Monday, April 11, 2016


James P. Cain, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, lost his son-in-law and his sister in the Brussels  terrorist attack on March 22.  His grief and his "rage" are all too close to the feelings and indignation felt by any self-respecting human being in the world.  Since 9/11, the world's eyes are forever bloodshot.

I would avail myself to make two observations:

Ambassador Cain described the Belgian crisis-management as disheartening.  He accuses the Belgian authorities of being unable to ensure the security of visitors and refers to the disregard experienced for the sentiments of searching families.  That confusion reigned is a fact. That advance knowledge of the "intentions" of the perpetrators can be ascertained is dubious, given that Brussels was only considered at the last instance, after an original Paris plan (attack in the La Defense area) was hastily abandoned. The terrorists were so ill prepared that they almost got lost in the Brussels metro.  I am sure that there was also plenty of empathy and medical care, which is hard to find in most countries, the USA included.

He calls for American leadership, rightly so. Maybe he over stresses the necessary military component and does not give enough credit to some soft-power which is needed to fight a nihilistic comicality from the high-ground of assured undisputed moral and cultural superiority.

Personal grief and anger deserve more than "containment".  Far from me to suggest restraint in outrage and sorrow.  I only want to venture the idea that "generalizations" can end up blaming the individuals of good will for the failings of an imperfect system.


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