War is a Dangerous Influence

Nov 16, 2015

- By Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner
Normandy, France

Grim news.

Many thanks to all friends and readers who wondered about us on Friday. As it happened, news of the Paris massacre got to the Homeland faster than to us.

We were already driving out of town when the terrorists attacked and did not find out about it until we checked the markets.

'Paris attacks' were blamed for a 202-point drop in the Dow, we found.

Later, we read the details. The War on Terror is in its 12th year. There is no sign of victory for either side.

And now we see the familiar pattern. The body count went up. The flags went down. The fever mounts.

'We shouldn't have let them into our country,' said an outraged neighbor.

'Who?'

'Muslims. They want to kill us. Their religion tells them to do it. We have to defend ourselves. But Hollande [France's president]...he only talks of war. He doesn't make war.'

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'War is the health of the state,' wrote Randolph Bourne. Today, French shoulders slump and hearts ache.

But the French feds have rarely felt better. France is at war.

President Francois Hollande last made international news by sneaking out of the presidential mansion on a motor scooter to visit his mistress.

Now, he's able to strike a more leaderly pose, announcing a 'pitiless' war against terrorists and calling out the gendarmes.

Paris was locked down. Borders were secured (though one of the terrorists apparently got through to Belgium).

And then, the warplanes were started up and sent to bomb Raqaa where it is believed the massacre was planned.

As massacres go, the Bataclan massacre was a smallish affair.

The My Lai Massacre left more than 350 men, women, and children dead. (Its chief perpetrator, Lt. William Calley, got three and a half years of house arrest for his role. Now, he lives in comfort - apparently untroubled by his crimes - in Atlanta.)

The Soviets massacred 22,000 Poles at Katyn...supposedly to eliminate the 'intellectuals' who might oppose them.

Nazis massacred 642 Frenchmen at Oradour sur Glane in 1944 - the cause of it was never discovered.

The St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in which French Catholics cut down French Protestants, produced more than 5,000 corpses. (Pope Gregory VIII was delighted. He had frescoes painted in the Sala Regina in the Vatican commemorating the great event. That room is now closed to the public.)

What leads people to massacre one another? What sets them off? Envy, hatred, fear - the usual base emotions.

The Mai Lai massacre was blamed by psychologists on 'prolonged fear'. It caused American soldiers to crack up.

The Catholic violence against Protestants in France was part of the religious wars that rocked Europe in the 16th century. But the Paris mob was stirred to action, according to some accounts, by particular circumstances.

Harvests had been poor. Food was expensive. Taxes were heavy. And there, in their midst, were rich Protestants in all their finery, who had come to celebrate the marriage of Margaret, sister of Charles IX to Henry of Navarre, a Protestant.

Our Dictum: People are sometimes bad and sometimes good, but always subject to influence.

War, as near as we can tell, is always a dangerous influence.

Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.

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