Why are troops dying for tourists?
French soldiers should not be asked to risk their lives to save tourists who had no business being in a war zone, said Yves Thréard. Two French soldiers died earlier this month in Burkina Faso on a mission to free a pair of French tourists who were kidnapped while on safari in the neighboring country of Benin. An American and a South Korean were also rescued in the raid. In the wake of the troops’ deaths, an argument has raged in the French press over whether the tourists’ lodge was in a zone of Africa that the French Foreign Ministry labels red, for no-go, or merely orange, for don’t travel without “an imperative reason.” But it doesn’t matter. Everyone knows that this part of Africa “is popular with muggers and splinter Islamist groups.” Both al Qaida and ISIS are striving for supremacy in the wider Sahel region. And “France alone has taken it upon itself to fight this terrible reality,” with our soldiers deployed from Chad to Senegal and Mali. Tourists should be nowhere near the area; they only make themselves targets and endanger our troops. The French military is in Africa “to wage a long and hard war, not to pay the price for thoughtless acts” of fellow citizens. Forgive me if I don’t feel relief at the rescue, “but rather indignation.”