With the first blowback of the French invasion of Mali arriving yesterday in the form of a massive hostage taking in neighboring Algeria, and that situation reportedly turning sour on a botched rescue attempt by Algerian troops, one would think the invasion’s wisdom would be in growing doubt.
Not if one is French President Francois Hollande, it seems. Hollande addressed a number of business leaders in France today, claiming that the hostage-taking “justified” the invasion in the first place, proving what unsavory characters the Malian rebels are.
French officials have struggled mightily with their narrative on the war, coming into the Saturday invasion with claims that they were going to turn the entire nation of Mali into a “terror-free” flourishing democracy within a matter of weeks.
Instead, the French troops have found themselves bogged down in a war with a surprisingly strong, and increasing united, rebel movement that seems ready to fight a protracted war in the Saharan desert, while France is forced to commit more ground troops to the effort as African nations struggle to get troops into the country for a sudden war they were initially told wouldn’t begin until the fall. If Hollande can continue to spin bad news about the war as a “justification” for the war, he may have plenty of rhetorical ammunition in the coming days.