Top political leaders in France and Germany need to follow the example set more than a decade ago by Clinton and Bush when faced with terror attacks in this country and say in the strongest terms that they will wage war against terrorism, not Muslims.
Just as the gruesome beheadings in Syria rallied a once war-weary public to support the deployment of US troops in both Iraq and Syria, the brutal assault at Charlie Hebdo could have the effect of convincing more Americans that US intelligence should keep the power they have in order to detect a similar act of violence.
Three million ordinary people turning out to express their support and solidarity with the survivors and the victims in an attack on a tiny antiauthoritarian newspaper is quite another matter from the White House admonition after 9/11 to carry on with the nation's business.
The shock wave from Paris is the latest in a growing wave of jihadi-inspired terror against Muslims and westerners in recent months in France, in Europe, in the Middle East and across the globe.
Freedom of expression does not mean that anyone has the right to be heard at any time and in any forum, no matter what. There are times when lines must be drawn for reasons both moral and legal, but there are other times when it is inappropriate and wrong to draw such lines.
Some feel that Charlie Hebdo -- by poking fun at and ridiculing cultures, religions and religious figures -- crossed the line, created prejudices, perhaps even incited hatred and violence. This time, I find myself squarely defending Charlie Hebdo's freedom of expression.
I don't want anyone to ever believe that just because a certain individual has access to a Twitter account it means that she is a spokesperson for the Christian faith. Mocking people of other faith traditions is not Christian. Neither is it Christian to worship the gun culture in America that has done so much damage to our society.
As our plane touched down in Paris, I had a different feeling than I usually do. Normally, I'm excited to be in the city that I love so much, but today felt different. The gunmen had just been apprehended, but the general feeling was obviously still tense, with heightened security. I still couldn't believe it. Not in my France.
We must recognize the value that comes from pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, of breaking taboos, of standing up to thugs. Not to do so speaks to a form of cowardice only supplanted by the news outlets who have refused to show the cartoons and the even more pathetic attempts to justify that decision. It gives those who wish to intimidate us exactly what they want: self-censorship brought on by fear.
Among the extremist connections to terrorist brothers Cheriff, 32 and Said Kouachi, 34 are fellow radical French Algerians as well as those in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
You can see clearly here at least one area where the attackers failed -- instead of dividing different groups of people, they indirectly united them in their condemnation of the horrific assault.
I am not suggesting that you read him because he's right, or even worth a lot of thought. I am suggesting you read it precisely because it will likely strike you as wrong, and perhaps outrageously so.
The Charlie Hebdo killings, whatever their connections to the current wars in the Middle East, were acts of terrorism that should be handled by law enforcement.
It might be hard to believe today, but in the eight years or so that preceded the day when gunmen went into its office, calling, "Where's Charb? Where's Charb?" before indiscriminately killing the editor and several staffers, I had thought of Charlie Hebdo with some envy. The staffers had gone to court and won their cases; two of France's premiers had backed them on the right to continue being offensive in the same decade when we in India had lost the right to offend. They had been able to exercise a freedom that many Indians had not been able to claim.
Both of these large points are true in general, perhaps to the point of banality. Yet the first is too general and the second too specific. Both conceal real nuances that are important to moving policy discussions forward.
We will not cave in to terror. We can all be Charlie and Ahmed, anywhere, anytime, any place. Let's raise our pencils and fight their way. "#JeSuisCharlie," et "#JeSuisAhmed," et tu?