Monday, April 22, 2013

More Columbine than al Qaeda?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As Crooks and Liars reports, former CIA Deputy Director Philip Mudd told Fox News yesterday that the Boston Marathon bombing looks "looks more to [him] like Columbine than it does al Qaeda." He added:

Two kids who radicalized between themselves in a closed circle go out and commit murder. I would charge these guys as murders, not terrorists...

What I'm saying is we want to categorize this... with a simple term, and at looking at the psychology of clusters like this -- which I did for 20 years -- the psychology is not that simple. It's two kids who decided, for whatever ideology, that they wanted to commit murder. And the murder piece is significant as the terrorism piece.

Of course, it's still to early to draw firm conclusions. But it's clear that many in the media and on the right, including some leading Republicans, are looking for easy answers and proposals based on their biased preconceptions and agendas: it's radical Islam (or, for the real bigots, Islam generally); it's jihad; it's al Qaeda or some such terrorist group (possibly Chechen); it's part of a much larger operation with further attacks possible; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be designated an enemy combatant (and so denied constitutional protections even though he's an American citizen); the FBI, which had been warned by the Russians, should have known better and didn't do enough to prevent the attack; America is under attack; we need to ramp up national security; etc., etc.

It's not wrong to consider the various possibilities and examine with great care what was behind the bombing, which seems to be what law enforcement officials are doing, but it's awfully dangerous to presuppose the outcomes of the investigation, or to act as if we already know all the answers.

And that's Mudd's very sober point: this was a crime, and it may be connected to radicalism, but that doesn't necessarily make it terrorism, let alone terrorism sponsored by an enemy of the United States.

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  • It bothers me that the conservative world is so interesting in finding ties to al Qaeda like there are a bunch of terror cells throughout the United States and this kid will blow the lid right off it. In fact, I've even heard the claim that members of these groups might try to kill Tsarnaev in the hospital to prevent him from talking.

    As you say, we don't know; but this stuff sounds pretty silly to me. If America has terrorists running all over, they are very subtle or lazy terrorists.

    There is clearly a different dynamic going on when your neighbors are being bombed by the US. But for kids growing up in America, regardless of their stated reasons, I think it is definitely more Columbine than al Qaeda.

    Excellent catch here. I haven't seen many people talking about this.

    By Anonymous Frank Moraes, at 12:33 PM  

  • It's something we need to talk about!

    It's an attempt to allow Congress to bypass the Judicial branch and determine who gets the benefit of due process and who gets tossed into a black hole. Our entire "war on terror" has been the biggest power grab in my lifetime, the biggest assault on the US constitution.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:39 AM  

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