|Liberation, a few hours before today's attack|
In response to ISIS soldiers storming a church during Mass, taking hostages and in the end, slitting the throat of a priest, French President Francois Hollande once again claimed, "this is war."
No, it's not.
In a war, you confine captured enemy combatants in a prison camp until the war is over.
If the captured combatants were acting as spies, saboteurs or terrorists, you may shoot them.
In this "war," a captured combatant was convicted by French courts of traveling to join up with enemy terrorist forces. He spent a few months in detention and then was released into the custody of his parents. On the terms of his parole, he was allowed to leave the house for three hours each morning.
This morning, during those hours, he left his home, met up with another combatant, went to a target designated by his side and attacked a group of civilians, killing one and critically injuring another.
France on, say, 9 May 1940 was on a much greater war footing than it is now. And even they called that a phony war. We know what happened next.
In the United States, which while certainly under threat is far from the current emergency situation in France, a man was today sentenced to fifteen years in prison for attempting to join ISIS.
France has been under a State of Emergency since the attacks of 13 November. I have a feeling it will stay that way until my toddlers have finished college.
But of course, in practice "State of Emergency" is about as meaningless, at least so far, as "this is war."
Please wear this ankle bracelet.
They might as well have given him a flower.
Both French opposition parties, often called "the center-right" and "the far-right," criticized the current government. They're correct, of course, but it remains to be seen what they would or will do differently, or at least what they would change that would make a meaningful difference.
According to Hollande, the war will "take a long time" but "we will win."
How will they win?