With the understanding that we are in the midst of the fog of war, and many early reports may be wrong, here are my initial thoughts on the events in Paris — all subject to change with additional information.
First, a multi-pronged military-style assault on civilian soft targets is exactly the kind of terrorist attack I’ve long feared. Every western capital is vulnerable to attacks like this, and the combination of open borders and thousands of European and American citizens fighting for ISIS renders all of our cities open to assault. This is likely not the last major urban attack, and we may see another soon.
Second, while it is encouraging to see Kurdish progress in Iraq (with considerable American air support) along with seemingly an increased American commitment to fighting ISIS – complete with a modest number of boots on the ground in Syria – this is all too little, too late. ISIS has been allowed not just to live, but to grow. And now it’s demonstrating massive increase in its destructive reach. Within the space of days, it has apparently brought down a civilian airliner, bombed Beirut, and now reportedly launched a multi-pronged urban assault in a western capital. This is what happens when terrorists are allowed safe havens and given free reign to recruit and spread their influence.
Third, Francois Hollande is pledging to wage “pitiless” war. Good. Now let’s see if France backs up its words with actions. While France is often the butt of jokes about its military prowess, it not only has a centuries-old tradition of military valor, it breeds warriors still. May they be unleashed.