July 14, 2016

Bastille Day

Bastille Day is often described as being France's equivalent of America's Independence Day (i.e. July 4), but it isn't really true.

Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which was later delivered to King George by some amazingly brave men. (King George could have ordered them all to be executed for treason, after all.) That began the American Revolutionary War, which is unquestionably one of the most important political events of the last 500 years, one which completely changed the history of the World. So we Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence because our revolution was successful and established our nation, which continues to this day.

Such as not the case for Bastille Day. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a prison in Paris where political prisoners were being kept. This began the French Revolution, which is another major political event, in which the French people deposed the Bourbon monarchy. But it was a fiasco. The French Republic only lasted a few years, and then the French people got so sick of it that they turned everything over to Napoleon, who reigned as Emperor for about 10 years while plunging Europe into the biggest and bloodiest war there before World War I. Once Napoleon had been defeated and imprisoned by foreign countries, the Bourbon's once again took over rule of the nation.

Bastille Day was July 14, 1789. Napoleon took power May 18, 1804 and reigned until April 11, 1814. (Not counting the Hundred Days), which meant that the whole business lasted 25 years yielding nothing except a huge pile of dead bodies.

And since then they have changed governments an appallingly large number of times by their own will. Currently they're on their Fourth Republic (UPDATE: Actually, the Fifth Republic), intermixed with two bouts of monarchy not counting Napoleon.

Anyway, Bastille Day is theirs, and they celebrate it, and today during a fireworks display in Nice a truck driven by a Tunisian deliberately plowed into the crowd. As I write this the death toll is 77 and there are hundreds of injured. The death toll is sure to keep rising. After the truck stopped, the driver popped out and started shooting at such people as were still around, until police showed up and started shooting at him. He's been "neutralized" but whether that means he's dead or captured or seriously wounded we'll find out later.

It's a terrible tragedy. The Guardian says that the biggest concern now is anti-Muslim backlash. Of course. Obama hasn't said anything that stupid yet, but it's only a matter of time.

After the suicide attack last November Hollande invoked a National State of Emergency and there were a lot of raids in Paris and elsewhere to try to root out terrorist cells. Obviously very successful. This morning he announced he was going to lift the State of Emergency. The man's timing is impeccable.

I have a feeling that Hollande's name is going to be "Mud" fairly soon in France, if it isn't already. He's running for reelection, and good luck to him.

In the mean time, the Guardian not withstanding, our main concern should be the wounded in today's attack and the families of all the casualties.

And then maybe the French will consider nuking ISIS.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 06:37 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 548 words, total size 4 kb.

1

It commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a prison in Paris where political prisoners were being kept.

That is the mythology, but by the time it was 'stormed', the Bastille was only holding a few common criminals, not political prisoners.  The storming itself was a classic example of duplicity, since the warden opened the gate to the revolutionaries after he had been assured that the matter would be handled peacefully - which lasted until the revolutionaries got in and proceeded to break their word, executing the warden in the process.

Currently they're on their Fourth Republic, intermixed with two bouts of monarchy not counting Napoleon.

Fifth Republic - the Fourth Republic was immediately following WW2 and collapsed due to the Algiers Crisis.  The Fifth Republic was given to France by the uncrowned king Charles De Gaulle.

And then maybe the French will consider nuking ISIS.

Burning out the hornets in the no-go zones might be the first thing that has to be done.  Maybe the French can ask the Stalinist Algerians to do it.

Posted by: cxt217 at July 14, 2016 06:57 PM (DuUoO)

2

Supposedly that was what was happening during the National Emergency since last November.

By the way, Hollande has now announced a 3 month extension of the National Emergency.

It's interesting to speculate about what kind of consequences something like this will have. One distinct possibility is that Marine le Pen will be the next President, and will try to leave the EU.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 14, 2016 07:25 PM (+rSRq)

3 OK, the attacker was killed in the gunfight with police. At least the French got that part right.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 14, 2016 07:30 PM (+rSRq)

4 If this achieved nothing else, at least it got Obama to use the word "terrorist".

Of course, he didn't manage to get himself to say "Muslim terrorist", but you have to start somewhere. It's a first step.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 14, 2016 07:33 PM (+rSRq)

5 As bad as Bastille day is for an excuse for a national holiday, it's not as bad as Guy Fawkes Day, in which the British celebrate a failed coup, whose name sake (Fawkes) who captured, tortured, and only escaped hanging by jumping off the scaffold and breaking his neck.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 14, 2016 07:58 PM (+rSRq)

6 Hollande's name was already mud. For him personally, the silver lining is that this has driven his previous scandal out of the news, that he had a personal hairdresser that travels everywhere with him, paid $132,000 per year. It wasn't a good look for the head of the Socialist party.

Posted by: Boviate at July 15, 2016 05:56 AM (XRvFv)

7 By the time the mobs finally storm Bastille prison, the only notable prisoner kept there is Marquis De Sade, who was kept there for violating moral code.

Posted by: BigFire at July 15, 2016 08:48 AM (O7l6D)

8 For as much as we joke about the French Military, I've long held the opinion that France are the one country I would expect to use Nuclear Weapons against an opponent.  Especially as all of their nukes are sub-launched.

As for what is going on in the West, it would be nice if the Nationalists take power without the current Elites trying to destroy their own countries in the process, but that doesn't look to be the way it's going.  Austria's high court just tossed the recent Presidential election because it was pretty clear voter fraud had swung it.  That's not a good sign of things to come.

That's the reason for the "anti-Muslim backlash is what we need to worry about!" story line existing.  No one is actually worried about it.  It's projection of what the people that push the story line would like to do to the "normals".  The "normals" just want the criminals and jihadists removed.  But they're going to push the "normals" into reacting very violently if the Elites don't start taking serious measures.
But those measures won't really be against the Muslims.  It'll be against the Elites.  Keep an eye on stories about politicians being killed.  That's what'll change the entire dynamic.  Once the Elites become understood as the "problem", that's when things will start getting really messy.

I don't even blame the Muslims that much.  Even the barest of understanding of either the history or theology of Islam tells you exactly what it is: a supremacist cult built around conquest & subjugation.  They've been doing this for 1400+ years.  It ain't new.  The West being stupid enough to allow that many into their countries is the new twist.  The only question is how bloody does it play out.  It's not like massive population transfers haven't happened several times, in Europe, in the last century.  It's just going to happen again because the Elites are just that foolish.

Posted by: sqa at July 15, 2016 11:06 AM (MsL/P)

9

For as much as we joke about the French Military, I've long held the opinion that France are the one country I would expect to use Nuclear Weapons against an opponent.  Especially as all of their nukes are sub-launched.

The French military do get a rap but that is because their political class has hamstrung and sabotaged them into incompetence.  The soldiers and officers are generally as good as any other (At the same time that most French troops were restricted from combat operations in Afghanistan, there was a French special operations unit that operated with the US Spec Ops, who were willing to go anywhere and do anything they needed, with skill and panache.).  And I agreed that the French would be the most likely to use nuclear weapons if they got pushed too far - unlikely the US, the UK, or even Israel, if terrorists had attacked something really significant, like the Effiel Tower, those terrorists' base camp would be a glowing parking lot the next day.

Most people (Including those who accuse the US of conducting the most military interventions post WW2.) fail to realize that the French military is the most active conducting operations and interventions in the world, simply due to the French habit of intervening in their former empire.  Their intelligence services also has free reign on their operations - with far less notice than the CIA gets.

Posted by: cxt217 at July 15, 2016 01:12 PM (DuUoO)

10

If you look carefully at French military history, what you find is a long history of good men being led by generals and politicians who are idiots. Most of the bad reputation the French have isn't due to their soldiers performing badly, it's because they were being wasted in futile and ill-conceived military operations by incompetent generals and political leaders..

Dien Bien Phu is the classic example of that though it is by no means the only one. The Franco-Prussian War was another. (The history of the Franco-Prussian war makes me weep for the poor men who had to put up with Louis Napoleon's sheer stupidity.)

Since the Napoleonic war, there's only been one case of French troops performing well because of good leadership, and that's the Free French after the Normandy invasion. But they were under the overall strategic command of the British and American. They performed superbly, because the soldiers were not under French overall command. Their officers were French up to the level of division, but above that it was Americans all the way up to Eisenhower.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 15, 2016 01:38 PM (+rSRq)

11

Since the Napoleonic war, there's only been one case of French troops performing well because of good leadership, and that's the Free French after the Normandy invasion. But they were under the overall strategic command of the British and American. They performed superbly, because the soldiers were not under French overall command. Their officers were French up to the level of division, but above that it was Americans all the way up to Eisenhower.

Ferdinand Foch (Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies in 1918.) and Charles Mangin clearly disagree.  French generals were usually no better and no worse than their foreign counterparts, but there was nothing that made French generals supposedly far worse than average, anymore than German generals supposedly far better than average.

Aside from issues of doctrine (Which was hardly unique - even the Germans had that problem.), the biggest issues with the French military was a general distrust of 'colonial' troops and (For WW2.) an air of caution due to the empty classes of the 1930s and subsequently lower manpower potential of the French Army.

Posted by: cxt217 at July 15, 2016 02:19 PM (DuUoO)

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