Now that the two (primary, at least) terrorists from the Boston Marathon attack have been killed or captured, we enter a new phase in which the dominant politically correct, factually incorrect forces try to explain away the attack.
Can this be done? Will they really try? Well, yes. True, as one of my correspondents remarked, it is much easier to obfuscate distant Benghazi than a total shutdown and horror in the middle of a major American city. Yet the spin-masters are already at work.
The first step must be, in part, a stalling technique — but it sets the pattern for what is to come. The motive must be obfuscated — this Reuters piece, “Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation Turns to Motive,” is a good start. The article spends seven paragraphs discussing the parents’ claim that the two brothers were framed.
This suggests that mass media and politicians will not shrink from suggesting — perhaps I should say “giving fair hearing” — to bizarre conspiracy theories and doubts. People shouldn’t believe these completely, is the theme, but you just can’t be too sure that two young Muslims would have any reason to harm Americans. There are now witnesses who heard the two terrorists’ mother claiming that September 11 was a U.S. plot to make people hate Muslims.
That’s where playing with that kind of fire leads.
In the Reuters article, the word “Islam” is not mentioned except to say that the two once lived in one predominantly Muslim country, and that another place they lived, Dagestan, is “a southern Russian province that lies at the heart of a violent Islamist insurgency.” Here, we have another technique: minimize Islam as a factor, and turn it into background noise.
Obviously, this will not apply completely, both because the elephant in the room is too big, and there is still some journalistic integrity in places. Both the Washington Post and Mother Jones took a lead in exposing the YouTube likes of one of the terrorists, which showed a preference for al-Qaeda views — to say the least.
There are a lot of other quivers in the arsenal of denial, however. On Face the Nation, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said he had no idea why the Tsarnaev brothers would target ”innocent men, women, and children in the way that these two fellows did.”
The answer — of course — is that these people were not regarded as innocent at all, but as soldiers in the alleged Christian-Jewish war on Islam. This, of course, is precisely the same thinking that has been produced by Islamists for decades. Might September 11, 2001, be a clue for Patrick?
Of course, for Patrick to say that at this point in the investigation is understandable on one level: as a refusal by a government official to remark on an ongoing investigation, which is a relief from the president’s past remarks that the police acted “stupidly” with professor Henry Louis Gates and “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Yet what if Patrick’s claim is sustained, week after week, until the heat is off?
NBC News has just reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited an Islamist radical six times at a mosque in Dagestan. The Caucasian/Chechen angle offers some hope for successful obfuscation, as a lot of media time can be spent talking about that conflict. [Christian Science Monitor, it isn't Islam but a Chechen tribal code of honor.]
Of course, if the young men were acting as Chechens and not as Islamists they would have attacked a Russian target. The United States has not — even by the usual stretch of radical Islamist imagination — had anything to do with the conflict in Chechnya.
The more compelling the conflict in Chechnya is as a source of pain and passion, the less compelling the argument that the conflict was a motive. The Russians have indeed been brutal in suppressing the rebellion, far more than the West or Israel has acted toward anyone. So what cause overrides that one?
Yet Chechen grievances will be a good topic for obfuscation.