The Boston Bombing & Blowback
April 27, 2013 § 1 Comment
For many young libertarians, one of the defining moments when they finally “saw the light” occurred when Ron Paul made the “controversial” statement during the 2007 Republican presidential debates that the 9/11 attacks didn’t occur because the terrorists hated our freedoms. To the contrary, as Dr. Paul correctly pointed out, there is significant evidence which suggests that the 9/11 attacks were the direct result of the United States’ ruinous foreign policy in the Middle East. Watching the debate, you got the sense that everyone in attendance, especially Rudy Giuliani, was just about ready to gather the townspeople and storm the stage with pitchforks in hand. There’s no question that, at least at that point, no one within the mainstream Republican Party had ever heard the truths which Ron Paul fearlessly delivered on that fateful evening.
It just so happens that I was one of those young libertarians, I just didn’t know it yet. Almost six years later Ron Paul’s warnings, while almost completely unheeded by the mainstream, have managed to create a groundswell of support among high school and college aged Americans. As a result, Ron Paul’s emphasis on blowback and its consequences have shifted the dialogue on college campuses across the country and will undoubtedly shape American politics in the coming decades.
But perhaps just as important as the long term effects of Dr. Paul’s message of peace and freedom is the fact that, if properly understood, it gives us the ability to analyze current events with a level of clarity and precision which most of the mainstream pundits lack. The tragic bombings in Boston are the perfect example.
In 2010, Robert Pape and James Feldman published a study which examines every recorded suicide terrorist attack from 1980 to 2009. In short, their findings fully support Ron Paul’s foreign policy prescriptions. Pape and Feldman found that the root cause of suicide terrorism is foreign military occupation, which has proven to trigger secular and religious groups to carry out suicide attacks. That last point needs to be emphasized. Contrary to the remarks made by some of the United States’ less “savory” voices, there is nothing inherently “combative” about Islam. Although it’s possible [although not certain] that Islam played a role in motivating the Boston bombers, this does not provide a proper reflection of Islam as a whole. It’s important to remember that these attacks are motivated by political factors more so than religious ones. Furthermore, it should be prefaced that at the current time, there is a lot of information that isn’t publically known about this case. The following is nothing more than speculation based upon the facts that we currently have. However, there is enough information to form a solid hypothesis of what the bombers’ motivations were, assuming they are indeed guilty. Finally, while the Boston Bombers obviously weren’t suicide terrorists, there is no question that Pape and Feldman’s approach can provide significant insight into the mind of most terrorists.
The study found that practically every case of suicide terrorism that they analyzed occurred in four distinct phases: filtering, discovery, cutting, and determining. The initial “filtering” phase describes the time period in which the different members of the eventual terrorist group originally meet. Granted, this should be obvious. The two bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, were brothers. Thus, the “filtering” process is self-explanatory.
Next is the “Discovery” stage. It’s at this point that the different members of the group recognize their common interests. They typically find common ground on anger towards Western political policies in Muslim lands. In this stage, I feel that the Tsarnaev brothers are unique. This is one of the question marks surrounding their case, but it does seem as if Tamerlan, the older brother, was the brains of the operation. Rather than meeting and finding common ground, it appears that Tamerlan somehow talked his younger brother into taking part in the bombing. By all accounts, Tamerlan had been becoming increasingly radicalized over the past few years. At one point, the Russian government actually contacted the FBI and warned them about how quickly his Muslim views have radicalized. On the other hand, Dzhokar is described as a very normal college student. Indeed, Tamerlan seems to have a history of “converting” others. He talked his American wife into converting to Islam – even wearing the traditional Muslim veil—in a relatively short time period. In fact, it seems as if Tamerlan exhibited all of the signs of radicalization. His younger brother did not.
The third phase is described by Pape and Feldman as “cutting”. This occurs when the individuals start to separate from their current social contacts and begin to interact within new social circles. This often includes international travel to the areas which they believe are threatened. This is an especially important phase because it’s where the individuals typically begin to radicalize. Tamerlan took multiple trips to his ethnic homeland of Chechnya. Although we are not sure what he did during his time there, it is known that soon after returning to the United States he posted a video of one of Chechnya’s leading Muslim radicals on YouTube. It’s also known that the Russian government had seen him meeting with militant Islamist groups near Chechnya, although those groups deny any involvement with the bombing.
Also, as the Guardian reports, Tamerlan’s attitude began to spiral downward once he returned from Chechnya:
“After returning from Russia, Tsarnaev made his presence known at a Boston-area mosque, where his outbursts interrupted two sermons that encouraged Muslims to celebrate American institutions such as the July 4 Independence Day and figures like Martin Luther King Jr., according to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. During one incident congregants shouted at him, telling him to leave.”
Furthermore, Tamerlan admitted to not having a single American friend. Thus, he was already effectively isolated from much of American society.
Finally, the last phase is “determining”. It’s at this point that the individuals decide upon a course of action. This is the part of the process which we know the least about. It’s my personal belief that Dzhokar did not join his brother until this last step. What possessed him to do so is beyond me. Perhaps more information will become public which can answer this question. Interestingly, FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers claimed that they have video of the younger brother, Dzhokar, “planting a device” just before the explosion [one would hope that they will eventually release that video]. So perhaps his involvement is more significant than I first expected.
At any rate, it is clear that at least one of the brothers was driven, in part, by political motivations [Admittedly, I’m not sure how anyone got him to admit that as Dzhokar was apparently ‘incubated and sedated’ in the hospital and could only answer by nodding his head]. Once again, these attacks have very little to do with Islam. The “jihadists” are a minority group within the religion who are capitalizing on Western invasion as an excuse to increase their numbers and power. Tamerlan and young Muslim men like him are a product of American foreign policy—not a religion hell bent upon destruction.
If Tamerlan and Dzhokar are indeed guilty, this is just another example of American foreign policy leading to disastrous results. And as if the American government committing to a foreign policy which invites terrorism isn’t enough, take a look at some of the domestic policies being pushed by Americans in the aftermath of the bombing. The United States is now fully engaged in what Charles A. Beard called “perpetual war for perpetual peace” at home and abroad.
The libertarian answer is obvious: peace. No one could have said it better than Murray Rothbard, Mr. libertarian himself:
“It is particularly ironic that war always enables the State to rally the energies of its citizens under the slogan of helping it to defend the country against some bestial outside menace. For the root myth that enables the State to wax fat off war is the canard that war is a defense by the State of its subjects. The facts, however, are precisely the reverse. For if war is the health of the State, it is also its greatest danger. A State can only “die” by defeat in war or by revolution. In war, therefore, the State frantically mobilizes its subjects to fight for it against another State, under the pretext that it is fighting to defend them.”
Regardless of who is actually responsible for the Boston Bombing it’s obvious that certain political forces in this country will use the tragedy as a springboard for their own twisted designs. As Rothbard said, “war is the health of the state”. Rather than infighting over the potential culprits for the Boston bombing, libertarians should use this as an opportunity to expose the American war machine and its ugly repercussions. Debates about potential false flag attacks simply distract from the more important problem: the state. The state is the culprit no matter what the source of the attack is. If libertarians were wise, they would use these events as an opportunity to reach out and explain to the public who the real enemy is.