidarity, a vigil, or whatever else you feel you need right now. All that I ask of you is to remember both that life is precious, and that there is infinitely more that binds us together than separates us.

Be well. Please.


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Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular contributor for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter. ...more →

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48 thoughts on “Thoughts and prayers for the people of Paris

  1. As anyone who’s lived for a bit in Paris will say, the city is like a lover who’s tempestuous and beautiful and crazy as hell and someone with whom it would never work out, because truth be told she’s way out of your league, and yet some part of you will always love her. Damn anyone who would strike Paris.

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  2. I was ignorant to the attacks, sequestered with two sick boys. I came to know of them through a “Safety Alert” Facebook sent me about a friend traveling overseas. Another friend was in Paris and planned to go to the soccer match but his fiance refused because it was cold. They are all safe. In so many ways, the world is a constantly changing place. These attacks are brutal, indefensible, and difficult to accept or understand. Yet they may also be part of a new reality, at least until more things change.

    Here’s hoping prudence and, ultimately, peace win out.

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  3. I put this on my facebook but I think I’ll post it here too.

    You can attack concert halls but people will still listen to music.
    You can attack stadiums but people will still watch sport
    You can attack the shrines of people who worship the same God as you in a different way but people will still pray as they choose.

    You can strike in Pairs, in Baghdad, in Beirut, in the name of religion, nation or politics. All you have to offer is killing and dying and everyone who gets on with their lives is a defeat for you. One day your own children will defeat you in the same way, they will decide they want more than martyrdom, more than war. On that day the rest of the world will be waiting not to tell them how to live but to give them the chance to and that will be your defeat as well.

    We love life and you love death and that is why we will win.

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    • We love life and you love death and that is why we will win.

      It isn’t the least bit true that “we” love life. We love pleasure–not at all the same thing.

      “We love pleasure and you love death and that is why we will win.” No. If the West ever gets around to loving life, maybe it will win–and not just against the jihadists. A big if.

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      • We are winning, after all.

        That’s the hope, anyway. I think it remains to be seen in practice. Personally, I think this latest is gonna be a game changa, and at this point there’s no knowing how it plays out.

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        • notme, I still can’t understand your insistence that Obama is the problem here. I mean, we’ll never agree about this (given past discussions) but it seems like the French, for example, have a much bigger incentive to “do something!!” than the US does, and that whatever actions they decided to take would, at this point, be more justified than the US taking action.

          Remember that if not for the catastrophic catastrophe that was the US invasion of Iraq the world wouldn’t be in this mess. So jumping into yet another land war in Asia is something all rational people ought to be wary of. (Of course, not you, notme.)

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          • Given this comment as well as past ones about isis being the jv team, obama clearly demonstrates an almost willful denial of the threat isis poses.

            And dont forget to reiterate that isis doesn’t poses a threat to the US in your reponse.

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                • Hindsight being what it is, I’da advised W to not invade Iraq while you’d advise W to NOT set a draw-down timeline which Obama – perhaps mistakenly – honored. I could be persuaded that the draw down played a role in this. But that’s the problem with nation-building, ya know? You just never really know when your work there is done.

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                  • I don’t see it as hindsight so much as lesson we learned after Afghanistan but didn’t apply here. We helped the get the Russians out but didn’t help them put the country back together thereby setting the stage for the rise of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

                    And by the way, the active duty unit that my reserve unit supports is sending more folks (including some reservists that I personally know) over to that part of the world as things heat up.

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                    • We helped the get the Russians out but didn’t help them put the country back together thereby setting the stage for the rise of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

                      There’s a story about that. AQ was a jilted lover when the Rooskies finally left and the US supported the Taliban over bin Laden’s crowd.

                      my reserve unit supports is sending more folks

                      Yeah, I’d expect as much. In fact, I support it. I’m sure the French, not to mention the Germans, British, etc., as well as (hopefully) some regional Islamic powers, support it too. Personally, I think the two most recent events – Paris and the Russian plane – have tipped things to a point where pragmatic caution will take a back seat to action. So to speak.

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                • As I recall, the decision was much more complicated than just stay or go. The Iraqi government wouldn’t give permission for the troops to stay unless they were under Iraqi civilian control over deployments, with soldiers/contractors responsible for civilian deaths potentially charged with murder and tried in Iraqi courts. The alternative to that is to say “we’re an occupying power,” but then you’re liable for a whole lot of the care and feeding of the civilian population: food, water, keeping the electricity on, etc.

                  I guess there’s the alternative that Israel uses in the West Bank: they say they’re not an occupying power but reserve the right to run whatever military operations they like. Having a Security Council veto power do that is a really scary precedent. Russia could roll into Ukraine, or China into Vietnam, saying “Security. We’re not an occupying power, but we reserve the right to deploy our military.”

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                  • The idea that we can march into a country and expertly create a functional government and peaceful civil society is one of the more bizarre concepts of Americans.

                    Especially in light of the colossal failure to do so in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever else we have attempted nation-building.

                    Almost as bizarre is the notion that we can somehow harden the target, that is, craft some sort of security protocols which will make a suicide attack impossible.

                    So far, I am not hearing any policy proposals other than “Lets do exactly what we have been doing for the past 15 years, but do some more of it!”

                    I don’t have a magic solution myself, but I am leaning to the idea that we need to bring our Arab allies into the fray. They have the most knowledge and understanding of the ISIS players, they have the most to lose.

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                    • Not good enough. You claim that Obama should have pulled off a miracle. Which one?

                      The Bush administration couldn’t negotiate a SOFA in Iraq that extended past 2011. Obama should have given the Iraqis the things that Bush wouldn’t (eg, US military personnel being tried in Iraqi civilian courts)? Obama should have just “wanted” a favorable SOFA more than Bush did and the Iraqis would have given in? Obama should have declared the US an occupying power? Obama should have declared the right to deploy its military without a SOFA? Obama should have supported a separate Kurdistan if they would let US troops stay?

                      Pick something that was on the list of not just wishful thinking.

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            • I will reiterate that ISIS specifically and violent Islamic extremists in general do not pose any existential threat to the US or to France. They have killed a number of people, this is obvious; but it is equally obvious that neither of those nations are in any existential danger at all.

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  4. Here we go.

    The French government has launched what it said was a “massive” series of airstrikes in Syria targeting the Islamic State’s self-declared capital in Raqqa, defense officials confirmed Sunday.

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  5. j r,

    This is interesting. We talked about this a bit during the C. Hebdo threads.

    All of the attackers from Friday’s massacre in Paris so far have been identified as European Union nationals, according to a top EU official.

    Very complicated, this issue is.

    Whoops. I meant for this to post upthread.

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