The State Department today defended Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments about the “rationale” for the January massacre at Charlie Hebo magazine, insisting that Kerry was just making a point about terrorists’ motives.
Kerry told employees at the U.S. Embassy in Paris on Tuesday morning that Friday’s attacks across Paris were more senseless than the Charlie Hebdo assault because there was some “rationale” for slaughtering the staff of the magazine that drew Mohammad caricatures.
“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that,” the nation’s top diplomat said. “This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration.”
Asked what Kerry meant by those remarks, press secretary John Kirby said his boss believes “no act of terrorism is justified, and there can be no rationale for the senseless, indiscriminate killing of innocent people.”
“All he was simply doing was proffering forth the rationale used by the terrorists in their attempt to justify it, and reflecting, I think, the notion that in the Hebdo attack — not that it is justified it based on a certain act by publishers. That’s how they justified it,” Kirby explained. “Whereas the attacks in Paris in just the last few days were not — there was no rationale provided by ISIL for them, other than the fact that they’re just brutal murderers and indiscriminate killers.”
“So, he was simply reflecting the justification that they themselves put on that. That’s it. But I think he’s — I think, again, he was very, very eloquent and very clear today about the fact that there was no rationale for this kind of violence.”
Speaking this morning at the Overseas Security Advisory Council Annual Briefing in Washington, Kerry didn’t directly revive his comments except for the “R” word.
“Daesh doesn’t have a platform, folks. They’re not arguing about health care or infrastructure or schools. They don’t want schools, and to whatever degree they want anybody educated, they want them educated exactly by what they believe people ought to be learning. They kill people because they – they kill Yezidis because they are Yezidis. They kill Christians because they are Christians. They kill Shia because they are Shia. And people need to understand this: There is no negotiation. There’s nothing to negotiate when you license rape as a form of daily life and call it the will of God. Show me a religion anywhere, including Islam, which teaches that. This is a complete aberration. A lot of them are ideologues run amok, but a lot of them are also criminals run amok, and people for whom this is an adventure and a great opportunity to go out and be paid to do whatever you want – rape, pillage, and plunder,” Kerry said.
“…Now, let me make my point as clearly as I can: There are no grounds of history – religion, ideology, psychology, politics, economic disadvantage, or personal ambition – that justify the slaughter of unarmed civilians, the bombing of public places, or indiscriminate violence towards innocent men, women, and children. And such atrocities can never be rationalized, and we can never allow them to be rationalized. There’s no excuse. They have to be stopped.”
Kerry not only got reamed on social media for his Charlie Hebdo remarks, but got a scolding from the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman.
“There was absolutely nothing legitimate or rational about the slaughter of 10 newspaper staff and two police officers in Paris earlier this year,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said. “Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are pillars of our free world, and we can never allow radical Islamists to use these fundamental rights to justify their evil acts.”