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4 People Who Gave the Charlie Hebdo Jihadis Exactly What They Wanted

2. Ron Paul

Libertarian leader Ron Paul on Wednesday brushed aside the jihadis’ claim to have “avenged” Muhammad and blamed France’s foreign policy for the Charlie Hebdo attack:

France has been a target for many, many years, because they’ve been involved in foreign affairs in Libya, and they really prodded us along in — recently in Libya, but they’ve been involved in Algeria, so they’ve had attacks like this, you know, not infrequently. So, it does involve, you know, their foreign policy as well…. I put blame on bad policy that we don’t fully understand, and we don’t understand what they’re doing because the people who are objecting to the foreign policy that we pursue.

Paul and other paleocons such as The American Conservative are fanatically attached to the idea that Islamic jihad is all a reaction to the West’s foreign policy — so much so that they have frequently turned a blind eye to the jihadis’ stated agenda, and see the depredations of Western foreign policy where it actually played no part. The Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre was about cartoons of Muhammad, and the Islamic death penalty for insulting Muhammad. The West’s foreign policy regarding the Islamic world and the jihad threat is cartoonish, but that doesn’t make the Charlie Hebdo massacre about the West’s foreign policy.

Paul gives the jihadis what they want by blaming the West for the actions of the jihadis, thereby feeding the jihadist narrative of grievance, and making future concessions from the West all the more likely.