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7 thoughts about Boston

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MICHAEL REYNOLDS / EPA

Flowers, personal objects and three crosses for the victims of the bombings are seen near the Boston Marathon finish line in Boston, Mass., on April 20, 2013.

Some thoughts about Boston:

1. American law enforcement is extraordinary. This case was wrapped up with remarkable speed–with the help of surveillance cameras and, it seems likely, our ability to trace cell phone calls. Both of these tools have been controversial among civil libertarians–and indeed, in the days since the Boston attack, there have been those on the left who have warned against further government intrusion into our lives. I am not at all worried about that, not even slightly…because this is a country that, if anything, errs on the side of libertarian excess–as witnessed by the Senate’s disgraceful vote against background checks for guns, and the various tweets and noise pollution about the post-Boston need for armed citizens to defend themselves against terrorist marauders. I do not see how armed civilians would have made a difference in this case. In fact, those killed or wounded by gunfire this week in Boston were police officers (although I’m not sure the MIT campus police officer was armed).

2. Do not extrapolate. There is talk now that this will affect our immigration debate, or our gun control debate, or raise issues about the President’s vigilance against terrorism. These are the very sorts of arguments–tiny, tawdry political arguments–that disgust the overwhelming majority of Americans who (a) stood together,  with Boston, after the attacks and (b) celebrated the swift resolution of the case and (c) appreciated and were moved by Obama’s extraordinary address at the memorial service. These extrapolations are also specious because…

3.The government has been extremely successful in stopping other terrorist attempts. Rudy Giuliani, known for his intemperance on occasion, took to the airwaves after the capture of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to say that both the Bush and the Obama Administrations have been rigorous and excellent in combating terrorist attacks. The record is, in fact, remarkable. But you can’t stop them all–and the promotion of the idea that we can entirely safe and protected from this filthy, insidious threat is a dangerous delusion. The fact that the Boston attack came from two Chechen brothers who probably–but not definitely–were lone wolves was a scenario that no one could have predicted. The ricin letters addressed to public officials, including the President, last week allegedly came from an individual who may have been mentally disturbed. We live in a society where all sorts of lethal weapons are available–and where anti-government paranoia is encouraged–at both deep ends of the political spectrum. (Although, in recent decades, the right has far outstripped the left in its nuttiness). But…

4. We have been very lucky. There have been precious few of these attacks, a fact that has mystified law enforcement and security professionals. It is extremely easy to create terror in this country. Home made bombs can wreck shopping malls, sports events…and elementary schools.

In the months after 9/11, I participated in a successful terrorist attack on an elementary school in a St. Louis suburb. It was staged, of course, by a government agency, but it was scary as hell. Our team secured shotguns with a phone call to a gun shop. We had an Israeli security official along for the ride ask, in a heavy foreign accent, a woman in the school’s office, “When is the next school assembly?” She cheerily told him it would be Wednesday afternoon, for Halloween. We were able to case our points of entry and exit without any questions asked. It is simply remarkable that we haven’t had a slew of attacks against soft targets. And therefore…

5. We’re going to have to be far more vigilant now. Copycats may be out there.

6. And I would urge those in the media who speak of the United States government as if it were a foreign entity to chill out. You may be further poisoning the demented. Criticism of the government is, of course, as American as oxycontin…but it is our government and this is our President. You may disagree with one program or another–you may think (wrongly) that Obamacare is socialistic, you may think that the Patriot Act is part of a ruinous, possibly conspiratorial invasion of privacy–but this President has proved time and again that he is a strong American patriot. Any inferences otherwise may reap the whirlwind.

(PHOTOS: Images: Joy and Relief in Boston After Bombing Suspect’s Arrest)

7. As the President said, Boston is a piece of me, too. I began my career there. Far more important, my terrific son, Terry, his wife, Lindsay and my two absolutely perfect granddaughters, Zoe and Bibi, live there. I had my heart in my mouth on Monday–and again on Friday, when the younger Tsarnaev was on the loose. I wonder what the long-term impact of this week of horror will be on the girls…and on all Bostonians. It truly is a unique and fabulous American place. My kind of town: obsessed with sports and politics. And this week, in their feisty calm and courageous grace, Bostonians have shown the rest of the world why so many of us love them so.

218 comments
glennra3
glennra3

Somewhere in our recent history American got the idea that bad things are never supposed to happen and if they do then obviously someone screwed up.


We have become a nation of quivering, whimpering cowards. Did out grandparents whine and complain about the Great Depression or the bombing of Pearl Harbor or did they roll up their sleeves and get on with life?  


It seems the easier our lives get the less tolerance we have for the tragedies that are inevitable to human existence.

ChikuMisra
ChikuMisra

As noted, very easy to terrorize, much harder or impossible to stop completely that kind of thing. Live your lives and think not of terrorism. That is what people have been doing for decades anyway. What kind of complete wuss lets his life be changed or dictated by terrorism. Nobody. Cuz everyone has sufficient brain cells to realize it is completely random, like winning the lottery. If your number is up, it will happen but the odds are so mightily against it that it is stupid to think or worry about.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

"...indeed, in the days since the Boston attack, there have been those on the left who have warned against further government intrusion into our lives..." 

(Known leftist) John Adams: "Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities, prescribed by the laws."

guitarplayer1969
guitarplayer1969

I love how Klein praises Obama in this event. Obama deserves no recognition. Does he fail to understand the Obama has cut Homeland security spending by 45% compared to Bush, to fund his other pet projects. As usual, his only move is reactionary instead of being proactive in dealing with these events. All the praise should go to the Bostonians and local and regional law enforcement. Let's not make this tragedy another platform to push the left wing agenda on unrelated matters. Quite honestly we all need to accept a little less privacy and be less tolerant to avoid events like this from happening again. This country really needs to get a handle on immigration and student visas - not to say that this will avoid events like this, but it sure will cut down on the chances.

moneypro
moneypro

So what you are saying is shut up..  Only the insiders know best.  Let in everyone from any country regardless of whether the population of that country  cheers when we get hit and when large numbers of our citizens are killed.  This has happened many times after an attack on our embassies, our ships, our country.  But let them all in anyway. 

Too bad,  I disagree with you and the president.  We have to stop opening the doors of our country to  just everyone regardless of their country or views of hatred for us and our way of life.  That does not make us safer.

lelandwi11iams
lelandwi11iams

7 lessons:

1.  Dems asleep at the 911 switch in Benghazi.

2.  Dems in Boston are no longer anti-gun

3.  Jihadi Islam is now home grown

4.  Political Correctness (refrain from calling Hassan a terrorist) will not stop Jihadi's

5.  CNN is the worst news network in the world today, 2nd'd only by MSNBC

6.  The total cost to find 1 Jihadi in a haystack is about $75 million

7.  109 verses in the Koran call for Jihad against Infidels (non-Muslims).  

glennra3
glennra3

"...there have been those on the left who have warned against further government intrusion into our lives. I am not at all worried about that, not even slightly…" - Joe Klein


Where do we turn when the Fourth Estate, which is supposed to be the watchdog of liberty, is blindly complicit in the erosion of liberty?  A vigorous free press is supposed to act as a check on government infringement of our guaranteed freedoms, but instead has become little more than celebrity bloggers and amateur tweeters.


You are not concerned, Mr. Klein? Not even slightly?  


Did you sleep through the last ten years, as the press was complicit in the illegal and unwarranted invasion of Iraq and the rolling back of civil liberties through the Patriot Act (an ironically named bill, if ever there was one)? No, you weren't sleeping.  You were right there with much of the rest of the celebrity media, supporting both.


It does not surprise me you are not concerned.  People like you in the press have long since given up your role as the voice of the American people.


Shame on you, Mr. Klein.  That statement is a disgrace to the memory of Edward R. Murrow, Seymour Hersh, Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and the countless other journalists whose mission was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  


Shame on you.



grape_crush
grape_crush

 @guitarplayer1969 > Does he fail to understand the Obama has cut Homeland security spending...

Do you fail to recognize that, if what you say is true, various budget cuts demanded by Republicans are the root cause?

Oh, wait...that's not true, is it? (right around the 4 min mark).

> As usual, his only move is reactionary instead of being proactive in dealing with these events.

Oh, bull.

glennra3
glennra3

@guitarplayer1969 "This country really needs to get a handle on immigration..."


The Obama Administration has deported immigrants at a faster rate than the previous Bush Administration.  Customs and Border Protection funding is 64% higher than during the Bush Administration in 2006.  Illegal border crossings are at their lowest level in 40 years.  Net migration -- newly arrived immigrants minus those leaving (forced or voluntarily) -- has come to a standstill.


As former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, "you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts."   



glennra3
glennra3

@guitarplayer1969 

The Homeland Security budget for 2011 was $43.2 billion or 0.7% more than in 2010.  For 2012 the budget increased to $57 billion.


The cuts you are referring to are happening across the board, due to the sequester, which is brought to you by your radical Republican friends in Congress.

daena.vassar
daena.vassar

@guitarplayer1969   Do you realize Bush started a useless war based on complete lies that profited a handful of private corporations in which his family has stake holdings in, at the cost of my future economic stability ??

This country needs a handle on the growing number of right-wing morons.

Tell me, what proactive action did W make that was decent and honest, never mind intelligent and patriotic?  Seriously, Bush compared to Obama?!


daena.vassar
daena.vassar

@moneypro   No, he is not saying that, he is asking for a little perspective, but you evidently seem incapable of any nuance or comprehension.

But then, it was support from the likes of you that started the still extremely expensive war from lies that Bush started.  That war based on lies by the way is now costing us, you and I, our economic future.


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@lelandwi11iams Dems asleep at the switch during 9/11 in Bengahazi? Did you have the same amount of outrage when the FBI memos warning Bush about impending attacks on the US homeland came out. It seems both he and Condi were repeatedly warned more than a month in advance and chose to ignore the warning since they didn't want to be distracted from finding a reason to invade Iraq. In what twisted partisan world does the death of 4 US employees in a post combat zone generate more outrage than the death of 3000 civilians on US soil?

glennra3
glennra3

@lelandwi11iams

Why not boil it down to two points, since that is really all you have room for in your narrow-minded ideology.

1) Democratic citizens = evil, America-hating aliens who work day and night to undermine civilization in order to bring about a thousand year reign of darkness, and,


2) Republican citizens = noble, patriotic Americans, who are never wrong because they are guided by the True Word of God...and who rescue lost kittens and help little old ladies across the street.



paulejb
paulejb

@glennra3 

How was the war in Iraq illegal? Unlike Barack Obama's Libya adventure the invasion of Iraq was approved by both parties in Congress.

WKSloane
WKSloane

@daena.vassar @guitarplayer1969 "War based on lies..." Not lies if WMD's can be pressure cooker bombs as the Feds charge the remaining Boston bomber. Land mines in Iraq would qualify for WMDs. The Fed charges are strange compared to acts of treason including 4 counts of first degree murder, 190 counts of attempted murder causing mayhem on civilians and law enforcement personnel, kidnapping, armed robbery, resisting arrest ... getting a conviction on WMD charge for pressure cooker bombs seems designed to fail.    

guitarplayer1969
guitarplayer1969

@daena.vassar @guitarplayer1969

Saddam was hardly an angel, but everyone seems to forget that and wants to make him and Iraq innocent in their terrorist activities. And we all know the presidential office  does not have the sole ability to take us to war on their own- He and the gov were basing their decision on the intelligence provided about WMDs which proved to be wrong. But in the meantime we also dismantled the Al Queda terrorist network. In any case we were acting proactively and disengaging a threat which is something Obama is incapable of doing. This administration is reactive rather than proactive in nature and in the fight against terrorism,and  that doesn't work.. Let's face it, the only reason why Obama was able to locate and take out Osama Bin Laden was because of the Intel framework system and groundwork laid out under the Bush administration.

Its a sad state of affairs but we are always one step behind the terrorists and because of that we have a rough time ahead.

glennra3
glennra3

@paulejb @glennra3 

You are such a big fan of the Constitution.  Look up Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11.


(Yes, both parties were complicit in that illegal and ill-conceived war.)

redrascal
redrascal

@paulejb @glennra3  Yeah so it was legal even if based on a lie and even if it killed some 50,000 people who had done nothing against America and turned some 50 million more people against America

glennra3
glennra3

@guitarplayer1969 @daena.vassar

That Saddam was not an angel was NOT the reason we were sold for invading Iraq.  That he had WMD was.


That was a lie.  Not a mistake...a lie.


The chicken-hawk neo-cons of the Bush administration had been wanting to invade Iraq since the Clinton administration.  They crassly used the 911 terrorist attack as an excuse to do so.


It has only been ten years and already people are white-washing events and rewriting history. 




guitarplayer1969
guitarplayer1969

@daena.vassar 

And regarding your future economic stability, which is mine as well as I am in my early 40s,you should be more concerned about this administration domestic economic policy over the last 4 years and what it will do to generations to come. It will dwarf the expense of the war when all is said and done.

paulejb
paulejb

@glennra3 @paulejb 

I can read, Glenn. That gives me a leg up on you. 

The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the regular armed forces of the United States. He alone decides where those forces are to be used. Congress may limit this power by withholding funds.

glennra3
glennra3

@paulejb @glennra3

Now you are a Constitutional expert?  Tell me, have you ever acknowledged being wrong in your adult life?

You are 100% wrong on this.  "Congress shall have Power...To declare War..."


Isn't that clear to you?  Do you play such word games with the 2nd amendment?

paulejb
paulejb

@glennra3 @paulejb 

No, Glenn. Read it again. "When called into service" applies only to the militias of the several states.

glennra3
glennra3

@paulejb @glennra3 

Yes, he is the Commander in Chief of the military "when called into service."  You know who is supposed to call them into service?  Re: Article 1, section 8, clause 11.

paulejb
paulejb

@glennra3 @paulejb

US Constitution - Article 2 Section 2

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;"

glennra3
glennra3

@paulejb @glennra3 

Yes, and since 1941 our government has sidestepped the Constitution and fought a series of illegal wars.


Would you accept a Congressional law that sidestepped the 2nd Amendment?


The war clause of the Constitution is one of the most important parts of the document.  Did you notice where the framers put it?  Article 1.


Congress is the branch they entrusted with the awesome power to take this nation to war.  Congress has abdicated that authority.  That doesn't make it right or legal.



redrascal
redrascal

@paulejb @redrascal @glennra3  That did not stop you from shooting your mouth of Chuck, read what I have posted above first, this act is the lies that were accepted by all as the nation was under threat and people did not want to be seen as non patriotic, this dates to 2002, and is based on faulty intelligence which is proven by what I have posted above,  which is dated 2012  and 2013, if you would read it- you would understand it, it is in English and that might read like Stupid to you, but make an effort, then come back and shoot yer lip Chuck. But hey why bother, heck Bush jr never read anything before signing up for war so why should you ? Go ahead Chuck in your usual style just hack away with lies and deceit.

redrascal
redrascal

@paulejb @redrascal @glennra3   This is conjecture, versus the fact that no Weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Which was the publicly stated reason for going to war in Iraq, so it was a lie and the war was based on a lie.

paulejb
paulejb

@redrascal @paulejb @glennra3

Au contraire, mon ami.

"The director general of the British Broadcasting Corporation, George Entwistle, resigned Saturday after only 54 days in the role -  the latest to be caught in the wake of a child sex-abuse scandal that has thrown the 90-year-old publicly funded behemoth and other U.K. institutions into deepening turmoil."

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/11/15078957-sweeping-child-abuse-scandal-shakes-bbc-and-other-british-institutions?lite

redrascal
redrascal

@paulejb @glennra3 @redrascal  they go after the perverts, they are not run by perverts, Davidstuff vs the BBC, i don't think even Ann Coulter or Rush , or Mr Beck would try that one.


glennra3
glennra3

@paulejb @redrascal @glennra3 

It is one thing to be conservative.  It is another to be willfully ignorant.  


The BBC is one of the most respected news organizations in the world.  When you compare them with the propaganda machine of the Soviet Union you embarrass yourself.

paulejb
paulejb

@redrascal @paulejb @glennra3 

Can't you libs get on the same page. One says the Iraq war was illegal and the other says it was legal but it killed people. Has no one told rascal that people are often killed in wars?