This is the third posting about the Boston Marathon bombings.
The 9/11 attack was a masterpiece of terrorism. If you think about it as an organizer, it’s difficult to imagine greater success for such modest inputs. The 9/11 horror demonstrated resourcefulness, imagination, and a fine understanding of the delicateness of the springs of American society.
In spite of its brilliance, the attack also failed eventually because no one- not even Americans – fathoms the deep-seated resiliency of this society. In particular, young people reared in chronically sick, often barely functioning national societies – that I won’t name – where privilege and family connections reign supreme, cannot begin to understand the strength inherent in democratic capitalism. Because their countries’ institutions would collapse from a single-finger push, they have trouble imagining that ours will rebound from a full blow to the face. (Not enough has been written to explain to the world the idea of American exceptionalism. Americans are not arrogant; they suffer from misplaced humility.)
The Boston Marathon bomb assassinations suggest that our war on terrorism is succeeding. The only successful attack on American soil in thirteen years did pathetically little damage to this society. Even for the most optimistic terrorists, bagging an eight-year old, a young Chinese student, and a lady restaurant manager must not give much cause for celebration. I don’t make light of the many others who were wounded, many atrociously. I just think that in the bloody arithmetic of terrorism it’s only the body count that matters ultimately. To gain face with your fellow-terrorists, to earn respect, you have to kill large numbers of kuffars; And you get more points the more important they are. Or you have to cripple the country, or part of it, economically.
The Boston bombs achieved none of this. The city shut down for a day. Peace officers logged thousands of extra-hours. The Republic will survive just fine. And, I know how callous this sounds but the death toll in the Boston massacre, including its aftermath, was on the level of a bad weekend on the road in the Monterey-Santa Cruz area.
The alleged terrorists looked almost pathetic. Pressure-cookers make only poor man’s bombs. (Compare with the panache of high-jacked, fuel-laden airliners.). The alleged terrorists did not even have the kind of competence needed to construct an escape plan two-bit bank robbers routinely pick up from movies. It seems almost incredible that they did not even have a getaway car ready, that they had to highjack one, a really good way to get caught. The younger suspect apparently even ran over his brother’s body – dead or alive- in his bumbling haste to flee from the police. This is the kind of event of which black comedy is made!
Note that the alleged terrorists were intent on escaping. They did their best although it was not good enough. This contrasts badly with the eighteen “martyrs” from 9/11 some of whom, at least, knew they were going to their deaths. The prospect of Paradise has lost its luster apparently. (Incidentally, I was one of the first, years ago, to affirm that the Muslim world did not have an inexhaustible supply of suicide bombers. I argued at the time the simple position that Muslims, by and large, just want what we all want: a chance to live their lives in peace and to raise their children.)
This act of terrorism at the Boston Marathon looked almost silly. It suggests to me that jhadists have run out of breath, that they inspire few capable people. (Or perhaps, the fact finally got around that the seventy-two virgins waiting impatiently in Paradise is just a mistranslation, that it’s really one seventy-two year old virgin.) Yes, terrorism against American must look like a discouraging prospect.
We have become vigilant except when the terrorists live inside one of our most cherished institutions such as the armed forces. There was the shoe-bomber, the panty-bomber, and the Time Square bomber, all miserable failures. There were countless others dreamers-for-glory who are now rotting in federal and state prisons without having ever lifted a finger against this great nation except in their sickly imaginations. And there was also one Major Hasan who succeeded beyond all hopes because those who should have stopped him closed their eyes with great determination. We have found the terrorists’ accomplices; they are us, or the criminally silly among us.
Boston revealed what many of us already suspected to be true. Terrorism does not succeed against this society when we don’t cooperate with it. It has stopped capturing our imaginations. It’s on its way to becoming just one of those things, like ammonia leaks from a gas plant in Texas.
Two more things:
This posting and my two preceding postings on the Boston Marathon bombings assume that the suspect brothers did it. I am confident in believing that they did although I don’t trust the Obama administration to tell the truth because of the Benghazi massacre mystery. I don’t trust the Department of Justice, and I don’t trust the FBI all that much either. I just think conspiracies involving potential hundreds of individuals and several different organizations (police organizations) are so unlikely, they are not worth worrying about.
On Monday 04/22/13, the Department of Justice announced that the surviving brother would be tried in a civilian (federal) court. This comes as a relief because he is clearly a terrorist and President Obama has claimed the right to execute such people on his say-so. Legally, I am not sure even a drone assassination of that American citizen was out of the question. I would have given him a wide berth, for sure.