Boston, Chechnya and Terrorism

There is a nauseating tone to much of the commentary surrounding the Boston Bombings. From self-haters who wanted the bombers to be white American tea party types, to paens to the “romanticism” of terrorism through poetry it is absolutely insane how some people are ignorant of the difference between the way the world is and the way they want the world to be.

Firstly, the history of the Caucasus is one that most Westerners have no idea about. Thus, they easily fall for the “Chechens as oppressed victims of big bad Russia” narrative. They ignore the reality that in Chechyna the real ethnic cleansing since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been of ethnic Russians. There used to be over 250,000 in Chechnya and now there are fewer than 25,000.

Secondly, the link between extremist Islamic groups and terrorism are constantly misconstrued as reaction to oppression as opposed to active aggression initiated by these groups. It is disturbing to learn that the FSB attempted to let the Americans know that Tamerlan Tsaernaev had links to extremist groups and had even tried to join them in the region before returning to the United States.

When you learn that US intelligence agencies have been instructed to strike references to “jihad”, “Islamic terror” and “Islamic fundamentalism” from training documentation and operational reports, you end up with an intelligence failure because a law enforcement agent is not permitted to draw conclusions that in any way implicate religion as a factor or relevant element in terrorist offending.

Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists. But there are fewer than 200 Chechens in the United States and 3 of them ended up committing a terrorist act against one of the biggest symbols of elite Western culture – a marathon. That they wanted to proceed to Times Square and finish themselves off is a tragic indictment of how extremism removes any moral compass or ability to think things through.

Furthermore, it is not surprising that the brothers were economic losers. The wife of the elder was working 70-80 hours a week as a care worker. The younger was a college dropout. Just like poor Middle Eastern suicide bombing mugs, they were easy targets for conversion to radical Islam.

The Boston Bombings are simply another data point that will be forgotten about in a couple of weeks. The truth about how the United States misguided aggression against Russia backfired with failure to identify essentially home grown terrorists who set off explosives at a powerful symbol of Western culture will be hushed up and the lesson will not be learned.

The United States needs to put its relations with Russia on a solid footing as soon as possible. Any frosty information sharing between the FSB and US intelligence agencies needs to be replaced with a far more open acknowledgement that both countries share a global enemy in the form of Islamic fundamentalism.

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