National Security & Defense

John Kerry Walks Back Charlie Hebdo ‘Rationale’ Comments

(Photo: State Deparment via Flickr)

Secretary of State John Kerry is walking back his suggestion that January’s Charlie Hebdo massacre had “a rationale” that was absent from the ISIS-backed attack on Paris last week.

“There are no grounds of history — religion, ideology, psychology, politics, economic disadvantage, or personal ambition — that justify the slaughter of unarmed civilians, the bombing of public places, or indiscriminate violence towards innocent men, women, and children,” Kerry said during a speech in Washington D.C. Wednesday. “And such atrocities can never be rationalized, and we can never allow them to be rationalized. There’s no excuse. They have to be stopped.”

Kerry’s comments were an implicit retraction of his remarks to U.S. embassy staff in Paris yesterday, in which he attempted to distniguish between the Charlie Hebdo shooting and Friday’s attacks, drawing immediate criticism from congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidates. On Wednesday, he may also have bolstered lawmakers who want the State Department to recognize Christians and Yezidis as victims of genocide.

“Daesh doesn’t have a platform, folks,” Kerry said, using an alternative term for ISIS. “They kill people because they — they kill Yazidis because they are Yazidis. They kill Christians because they are Christians. They kill Shia because they are Shia. And people need to understand this: There is no negotiation. There’s nothing to negotiate when you license rape as a form of daily life and call it the will of God.”

RELATED: John Kerry Is a Disgrace

State Department officials are expected to designate Yazidis —​ a religious and ethnic minority in Iraq — as victims of genocide, while leaving Christians off the list. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.) introduced a bill earlier this month calling for both groups to earn that designation.

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

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