I have hardly had any time lately to blog (or much of anything leisure-related, honestly), but I’ve been trying to keep an eye on how the media’s been reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing. With Glenn Beck and the rest of the right-wing desperate to make this bombing about Islam, to fuel the rampant anti-Muslim racism in the States presently, this particular news article jumped at me as just a little too blatant about drawing links that aren’t there. It takes some ridiculous contortions to make the Boston bombing suspects’ actions have anything whatsoever to do with Islam, and the Washington Post was more than willing to pretzel themselves in an article purporting to explain how the brothers are essentially home-grown domestic terrorists with non-existent ties to outside influence.
The wording here is just too precious:
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation, said Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed by police as the two attempted to avoid capture, do not appear to have been directed by a foreign terrorist organization.
Rather, the officials said, the evidence so far suggests they were “self-radicalized” through Internet sites and U.S. actions in the Muslim world. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has specifically cited the U.S. war in Iraq, which ended in December 2011 with the removal of the last American forces, and the war in Afghanistan, where President Obama plans to end combat operations by the end of 2014.
Let me make what’s so outrageous about this phrasing perfectly clear — anyone who opposed and/or opposes the US adventurism and wars of self-interest in the Middle East, obfuscated though they were by the chaff of revenge-fantasies against Osama Bin Laden, is apparently opposing “US actions in the Muslim world” by this reading. Citing the interminable meat-grinders that Bush started and Obama has been slow to end as a reason for self-radicalization no more makes the Tsarnaev brothers’ acts about Islam than protesters of the Vietnam War were red sympathizers or Viet Cong plants.
What’s more is, I’m an atheist who opposed and oppose these endless occupations. I’m not doing it out of any love of Islam — it’s every bit as wrong and wrong-headed as Christianity or any other religion, and moreso in many ways — but out of love for the human beings who were killed just so some cynical assholes could make a bit of war profits, and so some other douchebags could better control the Middle East’s oil. These were evil acts regardless of the religion of the people against which they were carried out. They might even be more directedly and more concertedly evil than those acts by the Tsarnaevs, if measured in sheer carnage and in global repercussions, but they were definitely every bit as evil in their lack of empathy for the human lives they were willing to damage to achieve their goals.
Memo to you desperate fucks trying to make this about anyone else: Stop trying to blame this domestic terrorism on Chechnya, on Czechoslovakia (!?), on the Muslim Brotherhood, on Al Qaeda, or on Islam in general. Stick to the truth: the Tsarnaev brothers may have a funny foreign last name but they’re as Caucasian as any of us has any rights to claim to be, being one generation removed from people who were evidently born on the Caucasus mountains. They’ve lived in the States since the younger was 8, for the past ten years, and were legal immigrants. They grew up in American culture, with American friends and American teachers and American neighbors. They are Americans, and this was domestic terrorism.
10 thoughts on “WaPo: Homegrown radicals opposed "US actions in the Muslim world". See what they did there?”
I don’t see what’s so crazy about suggesting they were at least partially motivated by anger at US foreign policy. That is in line with the evidence as we know it (Stuff Tamerlan said on Twitter, mostly). Sure, plenty of reasonable people are angry about these things, too, but that’s a non-sequitir.
They are domestic, Muslim terrorists, just like Eric Rudolph was a domestic, Christian terrorist. Their religious motivation doesn’t make it any less domestic unless you buy into the idea that Islam is an un-American religion.
The youngest was born in the USA
No, he wasn’t.
Tsu Dho Nimh @2: You’re right. Misremembered something someone had said at work about them having been here all the youngest’s life. I’ve corrected that, and linked an article detailing their “daily life”.
Ace of Sevens: While you could argue that the older brother was a Muslim terrorist, angered at least in part by the wars but mostly at the American government in general, the younger seems rather disaffected by religion and did it by all appearances out of hero worship of his brother.
Throughout the cold war, there were numerous countries that were never communist nor had communist movements until the US “intervened” (read: interfered) and imposed fascist regimes upon the countries (e.g. Nicaragua, Cuba, et al).
The greatest exporter of communism during the cold war the US, not the USSR. And since the 1970s, the greatest exporters of islamic fundamentalism in the world has been the US, not Al Qaeda, starting with the US imposed dictatorship in Iran, even back to how Israel was founded (i.e. if it had been done peaceably, there might not be problems).
Smart people learn from their mistakes. The stupid never do.
Even with the then-unequal treatment of the Quebecois, I highly doubt anyone would have called the FLQ “foreigners” back in 1970. They would have been labelled domestic terrorists.
The drive to label the Tsarnaev’s as foreigners sounds less about “terrorism” and more about “deport anyone who commits a crime”. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard a push in the US for the deportation of naturalized citizens who were convicted of something. The rightwingnuts are loving the fact that they can link (however speciously) religious terrorism and anti-immigrant policies.
left0ver1under – Not only does the US not learn from those mistakes, they get outraged at anyone prominently pointing out those mistakes (e.g. ‘chickens came home to roost’ on 9/11).
Yeah, the bombers had nothing to do with Islam other than, y’know, them actually being Islamic.
You think so? Really? Um, Jason Thibeault, the bombers were Muslims of Chechen origin. Chechnya being notorious for Islamic extremism and Jihadist terrorist attackers -see the Moscow theatre siege and Beslan school atrocity. That’s doesn’t seem like a “ridiculous contortion” to me but rather a pretty straightforward direct link.
Muslim terrorist is Muslim terrorist.
Any contortion would seem to be in the direction of concluding otherwise.
StevoR @ #7
I know nuance is difficult when you’re under Islam-induced panic (also known as Holy-Shit-Brown-People-Bomb-Them-All Syndrome), but there is a difference between the Tsarnaev brothers being Muslim and the bombings being motivated by Islamism.
So no, just because a terrorist is Muslim it doesn’t make him/her a “Muslim terrorist.”
I added the omitted word “actions” to hopefully make it clearer. These home grown self-radicalized domestic terrorists’ religion has, as I’ve argued above, precious little to do with what they did.
@8. Ze Madmax :
Most brown peopel would actually be Hindu (Indian) or Catholic (South American and elsewhere too) rather than Islamic – sounds like you’ve got an unfortunate inaccurate stereotype in your mind about “brown people” there Ze Madmax!
Also note that I am NOT saying “bomb them all” or anything like taht. Poi8nting out that X is X eg. Muslim terrorist is Muslim terrorist is stating an objective fact not offering suggested course of action to address that fact. I don’t want “brown people” bombed and find your committing the fallacy of falsely attributing motivations and casting aspersions against me offensive.
Given that the Tsarnaev brothers are Muslims coming from an ethnicity notorious for radical Jihadist terrorism it seems fairly clear that, yes, they *were* motivated by Islam. To counter this apparently obvious fact you’d need, extraordinary evidence for your extraordinary claim. Got any? If they weren’t motivated at least in part by Islamism then what, do tell were they motivated by?
Actually it really does. A terrorist who is a Muslim is by definition a Muslim terrorist.
@9. Jason Thibeault : Sorry its still clear as mud and adding actions doesn’t change the fact that these terrorists who are of Islamic background and believe in Islam are by definition, well Muslim Terrorists. Self-radicalised or not. If the Chechen brothers had instead been Catholics or Mormons or Baptists would you be making these same sort of apologetics for their religion I wonder or pointing and saying look how that’s influenced them to do this?
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