NetWar: The French Metaphor (an answer to Michele)

Contents Letter From Paris

Contents Letter From Paris

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


The French Metaphor (an answer to Michele)

Michele, the author of Letters From NYC, asked me recently if I could give some explanation about some attitudes of the French. She wondered:
Are the French that naive or do they have blinders on. Do they really think that their past history towards Arabs, and their new Paris law on female students would be overlooked by these zealots?
And then, I think quite rightly, she stated, like thinking aloud:
The implications if they [the al Qaeda terrorists] do release these journalists are tremendous. Or perhaps I'm missing something?
I will try to answer…
No, I don’t think Michele is missing anything essential. Indeed, the evaluation by the French politicians of the terrorist threat has more often been tainted by self-delusion than impregnated by their presumed famous Cartesian rationality. They are like the man who in face of an impending catastrophe pinches himself while saying “I’m dreaming! I’m dreaming! I’m dreaming! This is not for real.They just don’t want this war to be real. Until now, somehow, many of them expected the al Qaeda threat to fade away into oblivion or, at least, to become a distant scourge, something that concerned others. After 10 years living in France, I can flat out certify that “naïve” isn’t the adjective that befits best the average French politician; try guileful, canny or perhaps even oversubtle. So, they must have some sort of blinders on.
What sort of blinders? Barring sheer dishonesty, blind wishful thinking seems the most at hand explanation for much of the French elite refusing to look reality into the eye and trying to nitpicker away the notion of being at war. One can understand that: it’s a matter of statistics. Muslims are over 10% of the population in many places in France, including Paris. About 5,5 million. Assuming that 10% may have some sympathy for al Qaeda (that in itself is a very optimistic figure, again falling for wishful thinking), that means some 500,000 potential supporters of terrorism; assume now that 1% would be prepared to actively help the terrorists… You don’t want to believe that in the Paris region you may have 15,000 people ready to participate in Jihad. Of course, one can always seek relief in seeing the figures the other way around: 90% of the French Muslims aren’t potential supporters of terrorism. In the Paris region you have 1,485,000 Muslims who aren’t ready to participate in the Jihad. That’s the line of thought that the French government decided to follow when the Americans asked them if they please would be willing to participate in the War on Terror. But then, I’m really not that sure that it’s wise here to apply the metaphor of the half-empty/half-full glass of water. How many people does it take to plant a bomb on a train?

Winds of Change

An example: this analysis of the March 11th attacks in Madrid, written 5 days later! Imposing.

Inspiring, passionate and decent

Iraq, the Model
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The Patriot Debates
Many provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire at the end of 2005. This forum is devoted to civil and informed debate about these provisions and whether they should be renewed.

A serious visit to jihadist ideology

Michelle Malkin
Her column appears in nearly 200 US papers nationwide. Pretty conservative AND very articulate. I like her.

From Barcelona. I like it! And, by the way, it's getting better every day.

Across the Bay
Very good blog by Tony, an expert in in Ancient Near Eastern Studies with focus on Semitic Linguistics, Ancient Levantine history, religion....

Allah Pundit
It's quite consevative, but really funny!

Bjørn Stærk's blog
In the NetWar since 2001, this norwegian wonderkid is just worth reading.

Norman Geras's blog
I mean, READ HIM. He's bright, insightful and knows a lot about Marxism and la condition humaine... Yeeees! (thanks Stygius).

Dan Darling
Excellent Open Source analysis of al Qaeda!

Bilingual (FR&EN) and passionate!

The Politburo Diktat
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Insults for use by the ideologically informed
Nice page of Real Socialist Nostalgia. Check it out, comrade!

Letters From New York City
Michele tells it from the place where the world changed three years ago.

Alphabet City by Robert Stevens
Very well informed "from the perimeter of Manhattan ;-)" Impresive collection of links.

Colt's Eurabia
If you want to know and follow politically incorrect debate, red it!
His motto is:"...the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism." George Orwell

Monitoring Media Coverage of the War On Terror

Political Correctness Watch
John Ray, a former university teacher gone blogger monitors political correctness around the globe. When you needthat cheering information that somewhere else it's even worse than in your home town...


Free Lance Corner
Emilio Alonso, madrileño sin pelos en la pluma, liberal y extremadamente sensato.

Guerra Eterna en Oriente Medio
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Español residente en Parí­s, liberal, vasco, polí­ticamente incorrecto, reflexiona sobre la situación en Euskadi (Paí­s Vasco)

Carmelo Jordá
Otro español, buen analista y políticamente incorrecto. Pertenece a la nueva ola de jovenes liberales (en el sentido europeo) que empiezan a poner en cuestión todo en Europa

Una Temporada en el Infierno
Interesante blog de Juan Pedro Quiñonero, escritor y periodista español que merece dos lecturas.

Location: Paris, France

I have been a journalist since I was 22. For a (long) while I worked as a reporter for the Swedish, Spanish (I was born in Spain) and American media, covering international affairs... After 1991 I recycled myself to the business press.

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the links to all the 6 chapters in PDF for FREE.

Contents (PDF)
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Conceptual Outlines
Chapter Three: A World in Flux - Ripe for Netwar Chapter Four: Varieties of Netwar
Chapter Five: Challenges for U.S Policy and Organization
Chapter Six: Implications for U.S. Doctrine and Strategy

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