Boston Marathon Bombing

Liberty, Security, and Terrorism

We must be vigilant against the predictable efforts of politicians to exploit the Boston bombings to aggrandize their power.

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“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

It would be nice if Benjamin Franklin’s famous aphorism were as widely believed as it is quoted. I doubt that Sen. Lindsey Graham and his ilk would express disagreement, but one cannot really embrace Franklin’s wisdom while also claiming that “the homeland is the battlefield.” (The very word  homeland should make Americans queasy.)

If we were to take Graham literally, all of America would look as the Boston suburbs looked last Friday â€" but even worse, because the government would be monitoring everyone’s reading and web browsing lest it miss someone becoming “radicalized” in the privacy of his own home.

Who would want that? Is it a coincidence that virtually every dystopian novel prominently features a police force indistinguishable from an army in combat and 24-hour surveillance by the state?

The Boston Marathon bombing obscures the fact that terrorism is actually less common in the United States now than in the past, and that the odds of an American being killed in a terrorist incident are rather small. (For some perspective, see Brian Doherty’s article, “3 Reasons the Boston Bombing Case Should Not Change Our Attitudes About Privacy” and Gene Healy’s “Boston Bombing Suspects Are Losers, Not Enemy Combatants.”)

An open and (semi-) free society cannot realistically expect to eliminate the risk of indiscriminate violence. The cost in liberty and dignity would be way too high â€" and the attempt would fail. Moreover, the risk of violence perpetrated by our guardians would not be eliminated but augmented.

It’s worth emphasizing that we don’t yet know if the actions allegedly taken by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev qualify as terrorism. (Glenn Greenwald points out that even Alan Dershowitz and Jeffrey Goldberg are not convinced the bombings do qualify.) As commonly used, the word terrorism does not mean merely any violent act that scares people. The Boston Strangler (Albert DeSalvo) terrorized women in the early 1960s, yet we don’t think of that as terrorism. (Greenwald discusses other cases.) Why don’t we regard all mass or serial killers as terrorists? Because in common usage terrorism has a political component. This is also the case for official definitions. (Wikipedia has the run-down.)

For example, see title 22, chapter 38 of the United States Code:

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents. [Emphasis added.]

And title 18:

The term “international terrorism” means activities that … involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; [and] appear to be intended … to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; … to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or … to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and [which] occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum. [Emphasis added.]

And the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations:

The unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. [Emphasis added.]

And, finally, the USA PATRIOT Act:

Activities that (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or of any state, that (B) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping, and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. [Emphasis added.]

For the record, the Oxford English Dictionary defines terrorist as a “person who uses violent and intimidating methods in the pursuit of political aims; esp. a member of a clandestine or expatriate organization aiming to coerce an established government by acts of violence against it or its subjects.” (Hat tip: Gary Chartier.)

You get the idea. These are reasonable, common-sense definitions consistent with common usage. (Note that they exclude the shootings at Fort Hood, since Nidal Malik Hasan’s targets were not noncombatants.) Politically motivated violence against noncombatants needs a term, after all. What’s unreasonable is that the term is not applied to the conduct of the U.S. government or its allies when they target noncombatants for political purposes.

Large-scale indiscriminate violence against noncombatants that is not politically motivated, then, is not terrorism. Someone frustrated by a dead-end life who lashed out violently at a crowd of people would not be counted as a terrorist, according to this usage. Thus DeSalvo, Charles Whitman, and George Hennard, monstrous as they were, were not terrorists.

Perhaps the Brothers Tsarnaev were not terrorists either. We don’t know yet. True, leaks from the interrogation of the heavily medicated Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicate that the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan figured in their “radicalization” and bombing plot. He also reportedly said “religious fervor” and a desire to defend Islam were behind their actions. Maybe that is true. But maybe these are rationalizations of their personal failures and envy. (And how reliable are those leaks?) We need to know more â€" and maybe we’ll never know enough. People and their situations are complex.

What we do know is that we must not let the Tsarnaevs’ crimes snuff out whatever civil liberties are left after the USA PATRIOT Act, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, and the other abuses ushered in during the fevered aftermath of 9/11. We must ever be vigilant against the predictable efforts of politicians to exploit the bombings to aggrandize their power.

Whether U.S. foreign policy really had anything to do with the Boston Marathon bombings, there are reasons enough to scrap it and to follow strict noninterventionism, since that would cease the daily brutality against Muslims (and others) committed in the name of the American people. One bonus from ending U.S.-sponsored murder and mayhem in the Muslim world is that it would remove a potential reason for violence against Americans.

This article originally appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. There is a dude that knows what time it is!

    http://www.GotzMyAnon.tk

      1. I do wish the spammers would find time enough to die.

        1. It would’ve been much more impressive if he had claimed ‘frist’.

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  2. The Boston bombing shows that we are less safe with the governments massive response. They have taken billions in taxes and created a massive hammer and are waiting so they can use it.

    When the government locked the city down the bomber was able to hide out, it was only when the citizens were allowed to leave their homes that the bomber was found. And then the government responded with shooting and bombing of their own in order to capture an unarmed man. Luckily the only thing hit was the boat but with the amount of shooting going on other innocents could have been hurt or killed.

    1. ^^This

      A million times this. We are so much safer without government involved. Even with “emergencies”

    2. Like with the Chris Dorner incident, in which the cops shot more innocent civilians that Dorner did.

      Like a cop near where I used to live in NC, who was speeding on a dark country road at night, without his siren or lights on, supposedly in order to catch a speeder, and he hit and killed a family….and he got away with it, because his actions were supposedly justified in the pursuit of a speeder (WTF?!).

      The cure is often far worse than the disease.

      In reaction to this Boston shutdown, I began pondering how many hours of human life have been stolen by the government in their futile attempts to ‘save human life’. For example, the TSA alone has clearly stolen billions upon billions of hours of life, and then when you start to factor in the cost of such an operation and the fact that it is funded via billions and billions more hours of American labor, the numbers clearly come out in favor of freedom.

      Maybe I’m proposing a rather callous and warped utilitarianism, but at least I’m proposing some quantifiable metric of value, rather than arbitrarily sacrificing one person’s life for another person’s life, as LEOs seem to eager to do.

  3. The trouble with the Bill of Rights is that it’s mostly only useful when applied in uncomfortable situations. And, worse, as a nation we’ve decided that the risk taking necessary to build and maintain anything worthwhile is no longer worth it. People are deciding that, if my liberty means that someone else could exploit his liberty to do violence, it’s too much.

    No one wants to hear that bad things happen. In the olden days people crossed oceans in wooden ships or continents in wooden wagons to achieve something for themselves. The likely possibility of dying was an understood cost. Wealth and convenience has bred that out of us. Freedom and independence no longer hold the value they once did. Political leaders will capitalize on that every chance they get.

    1. Well, the second amendment has this to answer for.

      1. His stupid may well have saved him from a worse fate!

        Doctors in Kentucky have issued a warning that people should not eat squirrel brains, a regional delicacy, because squirrels may carry a variant of mad cow disease that can be transmitted to humans and is fatal.

        1. Regional delicacy = 3 guys once ate one on a dare

          1. It’s cool, SF, you don’t have to be ashamed of squirrel brain eating. Although transmissible spongiform encephalopathy would be a comforting explanation for some of your fiction.

            If you want the NYT c. 1996 to respect your culinary choices you might need to open up a haute cuisine restaurant in a fancy district of NYC that serves cervelle d’?cureuil.

            1. If you want the NYT c. 1996 to respect your culinary choices you might need to open up a haute cuisine restaurant in a fancy district of NYC that serves cervelle d’?cureuil.

              Already been done.

          2. I read that as…

            3 guys once ate one on a date

            But we are talking Kentucky.

            1. Ain’t been much to do ’round here since the drive-in movie theater done closed down.

          3. My grandfather loves squirrel brains. I’ve known since youth not to shoot them in the head for just that reason.

            He lives in the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, but whatever, my granpappy shan’t be othered by the likes of you.

        2. @ Jesse: I meant to answer you earlier but I’ve been a bit swamped recently.

          You lived in Daegu in 2006-07? I’ve been in Daejeon since Dec ’09 with a couple of furloughs, as it were, teaching at a Hagwon. Were you military or a teacher? My brain is full of conflicting info that I don’t quite recollect.

          For those that don’t know, Daejeon is about an hour’s train ride (KTX/fast train) south of Seoul. I love my standard of living here and I love my job. One learns very quickly to completely ignore everything that comes out of NoKo. No one here gives a shit about that shit up north and most of my students, and people in general, are (rightfully) highly suspicious of any attempt to re-unify.

          1. I was there teaching English with YBM ECC. It was an awesome experience, and I came home with a nice savings buffer. I always like seeing the American media freak out over whatever the Kim family is doing while people living within shelling distance generally don’t give a shit. Have you gone to the DMZ yet?

            1. No, weirdly I haven’t! My parents went when they visited me and they absolutely loved the experience.

              About 3 months after I got here the Cheonan ship was sunk by NoKo and killed 47 sailors. They shut down the DMZ for a spell and I just never got around to doing it. I certainly plan on going there before I leave, but I’m trying to stay here for about 1.5 more years and get at least $20k in the bank.

              I’m going to Vladivostok next Saturday if anybody has any info on Russia or Vlad. itself. It’s gonna set me back some money, FUCKING $800 between flights and visa fees alone. Fuck it. I’ve been everywhere else around here, might as well branch out.

              Nice to know that someone around here has lived here, too. I love this place, especially its quirky fuckery, as it’s generally equal parts genius and batshit.

              The “Yogi-oh” button on restaurant tables is BRILLIANT. Throwing toilet paper into a trash can after wiping your ass with it? Not so much.

              1. I love the little platforms with padded vinyl on some of the sidewalks that are, as far as I can tell, only there for old men to pass out drunk on if they can’t make it home.

                The DPRK tested their nuclear weapons just before I left for Korea and my mom was completely panicked about me leaving. She was pretty close to punching me when I started singing The Gap Band – You dropped a bomb on me anytime we were in the same room.

                I loved living in Korea. It’s definitely a weird place, but very cool. I wish I’d done more regional travel; I had long weekends in Tokyo and Bangkok, but didn’t spend nearly enough time in either place. I used my flight home money to go to Istanbul and then zig-zagged through the Balkans before flying home.

                Our guide at the DMZ went into an interesting dick measuring contest about the materials and relative size of their propaganda flags. “Theirs is bigger, but it is very heavy because they don’t have access to advanced materials. What good is a bigger flag if it just hangs there limp?”

          2. I lived in Suwon from 99-00, and Dongduchon in 05. Love Korea, would love to go back as a civilian.

    2. The trouble with the Bill of Rights is that it’s mostly only useful when applied in uncomfortable situations. And, worse, as a nation we’ve decided that the risk taking necessary to build and maintain anything worthwhile is no longer worth it. People are deciding that, if my liberty means that someone else could exploit his liberty to do violence, it’s too much.

      The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other people think to be wrong. There is no point in demanding freedom to do that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties or rights are things which have to be asserted against others who claim that if such things are to be allowed their own rights are infringed or their own liberties threatened. This is always true, even when we speak of the freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of public assembly. If we are to allow freedoms at all there will constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way in which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom, these complaints will often be justified. There is no way of having a free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty.

      ? Lord Chief Justice Halisham

  4. I did some nodding right up till this:

    Whether U.S. foreign policy really had anything to do with the Boston Marathon bombings, there are reasons enough to scrap it and to follow strict noninterventionism, since that would cease the daily brutality against Muslims (and others) committed in the name of the American people.

    brutality against Muslims continues absent any American involvement, generally perpetrated by other Muslims. See: Mumbai, Indonesia, etc.

    You want to say it’s time to butt out and let others solve their own affairs, I am on board. But a part of this reeks of the same “blame America first” usually expected from the left.

    1. I suppose that if brutality will continue either way, we may as well have nothing to do with it.

    2. But a part of this reeks of the same “blame America first” usually expected from the left.

      You’ve never read a Richman article before?

    3. Yeah pretty much me, too. “Mmm hmm, mmm hmm…. wait, well, maybe, but…no.”

      1. Yeah pretty much me, too. “Mmm hmm, mmm hmm…. wait, well, maybe, but…no.”

        Which shows that Richman is learning. In the old days, he would have opened the article with a quote from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

        1. I thought overall the article was on target and made sense. The last paragraph just feels tacked on – like “I just can’t help but add one more thing that kind of doesn’t fit with the rest.”

          Anyway – enough overanalysis – for me, the main thing is keeping an eye on the US gummint not for what they may do to furriners (no matter how bad), but what they’re planning o do to its own citizens. Fuck you, “Homeland Security”, FBI, CIA, every bureaucracy, FEMA, TSA, state, county and local police, SWAT….ad nauseum…

          1. Yup. There is a reason Adams put “Alien” in front of “Sedition”. A little xenophobia makes the pill go down.

    4. “You want to say it’s time to butt out and let others solve their own affairs, I am on board. But a part of this reeks of the same “blame America first” usually expected from the left.”

      Who’s to blame for ObamaCare? Who’s to blame for TARP? Who’s to blame if we invaded Iraq? Who’s to blame for the Patriot Act, warrentless wiretapping, etc., etc.?

      We shouldn’t blame America first? I guess it depends on what you mean by “America”. Are you talking about our politicians? If you mean we shouldn’t ultimately blame them, then I think you’re on to something. Ultimately, I don’t blame Bush and Obama for the evil shit they do.

      I blame the American people. I blame the lady who cuts my hair–and voted for Obama, again. I blame Americans for supporting the occupation of Iraq–because of a terrorist attack from a third party country. I blame every American who is easily manipulated by fear mongering into supporting whatever the president wants to do…

      No politician–not even Rand Paul–will put the blame where it really belongs. Blame the American people first? You better believe it!

      Yeah, if you support Barack Obama and you’re an American, then I blame you for our political problems. If you supported Bush, then I blame you, too!

      America’s political problems are self-inflicted. Why would we blame anyone else?

      1. I agree.

      2. You don’t persuade a person by calling them an asshole. In fact, even if they are likely to be persuaded by your arguments the personal attack will make them reflexively oppose you.

        And most Americans personally identify with ‘America’ and think you’re blaming them when you blame ‘America’ for problem X.

        Besides which, it’s ‘blaming America’ is just factually wrong, and a form of American hubris.

        1. “Besides which, it’s ‘blaming America’ is just factually wrong, and a form of American hubris.”

          Ultimately, our problems with freedom have to do with a deficit of personal responsibility. If Americans bought a house they couldn’t afford, and now they’re in foreclosure, you know whose fault that is?

          No, it isn’t the banks. No, it isn’t the wealthy. No, it isn’t the lack of government oversight. It’s the responsibility of the Americans who bought a house they couldn’t afford.

          Because we refuse to let Americans be held fully responsible for the choices they make, we end up limiting their choices. That is the anti-libertarian recipe we’re living under.

          It’s the same thing with foreign policy. You are responsible for holding politicians accountable for the decisions they make. If you suffered under all sorts of fear mongering under both Bush and Obama, and you voted to reelect either one of them anyway, then YOU are responsible for the shit they did thereafter.

          Responsibility isn’t something that goes away just because people don’t want to hear about it. If, ultimately, the problem is that people are dodging their own ultimate responsibility for our foreign and domestic policies, then we have to address that problem whether people want to hear about it or not.

          The shit we go through is the shit we choose to take. And that’s good news–even if some incredibly irresponsible people don’t want to hear about it.

          1. You are responsible for holding politicians accountable for the decisions they make.

            So you’re accepting personal responsibility for Brown and the other socialists fucking up this state?

            Good to know.

      3. Who is to blame for these recent bombings? Who is to blame for 9/11? I am sick of always seeing non-interventionalists blaming America and Israel for terrorism, for why Muslim countries are miserable. Muslim countries are miserable because of Muslims. Iraq and Afghanistan are miserable because Muslims won’t stop killing each other. It just sounds like dumb blame the white man first liberalism.

        1. Yes, someone must be blamed, ja?

        2. Muslim countries that tend to be breeding grounds for terrorism aren’t miserable becasue they’re Muslim. They’re miserable because they’ve been horribly oppressed for generations.

          We stationed troops in Saudi Arabia, initially, to protect their oil from the Iranians. Then we were there to protect them from the Iraqis after they invaded Kuwait… Then why were they there?

          Saudi Arabia is a vicious dictatorship, and after Iraq was effectively contained, the people of Saudi Arabia came to suspect that American troops were still there, primarily, to protect the Saudi dictatorship from the Saudi people…

          We made nice with dictators throughout the region. Forget Mubarak, we were even cozying up to Gaddafi after he abandoned his WMD program and started helping us with terrorism. The extent to which we contributed to anti-American hostility in the region is the extent to which we contributed to that hostility–no matter whether you like being responsible for it or not.

          I’ll tell you this: if the American people hated their own government to the point that they would violently overthrow it if they could–if only it weren’t for Saudi troops protecting the American regime–how would you feel about Saudi Arabia?

          We are responsible for what we choose to do. If we choose to use our troops to seemingly prop up a vicious dictatorship, then we should not be surprised if the people there start to hold us responsible for our choices.

          1. Muslim countries that tend to be breeding grounds for terrorism aren’t miserable becasue they’re Muslim. They’re miserable because they’ve been horribly oppressed for generations.

            I don’t necessarily agree with you, Ken. The Muslim world was far and away more progressive, wealthier and more powerful than the Christian world for centuries. A large factor in their collapse was an unwillingness to adapt due to their extreme religious views.

            Europe became progressively less ruled by religion, whereas the Middle East fell backwards into a hyper-religious dark age. I don’t think you can blame that on ‘oppression.’ Many recent problems in the Middle East are the fault of westerners, but their initial wounds were self inflicted.

            1. Pshaw, Irish! Don’t you know the world trembles in fear of Tibetan suicide bombers?

              1. I would agree that Muslims are more prone to resort to terror, but it’s not as if other groups have not used terrorism because of political grievances in conflicts that to some extent have a religious component. The IRA and the Tamils in Sri Lanka, to give two such examples.

            2. “Europe became progressively less ruled by religion, whereas the Middle East fell backwards into a hyper-religious dark age. I don’t think you can blame that on ‘oppression.’ Many recent problems in the Middle East are the fault of westerners, but their initial wounds were self inflicted.”

              Whatever other centuries old cultural forces were behind the violent reaction, their politics were dominated, first, by colonial governments and then by vicious post-colonial dictators.

              I suspect that any society that had been subjected to colonialism and then vicious post-colonial dictatorships reacts similarly.

              Islam may color the form of the reaction to those circumstances a bit differently–the violence of their reaction seems to be directed outward. …as opposed to, say, China, where they tended to go after their own people.

              But the most proximate cause to provoking that reaction is still dictatorship and oppression. If the snake bit us because of its nature, I’m not sure that’s the most proximate cause–if we kicked the snake.

              1. I suspect that any society that had been subjected to colonialism and then vicious post-colonial dictatorships reacts similarly.

                This is a ridiculous sentiment because it’s provably untrue.

                Let’s use India and Pakistan as our example. Majority Hindu India, for all of its problems, does not train terrorists or suicide bombers. Majority Muslim Pakistan actively trains terrorists and suicide bombers who they send into the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan with the goal of sowing chaos and destruction.

                Pakistani trained terrorists shot up Mumbai and killed 160 people. Pakistani trained terrorists also blew up trains in Mumbai and killed 200 people. Point me to the time Indian trained terrorists have ever attacked a Pakistani city. I’ll wait.

                Moreover, why are all of the Asian countries that suffered colonialism not training terrorists, and why have many of those Asian countries that have suffered colonialism developed much more modern economies than the Middle East?

                Most of the historic ‘colonialism’ that the Middle East suffered under was Ottoman colonialism meaning that it wasn’t Western colonialism, it was an empire run by Muslims. I don’t know how you can claim that the damage to the region was done by Westerners when the West only colonized the Middle East for a few decades when compared to the 600 years of Ottoman Imperialism.

                Again, their wounds are mostly self inflicted, or at the very least inflicted by other Muslims.

                1. I’m not saying that they all become suicide terrorists against outsiders. But, certainly, if and when we cozy up with a hated dictatorship in such a country, we can expect the people in that country to consider us their enemies–whether they’re Muslim or not.

                  Some countries have violent outbreaks that don’t turn into suicide terrorism. The Vietnamese didn’t turn to terrorism, really; their violent expression was mostly internalized. Same thing with China; their violence was often directed at internal “enemies”.

                  Still, the recipe seems pretty clear. If you take a colonial society, it becomes a vicious dictatorship, and then we cozy up to that dictatorship–if the locals hate us and start to target us, we probably shouldn’t blame it on their religion.

                  I think we’re talking past each other a bit. I’m talking about what provokes a reaction, and I think you’re talking about the nature of the reaction. Again, I don’t think Muslims are miserable because they’re Muslims. If they’re miserable, it’s because their societies have been oppressed for so long.

                  Kashmir, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Libya–these have been remarkably oppressed places with remarkably oppressive governments. Have the jihadis of Kashmir targeted Americans specifically? If not, is it because we don’t really have anything to do with Kashmir? To whatever extent they’ve fought us in Afghanistan, is it because we’re in Afghanistan, or is it becasue they’re Muslims?

                  1. Have the jihadis of Kashmir targeted Americans specifically? If not, is it because we don’t really have anything to do with Kashmir? To whatever extent they’ve fought us in Afghanistan, is it because we’re in Afghanistan, or is it becasue they’re Muslims?

                    In a ‘Letter to American People’ written by Osama bin Laden in 2002, he stated that one of the reasons he was fighting America is because of its support of India on the Kashmir issue.

                    Ken, please, please, please stop talking about shit you know nothing about.

                    1. Are you under the impression that Osama bin Laden was from Kashmir?

                      Are you under the impression that Osama bin Laden spoke for Kashmir resistence?

                      The idea that the Kashmir resistance (apart from Al Qaeda) has attacked us because of our support for India seems a little far fetched.

                      Regardless, once again, the argument is that oppressed peoples view us as their enemies when we ally ourselves with and support their oppressors. I can’t imagine why that would be controversial.

                      You’re not arguing in favor of my position–that Osama bin Laden claiming he attacked us for allying ourselves with India over Kashmir somehow proves that I’m right, are you?

                      Because that’s a really poor argument–even if it is in my favor.

                      There has been plenty of evidence that elements in the Pakistani armed forces themselves view us as enemies–and running operations within their borders doesn’t help with that. …but I’d be interested to see how many strikes there were against American targets–specifically by the Kashmir resistance inside Indian controlled Kashmir.

                      Osama bin Laden claimed a lot of things.

                    2. “I’d be interested to see how many strikes there were against American targets–specifically [coming from] the Kashmir resistance inside Indian controlled Kashmir.”

                      Hope that clears things up.

                      Oh, and pointing out that many Pakistanis view us as enemies–since we allied ourselves with Musharraf and hit so many targets within their borders–probably isn’t a good counterargument either.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W…..t_Pakistan

                    3. The Arab Spring is in the process of shitting all over your narrative, toppling those brutal, thuggish dictatorships that teh evul ‘muricans propped up with extremist religious fanatics culled from either quasi or outright terrorist organizations. When given the opportunity to select their own leaders, they aren’t shedding the oppression of the dictators (and by proxy teh evul ‘muricans), they are opting for an entirely different kind of oppression, likely to be at least as severe, and still aren’t abandoning the notion of terrorism.

                      But hey, don’t let a little reality ruin a perfectly good model.

          2. They’re miserable because we oppressed them? Or they are miserable because they oppressed each other. The Saudis and other ilk like them have ruled the region for generations. I don’t deny that they hate us because of what we do. But they hate us because of what we are too. They have always seen non-Muslims as the enemy, from the moment they crawled out of the desert and attacked the Byzantine Empire. Of course if we didn’t invade their countries and let them invade ours it would be much harder for them to kill us. So while we did indeed support the Saudis, that is not why they are miserable. You think if Osama ruled they wouldn’t be miserable?

            1. “They’re miserable because we oppressed them? Or they are miserable because they oppressed each other.”

              They’re miserable because they’re oppressed.

              To whatever extent we allowed ourselves to be seen as protecting the oppressors from the oppressed, they hate us to that extent.

              “They have always seen non-Muslims as the enemy, from the moment they crawled out of the desert and attacked the Byzantine Empire.”

              You’re using “they” to mean the people of Saudi Arabia or Muslims generally?

              Muslims are not monolithic. It is very hard to say anything that is true about all of them except that to some extent, they all believe in Allah and the Quran.

              “So while we did indeed support the Saudis, that is not why they are miserable.”

              I didn’t say they were miserable because we supported the Saudis; I said they were miserable becasue they were oppressed.

              I actually supported some of what we did during the Cold War–becasue I think it was in the U.S.’s best interests back then to cozy up to dictators. Once the Cold War ended, and those relationships were no longer in our best interests, it was very difficult to wind those relationships down. But we should have done so sooner.

              1. They’re miserable because they’re oppressed.

                To whatever extent we allowed ourselves to be seen as protecting the oppressors from the oppressed, they hate us to that extent.

                What a fucking load of horseshit.

                It’s funny, there are quite a large number of people still alive in Africa who can actually remember European colonialism and France is still extremely active in the region imposing its will (frequently using violence), yet the very few “terrorists” who come out of the region are all Muslim jihadis.

                So if being oppressed by Western interests where are all the hijackings, kidnappings, bombings, and murders committed by non-Muslim Africans?

                And if revenge for oppression is the actual goal, why then attack the “supporters” of the oppressors who are thousands of miles away and vastly better equipped to deal with the nuisance of terrorism than the poorer and incompetent oppressive regimes themselves?

                Your whole argument falls flat on its face under only 5 seconds of scrutiny so just save your sanctimonious bullshit for the cocktail/dinner parties with lefties, they’re the only people pig ignorant enough to believe such easily disproven tripe.

        3. The vast majority of noninterventionists, especially on this board, do not blame “America” for terrorism. Believing that actions by the US GOVERNMENT (which is not the same thing as the country of America) might play a role in motivating some people to commit terrorism, is not the same thing as saying those people don’t deserve blame for their actions.

      4. Isn’t that rather collectivist?

      5. Blame the US government for acts it has actually perpetrated — not for all of the state of affairs for an entire region.

        Fact is, the Middle East is a fucked-up place to live not because of the US, but because the people there like and support feudal economics and enormous restrictions of liberty.

    5. Brutality against Muslims by other Muslims is not “committed in the name of the American people.” So what Richman said is obviously correct. He did not say Muslims would suddenly be free of all brutality, only that done by the American government.

      1. Come on, who needs reading comprehension when there’s strawmen to beat?

      2. Yes. It’s not contradictory. I would agree, however, that it’s a bit out of place in an article about the direct effects of ultra-security on the American people.

    6. “But a part of this reeks of the same “blame America first” usually expected from the left.”

      Did you not notice the part where he said “in the name of the American people?” He did not claim that Muslim countries would suddenly become bastions of peace and liberty free of brutality and oppression. Also, government does not equal society any more in foreign policy than it does in domestic policy.

  5. can someone explain to me how it was that the older brother was on several terrorist watch lists, welfare, was interviewed by the FBI a couple years back and they still had to put his picture up on the news to figure out who he was?

    1. What it means is all the fucking information the feds gather, they are too fucking incompetent to exploit it.

      1. Is it wrong to consider this a feature, not a bug?

    2. I’m curious if this was an oversight by the FBI in one of its “release then catch” schemes

      1. Here’s a ‘crazy’ conspiracy theory.

        Misha the shadowy figure that supposedly radicalized Tamerlan was an FBI provocateur.

        Their entrapment games had to go sour at some point and this may very well have been the case here.

  6. We must be vigilant against the predictable efforts of politicians to exploit the Boston bombings to aggrandize their power.

    The issue isn’t whether the security/criminal/defense/prison complex will get mileage out of this, but how much. I can already see large sporting events becoming a major fucking hassle. This saddens me as an american because I thought one the things we did best is get together in large numbers and tailgaiting instead of killing each other.

    The pigs learned that they could shut a whole fucking city with an obsequiously compliant population. Allegedly this city had, at one time, people with balls enough to tell the British Empire to go fuck themselves. But that can’t be true because this population was cowered by a couple of punks.

    1. The population that told the British to go fuck themselves was replaced by Irish socialists in the late 19th early 20th century.

      1. You got that right. Everybody sees the Irish as such a great example of integration and assimilation, proof that we can assimilate the messicans. Yet until fairly recently this population, along with the KGB and Muammar Gaddafi, was giving money to the IRA terrorist group. And the Irish-dominated democrat party prevented the government from doing anything to stop it.

        1. My god, my anti-Irish satire has become reality.

      2. I love confirmation that you’re a racist piece of shit. I was just waiting until you slipped your mask. The best part is that American is agreeing with you. Hey, that’s like the best racist piece of shit bona fides you can get!

        1. In his defense, I’m actually still funding terrorist organizations, in addition to my various drunken brawls, and my tendency to beat black people with shillelagh’s in my position as a 1920’s New York Police officer.

          He’s got me pegged pretty soundly.

          1. and my tendency to beat black people with shillelagh’s in my position as a 1920’s New York Police officer.

            I thought the proper term was “Mondays”.

          2. That’s the first lesson to learn about the real world: It’s always the Irish’ fault. Even Merkin knows.

        2. Do you deny the factual truth of what I say?

          1. He was talking about VG Zaytsev, not you. He only referenced you to make a point

            1. Epi’s just a butthurt Cosmo heterphobe.

        3. I love confirmation that you’re a racist piece of shit. I was just waiting until you slipped your mask.

          Yep,

          Only a racist would denigrate the Irish.

  7. In other news….Turkey joins the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, as Turkey is also a member of NATO, how do they expect to serve two masters?

    1. By being the middle man and selling information back and forth.

      1. Interesting.

        The Russians have a long history of not putting up with Turkey’s shit.

        1. Maybe they’re just setting us up for an absurd war triggered by cascading and often conflicting treaty obligations. ‘Cause you know, that could be fun.

          1. Well, the time frame is about right….

  8. OT:
    Econ as taught at Berkeley:
    Regarding raising the minimum wage to $10.55/hr,
    “”I think it’s good the city is taking action ? Prices here are ridiculous,” said Christophe Carom-Marquis, a senior majoring in political economics.”
    Ya think labor costs might have some effect on that?
    http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/20…..-to-10-55/

    1. “Prices here are ridicous” – stupid much? Jesus fucking Christ in hell. Weapons. Grade.

      1. Well, from the name, he might be French, which would explain at least half of the stupid.

    2. He’s not studying economics; he’s studying political economics, which means he spent at least 4 years filling his head with crap like “social justice” and “gross national happiness”.

      1. As a Berkeley Econ and Math guy, I can attest to this. Political economics isn’t part of the econ department, and isn’t even taught in the same buildings. There is also no GPA requirement.

        1. My apologies.

        2. From wikipedia:

          Today, political economy, where it is not used as a synonym for economics, may refer to very different things, including Marxian analysis, applied public-choice approaches emanating from the Chicago school and the Virginia school, or simply the advice given by economists to the government or public on general economic policy or on specific proposals.

          Three guesses which of those definitions is associated with Berkely’s program

    3. . . . said Christophe Carom-Marquis, a senior majoring in political economics . .

      I really need to stop encouraging my 25 year old to go back to college!

    4. This goes perfectly with Brad Delong’s (who’s an “economist” at Berkeley) argument that low taxes cause low wages and conversely, that high taxes lead to high wages.

  9. I can already see large sporting events becoming a major fucking hassle.

    Funny, as I was channel surfing yesterday, there was somebody talking about what the Boston Bombing will mean for security at the Super Bowl.

    I would be perfectly happy to see the Super Bowl (and the NFL, for that matter) collapse under its own weight. I think that day is not far off, and this is likely to hasten it.

  10. Prices here are ridiculous,” said Christophe Carom-Marquis, a senior majoring in political economics.”

    Nixon had the answer for that.

  11. Yeah, what we need is the cops to jump all over us every time one of us puts his backpack on the sidewalk?

    Men are no longer ashamed to show fear in public–they’ve turned it on its head, actually. They’re proud of being afraid!

    We live in an age of cowardice.

    This is no longer the home of the brave.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlNrSUQIgNw

  12. and- just because…

    For every Adam Lanza or Jared Loughner, there are probably ten million socially incompetent but completely harmless oddballs. Does anybody other than scum like Peter King honestly believe the government should be allowed to decide who is a “threat”?

    1. Yes, because one whack-job did something whacky, we have to completely remake society and abandon any dear held principles that might get in the way.

      Because we’re cowards now.

  13. I replied to a comment at CNN yesterday. The poster said he thought the police did a good job of apprehending these guys. I lit him up with the cops shutting down an entire city and violating the 4th amendment. The hate I received, from the “I’d rather be safe than free” crowd was unprecedented. Blah, blah, blah… justified… “reasonable” search… scary bomber… yada, yada, yada…

    Serious question. Assuming the house to house searches were NOT voluntary, is there any wiggle room to claim the searches didn’t violate the 4th Amendment under the “unreasonable” part of “unreasonable search and seizure”?

    I did a little research and I think it was unconstitutional. If so, where is the outrage? This made precedent. If this stands, cops will be able to enter your home anytime they want just by saying “we’ve got a scary situation happening somewhere in the vicinity.”

    Search

    Warrant

    Perhaps our local police officer can provide opinion, if he can manage a post without bragging.

    1. Remember, our local police officer thinks asking, sans warrant, pharmacists to give up prescription records, is fine and dandy. He’s probably orgasmic about involuntary house-to-house searches.

    2. People really freak out once the word “terrorism” comes into the picture. If this guy was some random murderer, or even a spree killer or serial killer, would anyone think shutting down an entire city would be an appropriate response?

  14. where is the outrage?

    Good one.

  15. I was talking to a friend the other night, and I said the images of the people cheering the cops in Boston creeped me the fuck out. He said it kind of gave him the warm fuzzies at the time, but he could see what I meant.

    1. To me the mass public display of cop-fellation at the end of the day was the most disturbing aspect of the whole shitshow.

  16. It’s worth emphasizing that we don’t yet know if the actions allegedly taken by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev qualify as terrorism.

    You cannot possibly be freaking serious, Richman. Can you?

    1. Why would you dispute this? Don’t you need to understand the motivation prior to labeling something terrorism?

      1. It came out days ago in the news that the younger brother has supposedly told the authorities that they committed this attack because of their anger over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what they perceive as general persecution of Muslims around the world.

        Whether this is true or not though, it’s a freaking terrorist act, period.

        1. Whether this is true or not though, it’s a freaking terrorist act, period.

          What’s your definition of terrorism?

        2. Not to mention that those wars started when he was nine and eleven years old. They must have stung as much to him as being told to go to bed early.

          1. Really? In January of this year, you had Egyptians agitating for jihad in Spain to “liberate” the Sultanate of Grenada and the rest of al-Andalus. Never mind that the current Muslim population of the area is close to zero, in their minds, the land was conquered by Umayyad Caliphate, so it’s theirs until the end of time.

            The bat-shit insane wing of Islamism forgets nothing.

            1. The bat-shit insane wing of Islamism forgets nothing.

              And is the prevailing school of theological thought in the Muslim world.

              And will always be….

    2. Of course he’s serious. You’ve never read a Sheldon Richmann article, have you? People sometimes ask me what cosmotarianism is……

      1. I don’t think Richman is a cosmotarian. I think he’s a lot more like a Pat Buchanan: someone who hates the Joos so much that it makes him try to rationalize any act that the radical Islamists carry out.

        1. Yep, that must be it. He just hates Jews.

      2. And you reply by being the stupidest racist shitbag PUA fuck in the world. Congratulations, you are a blithering idiot. You’ve won the Moron Awards.

        1. Fuck off epi.

          1. No, fuck you mercun. You bring the level of discussion around here down an order of magnitude. You are a disgusting racist pig.

  17. “He also reportedly said “religious fervor” and a desire to defend Islam were behind their actions. Maybe that is true. But maybe these are rationalizations of their personal failures and envy.”

    Hitler wasn’t really an antisemite. He was just using that as a rationalization for his failure to get into art school.

    /sarc

    1. Wow, this story has everything: A Muslim terrorist named after another Muslim terrorist who came from a land of Muslim terrorists, who was a boxer, went to school in a leftish environment, who married a white girl, who beat his white girl who for some reason stayed with him, was on welfare, and his own mother encouraged him to be a terrorist. And the left hoped it would be a “right-wing extremist.” The truth is the truth.

      1. Why is his wife’s race relevant, especially considering Tamerlan himself was white?

        1. Apparently skin color changes with religion.

  18. We need liberty so Warty and I can get gay married to each other along with Art Modell and my mom.

      1. Two fake Epi accounts might be excessive.

        1. Your Mom is excessive.

          1. No your mom!

          2. Aye, fake Epi, that she is.

    1. There’s gotta be a “public safety exception” against that.

  19. As long we have gay marriage, legal pot, porn and that slavery and segregation are illegal should really be complaining about lost liberty? We are more free than ever!

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