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Weak Brits, Tough French?

Reader comment on item: Reflections on the Revolution in France*

Submitted by Richard Brayshaw (United States), Nov 12, 2005 at 13:00

In my experience, the French are rarely accused of being tough on much of anything except perhaps American foreigh policy and British cuisine (sometimes for good reasons). So when I read, "Weak Brits, Tough French" in the New York Sun, back in July, (http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2764) I had to scratch my head. In light of the recent and continuing islamist violence in France, I'm scratching again.

More inspired by frustration and contrarian sentiment--than a scorecard of reliable metrics--I disagreed with this flawed assessment when it first appeared this past summer. Easy for me to say, I thought. Exactly how does one measure and report on the relative "toughness" of a particular government's response to islamist terror?

Does the banning of headscarfs--apart from its justification debate--really support such a claim? I believe it would be more accurate to construe that sort of interdiction as a visceral response to multiculturalism run-amok, rather than the reasoned, get-tough tactics of an anti-terrorism hardliner. At best its anti-islamist lip service, that could only be viewed as insult-on-injury by those effected (some of whom are likely engaged in the torching Pugeots and Bistros at this very moment).

We have seen, all over the world, evidence that muslim youth, left to stew in poverty/oppression/exile (choose your favorite catalyst) and the tutiledge of religious radicals will produce violence, bombs, headcounts. Left this way long enough and they will produce organization and debate; political strength and empathy. Allowing riots to proceed and NOT deploying substantial force, waiting a fortnight to impose curfew, and advancing further investment in social programs to address this smoldering root of terrorism is very, very far from the toughness one would expect of "...the most stalwart nation in the West."

Crushing the smoldering islamist revolution in France with swift, decisive police action and sweeping deportation and prosecution of those whose raised their fists in violence is Toughness.

Implementing targeted reforms in any community where documented failures exist is Fairness (and just good social policy).

Carte Blanche appeasment and denial of islamist conditions to simply to regain a sense of stability and shrug off the smoldering roots of islamist terror as "urban violence" is Stupidity.

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