What we can tell from what the Paris attackers did—and didn’t do
It is the nature of terrorism that the people behind the hideous attack in Paris will soon identify their organization and their motivations—bragging rights are an important objective in this kind of operation. It may be only a matter of days, perhaps even hours, before a statement appears online, taking “credit” for the murder of 10 staff members of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo magazine and two policemen.
When that happens, expect the usual faux-pious pronouncements and exaggerated explanations. But we shouldn’t take them at their word; better to judge them by what they did.
Or what they didn’t do. Consider what this attack was not, and what that suggests:
1. It was not random: Had the attackers wanted merely to create attention-grabbing mayhem, they could have chosen from any number of targets in a densely populated city that has an abundance of tourist attractions. The target was specific: the offices of…
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