Millions of French Answer Hollande's Call for Unity in Face of Terrorism!
New Questions, Criticism Arise
PARIS -- Up to Three Million French Assemble in Paris and across France united as one condemning recent acts of terrorism. Last week two brothers raided the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a second bloodbath followed with a horrendous attack upon a supermarket in a Jewish neighborhood. The march led by the families of the victims and numbers of "ordinary citizens" swelled to 1.6 million in Paris. The march began at the Place de la Republique and concluded in the Place de la Nation as seen in BBC photographs and video. I was totally blown away (metaphorically) to learn that this moment in a long history of French patriotism surpassed the throngs of people who celebrated the liberation of Paris from the Nazis in World War II.
This monumental tribute to the French people represents a declaration to the World. They refuse to succumb to those who threaten their Freedom. They refuse the infusion of Fear in their daily lives. Over decades, the French accepted immigrants many of the Islamic faith. Over time, especially after 9/11 in 2001 clandestine cells from Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups orchestrated from the Middle East began orchestrated attacks upon soft targets in France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain.
I believe French President Francois Hollande courageously declared in a phrase familiar in the United States "Assez Ce est assez!" or "Enough is enough!" One BBC reporter referred to the importance of this day as a "turning point" for all nations in the elimination of terrorism. That in mind some questions that immediately come to mind follow.
|World Leaders Pause In a Moment of Silence for the Victims|
Joining French President Francois Hollande is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, EU President Donald Tusk, and Jordan's King Abdullah II
Immediately news reporters made note of the absence of United States President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden or some member of the current administration. John Kerry as Secretary of State should have halted all other business in support. Can one imagine his predecessor, Hillary Clinton failing to represent the U.S.? I think not with her record of frequent-flyer accumulation in tireless efforts to appearance across the globe in her service as Secretary of State.
A second question comes to mind to some Americans perhaps to others is any organized display of support, even if minimal in those Islamic countries who decry such horrible acts and the barbaric beheading of foreign correspondents by ISIS. The Saudi Royals for all their talk are wantonly weak in actions.
Third, upon the conclusion of this magnificent display of global unity what security measures can ordinary citizens expect? What can we expect of the United States and NSA to increase intelligence gathering and sharing with our allies? The NSA has already demonstrated their eavesdropping on British and German leaders not to mention the obsession with American telephone records. The only action I know is the ongoing call of leaders in Western Europe for citizens to "report on suspicious behavior" among their neighbors.
When will our President call upon our own "intelligence gathering" departments, agencies and private contractors to downsize CIA, FBI, NSA and the throngs of George W. Bush costly creation of Homeland Security. What is reported among the media over time is the increasing frustration within the Pentagon where they receive multiple and mostly trivial intelligence reports from competing agencies. The failure of intelligence gathering did not occur solely within the CIA and FBI in 2000 - 2001, but the lack of intelligence in the White House as they prepared for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
However, what may be much worse is the alleged indignation and dismissal of intelligence reports routinely submitted to the White House of increasing creditable threat of a Bin-Laden attack under the guise of leadership from Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Condolezza Rice and others in the West Wing. It is not only time for real transparency but also sharing with our Western European allies. America's credibility around the world as well as our "intelligence" continues to crumble under the weight of bureaucracy, self preservation of those with a delusion of power and the "veil" of secrecy they abide as under a threat of death.
President Obama, this is the "teachable moment. You need to "shake up" the arrogance of leadership in our intelligence community, abandon the failure of past practice and abandon any absurd protocol up the chain of command for expediency. The nation requires a new infusion of our brightest minds and a youthful ability to embrace a new culture in Washington. The initiation of change can be President Obama's greatest legacy.
We as citizens of the Free World must stand in unity and demand real change. We as citizens must demand our Constitutional Rights be acknowledged and preserved. We as citizens of the free world must stand in unity with the French and European allies. Together we stand and wave the flags representing freedom.