As Professor Jacobson has noted, there’s no shortage of denial about Tsarnaev Brothers, the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Barry Rubin observes:

Now that the two (primary, at least) terrorists from the Boston Marathon attack have been killed or captured, we enter a new phase in which the dominant politically correct, factually incorrect forces try to explain away the attack.

Can this be done? Will they really try? Well, yes. True, as one of my correspondents remarked, it is much easier to obfuscate distant Benghazi than a total shutdown and horror in the middle of a major American city. Yet the spin-masters are already at work.

In addition to the problem of motive, another aspect of the post-terror analysis is troublesome. In the New York Times report Suspects Seemed Set for Attacks Beyond Boston we learn:

Among the unanswered questions facing investigators are where the suspects acquired their weapons and explosives, how they got the money to pay for them, and whether others helped plan and carry out the attack last Monday. Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said he believed the brothers were not affiliated with a larger network. “All of the information that I have, they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers,” he said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

Similarly, later on the article tells us:

But the administration has said terrorism suspects arrested inside the United States should be handled exclusively in the criminal justice system, and gave no sign it intends to do otherwise in Mr. Tsarnaev’s case. Moreover, there is no evidence suggesting that he is part of Al Qaeda; the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, not all Muslim extremists.

Today’s report, Boston Suspects Are Seen as Self-Taught and Fueled by Web reinforces the narrative that the Tsarnaev’s acted alone.

The portrait investigators have begun to piece together of the two brothers suspected of the Boston Marathon bombings suggests that they were motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs but were not acting with known terrorist groups — and that they may have learned to build bombs simply by logging onto the online English-language magazine of the affiliate of Al Qaeda in Yemen, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

But is the New York Times ignoring evidence that the Tsarnaev’s had help?

Tom Blumer at Newsbusters wrote on Sunday, Boston Mayor and U.S. Establishment Press Ignoring Marathon Bombing ‘Sleeper Cell’ Reports:

Currently, Matt Drudge and U.S. Blogs are relaying this information, while the U.S. establishment press, based on a Google News search at 11:30 a.m. sorted by date on “Tsarnaev sleeper cell” (not in quotes), are not. One would think that the U.S. press has better access to FBI and law enforcement sources than UK-based outlets. If so, unless the UK outlets are being played (which seems a remote possibility, given the degree of detail presented), why haven’t they learned these things? Or worse, have they learned them and chosen to hold off reporting them?

If the kind of disparity in public officials’ statements and press reports continues much longer, it will be worth asking whether there is an attempt to bottle up the truth of what led to the Boston Marathon bombings and the presence of other similar sleeper cells in the U.S.

I wish I found the UK reports more credible. They’re lacking direct quotes from identified sources. The Daily Mirror story, for example refers to a “source close to the investigation.” Still I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something the media isn’t telling us.

But there’s another angle worth exploring whether or not, there was an actual sleeper cell or not and that is what motivated the Tsarnaevs? The New York Times assigned a book reviewer to offer her analysis of the brothers’ motives. In part she ascribed part of their motivation to “Holden Caulfield-like adolescent alienation,” which earned a lot of well deserved scorn.

Max Boot, on the other hand didn’t parse the brothers’ every Twitter message and instead focused on the bigger picture. In When terrorits act “alone,” Boot writes:

Even if no further links with al-Qaeda or related groups (such as the Caucasus Emirate) are discovered, it is still not correct to claim, as so many media outlets now do, that the brothers were “self-radicalized.” They were radicalized and trained by al-Qaeda–whether in cyberspace or outside of it. It is also likely, moreover, that older brother Tamerlan, the ring leader, came into contact with influential individuals in either Boston and/or Dagestan who guided his intellectual development toward becoming a jihadist. Whether those individuals formally belonged to a terrorist organization or not, they were doing its bidding as long as they were urging violence against the West.

In short, while we need to be worried about “lone wolf” terrorists, we must not lose sight of the fact that they are not entirely autonomous individuals. There is still a terrorist support structure that exists in Dagestan–and other places in the Muslim world such as Yemen and Pakistan–which is closely connected with acts of terror in the West and that needs to be dismantled.

If there was an alienation the terrorists felt it wasn’t that of a fictional character but that of Sayyid Qutb, as described by Paul Berman in The Philosopher of Islamic Terror.

In writing about modern life, he put his finger on something that every thinking person can recognize, if only vaguely — the feeling that human nature and modern life are somehow at odds. But Qutb evoked this feeling in a specifically Muslim fashion. It is easy to imagine that, in expounding on these themes back in the 1950’s and 60’s, Qutb had already identified the kind of personal agony that Mohamed Atta and the suicide warriors of Sept. 11 must have experienced in our own time. It was the agony of inhabiting a modern world of liberal ideas and achievements while feeling that true life exists somewhere else. It was the agony of walking down a modern sidewalk while dreaming of a different universe altogether, located in the Koranic past — the agony of being pulled this way and that. The present, the past. The secular, the sacred. The freely chosen, the religiously mandated — a life of confusion unto madness brought on, Qutb ventured, by Christian error.

It is the appeal of that philosophy that most likely motivated the brothers to seek out Al Qaeda carry out their heinous crime, not juvenile teenage angst.


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