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The Paradoxes of the Boston Bombings

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."