Professor, professor, while it’s true that you can’t get more Caucasian than to come from the Caucasus, no one who knows anything about the contemporary jihad is the least bit surprised that the cats are Chechens. Chechens played a key role in al Qaeda from its inception, provided trained, experienced troops fresh from the Chechen war to put military skill and backbone into bin Laden’s “Arab brigades” in Afghanistan. During the CIA-led United Front offensive in late 2001, Chechens were invariably among the toughest and most fanatic fighters. Though violently suppressed by the Russians, the jihad continues inside Chechnya and the surrounding region, providing any number of points of contact for inspired jihadi wannabes in Cambridge.
Let’s also keep in mind that the brothers may have had confederates in this country. In fact, there are some fragmentary reports about a third subject.
Also, this reminds me of the foiled Fort Hood terror plot in 2007 which involved four ethnic Albanians as well as a Palestinian and a Turk who were planning to attack soldiers at the fort. At that time, there was a degree of mystifications that the bad guys were Albanians (thought well of by neighbors, too) rather than Middle Easterners or South Asians.
OK, one more thing and then I’ll shut up. Various TV anchors and talking heads are already obsessing over how “normal,” “Americanized” young men who were into partying, etc., etc. could be transformed in short order into vicious killers. Much the same sort of thing was said about the Times Square bomber and the Fort Hood shooter. What this fails utterly to understand that today’s jihad is a political movement. It draws on the religious fervor of many Sunni Muslims and seeks to build Islamic solidarity with its aims, but those aims — drive Hindus from Kashmir, Jews from Palestine, Russians from Chechnya, infidels from the Arabian peninsula, and above all the powerful Americans who protect the rest from the “Islamic world.”
“it is not yet known whether their motivations were religious, political or muddled.”
Maybe not “known” but the Islamic motive seems most plausible unless you consider it a mere coincidence: after all we are in the midst of a declared war against radical Islam (aka “the war on terror).
That said and considering their immigrant status in the US, I cannot recommend too highly John Updikes novel Terrorist . It is an empathetic (not sympathetic) exploration of the problem of alienation experienced by Muslim youth trying to assimilate to a multicultural America. That the older brother said he did not have a single American friend and did not “understand” this country speaks volumes. So, yes, there is an element of muddle too. That’s part of what cultural alienation is.
As for trying to place some of the blame on Obama — well, come on, your partisanship is showing. At enormous expense in dollars and inconvenience the US has been amazingly successful at preventing random, unpredictable events of this kind. In terms of costs and benefits maybe a little too successful. We’ve sacrificed a lot of our freedom in the process.
So the bombers are not Tea Party. MSM hit hardest.
From what we know at this point, their family came to America as refugees in about 2002. Younger brother went to school in Dagestan (Russian Federation, next to Chechnya) just for 1st grade. It looks like their family escaped the 1st Chechnya war and lived in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan before coming back to Caucasus and then to US.
So, back in 2002 the younger brother was what 8? And older one 15?
Their uncle (unless he was giving an Oscar performance) sounded devastated, shocked and summarized that the bastards do not deserve to live.
The brothers were not seasoned Chechen warriors as one might immediately think. Nothing came out yet about military training abroad. They were good athletes – boxing and wrestling – and smart enough for the younger one to get a town college scholarship. Good looking too.
So, the big question is how these guys, living most of their cognitive lives in America, not just did not assimilate enough but radicalized to the level of wanting to hurt as many people/Americans as possible, including kids? Similar to the UK doctors, second or third generation immigrants from Pakistan, with above average doctors’ pay and doctors’ “do no harm” pledge, becoming jihadists, remember?
I blame multiculturalism that opened the door for their Islamisation. You come to the West, get integrated into the West. Respecting others should not mean stopping respecting yourself. Respecting a dignity of others should not mean accepting or closing your eyes to others’ faults. American achievements are real and too many to count. Why shouldn’t we be proud and assertive? Why should we forget everything that worked, what made those achievements possible? We lost balance and proportion. Melting pot works, salad bowl does not.
Terrorism is generally understood as premeditated violence perpetrated by a non-state actor (or actors) against noncombatants (innocents, civilians, citizens, etc.) in pursuit of a political, religious, or social goal. The Boston bombing appears to fit.
“The Marathon attack is one more reminder that Americans cannot wall themselves off from problems in other parts of the world.” Yes, it is a reminder but terrorism is a peculiar category of violence – increased ratio of fear to harm. Panic is whole point of terrorism as it tries to leverage fear to generate societal dis-ease. Prudence more than vigilance ought to be guiding word without diminishing act of two young men who through surprise and secrecy got America’s attention.
Sad but true.
I’m not sure all that “crowdsourcing” coverage of the suspects was such a good idea. At some point yesterday, they clearly panicked.
Mr. Mead: re: Sochi? Read Bullough’s “Let Their Fame be Great” for depth on the Caucausus.
Sochi2014 is the 150th anniversary of the Tsarist genocide/expulsion of the Circassians, who may (or not) be planning disruptive attacks to protest the huge insult of Russia using Sochi for the Olympics. Of course, Circassians are key in the Middle East (the Ottomans resettled many of the survivors), guarding the King of Jordan, serving in Israel’s IDF, and allied with Syria’s Assad.
Chechens have their own genuine grievances with Tsarist, and Stalin’s Russia, but not sure they will disrupt Sochi2014.
Until we know more about the specific motives of the bombers, it remains too early to assert — as fact — that this bombing is a “consequence” of the “Chechen tragedy.” Speculation, including “informed reasonable speculation” like this, is fine but it should be recognized as such.
I have to wonder — the casualty count I’ve seen looks very lopsided, 3 dead and 150 wounded. Were the bombs not very effective (only killing 3, in large crowds like that) or was the presence of the medical tents (and the presence of mind of the doctors in them) a factor that helped keep the wounded in the wounded column?
I think that ratio is typical for this type of weapon. It’s designed to maim, not necessarily kill. Unless you get a handful of nails to the head or to a vital organ, odds are you will be badly injured but will not die.
It takes a special kind of stupidity on the part of American immigration officials to chose and pick the worst crap from around the world, while harassing Professors from India travelling to US to attend conferences.
I do not always blame the immigration officers though. Their job requires them to not apply common sense, lest someone cry discrimination.
I don’t think we have learned how to fight Islamic terrorism because we, with our tolerant modern, even postmodern, attitudes cannot comprehend a full blown combination of premodern religious fanaticism with totalitarian modern politics. That combination is exactly what emerged with the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. Win-win is outside the ken of totalitarians who know that they are absolutely right and doing God’s will. . Bush thought 9/11 was like Pearl Harbor. Obama thinks he can contain Islamism like we did the Soviets. Elements of both struggles are there, but this problem is new. It causes us to make category errors. I don’t know the name of the new categories either but I now we need to figure this out soon.
Who’s going to pay all the medical bills of the injured people??
Who’s going to pay for all the injured people’s medical bills?