Would you like to try and subdue that?

Post-Soviet Russia has been trying to subdue just one tiny bit of it -- Chechnya -- for two decades now. The capital city, Grozny, was more or less turned to rubble by Russian artillery. That's the tactic the Russians switched to when they realized they were never, ever, going to weed out all the terrorists, irregulars, insurgents, drug gangs, and all the rest.

Officially, Chechnya has "enjoyed" a pro-Russian government since 2009. Unofficially, McEvedy might be tempted to draw a dotted line around it.

I haven't even whispered the word "Muslim" yet, but the religious aspect can't be ignored. It looks like these men were your typical frustrated, radicalized young Muslim males. The one thing differentiating them from, say, the 9/11 hijackers is how long they'd lived in this country, and how Americanized they'd seemed.

I can't locate the quote, but some historian or military officer once observed that it's easy to defeat Arab armies, but it's impossible to conquer Arab peoples. In fact, I'd expand that observation to cover most of Islam. Nobody does insurgency better. And nowhere is that more apparent in the 21st century than in the mixed-up, muddled-up span of Islam stretching from the Caucasus and over the Caspian to Afghanistan and Pakistan's Northwest Frontier province.

So what happened in Boston? Did a couple young men from Chechnya just suddenly decide after a decade of American life that it was time to blow some people up? Were they hired by al-Qaeda because they were "European" and under our radar? Were they pulling their own version of Columbine -- shooting something up for the sake of shooting something up?

Maybe a combination of all three. Maybe a fourth or fifth or sixth option I can't think of.

Whatever the motive, it looks like there are now small bits of Boston we should draw dotted lines around -- unsubdued areas where we-don't-know-who is plotting we-don't-know-what. It only takes an apartment or a basement. And of course it isn't just Boston.

As I wrote the other day, IEDs coming to America is "the nightmare scenario." What I meant was was this: anybody can make them, anybody can deploy them, anyone can be killed by them. And any serious attempt to uproot every single suspicious foreign-type person has its own serious problems. There's the legal problem of constitutionality, and there's the moral problem of casting too wide a net, and finally there's the practical problem of radicalizing even more people to terror -- people right here at home. We'd be cutting off our noses to cause things to escalate to the point where we're flattening our own cities with heavy artillery.

There's no good solution. We'll have to remain vigilant, and we'll have to set a fine example of bringing ruthless justice to the terrorists.

One down, one to go.

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