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Works and Days

The Paradoxes of the Boston Bombings

April 21st, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Al-Qaedism

A certain American (or for that matter Westernized) resident or citizen — usually male, almost always young, born a Muslim, prone to guilt over temporary secularization or Westernization, as often (or more so) from Pakistan, a Russian Islamic province, the Balkans, Iran, the Philippines, or Africa as from the Arab Middle East, usually failing in American society, always absorbed within American popular culture and guilty over such absorption — at some moment channels his own sense of failure into radical Islam. He seeks some sort of cosmic resonance and redemption for his own personal inadequacies. Presto, a pathetic loser becomes a wannabe bin Laden jihadist, as murder becomes cause for publicity.

The would-be Times Square bomber, Major Hasan, those who killed Jews in Los Angeles and Seattle, and the Salt Lake City shopping-center killer find empowerment in the laxity and tolerance of American culture that seems to grant unlimited rights to the newcomer or second-generation without commensurate responsibilities about learning — and learning to love — the culture and history of their adopted country. We don’t call these killers “terrorists.” We claim that they have nothing to do with al-Qaeda. And yet they give proof that a post-9/11 Islamism energizes their violence — and sometimes enables it by contacts and training.

Holy Struggle?

Like it or not, two  half-educated and young killers, at the expense of a few hundred dollars and one dead, with very little capital, shut down an entire city, committed mass mayhem, ruined the lives of hundreds, destroyed the Boston Marathon, and cost the city billions of dollars. But for the chance scans of video cameras, the Tsarnaevs might well have let off more bombs and turned their terror of a day into far greater mayhem of a week. That lesson is not lost on jihadists. To the degree they can enthuse another Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Chechnya or reach a Major Hasan at a mosque or on the Internet, they will continue. I expect more al-Qaedism.

Drones, fairly or not, are now branded as a convenient way to kill a few hundred terrorist suspects without bothering the American people, but they also put us to sleep about radical Islam by making it out of sight, out of mind. The next phases of the war will probably be fought on American soil, waged by al-Qaedists rather than al-Qaeda. Video cameras and good police work may prevent some terrorism. But ultimately we need to change the landscape of the American mind, and try honesty instead of therapy about the nature of the danger.

I would also look very carefully at immigration policy. Is America so short of manpower that we need a Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his brother, his mother, or his father in the United States?

Would not more frequent denial into the U.S. prompt more respect for America than does near pro forma entry? Would not the free use of words like “terrorism” and “Islamist” again convey better the image of a confident society that cares not what jihadists or their supporters think than does worry over offending those who hate us?

Unless we drop the therapeutic and embrace the tragic, we are looking at a lot more Bostons — and sooner than we think. We caricatured George Bush’s “dead or alive” crudity, but for purposes of defeating the Islamists it beats John Brennan’s sermons such as “Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself of one’s community.”

I fear in the next weeks we will be reading commentary on the Boston bombing from the Left emphasizing the brutalizing effects of America upon immigrants,  our failure to offer the necessary psychological and material support to victims like the Tsarnaevs, and in general how we in redneck fashion blame-game defenseless immigrants — all in between lectures about drawing false inferences about radical Islam.

The Art of Bomb-making

One does not learn to set off bombs successfully by downloading information from the Internet. I can fix my dryer through the help of web-based blueprints, but would not even try if there were a chance that the job would blow me up. Tamerlan Tsarnaev needed to be taught the do’s and don’t’s of assembling even a so-called crude bomb. Most likely, he obtained that expertise firsthand. He required some practice in letting a device off, if the two pressure cookers were to work at the marathon. Tamerlan Tsarnaev acquired such information either during his return home or from an experienced terrorist inside the U.S. If the latter, brace yourselves for more to come in the ensuing weeks, unless the FBI knows more than do we. Al-Qaedism is a sort of sudden snap to attention, when a zealot decides to act out against the perceived corruption and crimes of his generous host and discovers that there are all sorts of resources out there to help him live his dreams.

The Tsarnaev Reactions

I understand the horror of learning that one’s child is a cold-hearted killer. I admire the Tsarnaev uncle for stressing the need of his nephew to apologize to the victims. But the reactions of the father, the mother, and the aunt are prima facie evidence for relief that the former two are now gone from the U.S., and the latter should be. We are collectively tired of guests trashing the culture that accepted them, blaming their own problems as parents vaguely on the U.S. or some unnamed dark forces, or simply denying when overwhelming evidence makes clear their children’s responsibility for mass mayhem.  America is not yet a socialist paradise, and those who come here do so fully warned.

The Character of the Two Tsarnaevs — and the Notion of “I Can’t Believe…”

I am not so struck by the glowing testimonials from fellow teenagers and twenty-somethings about the two monstrous Tsarnaevs, to the effect that they seemed great guys. Such is the power of anecdote and emotion over reasoned empiricism in the young untrained mind.

The stranger fact is the adult media’s gullible reporting of these impressions as if they were somehow significant, as if superficial impression is the key to understanding an ideology that drives behavior. The following caricature reflects how one of the present therapeutic society might remark on the death of Adolf Hitler. “I don’t quite understand his violent side. He was a man who simply loved children — certainly he fawned upon the Goebbels kids. He inquired about the health and welfare of his chauffer and valet, and no boss was more considerate of his secretaries. Hitler’s dogs were his pride and joy; I never saw a kinder and more gentler master. Eva Braun simply lit up at his presence. His conversations at dinner were witty, lively, and polite. He gave up almost everything for Germany. And while he seemed troubled at times, I always attributed it to the horrors of the trenches. None of us can quite judge him, or even know what it was like for a young man to be subject to what Hitler endured — only to be unemployed, shamed, and ignored upon returning to a defeated Austria and Germany. It just makes no sense that such a seemingly kind person could commit such horrors. I still can’t quite believe it.”

Do we care whether a man who placed a bomb full of ball bearings next to an eight-year-old boy and blew apart dozens of innocents was nice to his peers? Let us at least hope that the killer Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not to be known as “unduly influenced by his brother,” “fully American,” “coerced to become violent,” “brain-washed,” and “young and impressionable.”

Incompetence or Political Correctness?

Why give asylum to folk such as the Tsarnaevs if many of these endangered “refugees” eventually return to live in, or to visit, the supposedly hostile place that was the basis for their origin claims on our asylum?

Is being in Russia a death sentence, or sort of dangerous, or now safe, or, in fact, preferable to the country they “saved” them? Ditto other “refugees” from the Minnesota Somalis to the Aunt Zeituni (formerly of illegal status and violator of statutes of public assistance extended to illegal aliens) and Uncle Onyango (violator of asylum status and charged with DUI). Cannot most “refugees” from war-torn Islamic regions who claim that continued residence in their homeland constitutes a danger to their lives, which only residence in the United States can preclude, forfeit residence status should they return to visit their homelands?

How exactly can a resident alien be summarily (as in right away?) deported these days? By shoplifting $1,600 worth of merchandise? By committing domestic violence against a far weaker spouse, as the trained boxer Tamerlan Tsarnaev did? By remaining for years on public assistance?  By earning visit from the FBI?

What does it require for the FBI to take a foreign national down to headquarters for extensive inquiry, investigation, and possible deportation? A warning from a foreign intelligence agency? Proof on social networks and blogs of admiration for jihad against the U.S? A strange six-month visit to Islamic enclaves in the war-torn regions of Russia?

Dick Cheney’s Ghost?

The Obama administration may well suspend Miranda-rights privileges for the surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, at least for a day or two. There are some arguments for declaring Tsarnaev an enemy combatant, at least strategically and initially to glean information about whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev had help either in Chechnya or the U.S. or both — while perhaps agreeing not to use the subsequent information in a formal federal or state murder trial (the proof of his murdering is unimpeachable and conviction is certain without a word from the defendant).

Here is a question though for proponents of declaring him an enemy combatant: What if young Dzhokhar refuses to cooperate? Does the military, CIA, or Eric Holder use “coercive techniques,” “loud music,” a trip to Guantanamo,the waterboard? Would then we read something like, “President Obama was forced to use, albeit with careful legal oversight, a Bush-Cheney holdover protocol in order to protect women and people of color from Caucasian terrorists, energized by right-wing nationalism and religious fundamentalism”?

Note in this regard that Barack Obama in 2008 made the comprehensive argument that the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols of 2002-2003 were both unnecessary and unlawful. Such critique was easy for a senator or candidate without the responsibility to keep 300 million secure from another 9/11 attack. But Obama’s critique, damaging at the time to the global prestige of the U.S. and detrimental to the reputation of the Bush administration, was partisan and without much principle. I say that carefully and on the following grounds. Under a President Obama, Guantanamo was kept open. Renditions and tribunals continue. Drone operations (to include U.S. citizens) were vastly expanded at ten times the frequency during the Bush presidency. A civilian trial of KSM was abandoned despite two years of large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Promised trials for waterboarders were dropped. The supposedly failed surge soon led to one of the administration’s”greatest achievements.”

What are we left with? One: a lot of public-relations damage to the U.S. by its own self-interested critics, who later dropped civil libertarian worries when one of their own admitted the efficacy and apparent legality of the very protocols he had demagogued.

Two: four years were poorly invested in a failed alternate paradigm — “overseas contingency operations,” “workplace violence,” “man-caused disasters,” worries over losing the Army “diversity program,” and restrictions on the use of “terror,” or “jihadist,” or “Islamic terror,” or “Islamist.”

I don’t think we are going to hear as much that the Muslim Brotherhood is largely a secular organization, that Benghazi was just a spontaneous demonstration, or that jihad is a holy struggle and a legitimate tenet of Islam. Not euphemism, not “George Bush did it,” not the president’s middle name or his Nobel Peace Prize, not “leading from behind” will endear the United States to radical Islam. These were the luxury of a complacency achieved by earlier vigilance. The effect of multicultural euphemism will be either nugatory or counterproductive, in sending the message that a therapeutic society prefers to be liked rather than feared, a prescription for endangering the innocent at the expense of elites’ self-satisfied morality.

Bottom line?

Both we and our enemies have changed strategies since 9/11. I fear that radical Islamists are becoming more insidious and we more complacent and predictable. After this horrid week, I don’t think the residents of Boston worried that we were too illiberal in our asylum policies, that the FBI is over-zealous in tracking suspected Islamists, that Bostonians needed more gun-control laws to keep them safe in their individual homes as killers roamed a city under lockdown, that jihad is simply a legitimate tenet of Islam, that America is too brutalizing of immigrants, or that we need to curb promiscuous use of hurtful words like “terrorism.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Sadly, not only are the elites that control the message going to downplay the Islamist angle, but more... When they get the details on the shoot-outs with police, we are going to hear a bunch more noise about gun control again.

Meanwhile, our enemies laugh at us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here is a simple truth: given the complex nature of history, if you want to learn about say, the Crusades, rather than read one book, you read 10, and certain realities, agreement and context then emerge for the layman. At the end of the day, certain threads will emerge based on a type of consensus, a story that converges towards a conclusion. The cart follows the horse.

When one reads the rhetoric of liberal progressives, certain trends emerge over and over again. However, unlike a history book, the so-called "facts" are so lacking, that one comes to the conclusion that the more you read, the more the rhetoric shows itself to be merely wasting time to get to the true ending of the story. That ending of the story one consistently expressed through a lens of race and gender.

The subject and the end of the story is in perfect alignment almost 100% of the time, and that is "white men bad, the rest of the world's history good."

This is the basis of how the Dem Party establishes public policy. In effect, since history has nothing to do with concerns, actual history itself is almost irrelevant except insofar as it is useful to cherry-pick and strip of context, as Dr. Hanson takes great pains to point out.

For liberals, the cart precedes the horse. This is a simple failure of intellect and education, because the end of the story becomes the reason for the story itself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Professor Hansen, American leaders and politicians are certifiably insane. They think that the most important issues in the American State are increasing immigration both legal and illegal, providing marijuana for the native population, blessing the activities of homosexual unions, abolishing the second amendment, raising taxes on everything, dumbing down the education system et al. Those who vote and support these so called leaders are morons who haven't any intelligence and continue to vote sometimes two and three times for the aforementioned politicians. Yes America is a madhouse and watching the media during the latest episode of the Boston violence only confirms that the inmates are in charge. Just listening to the mayor of Boston gives one an excruciating headache.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (69)
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The irony of this newest Post-9/11 attack on the citadel of American "progressive thought" and PM PC New speak will not be lost on educated citizens. But the "over-evolved" metro men and anti-women within the Northeastern bubble will continue to console themselves in their salon satrapies until their personal DARKNESS at NOON moment arrives and consumes them in 10th Circle despair...
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess there are two ways you can look at this thing....you can go off half cocked on all sorts of theories of why they did it, who influenced them yadayada, or you can dispassionately look at how it played out, the evidence that was presented to get the manhunt going, the apparent lack of professionalism of the FBI since they released photos of someone they allegedly knew, prior to picking them up etc, and then proceeded to backfilll the story with multiple backstories that were hardly verified in real time and on closer inspection may not be accurate or real. I'm no conspiracy theorist but I do study them. The facts as presented were strange and largely irreconcilable, yet everyone has based the guilt on the after-actions and is totally misdirected to how we got there. A largely spurious claim by CNN that claimed a bag drop that without the (withheld) corroboration is meaningless. (if the bag don't fit you must acquit)Then a demand to only acknnowledge the official images. Well official images have declared a cowboy hero that apparently went back to the scene to jump on a fence, but allegedly somehow rescued and tourniqueted a victim, raced him in a wheel chair somewhere, who miraculously btw didn't go into shock, only to return to the scene sans blood on his person to jump on a fence while others were still lying there. Then the victim somehow fingered the suspect after his amputations. All the images of which I speak come from largely until now reputable sources. Bash me if you want, but at the very least this incident was used for propaganda purposes and at the very most as a pretext for something much worse. Oh and how convenient that the criminal can't speak and admitted his guilt somehow prior to being mirandized. He's as good as dead and so it goes. Welcome to the USSA
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
On closer inspection wrt timeline of images, it appears said hero is placed at the scene but there is a huge inconsistency if one tries to reconstruct a timeline. I'll leave it at that because no one wants to ruin a good hero story. A systematic view of each image and correlation of each players proximity to victims is odd at best. People just don't behave like that...they either leave the scene, stand back and watch or help. They don't mill around victims doing nothing. Or wave a flag and hat before (allegedly) jumping to action. It is patently absurd. This is directed at the historian who might want to check the historical archive.

http://www.vho.org/GB/Journals/JHR/9/3/Marchetti305-320.html
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr Hanson's last paragraph, as usual, is beautifully terse and pithy, and I hope the people in Boston and Massachusetts read those truths and ponder them deeply. They probably will, for a while.

However, frankly, after the shock of 11 September, 2001 wore off and life returned to the way it was, the liberals were ascendant, I have my doubts that the truths Dr Hanson so ably phrases will have much lasting effect in Massachusetts or other liberal bastions.

"Newthink" is too deeply entrenched in our truncated attention spans. The crass artificiality of "multi-culturalism" seems to be embedded within the majority uneducated who twice democratically elected this chameleon Obama.

We may very well be in an electoral trap until the majority of voters can be made to see and exercise common sense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Welcome to the world of 'Civilization Jihad'. We have arrived at another rung on the ladder of terror by Islam....
Whether the elite will admit it or not, there was only one group who could benefit from murdering those people who were spectators in Boston. These people were targeted for only one reason, they were Americans. They were of the Great Satan in Islam speak. That was their crime against the Muslim World.
Until we get Islam and their culture through our thick skulls we will continue to act like fools and Islam will continue to walk all over us and our Laws.
We have a closet Muslim in the White House, he just appointed a Islam Convert to head the CIA. We have CAIR acting as consultants to the FBI and to our State and Federal prisons.
Are we really this stupid? Evidently.
We are now interviewing Muslims to see what caused these terrorists to bomb innocent people. These terrorist brothers set the bombs to destroy people who they saw as enemies to Islam. They were not innocent to the Muslim people because the Quran says they were Infidels and must be killed as part of Jihad and the coming of the Islamic Caliphate.
Wake up people and read about Islam. If you do not know your enemy then you can never win the struggle.
Welcome to Civilization Jihad, expect more of this to continue and it will until we decide to send all Muslims back to where they came from. There can never be a melding of Islam with any other, for that is the law of Allah.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, these dirtbags come over here requesting asylum - fearing for their lives - only to turn around and make us fear for our own lives? Makes sense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just thought I would add that here in Canada the "loser" designation does not fit many of our wanna-be jihadis. I can think of several who had advanced degrees and comfortable jobs. One of the terrorists charged yesterday with the desire to derail a passenger train is a doctoral candidate at a research facility. Another alleged terrorist (the case is from 2010 and has yet to go to court) was a radiologist who headed up the radiology department. I recall another would-be terrorist who was (of all things) employed by the federal government. So (with many of the Canadian jihadists) it would be erroneous to suggest that they are members of some despised, marginal, ostracized group (and thus, they lash out). That is simply a Leftist fantasy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bottom line: welcome to Troy, unless we get some more horse sense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Hanson's prediction of a deluge of articles on the brutalizing effects of American society on immigrants has been borne out in today's NYT op-ed page:

Op-Ed Contributors
Immigrant Kids, Adrift

Trauma and loneliness can impede assimilation.

So now the two murderers, 19 and 26, are "kids"! I is hard to know when the term, kids, began to replace "Children" in common discourse, but surely Sesame Street, with its largely successful agenda of infantilising a whole generation of our children with repulsive puppets, had a lot to do with it. As a result, nowadays Kids R Us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When the media runs out of hard news to report ( usually in about 15-20 minutes ), they always resort to anecdotal stories about the alleged suspects . These "side-bar" stories are empty fillers for the 24/7 spin cycle that has been foisted on us in the last 25 years. It's almost laughable at times. Reports on the suspects character that portray him as " a quite boy, a boy who loved sports, a boy who like to hang out with his buddies, a boy who was devoted to his mother" etc. etc. are presented as profound and impactful. Does it EVER occur to these paragons of informative journalism that this is EXACTLY the kind of profile one would want to maintain if one were plotting such a devious attack? Do they think John Wilkes Booth went around making public pronouncements that he was going to celebrate Good Friday by going up to President Lincoln's box and depositing a round to his head?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am absolutely shocked, amazed, disgusted at the media, law enforcement (hah!) thousands congratulating them selves. Thousands of uniformed men, sniffing dogs, cameras, sensors of all kinds could not prevent two already suspected young men from setting off home-made bombs. Think about it. When does the truth hit the
people that our law-enforcement is a sham, a joke.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow... we just heard from Superman and Batman all rolled into one. Can't get no respect, I tell ya', no respect.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, our law-enforcement can only do what they are allowed to do. Remember, people have RIGHTS. Just saying.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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