Surviving Brother Says Suicide Attacks Were Considered
By ERIC SCHMITT, MARK MAZZETTI, MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and SCOTT SHANE
The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings told F.B.I. interrogators that he and his brother considered suicide attacks and striking on the Fourth of July as they plotted their deadly assault, according to two law enforcement officials.
I thought that all immigrants come to America because they love the propositions in the Declaration of Independence?
But the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told investigators that he and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a shootout with the police, ultimately decided to use pressure-cooker bombs and other homemade explosive devices, the officials said.
The brothers finished building the bombs in Tamerlan’s apartment in Cambridge, Mass., faster than they had anticipated, and so decided to accelerate their attack to the Boston Marathon on April 15, Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, from July, according to the account that Dzhokhar provided authorities. They picked the finish line of the marathon after driving around the Boston area looking for alternative sites, according to this account.
If they had been Four Lions-style Pakistanis instead of Chechens, they would have aimed for Patriots Days but not gotten their bombs finished until Independence Day.
There has been endless speculation about what could have motivated these Cambridge lads. Here, for example, is a Slate article discussing what can be learned about the Tsarnaevs from watching Mad Men, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and other premium cable serials. (Yes, I know that sounds like a parody of the ultimate Slate article, but I'm not making it up.)
In contrast, I would emphasize the effects of testosterone. Young men like to divide themselves up into teams and fight other teams. Hence, they look for reasons to take passionate sides (as spectator sports entrepreneurs long ago noticed). I touched on this in VDARE a decade ago in "Anti-Americanism Spurred by Immigration."
ANTI-AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL MECHANISM #1: the U.S. college experience can set off ugly reactions in foreigners. Perhaps the most disastrous example: the Egyptian fundamentalist ideologue Sayyid Qutb, the "Philosopher of Islamic Terror" who became "the intellectual hero of every one of the groups that eventually went into Al Qaeda," according to Paul Berman. In the New York Times March 23, 2003, Berman writes:
"[Sayyid Qutb] even traveled to the United States in the late 1940's, enrolled at the Colorado State College of Education and earned a master's degree. In some of the accounts of Qutb's life, this trip to America is pictured as a ghastly trauma, mostly because of America's sexual freedoms, which sent him reeling back to Egypt in a mood of hatred and fear."
It's hard to predict what will outrage visitors from other cultures. Qutb's conversion from modernizing to jihad is sometimes said to be a reaction to the lasciviousness of a church dance he attended in Greeley, Colorado!
Perhaps the most detailed account of this alienation process at work in a foreign intellectual is John Updike's 1978 novel The Coup. Written when Updike was at the height of his powers, it might be his most spectacular (if hyperbolic) effort. The Coup consists of the extraordinarily articulate memoirs of the revolutionary dictator of an impoverished African country.
Colonel-President Ellellou is a fervent Muslim, Marxist, and black racist. He's perfectly aware that his three faiths are contradictory. But, since they each give him additional reasons to indulge his consuming hatred of America ("that fountainhead of obscenity and glut"), he luxuriates in them all.
Ellellou traces his obsession with America to the four seemingly-pleasant years he spent at a liberal arts college in small-town Wisconsin in the 1950s, where he made blonde Candace the second of his Prophet-sanctioned four wives.
How can America's openness backfire so badly? Well, American universities specialize in leftist indoctrination. Maybe their foreign students, well, study.
And foreigners living in America are constantly confronted with America's superiority over their homelands. It would be wonderful if every visitor to the U.S. reacted as objectively as Alexis de Tocqueville. But don't count on it.
For instance, years later Updike's Ellellou is still driven into a rage by the thought of how well stocked a Wisconsin drugstore was compared to the shops at home:
"Hakim's instinct was to smash, to disarray this multifaceted machine, this drugstore, so unlike the chaste and arcane pharmacies of Caillieville, where the sallow Frenchman in his lime-green smock guarded his goods behind a chest-high counter showing only a few phials of colored water."
I sympathize. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and went to college in Houston. On any kind of rational scale, the difference between living in suburban California and suburban Texas is minimal. But so what? I was young. I missed my home. The testosterone was flowing. So I just decided I was going to hate Houston. I spent four years, objectively as enjoyable as Ellellou's, searching out reasons to despise Texas.
If I could succumb to pointless anti-Texanism, how much more understandable is the anti-Americanism of many immigrant students?