In the wake of the Boston Marathon terror attack, the punditocracy seems dumbstruck.  We have come to expect after these things some good indications about perpetrators: old style terrorists would advertise their actions, and in the major recent cases, — 9/11, London subway,  Norway — the killers were discovered quickly.  As of this writing we the general public don’t seem to know much.

I agree with Charles Krauthammer that this has an Al Qaeda feel to it, the urban setting, the quest for dramatic photographs. But we  don’t know yet. A smaller probability seems to me a right wing domestic terrorist, perhaps on the Breivik model. Smaller still, Shi’ite (Iran sponsored) terror, or some some kind of false flag operation designed to implicate Iran and jumpstart an American-Iran war. But I’m no insider, I just read the blogs and the papers.

Eleven plus years ago, my wife called me from Wall Street to tell me she was okay. Okay about what I wondered. She explained. That afternoon I wrote a blog post for Justin Raimondo’s antiwar.com, saying that Mideast resentment of US policy towards Israel and Palestine was at an all time high, and unless we did something about it, we could expect a lot more of same.  David Frum, in an essay attacking antiwar conservatives, wondered whether it was Robert Novak or I who “blamed” Israel first. I think it was pretty much a tie.

At the time, in several subsequent pieces, I would argue that the best way for the United States to protect its own freedoms would be to have as little as possible to do with the Mideast– to cut loose our allies, limit immigration. Trade with that part of the world, but otherwise have as little as possible to do with it. We would of course have to punish the folks who did this to us, but after that, bye bye.

No one took this advice.  Instead, we (the United States) have since 9/11 killed, wounded, droned, imprisoned, tortured, made refugees of millions of Muslims. We have fought the endless war, the forever war. Electing Obama barely changed the situation. Whether this has made us any more secure is highly doubtful, but it surely has created more enemies than friends.

To be continued, obviously, when we know more about who perpetrated the Boston atrocity.

about the author

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottMcConnell9.

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