France Goes to War on Civil Liberties

Mother Jones

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In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, many in France have said they finally understand what things were like for Americans just after September 11, 2001. The attacks have emboldened France’s conservatives, and pushed liberal and moderate factions rightward. On Friday, the French parliament voted to extend a nationwide state of emergency for another three months, granting authorities broad powers to limit civil liberties in the name of combating terrorism. The French public overwhelmingly supports the move.

The rise of a police state in France may come as a surprise to Americans old enough to remember when France stood out as Europe’s greatest critic of President George W. Bush’s War on Terror—a spat that peaked in 2003 when, in response to French opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the House of Representatives cafeteria rebranded its French fries “Freedom Fries.”

Nowadays, of course, just about everyone looks with disfavor on that war, which is credited with giving ISIS a foothold. Though France bombed targets in Syria on November 15, it has so far stopped short of sending in ground troops against ISIS. And, while it’s too early to tell, there’s no evidence its intelligence services are abducting or torturing terror suspects.

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France Goes to War on Civil Liberties

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