What a difference a single massacre can make!
• Just a week ago the EU couldn’t possibly figure out anything to do to stop the influx of “refugees” from all those countries the US and NATO had bombed into oblivion. But now, because “Paris changed everything,” EU’s borders are being locked down and refugees are being turned back.
• Just a week ago it seemed that the EU was going to be swamped by resurgent nationalism, with incumbent political parties poised to get voted out of power. But now, thanks to the Paris massacre, they have obtained a new lease on life, because they can now safely embrace the same policies that a week ago they branded as “fascist.”
• Just a week ago the EU and the US couldn’t possibly bring themselves admit that they are utterly incompetent when it comes to combating their own creation—ISIS, that is—and need Russian help. But now, at the après-Paris G-20 summit, everybody is ready to line up and let Putin take charge of the war against terrorism. Look—the Americans finally found those convoys of tanker trucks stretching beyond the horizon that ISIS has been using to smuggle out stolen Syrian crude oil—after Putin showed them the satellite photos!
Am I being crass and insensitive? Not at all—I deplore all the deaths from terrorist attacks in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in all the other countries whose populations did absolutely nothing to deserve such treatment. I only feel half as bad about the French, who stood by quietly as their military helped destroy Libya (which did nothing to deserve it).
Note that after the Russian jet crashed in the Sinai there weren’t all that many Facebook avatars with the Russian flag pasted over them, and hardly any candlelight vigils or piles of wreaths and flowers in various Western capitals. I even detected a whiff of smug satisfaction that the Russians got their comeuppance for stepping out of line in Syria.
Why the difference in reaction? Simple: you were told to grieve for the French, so you did. You were not told to grieve for the Russians, and so you didn’t. Don’t feel bad; you are just following orders. The reasoning behind these orders is transparent: the French, along with the rest of the EU, are Washington’s willing puppets; therefore, they are innocent, and when they get killed, it’s a tragedy. But the Russians are not Washington’s willing puppet, and are not innocent, and so when they get killed by terrorists, it’s punishment. And when Iraqis, or Syrians, or Nigerians get killed by terrorists, that’s not a tragedy either, for a different reason: they are too poor to matter. In order to qualify as a victim of a tragedy, you have to be each of these three things: 1. a US-puppet, 2. rich and 3. dead.
Also, you probably believe that the terrorist attacks in Paris were the genuine article—nobody knew it would happen, and it couldn’t have been stopped, because these terrorists are just too clever for the ubiquitous state surveillance to detect. Don’t feel bad about that either; you are just believing what you are told to believe. You probably also believe that jet fuel can melt steel girders and that skyscrapers collapse into their own footprints (whether they’ve been hit by airplanes or not). You can certainly believe whatever you like, but here are a couple of easy-to-understand tips on telling what’s real from what’s fake:
1. If it’s fake, the perpetrators are known immediately (and sometimes beforehand). If it’s real, then the truth is uncovered as a result of a thorough investigation. So, for instance, on 9/11 the guilty party were a bunch of Saudis armed with box cutters (some of whom are, paradoxically, still alive). And in Paris we knew right away that this was done by ISIS—even before we knew who the perpetrators were. And when that Malaysian jet got shot down over Ukraine, we knew right away that it was the Russians’ fault (never mind that on that day the Ukrainians deployed an air defense system, and also scrambled a couple of jets armed with air-to-air missiles— against an enemy that doesn’t have an air force). Note, however, how we still don’t know what happened with the Russian jet over Sinai. That case is still under investigation—as it should be. If it’s real, officials stall for time and urge caution while scrambling to find out what happened. When it’s fake, the officials are ready to go with the Big Lie, and then do everything they can to make it stick, suppressing what shreds of evidence can be independently gathered.
2. If it’s fake, than you should also expect cute little touches: designer logos for publicity campaigns ready to launch at a moment’s notice, be it “Je suis Charlie” or that cute little Eiffel Tower inscribed in a peace symbol. There weren’t any props to go with the Russian jet disaster—unless you count that tasteful Charlie Hebdo cartoon of a jihadi rocket having anal sex with an airliner. There might also be a few traditional titbits designed to feed a media frenzy, such as a fake passport found lying next to one of the perpetrators—because when terrorists go on suicide missions they always take their fake passports with them. The people who are charged with designing these events lack imagination and usually just go with whatever worked before.
We should certainly expect there to be more fake massacres of this sort—whenever the political situation becomes sufficiently fraught to call for one—because at this point ready-to-go jihadi terrorist cells are something of a sunk cost and can be deployed very cheaply and effectively. Of course we should grieve for the victims, but there is something far more important at stake than mere human lives, which are, deplorably, becoming cheaper with each passing year. We should grieve for the truth.