In the wake of the Boston bombing, there has been the usual speculations of motivation. What could drive young people to willfully harm innocent people? I have been harshly critical of media personalities and pundits who often fail to see the bigger picture and plaintively wail about how the US is attacked because of irrational hatred of our values, our freedom, or our lifestyle.
Hence I feel obliged to give credit to former NBC news anchor and current pundit Tom Brokaw, usually one of the vapid throng, who surprised me by actually saying something sensible on a recent talk show where they were discussing the possible motivations of the bombers.
This is what he said:
“We have to work a lot harder as a motivation here. What prompts a young man to come to this country and still feel alienated from it, to go back to Russia and do whatever he did and I don’t think we’ve examined that enough? I mean, there was 24/7 coverage on television, a lot of newspaper print and so on, but we have got to look at the roots of all of this because it exist across the whole subcontinent, and the– and the Islamic world around the world. And I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved and– and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say we love America. If you harm one hair on the– on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever and there is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.” [My italics-MS]
This may or may not be the motivation in the Boston case. It is going to take some time to figure that out because motivations for extreme actions are rarely simple. But it is a welcome sign to see the recognition by a mainstream media pundit that the policy of the US government of killing people in other countries may, just may, contribute to some blowback here. If more pundits take up this issue, maybe we will start seeing a saner foreign policy.