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Hullabaloo


Friday, July 15, 2016

 

Slaughter in Nice

by Tom Sullivan

More senseless slaughter, this time in Nice, France. Al Jazeera reports (Thursday night):

At least 80 people were killed and another 100 injured in the southern French city of Nice after an attacker drove a lorry into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday.

The attacker behind the wheel on Thursday drove at high speed along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront hitting the mass of spectators who had been watching a fireworks display. Police then shot and killed the driver, officials said.

Identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian were found inside the truck, a police source told AFP news agency on Friday.
Thousands began running.

From the BBC:

Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice resident, said: "It zigzagged - you had no idea where it was going. My wife... a metre away... she was dead. The lorry ripped through everything... poles, trees. We have never seen anything like it. Some people were hanging on the door and tried to stop it."
Police killed the driver after exchanging gunfire. The truck, the Al Jazeera report says, "was loaded with arms and grenades." It is not clear from the early reports if any grenades were used. Two American citizens, a Ukrainian and a Russian are among the (now) 84 victims.The BBC reports this morning that 50 people were injured, 18 critically.

President Obama issued a statement:
"On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent citizens," President Obama said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded."

Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. Embassy in Paris was working to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in Nice. The American consulate in Marseille said it was trying to "determine if any U.S. citizens were injured in the event."

The exact nature of the attack was unclear, but the Paris anti-terrorism prosecutor's office was put in charge of the investigation.
The state of emergency in place in France since the Islamic State attacks last fall has been extended for three months. No group yet has claimed culpability (responsibility is too polite a term) for the attack. ISIS-affiliated terrorists are suspected, as in previous French attacks. As ISIS has lost territory in Iraq and Syria, external, mass-casualty attacks such as those in Istanbul and Baghdad have increased. High-profile terror attacks are meant to reassure believers that the Islamic State is still viable, according to experts cited by the Washington Post.

A knee-jerk response from the West would simply add to that message and encourage ISIS recruitment.

Enter Donald Trump. Without knowing details about the attack, Trump wants to declare war. On whom, he doesn't say. On what basis, he doesn't know. A NATO country has been attacked, sure (by a lone individual as far as we know now). But Trump thinks NATO is obsolete and the U.S. pays too much for it. Others should pay. So with that for background, when Bill O'Reilly asked Trump if he would send in air and ground forces (somewhere) Trump said:
“I would, I would” when asked if he would seek a formal declaration of military action from the US Congress. “This is war,” Trump continued. “If you look at it, this is war. Coming from all different parts. And frankly it’s war, and we’re dealing with people without uniforms. In the old days, we would have uniforms. You would know who you’re fighting.”
But since Trump doesn't know who that is and can't force whoever it is to wear uniforms, what this situation absolutely requires is a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part. And Trump is just the guy to do it. Count on him to try to make somebody else pay for it. In the end, that someone would be us.