open thread terrorism

Open Thread: Dozens feared dead after truck deliberately plows into crowd in Nice, France

The truck, after the attack
The truck, after the attack

Another sickening attack, this time in France (again) as the driver of a large truck, seemingly deliberately, plowed into a crowd gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France. As many as 60 people are dead, French media is reporting, and many more are injured. [UPDATE: The number of deaths is now reported as 80.]

As I write this, details are still scarce, but it certainly appears to be an act of terrorism.

Here’s an open thread to discuss this and share information. No trolls, MRAs, alt-rightists, etc.

72 replies on “Open Thread: Dozens feared dead after truck deliberately plows into crowd in Nice, France”

Ok. Thanks both you guys Alan and numberbois. The police And the BBC?

Now as much as I love them both, they do keep us in the dark. Don’t they?

Well, at least John Pilger agrees with me even if some don’t.

And he’s getting old too… 🤗

But at least he is still able to get up and speak his mind. Even if I don’t necessarily agree with him always.

Somehow, all the worst of these politicians remind me of a scene in A Wizard of Earthsea: a woman offers to teach the main character the dark arts to rid himself of a demon, saying something like, “Only with darkness can you conquer shadow.” Sparrowhawk wrestles with it for a bit, looks at her like she’s an idiot, then replies, “You conquer shadows with light.” Or similar: it’s been far too long since I re-read that. Probably cliché by now, but well-done enough that it shines.

I want to hear more Geds in politics. I’ve been wanting more and more to walk away from Omelas, lately (and if you haven’t read “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” I recommend you do so, because it’s about the essence of what a Mammotheer is).

@Podger: I suspect LeGuin would be disappointed with you only attributing the situation of “Omelas” to Mammotheers; her point was that everyone in Omelas, bad and good (and just how good would depend on the reader’s interpretation) had accepted the situation as just the price of living in their society.

What the hell. Not another terrorist attack/police shooting/etc… I know not ALL the news is bad news, but these violent attacks are particularly upsetting, because violence often leads to more violence, on and on.

If anyone else wants some distraction, here’s part of a review of the new Ghostbusters film:

“Internet trolls, you can go back to the webs under your bridge. I am here to let you know that the new Ghostbusters works perfectly well in spite of its boneheaded, sexually skewed casting choices.

I’m speaking of course about Chris Hemsworth. Despite the decision to have a man – a man! – take over the role of the snappy receptionist Annie Potts created in the 1984 original, the story’s comedy remains intact.”

(Chris Knight, in the Montreal Gazette; he gave it 4.5/5 stars)

@Nequitia (sorry, been years since I cracked Wheelock, probably mangling your nominative hardcore), what I meant was those who follow this column refuse to be complacent in the face of bullshit– “the ones who walk away,” or even stand and fight.

FWIW, yeah, your summary is exact and you should be proud of it.

Sorry, shouldn’t be detracting from Nice by arguing fairy-tale cities.

Sorry @Podger, but if you want to truly walk away from Omelas, you have to do far, far more than simply admit there’s a problem in our society.

@ podger and banned

I’ve always thought the ones who merely walk away aren’t much better than the ones who stay. The only decent thing to do would be to kick down the cupboard door, rescue the child, and wo betide anyone who got in the way.

@ podger

ISIS are quite open about their aims to provoke anti-Muslim sentiment in the West. They want all out war. They call it ‘eliminating the gray zone’. Essentially its Charle’s Manson’s Helter Skelter but on a larger scale.

So the worst thing that can happen is for idiots to play into their hands, as unfortunately demonstrated on the other tweet thread.

It will take years to defeat ISIS on the ground (if indeed it can ever be fully done) so the best solution at present is to undermine their support by proving them wrong (a tactic that worked quite well against AQ).

That means demonstrating that there’s a a welcome for Muslims in western society, and Muslims and non-Muslims can peacefully co-exist as equal and friendly members of society as a whole. Which for the most part is what actually happens; hence ISIS’s desperation and incitement to acts like this.


‘eliminating the grey zone’

I remember hearing a lecture on the radio once by someone who was using pretty much that as the dividing line between ‘terrorist’ and ‘freedom fighter’. That one of the true goals of modern terrorist movements was to make it impossible to stay on the sidelines, so that everybody would be either one of them, an enemy, or a traitor. They want to ramp up conflict so that the only ‘safe’ place for people like them (Muslims in this case) is to be on their side.

I hadn’t really thought of the comparison to Manson before, but it does fit.

As for the ‘playing into their hands’, well, Osama bin Laden released a video during the leadup to the 2004 election in the U.S. which seemed deliberately set up to rile up people in the U.S. to vote for George W. Bush, which in turn would rile up the rest of the Muslim world if he kept going the way he had been. So playing those sorts of political games has an unfortunate history of working.

@ jenora

Yup. In fairness ISIS are very open about their aims in this regard. They feel it’s necessary to create this conflict for two reasons:

Firstly to rescue Muslims from the pernicious influence of the west; but also to show that multiculturalism is all a sham anyway and that it wouldn’t take much for the west to show its true colours and start persecuting Muslims again. Their argument is that tolerance is just a veneer and that Muslims shouldn’t be fooled by it. That’s why over reaction is so dangerous. One thing both the far right and ISIS would like to see is Muslims in internment camps. (I have a piece by an ISIS recruit somewhere that actually uses your ‘only safe space’ point)

So playing those sorts of political games has an unfortunate history of working.

Indeed again. But the problem with terrorism (which is a tactic not an ideology) is that it is incredibly effective. It does work; and that’s why it will always be with us in one shape or another. A war on terror is as practical as a war on logistics.

ISIS as a nation isn’t a problem. Well, it is to the poor sap who live in thoses countries, but not for westerner that don’t try to make exotic vacation into a war-torn country. It’s already collapsing in Irak because in the end, it’s only a thin layer of ideology on a bunch of bandits who aren’t exactly good soldiers. Or generals for that matter.

The ideology behind ISIS, and its variations (talibans and co) are the true problem.

Trying to eliminate the country it originate on won’t help, even if it was possible (remember Saudi is a big player in that ; and it’s a rich enough country that I don’t look toward a military intervention here at all).

Making the countries it originate from no longer support it is at best wishful thinking ; in addition to the pipe dream of mitigating poverty in other countries, one cannot exporte democracy, seculiarism, or laicity ; and I am pretty some or all of that would be needed.

Making our country less vulnerable to that *is* something people could do. I am pretty sure Bernie could make a somewhat decent job at that, but the current leaders of all the west, and May, and Clinton, are all woefully unadapted to do that. Anyway that will be long.

Also, terrorism don’t actually work in my opinion. Neither the IRA, nor the corsican or basque or briton terrorist, have gained ground through it. For now, I don’t see thoses terror tactic to benefit the islamic state in any way or shape.

@ ohlmann

Also, terrorism don’t actually work in my opinion

I’d have to disagree there. Whilst obviously it doesn’t work all of the time we do have plenty of examples when it did.

When Alan Clark (very much a hard-liner against PIRA) was asked why he’d finally engaged in negotiations he was candid that they’d “bombed their way to the negotiating table”. And Martin MCGuinness is now deputy leader in the Assembly.

The Haganah would probably also claim some success.

Like I say though, terrorism is a tactic not an ideology. It was an explicit remit of the SOE to engage in terrorism (the actual word was used) and I would argue they were quite successful in their aims.

I am unconvinced the terrorist activities of the Haganah could claim any success. Also, it skirt on the limit with actual guerilla against foreign invader / civil revolt.

I am absolutely sure that the bombing of the (P?)IRA were actually counter-productive, and that only the civil protestors are to credit for that. The fact a good portions of the (P?)IRA were actual mobsters certainly did no favor to them.

Sorry, this isn’t important. It just stuck in my craw

I am pretty sure Bernie could make a somewhat decent job at that

Uhm, how? I think you’re giving the guy far too much credit. He’s a cool dude and all, but foreign policy (which this mostly falls under) is definitely not his strong suit. Not that he’s inherently bad at it, he just doesn’t much care for it. For him, it’s a distraction from banking regulations or tax policy. Also Clinton is not currently in any leadership position in the US. Yet, obvs

I am currently spending my holidays on the cote d’azur and we spent july 14th celebrating and watching the fireworks in Cannes. We left Nice only a few hours before the attack and had discussed staying one more day and celebrating there at the beach so we are pretty shaken.

Has Occasional Reader been accounted for yet? I don’t know where in France she lives.

I agree completely with what Ohlmann and skybison said and would like to add:

The US has been terrorizing the middle east since the 1950s, when it overthrew a democratic government in Iran and a modernized government in Iraq. Then in the 80s, someone got the bright idea to arm radical jihadis in Afghanistan (then a progressive nation where women had rights)as a cold war strategy.

Fundamentalist Islam wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen back then.

Then in the 2000s and 2010, Bush and Obama began overthrowing the.most progressive, modern Islamic nations – Iraq, Libya, Syria and replaced them either with repressive Sunni regimes or utter chaos – vacuums to be filed by groups like ISIS, al-Nusra, al-Qaeda.

Notice that the most horrible, Wahabbist or Wahabbist enablers like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey were left untouched. Utter madness.

Under Bush and Obama, European countries were drawn in as US lackeys and since they have, terrorists have struck those nations also.

So, US government, the answer to the war of terror is simple: stop committing ir, stop supporting it, stop condoning it, and stop pressuring European allies to become a part of your orgy of senseless death. Then the attacks will stop.


the most progressive, modern Islamic nations – Iraq, Libya, Syria

Damning with faint praise?

Axecalibur: Perhaps a wrong choice of words, but they were certainly better places to live than they are now, and were not ovrerrun by Wahabbist and Salafist fanatics!

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