Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

April 23, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombing shows that terrorism is still a threat

— — The Boston Marathon bombing shocked us back into the reality that terrorism is a serious threat today in America. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar are suspected of executing the plot that killed three innocent people and injured dozens more near the marathon’s finish line, and of killing a police officer and injuring another a few days later. Thus far authorities have not been able to present a clear picture of what may have motivated those responsible to commit this savage act.

The Tsarnaevs, a Chechen family of six, came to the U.S. about 10 years ago to escape a bad situation in Russia, but the father and mother returned to Russia a year ago, while the brothers and at least one of their sisters stayed behind. By all accounts, the younger brother had many friends, but the older brother was less friendly and had turned increasingly to Islam, and went to Russia last year for a six-month visit, during which time some believe he may have been prepared for jihad. Reports say, in fact, that police believe he was specially trained to carry out the devastating attack while there.

What is particularly troubling is what the UK’s Daily Mirror online reported. “The FBI was last night hunting a 12-strong terrorist ‘sleeper cell’ linked to the Boston marathon bomb brothers. More than 1,000 FBI operatives were last night working to track down the cell and arrested a man and two women 60 miles from Boston in the hours before Dzhokhar’s dramatic capture after a bloody shootout on Friday.”

The Daily Mirror quoted a source it said was “close to the investigation” as saying, “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.” The account went on to suggest that someone gave the brothers the skills, and investigators must find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has been waiting several years for the day to come for it to commit jihad, the report continued. Other sources claim that a mosque near where the brothers lived may have helped to radicalize Tamerlan.

The existence of homegrown and/or resident terrorist cells reflects on the U.S. policy toward terrorism, which is a confused mess that has been corrupted by political correctness and weakness at upper levels. When U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nadal Hassan screamed “Allahu Akbar”  (‘‘Allah is greater’’) as he went on his shooting spree at a processing center at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 fellow soldiers who were not allowed to carry firearms on the base, and injuring 30 more, it was an act of Islamic jihad.

But the Obama/Holder Justice Department and other federal agencies wimped out and idiotically termed the terrorism “workplace violence.” And evidence suggests that the marathon bombing is most likely another jihadist event. These are two of five incidents involving individuals for whom radical Islamic ties had been suspected, and about whom federal authorities had been forewarned, but did not connect the dots to prevent the terrorist atrocities.

James Jay Carafano, the vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, told NewsmaxMedia that the Obama administration is so eager to declare victory in the war on terror it is “putting its head in the sand” and ignoring the rapid growth of non-al-Qaida terrorist groups. He said the post 9-11 homeland security effort was “very effective,” and cited some 54 al-Qaida-related instances where attacks and bombings were thwarted. But he criticized the administration’s downplaying the war on terror as if it already had been won. He said the administration has “defined their way out of the problem” by focusing only on al-Qaida and ignoring other terrorist threats, like existing cells within the U.S. and the Hassan attack at Fort Hood.

A terrorism-related “weapon of mass destruction” charge, which carries the death penalty, was filed against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Monday afternoon.

“We’ve adopted a counterterrorism strategy which generally means that the United States is putting its head in the sand” and if you look at what’s going on in North Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the threat is not diminishing. To the contrary, he told Newsmax, the threat of terrorism is definitely growing. And he says the current administration “has adopted a counterterrorism strategy which really relies on ignoring a lot of the people who might potentially want to kill us.”

It is much more critical to focus on issues of national security, like terrorist activities from cells that reside here at home and the threats of nuclear war from the boyish North Korean dictator and Iran, instead of trying to nationalize the health care system, throwing billions of our tax dollars at failing green energy companies in a vain attempt to revamp how the nation provides for its energy needs, and imposing gun control measures that would have had no effect on the problems that spawned the efforts to enact them.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.

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