Op-Ed: France leads Europe into War on Terror

Posted Jan 18, 2013 by Larry Clifton
After failing to organize an international coalition to battle Muslim extremists in Mali, France has become embroiled in its own “war on terror” as Western allies offer meager support from a safe distance and nearby West African nations stay out.
Two French Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets ready for takeoff
Two French Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets ready for takeoff
EMA / Armée de l'Air
French soldiers in Mali are not just fighting radical Muslims – that would be much easier. No, they are battling the tip of a worldwide army of extremists who as a matter of strategy shield themselves behind women and children. Meanwhile, French bombs have already begun claiming the lives of collateral victims, including African children.
The French invaders will be treated like heroes – for a short while. However body counts will soar on both sides should the French stay and fight it out with advancing Muslim extremists, and the media will alternately focus on French casualties and collateral victims, not the larger war on terrorism, as an initial surge of French patriotism fades.
As Muslim-inspired terrorism and jihads thrive around the world, Europe’s leaders are finding it impossible to wait for the U.S. to do the heavy lifting in the very real War on Terror. Muslim extremists are now encroaching on the lives of Europeans, as when Paris suburbs were torched during the riots of 2005.
Now France has invaded its former African colony of Mali to blunt radical Muslim advances. That is no small story for a war-thirsty media that will soon be fighting to snap bloody images of dead Malians like vultures fighting over road kill. Mali is one of the poorest countries on Earth and about 90 percent of its citizens are Muslim.
Videos of African women and children grotesquely dismembered by French munitions will slowly replace stories about courageous French missions in West Africa, especially back home.
The mostly white French soldiers and pilots fighting in Africa will soon be savaged by a global media that always shapes news in predictable fashion. Eventually, news correspondents will inflict more damage on the French military than the Muslims could ever hope to.
In France, Islam, the religious faith practiced by Muslims, is the second-most widely practiced religion behind Roman Catholicism. There are an estimated 6 million Muslims already living in France, many of whom immigrated through Morocco, a few hundred miles to the south. Between 5 and 10 percent of the French national population currently practice Islam.
The Mali invasion sounds familiar to Americans in an up-side-down way. When the U.S. invaded Iraq, France, like Germany, refused to deploy any troops to assist the Americans.
Today, as a war-weary U.S. begins its withdrawal from Afghanistan after a decade of fighting, Muslim extremists are rapidly introducing Sharia Law to Western nations, a longstanding goal for Islamist movements in Muslim countries. With Americans in no mood for another foreign war, Europeans are increasingly concerned about the advance of radical Muslims; rightfully so, considering they are so close to the badlands of Islamic extremism.
As Muslim extremists continue to set up shop in countries like France, Spain and the United Kingdom, Europe has its political eye trained on terrorism but lacks the collective inclination to act as extremists continue to swarm its borders in droves.
After failing to build an international coalition, France has invaded Mali with air and ground forces to combat Islamist militias in that country’s northern region. For France, there are no good options.
Already there are reports of collateral damage, including the deaths of children. French forces will soon retreat or become embedded in a long, costly war that in the long run, will only earn condemnation from the Western press as photos of dead women and children begin to surface in the global media.
Soon, body bags will shroud the bodies of young French soldiers killed in action; that is when France will decide whether to cut and run, or stay and fight. In either case, France will never be the same.