Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Terrorists, Terrorists, Terrorists

In alphabetical order: Kelly Ayotte, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Peter King have all the answers.  In their letter released Wednesday, they write

It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city. The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.

“The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent.

It's a wise tactic to refer to the apparent culprits, one deceased and the other reportedly only beginning to talk, as "terrorists" rather than "common criminals."  The brothers Tsarnaev were/are American citizens, and as a citizen- even as an individual simply present in the U.S.A.- Dzokhar would be entitled to rights under the U.S. Constitution, which conservatives claim to revere until it guarantees rights to people they don't like.  Were they attempting "to profit," the Tsarnaevs might have gained at least a little sympathy from the right.

President Obama, however, also labeled the suspects "terrorists"when Friday night he promised "We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had."  The notion of forming a conclusion after an investigation seems so quaint.

The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population nor any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives." The motives of the perpetrators is yet unknown and  their political or social objectives, if any, are not definitively determined.  Yet, labeling them "terrorists" is political correctness both the right and the left are comfortable perpetuating.

But at least one intelligence hand refuses to jump to conclusions and he, ironically, spoke out on Fox News.  Former CIA deputy director Philllip Mudd was asked Sunday by Chris Wallace

if there were signs that al Qaeda was behind the Boston Marathon bombing.

“The only fingerprint I’ve seen might have possible have been ideology, but not operations,” Mudd explained. “But every step of the way here was pretty rudimentary. For example, if you look at some of those initial photos, you’ve got a kid with a hoodie and a cap. If he wants to obscure himself, the hoodie goes on, the cap forward.”

“If he had operational training, I want to know who did it because they were amateurs.”

Mudd added that he feared that people were being too quick to categorize the crime as terrorism.

“This looks more to me like Columbine than it does al Qaeda,” the counter terrorism expert observed. “Two kids who radicalized between themselves in a closed circle go out and commit murder. I would charge these guys as murders, not terrorists.”

Wallace pressed Mudd on how he could dismiss the fact that Dzokhar Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spent six months in Russia “where there are a lot of radicals.”

“I’m not writing that off,” Mudd insisted. “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.”

Matters were further complicated when CNN Monday night reported

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators his older brother Tamerlan was the driving force behind last week's attack and that no international terrorist groups were behind them, a U.S. government source said Monday.

Preliminary interviews with Tsarnaev indicate the two brothers fit the classification of self-radicalized jihadists, the source said. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, wounded and held in a Boston hospital, has said his brother -- who was killed early Friday -- wanted to defend Islam from attack, according to the source.

"Facts are stupid things," President Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6) once unfortunately said.  "Facts are stubborn things," President John Adams once said.  Two hundred forty three years later, Adams still is right.

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