French President Hollande says the attacks in Paris were "an act of war" and that "faced with war, the country must take appropriate action."
If you're only going to cognitively unpack one thing from this whole mess, unpack those statements.
Because those words are coming from the president of a country that has already been dropping bombs on Muslim babies for the better part of a fucking decade.
Language is a powerful thing. When people hear "act of war" they immediately think something has just started. That one side has just started a conflict against an enemy in peacetime. Hollande is very purposely using this language to wipe away the memory of military interventions in Afghanistan, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. Interventions that, not coincidentally, helped give rise to ISIL.
Hollande is attempting to create a fresh start, a morally clean slate, where we all naively believe we've been attacked 'out of the blue' - that 'we' didn't start this, 'they' did. That France is, only now, "faced with war."
The state's Orwellian strategies work very well: Just look at all the French flag-coloured Facebook profile pictures. Look at all the news articles only now - over a decade after the West first started its endless 'War on Terror' - announcing that "France Declares War" in response to last week's atrocities in Paris.
We need to stop allowing our leaders and the media to convince us we should be surprised each time people actually die on 'our' side of a war that's been raging for years.
Or are we so sure of the righteousness of our cause that we cannot possibly imagine why we can't kill thousands with impunity, why we can't bomb without consequence, why leaving behind a long trail of broken states and ruined lives would come back to haunt us?