Did Terrorism Denial Cause the Boston Bombings?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


0415-BOSTON-MARATHON-BOMBING.jpg_full_600Means, opportunity and motive are the three crucial elements of investigating a crime and establishing the guilt of its perpetrator. Many crimes cannot be narrowed down by motive until a suspect is on the scene; but acts of terrorism can be. Almost anyone might be responsible for a random killing; but political killings are carried out by those who subscribe to common beliefs.

Eliminate motive from terrorism and it becomes no different than investigating a random killing. If investigators are not allowed to profile potential terrorists based on shared beliefs rooted in violence, that makes it harder to catch terrorists after an act of terror and incredibly difficult before the act of terror takes place.

Investigations consist of connecting the dots. If you can’t conceive of a connection, then the investigation is stuck. If you can’t make the leap from A to B or add two to two and get four, then you are dependent on lucky breaks. And lucky breaks go both ways. Sometimes investigators get lucky and other times the terrorists get lucky.

Federal law enforcement was repeatedly warned by the Russians that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was dangerous, but operating under the influence of a political culture that refused to see Islam as a motive for terrorism, it failed to connect the dots between Chechen violence in Russia and potential terrorism in the United States, and because it could not see Islam as a motive, it could find no reason why Tamerlan was a threat not just to Russia, but also to the United States.

The missing motive factor has led to a rash of lone wolf terrorists whose acts are classified as individual crimes. Nidal Hasan’s killing spree at Fort Hood was put down to workplace violence, but workplace violence isn’t a motive; it’s a bland description. The motive was there in Hasan’s background and his behavior; but the military, an organization that by its nature has to be able to predict the actions of the enemy, had been crippled and left unable to see Islam as a motive.

The current working concept is that by refusing to allow our military and law enforcement to identify Islam as a motive, we are stifling terrorist recruitment by preventing Muslims from identifying terrorist attacks with Islam. This ostrich theory of terror assumes that if we blind ourselves to the motives of the terrorists, then potential terrorists will likewise be blinded to their own motives.

Any law enforcement protocol that prevents investigators from understanding the motives of the killers in the hope that this will take away that motive from the killers is absurdly backward. The investigators of terror are not the instigators of terror. A police detective arresting a rapist does not create rape. An FBI agent arresting a terrorist does not create terror. Identifying a crime does not create the crime. It makes it easier for law enforcement and the public to fight that crime.

The insidious infiltration of blowback theory into terrorist investigations has dangerously subverted the ability of investigators to get to the truth and to catch the terrorists. Blowback theory assigns each act of Islamic terror an origin point in our actions. Everything that Muslim terrorists do is caused by something that we did. To those who believe in this linkage, the only way to fight Muslim terror is to stop inspiring it. The only way to defeat Islamic terrorism is to defeat ourselves.

Blowback theory has been dressed up in academic language and expert jargon, but all it amounts to is Stockholm Syndrome with a lecture hall. Its essential postulate is that if we become more passive in our responses, a strategy that is usually described with the complementary term, “smart”, as in “smart war” and “smart investigation”, then the enemy will become more passive in response to our passivity.

Smart wars and smart investigations are those that don’t offend Muslims. The cost of the smart war in Afghanistan has been a very expensive and bloody defeat. The cost of the smart investigation can be seen in the streets of Boston or in Fort Hood.

Defeating ourselves in order to defeat Islamic terrorism is a dead end because we are not the source of that terrorism; we are its target. When we handicap ourselves out of a misguided notion that the best way to fight terrorism is with one hand tied behind our backs and an eyepatch on one eye, then Americans die.

Without Islam as a motive, there is no way to fight the larger threat except as a discrete collection of seemingly random events. What connects a Tamerlan Tsarnaev to a Nidal Hasan to Ahmed in Jersey City or Mohamed in Minneapolis plotting the next attack? The official answer is nothing. One was a boxer and another was an army doctor and the third is just an Egyptian student or a Somali bank clerk. They have no motive in common except that of Islam.

Media accounts have presented various exculpatory motives for Tamerlan Tsarnaev ranging from the possible head injuries he may have suffered as a boxer to the murder of a best friend that investigators suspect he may have carried out. All these motives are irrelevant, not because they may not have some figment of truth to them, but because they stopped mattering once he became what he was.

The Islamic terrorist abandons his individuality and his motives become no longer personal, but collective. To strive to understand him as a father or a son, as a boxer or a doctor, is a waste of time. These biographical footnotes no longer represent him. They are the things he has discarded to become a messenger of death in obedience to a faith that values death more than life.

Without understanding that, the terrorist becomes a cipher, another nice young man who suddenly turned violent, and the trend of terrorist attacks ceases to be a pattern and becomes a rash of horrifying incidents that can happen at any time. If Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev had not carried out their attack at a public event in the age of the ubiquitous camera, then how long would law enforcement have chased down dead ends or searched for the Tea Party tax protesters that the political establishment expected them to find?

Without a motive, there is no place to begin searching. Without Islam, there is no motive. Terrorism denial isn’t just an intellectual error; it is a grave danger to the lives of Americans.

Terrorism denial created a space in which the Tsarnaev brothers were free to plot and kill. Terrorism denial cost the lives of three Americans and the bodily integrity of hundreds of others. Denying the Islamic motive for terror, makes it harder for law enforcement officer to do their job and easier for Muslim terrorists to do theirs.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Obama wants that post American world, and his administration will impose any defeat on us to get there.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    One simply cannot fight any enemy without first identifying it. This is Lesson Number One. As such, truth be told, the moment Bush opined that "Islam is a religion of peace", right after Islamic terror incinerated over 3,000 Americans, is the moment that America lost the fight. However, it is also the case that Islamic terror has had NO better ally than the Islamist-in-Chief, as he helped install their operational arm, the Muslim Brotherhood Mafia, into EVERY key point in Washington, as well as throughout the Arab world and beyond – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/04/18/muslim-brothe
    http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/04/17/when-is-a-per

    More than enough proof…

    Adina kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Mary Sue

      You know they'd never say that a hypothetical neo nazi's ideas aren't related to their actions if they did the same thing as the Tsarnaevs.

  • pierce

    THE CURRENT PRESIDENT CONTINUES TO AVOID THE TERRORISM SYNDROME IN ANY OF HIS SPEECHES. REMEMBER THE FORT HOOD MASSACRE, IF DOCTOR HASSAN WAS NOT A TERRORIST. THEN WHAT IN THE HELL WAS HE, AND HE STILL HASN'T BEEN CONVICTED.
    IT IS THE PRESIDENT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT US AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, BOTH FOREIGN, AND DOMESTIC, AND HE IS NOT.
    HE IS TO BUSY BEING JOE COOL, AND PLAYING GOLF, AND BLAMING REPUBLICANS.
    GIVE ME A BREAK MR PRESIDENT, I AM NOT STUPID. YOU MAY THINK SO, BUT I AM NOT.

  • http://frontpagr richard sherman

    Obama revealed his empathy for Rashid Khalidi and the PLO( whose Charter calls for the murder of six million Jews) in his toast to Khalidi the tape of which The LA TIMES refuses to release…It is a small step from honoring someone who supports the sociopathic PLO charter to supporting jihad in America.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Little difference at all really

  • Cassandra

    These treacherous actions from Obama and his cronies will open the door for more Islamic terrorist attacks. Obama has to go. This is horrible. Why aren't more patriot responding in anger to that. The two brothers and family were all on welfare with our tax money. We are the ones, we the people ,who financed blindly this horrible story.

  • WatcheOntheWall

    Monica Crowley stated on Fox News that the "Boston bombing was an act of terror." I agree. I also see the Benghazi debacle as an Act of War, as an embassy, or outpost thereof is considered U.S. soil.
    Fellow Patriots, we are the last hope to stand against the Stockholm Syndrome. If we loose the 2nd Ammendment, we loose all of our Ammendments. . . . Sharia Law is coming to our shores after they confinscate our guns. The Trojan Horse is within the gates, and the liberals continue faulting the United States.
    political correctness and political pandering are the handmaidens of terrorism
    ~Michelle Maulkin~

    • BS77

      It's Michelle Malkin.

    • kikorikid

      Watchonthewall,
      Now more Orwellionwordspeak from Obama.
      If someone is blasted apart by a Jihadist bomb,
      they are "injured".
      If someone is blasted apart in a industrial accident,
      they are "wounded.
      More Shariah compliance from the top.

  • http://frontpagemag hikerdude

    The complicit terrorists in this Nation are the present administration .

  • aposematic

    PC and its cousin multiculturalism caused the Boston bombings along with every other act of terrorism in the Western World.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      They certainly made it possible for the bombers to be here and to operate without censure

  • Rob

    Daniel, Thanks for a great article which attempts to expose the willful blindness with which we are using as an attempt to deal with the terrifying reality that islam is at war with us. Terrorism and even jihad are tactics in the greater battle/war that islam itself is waging against all non-muslims. And yes, it is muslims who are the enactors of this ideology. Until we are able to connect the dots, which will clearly show that it is islam (and muslims) which are the connecting factors in all of these horrible acts (every day, all across the world), then we aren't even in the game(war), and are therefor losing it badly. If this were a baseball game, we're down 10-0 in the 3rd inning.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      And it's connecting the dots that makes all the difference in knowing what to fight

      • defcon 4

        Meir Kahane connected the dots years ago and he was killed by a muslim because he did.

  • watsa46

    It may have nothing to do with blind denial but willful intention to undermine the country considering that the US has been so "arrogant" that a period of "humiliation" was due.

  • applewine

    The article should have used the word "Islamist", not "Islamic".

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Islamist is a narrower category which I don't use unless it's part of a defined Islamist movement. Muslim terrorists generally motivated by Islam are Islamic. If they are part of a specific Islamist group, then I might use Islamist.

  • marios

    Great article.
    Leftists with thier propaganda instead truth (that Hitler minister of propaganda said " The bigger lie and the more often it's repeated, the sooner people would believe in it") are accomplices of Islamic terrorists. They embolden and encourage terrorists. It should be some law to get not only direct executors of terror act be responsible but those whose actions inspired them. Before Islam ideology will not be openly scrutinized using 2 amendment by experts in open debates with Muslims religions and political leaders such terracts will be multiplied. It is impossible to prevent all terracts but it can be political and economical base which made it too risky for Muslims to do it. Sure, Muslims immigration should be stopped. No new mosques should be allowed to build. Muslims community and direct family of terrorist should be responsible for them . Existing mosque should be under surveillance, on and on. At stake USA citizens life, future of our country and life of our children. We should demand our Congressmen and Senators to change that insanity with political correctness and Liberal suicidal propaganda instilling on us and our children in schools and Universities..

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Leftists, terrorist enablers use obfuscating tactics in every instance of destabalizing American
    law in response to attacks against our society. According to leftists the only enemies in
    America are Americans. Those who aid and abet our enemies are our enemies and they
    identify themselves as such no matter what thier job description coverning, thier actions
    tell who and what they are. Denial is a symptom of universal sucking of the thumb and
    hiding under mommy's shadow…………………………..William

  • Charley

    Let's start being real clear about the problem; It is not willful blindness, nor any other deficiency that conservatives are naming. It is called complicity, and it is a treasonous offense.

  • Arlie

    http://www.antiantiunderground.com

    The truth via cartoon.

  • Barb3000

    The Obama White House has hamstrung the FBI when it allowed a person from the Muslim Brotherhood to rewrite the FBI training manual to remove all wording in reference to the word Islam. I don't know if the word Muslim was removed also but from what I read about it several FBI agents quit because of it. Actions like that lead the terrorist to think that we are very easy targets. This country has become so politically correct that we are a danger to ourselves. We will pay dearly for that correctness.

  • Michael Copeland

    Was US training material in WWII drawn up with Gobbels’s help and advice, so that it never mentioned “Nazi”, or “blitzkrieg” ? Somebody must know.

  • kaz

    "did terrorism denial cause the boston bombings?" no. treason by american officials sworn to protect our constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, is the cause of the boston bombings. the response of bill clinton to the first wtc bombing: send our forces to bomb serbia, the only christian nation willing to fight back against islam. the response of george w "religion of peace" bush to the second wtc bombing: protect our muslim invaders, and import more muslims. the policy of dear leader, our current muslim in chief: import muslims, including the muslim primarily responsible for the boston massacre. these acts of treason by our last 3 presidents are the cause of the boston bombings. the only thing that will end islamic terrorism in the usa for the government of the people, by the enemies of the people, for the enemies of the people, to perish from the earth.

  • Alan

    Re terrorism: Looks like businees is booming in Texas due to corporate greed under the rubric of the "free market". Perry should be prosecuted for negligent and reckless homicide. What a disgusting avaracious pig he is. One of the workers kids should have a chat with him and exact some biblical remedies…

  • Sargent Koranflusher

    The US government knew full well what they were doing when they let these guys go. These guys were WORKING for the CIA….that's why they were in Georgia at a CIA WORKSHOP!!!!……and THAT is why Russia contacted the US about them in the first place.

    The USA has been using moslem scumbags to KILL Russians for decades. Don't be naive here people! This did not start with Obama. Our government the USA government has been USURPED by globalists and WE ARE BEING DUPED!

    We have TWO enemies here my friends.
    1) Moslem scum
    2) Our own government or elements well entrenched within.

    Until my anti-jihad colleagues accept #2 we will never defeat #1