France Should Learn From Our Mistakes

By Bill Maher
 
Our French brothers, who we suddenly adore, are passing through the mourning stage and moving on to theanger stage, both of which Americans know all too well. We call them the “Never Forget” stage and the “We’ll Put a Boot in Your Ass” stage. Yes, after 9/11, we did a few days of weeping and grieving and then we went into “Let’s roll!” mode. We wanted to kick somebody’s ass. Suddenly all that money we’d given to General Dynamics over the years didn’t bother us a bit.
 
Similarly, just days after the Paris attacks, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared war: “It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.” Sounds like every Republican presidential candidate ever. Except they wouldn’t use the word solidarity because it’s a union code word for communism. And then there was this from the New York Times: “the French government acted on Monday to increase security, sending thousands of soldiers and police officers to guard sites considered vulnerable, including Jewish schools, and calling for measures to reinforce electronic surveillance and curb jihadist recruitment in prisons and other crucibles of radicalization.” …And they’re off! Building their security state. Just like us.
 
But the French should learn from our experience, and the knowledge that what happened to them could just as easily have happened in America, despite all of the security spending we do. And we do a lot. Self-radicalized Muslims who act on their own are almost impossible to stop. Even radicalized-in-prison, trained-in-the-Middle East jihadis who act on their own are difficult to stop. If someone wants to grab a couple AK-47s and shoot up a building, a mall, a public place, there’s little anyone can do to thwart that attack. You just hunt them down with paramilitary SWAT teams and corner them in a Jewish deli, or in a boat.
 
Here are some figures that back up the point that while Islamic extremism poses a unique threat, pouring billions and billions of dollars, in perpetuity, in order to stop some of it isn’t exactly the wisest use of our tax dollars.
 
Since 9/11, Muslim-American terrorism has claimed 37 lives in the United States, according to a 2014 UNC study. In that same time period, there were more than 190,000 murders.
 
About the same number of Americans are killed by dogs each year than have been killed by Muslim-American terrorism since 9/11. You are also more likely to be killed by lightning.
 
So, while everyone is asking whether we need even more security spending in the wake of what happened in France, shouldn’t someone stand up against the tide and admit we need much less?
 
Don’t do it the way we did, France. What the terrorists want is overreach. There are booming right-wingelements in Europe, and al-Qaeda and ISIS salivate over the opportunity to push them into power. They want a bunch of Dick Cheneys in charge, which increases recruits. Go narrow, France, don’t go big.