Updated: May 24, 2013 6:15AM
In the understandably intense focus on the Boston Marathon terrorism, let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was the second terrorist attack on America in little more than a half a year. The other one was Benghazi last Sept. 11 when a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. That perspective reminds us that the war against Islamist fanaticism is far from over, that this is a global struggle and that our enemy is not confined to al-Qaida but encompasses the whole jihad movement waging war against the West.
These hard truths run against what has been a wave of war weariness among Americans who only want to be left alone. “The tide of war is receding,” President Barack Obama has told us time and again. If only it were true.
Right from the moment the bombs exploded in Boston, denial was in the air. Liberals at MSNBC and Slate began speculating — even voicing hope — that the murders were the work of white far-right extremists trying to make a point of the date of the attack, Tax Day.
Much still needs to be learned about the brothers Tsarnaev, but there’s little reason to doubt that they were immersed in the venom of Islamist jihadism, with the older Tamerlan perhaps pulling the younger Dzhokhar into that dark netherworld.
Even so, the denial continues. The Boston Globe published an article headlined “Islam might have had a secondary role in Boston attacks.” It channels speculation that the brothers were more akin to the alienated killers of Columbine than Islamist terrorists. But there’s no getting around the Islamism drenching the two of them. We’ve seen this denial before. The 2009 attack at Fort Hood by Nidal Hasan that killed 13 Americans is labeled by the Obama administration as “workplace violence” even though Hasan had been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, a jihadist deemed so dangerous that Obama had him killed in a drone attack.
Were the Tsarnaev brothers directed by one of the jihadist gangs or working on their own? Or do they fall somewhere in between — radicalized via Internet sites and preaching but essentially acting on their own?
Either way points to a new strategy for our enemies unable to replicate the mega-attack of 9/11. They’re constantly seeking smaller-scale attacks that kill a few but succeed in shutting down a big city like Boston for a while. They want us to fear we’re not safe anywhere.
Another form of denial is to blame America. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” journalist Tom Brokaw suggested drone attacks fuel Islamic “rage.” There were no drone attacks in 2001, but the Twin Towers still fell. Liberals promote a warped view of America as a history of oppression, racism and imperialism. High schools teach Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” Our enemies eat it up.
Then, there’s the desire, in accordance with our history of tolerance, not to taint Muslims in general with the crimes of fanatics. But it gets ridiculous when the AP rewrites its stylebook to separate the word Islamist from the violence so often associated with it. The tone-deaf Council on American-Islamic Relations complained the word is a description for “Muslims we don’t like.” No, it’s a word for Muslims who don’t like us, who killed us in Boston, Benghazi, New York and Washington, and who are at war with Western humanist values.
All this denial engenders a politically correct attitude that can impede our defenses. Our law enforcement and security forces have done an admirable job foiling terrorism. But Boston marks the fifth time the FBI investigated someone for possible terrorism links and the individuals subsequently attacked Americans. Russian authorities had flagged Tamerlan as a possible radical. Officials defending the FBI’s handling of the case told the Wall Street Journal that the agency receives thousands of such requests from foreign governments. That’s hardly comforting.