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May 03 2013

It is not just about who are, but also about what we do

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.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    baal

    I’m waiting for the absolute fit of apoplexy the U.S. will convulse with when the first drone of a foreign nation flies into U.S. air space let alone shoots a missile.

  2. 2
    left0ver1under

    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.

    It’s easy for him to say it when he’s on the downside of his career and he’s worth millions. I’ll be impressed when someone in the rightwing corporate media says it, putting his/her career at risk. But that why the media functioned s cheerleaders for the illegal wars: they’re all careerists worried about potential earnings and access to the halls of power.

  3. 3
    Kevin

    We’ll never know the real motivations because the person who had those motivations is dead.

    But let me just say that I’m a teeny bit unconvinced that drones in Pakistan would be a motivation for a Chechen.

    My personal working hypothesis is this: A young man immigrated to the US, and then got into a scrape with the law (a domestic abuse complaint that was later dropped), This screwed his chances to become a citizen.

    Suddenly, he becomes concerned about how the US is treating people in Pakistan? Bullshit. He was angry that he couldn’t become a citizen and therefore worried he’d be sent back.

    This is not rocket science. Nor was the individual in question a rocket scientist or any other kind of deep thinker.

    This wasn’t a geopolitical statement. It was personal.

  4. 4
    Mano Singham

    It is going to take awhile to figure out the motives and early reports, especially from anonymous sources, should be treated skeptically but there are some reports that say that they were motivated by American actions in Iraq and Afganistan.

  5. 5
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Oh, Mano, you poor deluded fool with your “evidence” and “logic”. Anyone knows that the real answer will be intuited by people who just know what the motivations of these two tragic young men were. That’s what a real rationalist would say.

  6. 6
    Corvus illustris

    It’s easy for him to say it when he’s on the downside of his career and he’s worth millions. I’ll be impressed when someone in the rightwing corporate media says it, putting his/her career at risk. But that why the media functioned as cheerleaders for the illegal wars …

    Then you should be impressed by Ashleigh Banfield, who did (off-camera, in a speech before a university audience) exactly what you describe, the subject at the tiime being the Iraq war. She was hung out to dry–silenced, but not fired, so that she could not work elsewhere, by NBC as a result. They made an example of her, and the lesson was not lost on other rising stars in the media.

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