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In Wake of Attacks, France Deploys Ten Thousand Troops... To France

After pair of large-scale rallies over the weekend calling for "unity" against violence and hatred, French government dispatches military on its own soil


French soldiers secure the access to a Jewish school in Paris as part of the highest level of "Vigipirate" security plan after last week's terrorist attacks January 12, 2015. Jewish schools and synagogues in France have been promised extra protection, by the army if necessary, after killings by Islamic militants in Paris, the head of the community's umbrella group said on Sunday after a meeting with the French President. (Photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes)

After large public rallies in France on both Saturday and Sunday in which millions of people collectively expressed notions of unity in the wake of violent attacks in Paris last week, the French government on Monday announced the deployment of 10,000 soldiers to patrol its own streets and to defend what it described as "sensitive sites".

Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Defense Minister, said the military troops would be fully  deployed by Tuesday evening and called the order "the first mobilization on this scale on our territory."

According to the New York Times:

In addition to the military deployment, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said on Monday that 4,700 police officers would be posted to guard the country’s 700 Jewish schools and other institutions after three days of bloodletting last week, when three assailants killed 17 people in attacks on targets including a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and a kosher supermarket.

Mr. Cazeneuve announced the new protections in an address to parents at a Jewish school south of Paris, according to French radio and news agencies.

All three attackers were killed in raids, but there is an abiding and deep concern here that “the threat is still present,” as Mr. Le Drian put it.

Broadly reported as the obvious and appropriate response to last week's attacks, in an essay published over the weeked by Common Dreams, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern cautioned the French government about over-militarizing its reaction to the violence perpetrated by just a few individuals. Arguing that some lessons must be taken from the failed U.S. response to attacks in 2001—including a reduction of civil liberties at home and large-scale and bloody wars abroad—McGovern said France should recognize "the challenge is to learn from U.S. mistakes after 9/11 and address root causes, not react with another round of mindless violence."

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