The Tsarnaev Effect

The Tsarnaev Effect

Scrawled on a note left inside the boat where he was captured, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev proclaimed: "The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians. I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished. We Muslims are one body you hurt one you hurt us all."

There isn't much light between him and the American Left.

We have now reached the convergence of a radicalized American who is making the same points as the left wing, that uncomfortable space that induces excuse-making and squirming. Is Tsarnaev wrong? According the Left, the foreign policy of the United States is doing more to create terrorists and make more enemies. Our government is, indeed, killing innocent civilians with drone strikes. Jihadis have long complained that American foreign policy is stacked against Muslims; so has the Left. So why isn't Tsarnaev a left-wing hero?

Ah, you say, but Tsarnaev is accused of murder, and we cannot condone *any* killing at all. Here's where the delicate dance starts: the talking point of the Left is aligned with someone like Tsarnaev except for the killing part. This is supposed to excuse leftists who are arguing what Tsarnaev is in his political statement. In other words, "We don't condone the killing but we understand the motivation." Well, if you can understand the motivation for killing people, then you're not actually that far from saying "He did what he needed to do against a grave injustice." You're now entering Ward Churchill territory, where the victims of a terror attack are "little Eichmanns" who deserve their fate because they are merely parts of an unfair machine that perpetuates war against Muslims. In short: soft targets are legitimate.

This raises a cry and hue from the Left who will disavow any support for killing. But press them ever so gently, and they will agree that it's the United States who is the aggressor with foreign policies that support dictators, black sites throughout the world, torture and above all (because it always come to this) support for Israel. The latter is deeply grievous to Muslims throughout the world, more so than many leftists understand or want to believe. If you have a government that is supporting all these terrible things, how can you disagree with Tsarnaev in his motivation? Liberals are intensely concerned with the motives of suicide bombers, quite insistent on the belief that these young men have legitimate complaints about the West that result in acts of desperation. Never mind that this scenario is not accurate at all: many of the suicide bombers are educated, not poor, not desperate, and know **exactly** what they are doing. Men like Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who by all accounts is intelligent, affable and not exactly oppressed.

The excuses have already started: Dzhokar was obviously brainwashed by his brother, he's weak, he's just a kid. But even if you indulge the wishful thinking that he was brainwashed, what were the talking points? Ah yes, that the U.S. is committing crimes against the Muslim worldwide body and that **this deep injustice needed to be resisted.** Again, how is the liberal position about the actions of the U.S. any different? They're arguing the same thing: the sole difference is that the Tsarnaevs made their resistance active. If you can understand their motivations, like I said, then you're not that far from "understanding" what they did, even if you quickly retreat behind "I don't condone it." This is an extraordinarily weak moral position, pliant to the circumstances while letting a person believe his compass hasn't been compromised. Liberals like to talk about nuance and circumstances, but if you understand Tsarnaev's reason (killing of Muslims), then you are admitting that his "resistance" really is legitimate, but you cannot say it out loud.

No, I do not believe that American liberals are all for bombing or really hold Tsarnaev as a hero of any kind. Except, again, there is very little light between what he wrote in his note and the position of the American Left that the U.S. is creating enemies and terrorists. The Left wants to explore his motivation, but we already know it. And if people want to divorce politics from this, they are sadly mistaken: for jihadis like Tsarnaev, the bombing **is** a political act, a statement that dovetails with the American Left's position about the evils of their own government. And they will argue vociferously in comment sections about how the death penalty should be avoided, mostly because it satisfies their own personal choices as opposed to the people of Massachusetts who have the only say in the matter.

If the case comes to trial, no one has any idea about the possible defense, but I can assure you it will involve politics. It will involve the talking points about how Dzhokhar became convinced that the U.S. is against Muslims and waging war against Islam and that he needed to resist it. His lawyer is interested in saving his life, so will cast a wide net in order to argue against the death penalty. But in the end, Tsarnaev's reasons for the attack are well known and they're are uncomfortably close to the charges of the American Left.