There are a few things we know about the Tsarnaev brothers. They came to the US when they were youngsters. Tamerlan was 15, Dzhokhar was 8. They have been American residents for a decade. They went to school here. Tamerlan was a student for three semesters at Bunker Hill Community College from 2006-2008. Dzhokhar received a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts. Tamerlan got married, had a child and wanted to be part of the American Olympic boxing team. Both were Muslim.
And on April 15, 2013 the brothers Tsarnaev set off bombs that killed three and maimed 178 at the finish line of the Boston marathon.
While some may wonder what was behind the attack, you have to be willfully blind not to assume that the same impulses that caused the 9/11 terrorists to highjack four airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon also motivated the Tsarnaevs. The brothers were not terribly interested in getting away after the bombing or they would not have followed up with a carjacking and the murder of an MIT cop. They were on a mission that was going to leave a trail of blood before they died.
It was not as complicated or high-tech as 9/11, but every bit as Jihadist inspired.
Some will claim that the bombing was somehow tied to the conflict in Chechnya between the Russians and the rebels. This is nonsense on stilts. As Barry Rubin pointed out, if the brothers were
“acting as Chechens and not as Islamists they would have attacked a Russian target. The United States has not — even by the usual stretch of radical Islamist imagination — had anything to do with the conflict in Chechnya.”
What should be pointed out is that a decade spent in America, in the heart of Boston – the epicenter of American Academia, at least one of the brothers hated America enough – again quoting Rubin
“They went to the best schools. What did they learn there about the greatness of America? Was the seed of rage fertilized by U.S. education’s tendency to demonize American history as evil, greedy, racist, and imperialist?…These two young men … had a free choice. They had to actively close their minds to everything good they experienced and to adopt an ideology of hate. Only a very powerful force could move them in that direction.”
I have to extend what Rubin is saying. They had help in closing their minds to everything good that they experienced. They had the best professors, the most powerful political leaders, the most influential members of the press and the top stars in Hollywood telling them that America was fundamentally flawed, its people and institutions conceived in sin: " ...evil, greedy, racist, and imperialist." And while breaking down any idea that America was fundamentally good, these leaders were simultaneously promoting the very things that Muslims consider to be among the greatest sins; hedonism, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality.
Put yourself in the shoes of the Tsarnaev brothers. Your devotion to Islam has been reinforced in your mosque and on your travels, the leaders of the American culture you swim in tells you that the people you see around you are corrupt. And you see these same people proudly proclaiming that what you believe are the worst sins in your culture are to be embraced and celebrated. Planting a bomb and giving your life for your faith may seem like the right thing to do. Since the cream of American culture dislikes this country enough to want to fundamentally change it, why should you disagree?