After Boston, a new, more balanced outrage

By Zachary Karabell
April 19, 2013

Events unfolded rapidly in Boston this week, from the bombing on Monday to release of photos of the suspects on Thursday to the citywide manhunt for one brother and the killing of the other. While we now know that the two young men are ethnic Chechens who spent time in Kyrgyzstan, we know nothing as yet about why they did what they did.

But perhaps less important than whatever their rationale turns out to have been is how the United States is reacting to the events of this week. On that score, the initial reactions here suggest that we may have turned a post-9/11 corner, still shocked, still pained, but no longer so fearful, so ready to blame religious zealots, and so willing to discard the freedoms that give us such strengths and yet can, at times, leave us so vulnerable.

There will always be people who find some reason to wreak havoc and inflict pain. Yes, such attacks can kill and maim, and thankfully, the Boston Marathon bombing, horrible though it was, did only limited physical harm considering the number of runners and the size of the crowds. It’s what comes after that shapes our lives even more. It’s how society reacts that affects not the hundreds directly harmed and the three killed, not the thousands of friends and loved ones, but the millions and hundreds of millions who were touched only through their sympathy.

The United States has had only limited experience with these attacks, whether foreign or domestic. While the Newtown massacre was a reminder that America is no stranger to homegrown gun violence, bombs designed to shock as well as kill are rarer. In fact, only in the past 50 years has American society slowly adjusted to the types of theatrical violence that the Boston bombing represented.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, repeated Cuban hijackings of U.S. planes led to the first installments of security layers at airports, including metal detectors. In 1993, the World Trade Center was shaken by a bomb detonated in one of its parking garages, killing six and wounding 1,000.*  In 1995, the Murrah office building in Oklahoma City was blown up, killing 168. And the September 11th death tally was nearly 3,000.

Each of these episodes changed daily life for everyone, and none more so than 9/11. From intensive security in many office buildings to much more intensive screening at airports, from a vastly expanded surveillance network of electronic communications to cameras in urban areas (which have allowed the Boston authorities to identify those suspects), our lives have been changed. The response to the hijackings of the 1970s seems almost quaint by today’s standards: metal detectors. Then, after several international episodes of bombs bringing planes down, authorities demanded that luggage be scanned. Still, while flying before 2001 was a hassle, it was not a security gantlet punctuated by fear.

The American response to 9/11 was both brutally effective in targeting those who did it – al-Qaeda and its state-sponsors, the Taliban – and ham-handed. Today, we feel its effects most when we travel, and the contrast between traveling from U.S. airports and other airports is visceral. Other countries have adopted similar screening techniques, but airports in Spain and Indonesia (both of which I flew out of recently) don’t exude the same degree of tension. In New Zealand, domestic flights are still like America of the 1970s.

That screening may be a small price to pay, but the widespread suspicion of Muslims has been a greater harm, as has the culture of classification and secrecy that grew rapidly in Washington just as the national security state did in the face of the Cold War.

The initial leap of some news outlets to Muslim-bait was also quashed, as the appetite for such easy blame appears to be fading. As it turns out, the two brothers are Muslim, but not Arab, not Iranian, and not affiliated with any known organized group. That says no more about Islam than Cuban hijackings in the 1970s said something about Catholicism, or than Timothy McVeigh and his Oklahoma madness said anything about Protestants.*

In the reaction to the Boston bombings, we are seeing, at least for now, an outburst of balanced outrage. I lived in Boston for seven years in the 1990s. It was a tough place — not threatening, just tough. Removed from the years of busing that had brought out the us-versus-them worst, it wasn’t yet as gentrified and reborn after the multibillion-dollar Big Dig. The DNA of cities takes a while to change, and you could feel in the many reactions from Bostonians that they were hurt, angry, and determined to catch whoever did it. But they were equally determined to keep going without making too many compromises about their lives. The city was shut down on Friday to make it easier for law enforcement to do their job, but for a very specific reason, not some generalized fear.

It’s been said for years that we have ample tools via law enforcement agencies to guard against attacks and pursue those who undertake them. The Boston response is classic law enforcement, with the FBI leading the way, the police doing the vital work, and untold numbers of volunteers and responders adding to the mix.

Terror is not an act per se; it’s the creation of fear via an act. It’s been said that Russia is relatively immune to terror, even after a number of gruesome and far more lethal episodes in recent years. In 2004, a school in Beslan was seized by Chechen fighters. When Russian troops stormed the school, nearly 400 people died. Yet that had little discernible impact on Russian attitudes or behavior. Russians are largely impervious to the effects of terror attacks because they don’t expect perfect security. They expect a world fraught with peril, and probably too much, though their history suggests that peril is the norm. Hence random acts of terror don’t terrorize.

Yet England, Spain, France and Israel have also been subject to domestic attacks, Israel especially, and they have managed to thread a path between changing their chosen way of life and increasing their vigilance. The Israelis have defied the worst of domestic attacks by refusing to stop living the way they wish. If a café was bombed, there was urgency to reopen quickly and collect contributions from patrons for a guard. Paris, London and Madrid all have had subway and train bombings in the past 20 years, but these have not lead to massive external changes in how their vital hubs were used daily. Instead, they led to far more camera surveillance and occasional police presence, much has been the case in New York City this past decade.

It’s too soon to say with certainty that the collective response to Boston indicates both a more mature and more effective phase in how we deal with danger. Yes, there will be changes to the marathon next year, in Boston, and then also in New York, London and wherever races are held. It may be harder to get near the finish line, but the danger won’t disappear. Someone can always find a way if what they want is to kill and maim. What can change is how much these acts matter to us, and how much strength we exude, not by reshaping our lives to prevent them but by defying them — by changing our lives so little.

*CORRECTION: This column originally misstated the year when the World Trade Center bombing took place. It also misstated Timothy McVeigh’s first name.

PHOTO: Police officers take position during a search for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

9 comments

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The tide of mobile, contagious Islamic radicalism and discontent is on the rise in the midst of day-to-day competition for jobs, food, opportunity and acceptance wherever muslims live. Those who would deny or ignore this do so at their own considerable peril.

If muslims can not or will not excise this cancer that originates and grows within their religious communities they will pay a price. There will increasingly and necessarily emerge a “Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out” mentality in each and every other society the muslim “presence” threatens.

This conflict is more one of “values” than race. The gang wars with killings and increasing violence throughout Chicago in the “roaring twenties” eventually reached a point when society finally and firmly said “enough”. Only with increasingly widespread public demand and support was it possible for authorities to plan and execute actions that would be effective in eliminating this threat to local citizens and their way of life.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

More “supermarket tabloid journalism” to confuse and inflame the masses.

There are two other stories that you should read to try understand what is really happening, but unfortunately reading anything of US news is an exercise in futility and stifling propaganda.

This article clearly tops the other two on my “bullshitometer”.

I am including the links to the other two articles, plus my thoughts on what is actually happening to this country.

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http://blogs.reuters.com/david-rohde/201 3/04/20/for-american-muslims-dread/

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http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/20 13/04/19/when-linking-boston-to-chechnya -exercise-caution/

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This is NOT about religious radicalism, but a underlying problem with our society that is manifesting itself as radicalism.

It is, however, related to this article in Reuters today, and to my answer about the same issue.

http://blogs.reuters.com/david-rohde/201 3/04/20/for-american-muslims-dread/

The thrust of the article as this:

“The problem, he argued, was radicalism. “In the whole world, … the far right is getting stronger.” He is right. The enemy is not Islam. It is extremism.

NO, he is WRONG!

I am copying my comment from that article to this one, since they are both related issues that should be thoughtfully covered together, instead of like a “supermarket tabloid”.

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Maybe, just maybe, if we didn’t promote “multiculturalism” as though it was the “State Religion”, our “Pseudo-Americans” — in other words, the African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Chinese-Americans, etc. — wouldn’t feel so threatened when someone of “their” culture does something unnacceptable to “our” culture, whether it be mass shootings or bombings.

It used to be that other cultures at least made an attempt to assimilate into the prevailing European-American culture — of which I am one and I refer to myself an an American citizen nevertheless, but increasing less proud of that fact each and every day as I see and understand where this POS country is going — but now the old “melting pot” theory, which admittedly was little more than government propaganda, has been totally discarded in favor of open multiculturalism.

Ain’t multiculturalism grand? Look at what it has done for this nation. Anyone familiar with the term Balkanization?

Let me enlighten you with the definition of Balkanization, which is NEVER mentioned as a logical and predictable result of multiculuralism (defined for comparison).

======================

Balkanization

1.
to divide (a country, territory, etc.) into small, quarrelsome, ineffectual states.
2.
( often lowercase ) to divide (groups, areas, etc.) into contending and usually ineffectual factions: a movement to balkanize minority voters.

———————————–

Multiculturalim

1.
the state or condition of being multicultural.
2.
the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society, as a state or nation.

The view that the various cultures in a society merit equal respect and scholarly interest. It became a significant force in American society in the 1970s and 1980s as African-Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic groups explored their own history.

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Oxymoron (the word that should appear as one of the definitions of Multiculturalism).

a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”

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Bullshit (yet another definition of Multiculturalism).

1.
nonsense, lies, or exaggeration.
verb (used with object)
2.
to lie or exaggerate to.
verb (used without object)
3.
to speak lies or nonsense.

interjection
4.
(used especially to express disagreement.)

Note #4 is the only acceptable use of the word bullshit when speaking about multiculturalism.

1. exaggerated or foolish talk; nonsense
2. deceitful or pretentious talk

==========================

THAT is what is wrong with this country — “MULTICULTURALISM”.

Apparently, the American people are too stupid to realize we have been invaded and are being destroyed from within by foreign cultures that are intent on destroying this nation.

Why?

Cheap labor!

The wealthy class has returned to its “roots” of unmitigated greed, and is busily destroying OUR country, just so THEY can prosper.

The rule for the “road to riches” for them is, if you can’t export the job, then import the laborer.

Notice, for example, the people the author was speaking to are not “real” Americans, but “Pakistani-Americans” (i.e. simply imported cheap labor”). Is it working? Have our health care costs gone down?

HELL NO!

The reason is the wealthy are driving down labor costs and pocketing the extra profits!

DUH!

As a side note, just in case there is anyoneout there who can understand what is going on, the real reason economics doesn’t work anymore is because it has been transformed by the wealthy class into a global concept, but free trade — as Adam Smith pointed out in his Wealth of Nations (1776) CANNOT be a global phenomenon or it won’t work. Instead, it will favor the vested interests of those in power.

DUH!

What do you people think is happening and why, or do you bother to think at all.

Come on people, this isn’t “rocket science”, nor do you need an advanced degree (like the MBA that I have, which I am admitting as matter of revealing my interest in the subject) to understand it. This is simply good old fashioned greed, pure and simple.

The way to destroy greed — the tried and true method — is to pass and ENFORCE laws that punish those who would break the laws to destroy this country for profit.

THAT IS WHAT THE WEALTHY CLASS IS DOING — THEY HAVE OVERTHROWN OUR GOVERNMENT WITH TRADE, BANKING AND TAX LAWS THAT BENEFIT THEM AT OUR EXPENSE.

I suggest you people pull your heads out of your rectal cavities and pay attention to what the wealthy class is doing, instead of being diverted by all these “hot button” issues the wealthy use to distract you with.

In my opinion, it is already far too late to force change peacefully. But it is worth giving it a shot. The problem with this nation, since it has increasingly drifted towards mindless liberalism, is “the lights are on, but nobody is home”.

Prove me wrong, if you can.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

You state, “While we now know that the two young men are ethnic Chechens who spent time in Kyrgyzstan, we know nothing as yet about why they did what they did.”

Apparently the Jewish news source Debkafile — which is a respected source specializing in military news about the ME — has some thoughts on that, which you probably don’t want to know about.

Conspiracy theory?

Considering how our government is so enamored with covert activities, it might actually be true!

==================

“The Tsarnaev brothers were double agents who decoyed US into terror trap”

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 20, 2013, 4:39 PM (GMT+02:00)

The big questions buzzing over Boston Bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have a single answer: It emerged in the 102 tense hours between the twin Boston Marathon bombings Monday, April 15 – which left three dead, 180 injured and a police officer killed at MIT – and Dzohkhar’s capture Friday, April 19 in Watertown.

The conclusion reached by debkafile’s counterterrorism and intelligence sources is that the brothers were double agents, hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which, helped by Saudi financial institutions, had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.

Instead, the two former Chechens betrayed their mission and went secretly over to the radical Islamist networks.

By this tortuous path, the brothers earned the dubious distinction of being the first terrorist operatives to import al Qaeda terror to the United States through a winding route outside the Middle East – the Caucasus.

This broad region encompasses the autonomous or semi-autonomous Muslim republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Chechnya, North Ossetia and Karachyevo-Cherkesiya, most of which the West has never heard of.

Moscow however keeps these republics on a tight military and intelligence leash, constantly putting down violent resistance by the Wahhabist cells, which draw support from certain Saudi sources and funds from the Riyadh government for building Wahhabist mosques and schools to disseminate the state religion of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis feared that their convoluted involvement in the Caucasus would come embarrassingly to light when a Saudi student was questioned about his involvement in the bombng attacks while in a Boston hospital with badly burned hands.

They were concerned to enough to send Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal to Washington Wednesday, April 17, in the middle of the Boston Marathon bombing crisis, for a private conversation with President Barack Obama and his national security adviser Tom Donilon on how to handle the Saudi angle of the bombing attack.

That day too, official Saudi domestic media launched an extraordinary three-day campaign. National and religious figures stood up and maintained that authentic Saudi Wahhabism does not espouse any form of terrorism or suicide jihadism and the national Saudi religion had nothing to do with the violence in Boston. “No matter what the nationality and religious of the perpetrators, they are terrorists and deviants who represent no one but themselves.”

Prince Saud was on a mission to clear the 30,000 Saudi students in America of suspicion of engaging in terrorism for their country or religion, a taint which still lingers twelve years after 9/11. He was concerned that exposure of the Tsarnaev brothers’ connections with Wahhabist groups in the Caucasus would revive the stigma.

The Tsarnaevs’ recruitment by US intelligence as penetration agents against terrorist networks in southern Russia explains some otherwise baffling features of the event:
1. An elite American college in Cambridge admitted younger brother Dzhokhar and granted him a $2,500 scholarship, without subjecting him to the exceptionally stiff standard conditions of admission. This may be explained by his older brother Tamerlan demanding this privilege for his kid brother in part payment for recruitment.
2. When in 2011, a “foreign government” (Russian intelligence) asked the FBI to screen Tamerlan for suspected ties to Caucasian Wahhabist cells during a period in which they had begun pledging allegiance to al Qaeda, the agency, it was officially revealed, found nothing incriminating against him and let him go after a short interview.

He was not placed under surveillance. Neither was there any attempt to hide the fact that he paid a long visit to Russia last year and on his return began promoting radical Islam on social media.

Yet even after the Boston marathon bombings, when law enforcement agencies, heavily reinforced by federal and state personnel, desperately hunted the perpetrators, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was never mentioned as a possible suspect

3. Friday, four days after the twin explosions at the marathon finishing line, the FBI released footage of Suspect No. 1 in a black hat and Suspect No. 2 in a white hat walking briskly away from the crime scene, and appealed to the public to help the authorities identify the pair.

We now know this was a charade. The authorities knew exactly who they were. Suddenly, during the police pursuit of their getaway car from the MIT campus on Friday, they were fully identified. The brother who was killed in the chase was named Tamerlan, aged 26, and the one who escaped, only to be hunted down Saturday night hiding in a boat, was 19-year old Dzhokhar.

Our intelligence sources say that we may never know more than we do today about the Boston terrorist outrage which shook America – and most strikingly, Washington – this week. We may not have the full story of when and how the Chechen brothers were recruited by US intelligence as penetration agents – any more than we have got to the bottom of tales of other American double agents who turned coat and bit their recruiters.

Here is just a short list of some of the Chechen brothers’ two-faced predecessors:

In the 1980s, an Egyptian called Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed offered his services as a spy to the CIA residence in Cairo. He was hired, even though he was at the time the official interpreter of Ayman al-Zuwahiri, then Osama bin Laden’s senior lieutenant and currently his successor.

He accounted for this by posing as a defector. But then, he turned out to be feeding al Qaeda US military secrets. Later, he was charged with Al Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es-Salaam.

On Dec. 30, 2009, the Jordanian physician Humam Khalil al-Balawi, having gained the trust of US intelligence in Afghanistan as an agent capable of penetrating al Qaeda’s top ranks, detonated a bomb at a prearranged rendezvous in Kost, killing the four top CIA agents in the country.

Then, there was the French Muslim Mohamed Merah. He was recruited by French intelligence to penetrate Islamist terror cells in at least eight countries, including the Caucasus. At the end of last year, he revealed his true spots in deadly attacks on a Jewish school in Toulouse and a group of French military commandoes.

The debate has begun over the interrogation of the captured Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarmayev when he is fit for questioning after surgery for two bullet wounds and loss of blood. The first was inflicted during the police chase in which his brother Tamerlan was killed.

An ordinary suspect would be read his rights (Miranda) and be permitted a lawyer. In his case, the “public safety exemption” option may be invoked, permitting him to be questioned without those rights, provided the interrogation is restricted to immediate public safety concerns. President Barack Obama is also entitled to rule him an “enemy combatant” and so refer him to a military tribunal and unrestricted grilling.

According to debkafile’s counter terror sources, four questions should top the interrogators’ agenda:

a) At what date did the Tsarnaev brothers turn coat and decide to work for Caucasian Wahhabi networks?

b) Did they round up recruits for those networks in the United States – particularly, among the Caucasian and Saudi communities?
c) What was the exact purpose of the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath at MIT in Watertown?
d) Are any more terrorist attacks in the works in other American cities?

——————————————–

This is the link to their website.

http://www.debka.com/article/22914/The-T sarnaev-brothers-were-double-agents-who- decoyed-US-into-terror-trap

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle,

As usual, you contribute a lot of good research and facts only to turn off those who are thus far “with you” with your ever-repeated verbal rants about “America’s wealthy class”. Hello? Successful Americans had NOTHING to do with the Boston tragedy.

Only in what America’s liberal “academia” could someone with your brains and ability satisfy all requirements for an MBD and still have NO COMMON SENSE! You just can’t grok that Americans love a “winner”, and all, eventually hope to be one.

No one wins a debate by demonizing those a majority of “judges” admire and hope someday to join, whether by luck, skill, or sheer effort. In Boston, even those financial villians, America’s “Banksters” and other unrestrained financial criminals who benefit from perrenial lack of enforcement of existing American law, rules and regulations are, for once, clearly not implicated.

Snap out of it!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Maturity has NOT been exhibited by Rep. King (R), Senator Graham (R), New York state Sen. Greg Ball (R), Arkansas Republican State Representative Bell, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

Posted by Leftcoastrocky | Report as abusive

Corporate consciousness is unique and relatively new, about 2500 years or so, in our human affairs. Corporate consciousness was created by groups of people who understood that they were too weak to stand alone against a threat from others and appointed a supreme leader who they trusted to lead them. In healthier times, after the threat was eliminated, the supreme leader stepped down and had fun being a human being. In my tinny life span I started serving corporate America by joining Admiral Rickover’s nuclear Navy. I was discharged in 1966 and hit the streets in some interesting times. It did not take me long to come to the realization that revolutionaries were truly revolting people. I have been studying the possibility for Corporate consciousness to remember itself and start working for the weakest person you know.

Posted by wilburgalli | Report as abusive

Yes, acceptance… That is a good step in the right direction.

But it is merely a step.

The next step is to realize we need to do something effective to stop it or at least reduce it. (and by ‘effective’ I something real rather than the bravado and chest thumping that we have had since 2001 — because bullets will never stop bombs)

But we are not ready for that step yet. Too many people think we can stop it with conventional military type means. But you can’t: As we have just seen a single person can put an entire city under lockdown with a device that pretty much anybody could put together in their garage.

More police, more army, more CIA, more FBI will not stop it.

There is one central driver of terrorism: HATE and ANGER
combined with a belief that VIOLENCE is an answer. We need to change that equation. But right now we think that hate, anger and violence are the solutions rather than the problem.

Posted by GeorgeBMac | Report as abusive

I watched the coverage on TV. CNN sucked, They had no one who seemed to be in charge and passed on garbage. Also the talking heads they put on were way off base with their analysis. The best coverage was on NBC and MSNBC. Those two networks were on point and seemed to have confirmed and double checked their info. FOX coverage was awful because they constantly tried to interject political points into a story that was not about local politics. I finally alternated between NBC MSNBC.
The point that so many commentators have missed is that this was NOT an attack on American values so much as a cry to have people notice that oppression is happening in Chechen and Russia It is sad that Americans had to die and be maimed to get this point across. The Boston Marathon is the premiere marathon race in the world and that gives maximum coverage for these terrorists. This easily could have happened at the Masters Golf except that the security there is so strict. It is all about security and the maximum publicity exposure. Where will they strike next.???? That is the main question that must be answered.

Posted by rslip | Report as abusive

@GeorgeBMac,

I respectfully disagree. While more and more of the world’s self-disenfranchised, whether in this country or without, may well “…think that hate, anger and violence are the solutions…”, “we, the people” think those who think that way are “the problem”.

Either we choose to confront and resolve THIS problem or we “kick the can down the road”. Considering that, many times, this can contains explosives, even the option of “kicking it” is not without risk. We have to, at some point, acknowledge that even doing nothing is a decision that has consequences we may not like.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive