April 23, 2013

Saletan in Slate: Blame the Tsarnaev Parents

A more sensible commentary from Slate than Katie Roiphe's piece, but still missing the point somewhat:
The Pathetic Lies and Excuses of the Boston Bombers’ Parents 
By William Saletan | Posted Monday, April 22, 2013, at 7:52 PM 
The Boston Bombers’ Awful Parents 
They ignored the warnings, they deny the crime, and they’re slinging false accusations.

Three years ago, al-Qaida’s magazine, Inspire, published an article titled, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.” The article explained how to build a pressure-cooker device like the ones that blew up last week at the Boston marathon. But the recipe left out the most important ingredient. To make a bomb in your mom’s kitchen, the first thing you need is an inattentive mom. 
That’s what Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had. We don’t yet know where or when they made the bombs they’re accused of planting at the marathon. But we do know that their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, and their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, had plenty of warnings that Tamerlan was becoming dangerous. Tamerlan was a human pressure cooker loaded with zeal, violence, and destructive ideology. His parents, blinded by adoration and excuses, refused to see it. ...
Most people who met or knew Tamerlan, including family members, say he was a jerk. His dad, however, insists Tamerlan was “kind” and “very nice.” He thinks the elder brother has been keeping the younger one away from bad influences. ...
Tamerlan’s mother is just as deluded. She swears Tamerlan and Dzhokhar couldn’t be involved in a bomb plot because “my sons would never keep a secret.” Instead of correcting Tamerlan’s conspiracy theories, she swallowed them. According to one of her spa clients, Zubeidat recently called the 9/11 attacks a U.S. plot to stoke hatred of Muslims. “My son knows all about it,” she allegedly told the client. Zubeidat also says the FBI has been watching her family constantly for years, which the FBI denies. Last year, she was arrested, but apparently never prosecuted, for shoplifting $1,600 worth of clothes. 
Anzor and Zubeidat were given several warnings that Tamerlan was headed for trouble. Sometime between 2007 and 2009, Tamerlan and Zubeidat turned to religion. Zubeidat became observant, but Tamerlan became intolerant and hostile. He pushed his strict views on the rest of the family, causing tensions. ...
When his sister married a non-Muslim, Tamerlan didn’t accept the man. ...
So the warnings passed. When the marathon bombs exploded, and videos implicated Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, the uncles acknowledged the evidence, but the parents didn’t. They didn’t just stammer, as many parents would, that their sons couldn’t have done it. They declared that the young men had been “set up,” and they hurled conspiracy theories at the authorities. “The police are to blame,” said Anzor. “Being cowards, they shot the boy dead. There are cops like this.” He denounced the pursuit of his sons by law enforcement as “a provocation of the special services who went after them because my sons are Muslims and don’t have anyone in America to protect them.” Zubeidat said the authorities “wanted to eliminate [Tamerlan] as a threat because he was in love with Islam.” 
Anzor’s sister, Maret Tsarnaeva, echoed these self-deceptions. ... She concluded that “our boys were framed.”  
Neighbors and congregants at Tamerlan’s mosque had warnings, too. In November 2012, he angrily rebuked a merchant in Cambridge for advertising Thanksgiving turkeys, which Tamerlan viewed as an affront to Islamic law. At Friday prayers, he disrupted and criticized a sermon that defended the celebration of Thanksgiving and July 4. Two months later, he interrupted an imam who suggested that Martin Luther King Jr., like the Prophet Mohammed, was worthy of emulation. Tamerlan protested that King was “not a Muslim,” and he called the imam a “Kafir,” or non-believer. Some of the congregants threatened to expel Tamerlan, but apparently, none of them reported him to the authorities, since, as far as they knew, he hadn’t preached or committed any violence.

This story is probably more plausible than it sounds: I would imagine that a mosque in Cambridge, MA would be fairly liberal and MLK-worshipping.
You can’t expect witnesses to report every fanatical outburst to the FBI. But when family members are repeatedly exposed to signs that a loved one is drifting into the vortex of violent extremism, they have a duty to intervene, or at least to alert someone. If they don’t, and the fanatic becomes a killer, they bear an awful responsibility. If they deny that responsibility by accusing the police and the government of anti-Islamic conspiracies, they forfeit our sympathy, our respect, and our trust. Police your family. Police your congregation. Police your community. If you don’t, the rest of us will do it for you.

Slate commenters are enraged by Saletan's piece.

My take, however, is that the Tsarnaevs' parenting was less deficient than effective at reproducing Chechen ethnicity under distracting circumstances. The more I read about all the brave psycho Chechens down through history, such as the suicide rearguard of Chechen volunteers that saved Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001, the more the Bomb Brothers sound like an example of what Chechens value the most in their sons.

From a policy standpoint, the question is what's the most plausible and cost effective option:

- Let Chechens into America and hope they police themselves?

- Let Chechens into America and become a Surveillance State?

- Keep Chechens out of America?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

But libs say we shouldn't blame black parents for rotten black kids.

So why with chech parents.

Anonymous said...

Police your family. Police your congregation. Police your community. If you don’t, the rest of us will do it for you.

Saletan's atavistic Checkha tendencies. Makes me shudder. How many Russians were murdered by the secret police under the Bolsheviks?

Steve, I'm puzzled what you found so sensible about this piece.

NOTA said...

Wow, Saletan's piece makes me long for more of Amanda's poetry.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago Wikileaks published a cable from a US diplomat which described a Caucasus wedding. It's very funny, very well-written, captures the flavor of that place well. Subtle, dry humor applied to a very unsubtle environment.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Bill Ayers an admirer of MLK?

And didn't MLK root for the Viet Cong?

Anonymous said...

Again, "Diversity" is the end in itself. Some people getting blown up along the way is unfortunate, but it's just something we'll have to endure. No price is too high to pay for Diversity's sake.

Anonymous said...

It may just be me but a meme developing at Reddit and other liberal infested sites goes like this: The Chechens in question lived in the US for years = they are American = they are domestic terrorists.

Domestic terrorist being code for white, ie their Chechen/Islamic identity is irrelevant, thus its white people we need to be wary of. In fact one guy I noticed was in effect echoing GWB's 'war on terror' that its 'terrorism' thats the problem, not who commits it. The irony was quite delicious.

Clearly they are disturbed by the whole Chechen muslim thing and want to spin the story away from that, no matter how absurdly.

Anonymous said...

I've seen enough crime stories to know that a huge percent of the time the parents just refuse to believe their baby could do such a thing. Isn't this an evolved part of psychology and thus unreasonable to assume that parents are going to dob their kids in?

Anonymous said...

@Steve Sailer

How about checking ALL immigrants for a criminal past and criminal tendencies rather engaging in this ridiculous either/or raionale that you are doing? How about evaluate them INDIVIDUALLY as you should anyway when it comes to immgrants? I have observed that a lot of your thinking revolves around tade-offs even when there aren't any. It's either/or to you. Immigrants are VERY good thing for America, and engaging in this absolutist rationale is very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

How about checking ALL immigrants for a criminal past and criminal tendencies rather engaging in this ridiculous either/or raionale that you are doing? How about evaluate them INDIVIDUALLY as you should anyway when it comes to immigrants?

We don't want or need any more immigrants to this country. We're all full. Thanks for applying.

RD said...

"Keep Chechens out of America?"

That would be discriminatory. We cannot discriminate. Tolerance must prevail. Diversity is strength.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said:From a policy standpoint, the question is what's the more plausible and cost effective option:

- Let Chechens into America and hope they police themselves?

- Let Chechens into America and become a Surveillance State?

- Keep Chechens out of America?

It appears we're already employing the first two techniques at the same time.

-The Judean People's Front

Anonymous said...

When are they going to figure out that it's genes all the way down?

Anonymous said...

If libs love 'peace-loving' and 'forgiving' MLK so much, why do they cheer at stuff like DJANGO, GIRL WITH DRAGON ASS TATTOO, RAP MUSIC, CHE GUEVARA, CORNEL WEST(who is an avowed communist), ZIONISTS, etc?

Anonymous said...

" Immigrants are VERY good thing for America,"

Why?

The US doesn't need to be taken over by foreigners.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

It is only a short hop from Saletan's position (families should take responsibility) to the more pernicious "take reprisals against families".

Scary times in which we live.

Anonymous said...

It is only a short hop from Saletan's position (families should take responsibility) to the more pernicious "take reprisals against families".

Taking reprisals against families was effectively the logic of the Tsarnoff brothers. The United States as a big family.

Saletan's tribe also has a penchant for collective punishment.

Anonymous said...

If libs love 'peace-loving' and 'forgiving' MLK so much, why do they cheer at stuff like DJANGO,... RAP MUSIC,... ZIONISTS, etc?

I wonder the same thing.

Anononymous said...

"brave psycho Chechens"
"suicide rearguard"

Are Chechens any more fight-to-the-deathy than the Japanese were? Bastogne, Chinese Intervention in North Korea?
Are they more psycho than Europeans at Verdun or Stalingrad?

It's like when people call immigrants "hard-working" when they have an unemployment rate, welfare use rate, and incarceration rate higer than the natives.

vandelay said...

Do you enjoy the Slate comment sections? It's an edifying experience, no?

Anonymous said...

"From a policy standpoint, the question is what's the most plausible and cost effective option:

- Let Chechens into America and hope they police themselves?

- Let Chechens into America and become a Surveillance State?

- Keep Chechens out of America?"

come come my thrifty friend, what's the point in the efficient but boring and plausible but mundane?
rather mo' bombs mo' drama, mo' poems, mo' the brothers tsarnaevovs!

Anonymous said...

A kid that grows up in he ghetto with nothing for their whole life is a little different than coming to America as kids and then living in a safe & educated environment.

You just sound like a bigot with no common sense or logic. Mo makes sense you're a republican

kaganovitch said...

That wikileaks cable mentioned above is absolutely priceless. many thanks

Anonymous said...

How about checking ALL immigrants for a criminal past and criminal tendencies rather engaging in this ridiculous either/or raionale that you are doing?

Because regression to the mean, because it costs more money than its worth, and because people would game it, inevitably.

Jonathan Silber said...

Under the immigration bill soon to go before Congress, would President Obama
qualify for the path to citizenship?

I hope not: he shows no interest in assimilating.

Anonymous said...

"I would imagine that a mosque in Cambridge, MA would be fairly liberal and MLK-worshipping."

Alternately, the congregants are lying to make themselves look better.

Several people who attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass., have been investigated for Islamic terrorism, including a conviction of the mosque's first president, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in connection with an assassination plot against a Saudi prince.

Its sister mosque in Boston, known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, has invited guests who have defended terrorism suspects. A former trustee appears in a series of videos in which he advocates treating gays as criminals, says husbands should sometimes beat their wives and calls on Allah (God) to kill Zionists and Jews, according to Americans for Peace and Tolerance, an interfaith group that has investigated the mosques.

...

The FBI has not indicated that either mosque was involved in any criminal activity, but mosque attendees and officials have been implicated in terrorist activity:

• Alamoudi, who signed the articles of incorporation as the Cambridge mosque's president, was sentenced to 23 years in federal court in Alexandria, Va., in 2004 for his role as a facilitator in what federal prosecutors called a Libyan assassination plot against then-crown prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Abdullah is now the Saudi king.

Aafia Siddiqui, who occasionally prayed at the Cambridge mosque, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 while in possession of cyanide canisters and plans for a chemical attack in New York City. She tried to grab a rifle while in detention and shot at military officers and FBI agents, for which she was convicted in New York in 2010 and is serving an 86-year sentence.

Tarek Mehanna, who worshiped at the Cambridge mosque, was sentenced in 2012 to 17 years in prison for conspiring to aid al-Qaeda. Mehanna had traveled to Yemen to seek terrorist training and plotted to use automatic weapons to shoot up a mall in the Boston suburbs, federal investigators in Boston alleged.

• Ahmad Abousamra, the son of a former vice president of the Muslim American Society Boston Abdul-Badi Abousamra, was identified by the FBI as Mehanna's co-conspirator. He fled to Syria and is wanted by the FBI on charges of providing support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill Americans in a foreign country.

• Jamal Badawi of Canada, a former trustee of the Islamic Society of Boston Trust, which owns both mosques, was named as a non-indicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial in Texas over the funneling of money to Hamas, which is the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

What both mosques have in common is an affiliation with the Muslim American Society, an organization founded in 1993 that describes itself as an American Islamic revival movement. It has also been described by federal prosecutors in court as the "overt arm" of the Muslim Brotherhood, which calls for Islamic law and is the parent organization of Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Cail Corishev said...

What both mosques have in common is an affiliation with the Muslim American Society, an organization founded in 1993 that describes itself as an American Islamic revival movement. It has also been described by federal prosecutors in court as the "overt arm" of the Muslim Brotherhood, which calls for Islamic law and is the parent organization of Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Wouldn't "federal prosecutor" be a strange job these days? I mean, you find yourself in court pointing these things out, knowing that your bosses don't really want you to follow up on it; and that if you do too good a job, it's liable to lead you to the wrong kind of people. It seems like it would be hard to keep the "good" Muslims separate from the "bad" ones, since we've known since before 9/11 that nearly all the mosques in America are funded by the same radical Saudis.

I'd think you'd spend a lot of your time sitting in your office wishing for a nice, safe white suspect to go after.

Anonymous said...

"- Let Chechens into America and hope they police themselves?

- Let Chechens into America and become a Surveillance State?

- Keep Chechens out of America?" - One cannot put an asterick on Universalism Steve, they must bring everyone and anyone they can here.

Anonymous said...

http://thebea.st/10zKr5J

bombies are white but conquis are 'people of color'.

rob said...

Anonymous said...
@Steve Sailer

How about checking ALL immigrants for a criminal past and criminal tendencies rather engaging in this ridiculous either/or raionale that you are doing? How about evaluate them INDIVIDUALLY as you should anyway when it comes to immgrants? I have observed that a lot of your thinking revolves around tade-offs even when there aren't any. It's either/or to you. Immigrants are VERY good thing for America, and engaging in this absolutist rationale is very dangerous.


Diaz is so ashamed of his homicidal anti-Anglo views that he won't even put a name on his posts. This is progress.

David said...

Nikki D said

>I have observed that a lot of your thinking revolves around t[r]ade-offs even when there aren't any. It's either/or to you.<

How are trade-offs indicative of either/or thinking? The exact opposite is true. Saying "immigrants are [a] VERY good thing for America" is what's absolutist.

It's like when Nikki D said international corporations aren't really international because they have offices in each nation in which they do business.

I'm telling you, someone is putting us on.