Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

The Real Threat to America

Putting ourselves in political, moral, and now actual lockdown is more threatening than Islamic terrorism

Print Email
Members of a police SWAT team exit Franklin Street moments after 19-year-old bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev was apprehended on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Massachusetts. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Related Content

Homeland Insecurity

Post-Sept. 11 fear and regret loom over the gripping new season of the Emmy-winning terrorism drama

First Blood

Was Meir Kahane’s murder al-Qaida’s earliest attack on U.S. soil?

Of the many uncomfortable truths emerging from last week’s bombing and subsequent manhunt—including the fact that American cities are still vulnerable to Islamic terrorism—one of the most troubling but least talked-about is the fact that martial law may now become part of the municipal playbook.

It was not two immigrant brothers—“losers,” their uncle called them—who closed down Boston, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, put military vehicles in its streets, and sent men in helmets and flak jackets into peoples’ homes. It was our elected leaders: our local, state, and federal political officials and law-enforcement authorities. If any Bostonians objected to having their civil liberties trampled on, they were drowned out by their cheering neighbors who massed in the streets to celebrate the authorities who had turned their city into something resembling Fallujah under American military occupation.

And we may as well get used to it, because in the event of future terror attacks this reality is likely coming to your city, too. As Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia’s chief of police, said on Fox News Sunday of closing down a major American city, “Certainly I think it was genius.”

The consensus of smart commentators is that Ramsey is right: It’s the way we live now, and we better get used to the facts of modern life. Terror, Islamic rage, and the hysterical Twitter-fed public response to shootings, bombings, and threats, have made the ever more disruptive and repressive responses unavoidable. “What happened the other day in Boston unfortunately is not the exception,” says Richard Haass, the head of the Council on Foreign Relations. “This is not a one-off. This is a glimpse of the future. This is granular terrorism that 1, 2, 3 people can carry out. We live in a world where power is diffused. Where individuals are in turn empowered.”

In what Atlantic magazine correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg calls “the era of the suspicious package,” everything is indeed different now. As Tom Brokaw says, “You can’t get intel on the lone operator.” Terrorists “only have to be right once,” California Rep. Jane Harman intoned on the Sunday talk show circuit, also noting the importance of “bomb-sniffing dogs.” “Obviously,” she said, “next time, we will have more bomb-sniffing dogs.”

We might as well accept the truth here: If the safety, stability, and economic welfare of our cities depend on the thin, furry line of bomb-sniffing dogs, we’re in trouble. Similarly, much has been made of the fact that the FBI was warned by Russian intelligence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a potentially dangerous character. But if we have to depend on the ability and willingness of foreign-security services to tell us about the activities, beliefs, and capabilities of people who live and work in major American cities, we’re in trouble.

Or rather, everyone is who doesn’t live in New York. Since 9/11, officials in New York have chosen to play offense rather than defense, by actively collecting intelligence about individuals and groups that might target their city. The NYPD has offices and liaison officers worldwide, including Paris, London, Amman, and Tel Aviv, but its most important collection work takes place in the five boroughs of New York, especially in those places most likely to know about or, worse, incubate potential Islamic terrorists: the city’s Muslim communities.

Obviously this is not going to stop every terrorist act, just like a cop walking his local beat is not going to stop every liquor-store hold-up in his precinct. But the Boston area’s local, state, and federal authorities surely would have profited from contacts with members of the Boston mosque where Tamerlan Tsarnaev raged against the imam for putting forth a non-Muslim—Martin Luther King, Jr.—as a positive role model. Had the authorities been alerted by those best placed to understand Tsarnaev’s actions as volatile and extreme—namely, Muslim community leaders—this intelligence might have prevented a murderous career.

We’re not talking about water-boarding American Muslims here, or shipping them off to Guantanamo. It’s collecting intelligence about potential problems in a community that is as keen as any other to be done with Islamic terrorism. Now, to be frank, the unhappy reality is that in some instances, conducting surveillance in Muslim communities may indeed be a violation of the civil liberties of some citizens (and indeed, the NYPD has taken a fair amount of criticism for its efforts because of this). But sending armed vehicles into the streets and putting entire cities under lockdown is also a violation of civil liberties. The fact that there will be more people like the Tsarnaev brothers means that we have hard choices ahead of us. The people who are forcing these choices on us are not liberals or conservatives, but terrorists.

The question then is, should a few suffer temporarily? Or should all Americans bear the burden permanently? Like all of democratic politics, it’s a trade-off and one that like gun control, gay marriage, and immigration merits a broad debate among Americans. The problem however is that virtually everywhere else except New York City, political leaders, local, state, and federal law authorities, as well as intellectuals and media figures have already made an unspoken trade-off: Rather than encroach in a limited fashion on the rights of Muslim Americans, all Americans must forfeit some of their liberties. Lock down Boston. Send SWAT teams into the streets. Use bomb-sniffing dogs. Spend tens of billions of dollars taking naked pictures of air travelers and searching grandmothers at airports. But whatever you do, don’t gather intelligence on the guy who trolls jihadist websites and then takes a six-month-long vacation in Dagestan.

It’s just more confused rhetoric from a political class, right and left, that lacks all clarity and discretion. Intelligence gathering in Muslim communities is a no-no, but it’s OK to use a drone to kill an American citizen in Yemen without judicial review or oversight. This makes no sense. It would help if America’s political establishment were able to tell the difference between politically incorrect violations of individual rights in the service of information-gathering to prevent attacks, and gross violations of the core rights to due process of law that they are sworn to protect.


It would also help if they could tell the difference between civilians and terrorists. Amazingly, Secretary of State John Kerry can’t tell the difference between the armed Turkish terrorists who were killed when they tried to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza in May 2010 and the four innocent people murdered in his hometown by the Tsarnaevs last Monday. At a press conference in Istanbul, Kerry said of the deaths aboard the Turkish-sponsored ship that ran the blockade, which was intended to keep arms from reaching Hamas: “I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident: We understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them. … I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you.”

So, let’s get this straight: If you sail to break a blockade designed to keep missiles and guns out of the hands of Hamas, who are a group of murderous anti-Western religious fanatics who kill civilians in terror bombings, then you are the moral equivalent of the innocent people in Boston who lost their lives in a terror bombing, perpetrated by murderous fanatics who believe the very same things that Hamas believes. How would Kerry feel if after last week’s events the Turkish government sailed a flotilla of aid ships into Boston Harbor in support of the surviving Tsarnaev brother—and any associates who might still be at large? John Kerry needs to get it through his well-coiffed skull that it is the Boston Marathon bombers and Hamas who are the same people—and the civilians that they maim and kill are the victims.

And sadly, Kerry is not alone in his confusion. America has become a nation in political, moral, and now actual lockdown. And it needn’t be: Islamic terror is not a fact of life, nor is it an existential threat to the United States. It’s a vicious ideology that should be equally offensive to men, women, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and to politicians and commentators on the right and the left—and kudos to those like Andrew Sullivan who state it clearly. The violence and terror it gives rise to is a limited problem that can be further contained by politicians and law authorities who devote their budgets to intelligence collection rather than putting armored vehicles in American streets.

The true existential threat to America comes not from Islamic terror but from our own inability to think and speak clearly about the threats that we face. By abridging the rights of all Americans in order to avoid politically unpleasant images we are inflicting greater damage on our society than any group of Islamist terrorists could ever dream of doing on their own.


Like this article? Sign up for our Daily Digest to get Tablet Magazine’s new content in your inbox each morning.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Poupic says:

I am all for TSA, bomb sniffing dog, magnetic gates everywhere, no unattended packages in the public place… I like safety and remaining alive. You got the whole thing wrong. Politicians did not locked down a city, two Islamic terrorists did. It is time to stop whining and look at the truth in the eyes. Two nice Muslim boys next door blew up many innocent bystanders to make a point and cause this loss of civil liberty. Islamic terror, not politicians is the problem.

    New York City wasn’t shut down like this after 9/11. Any part of the city not directly impacted was open for business! And Islamic terror is as much of a problem as it is because our politicians ALWAYS take the easy out! You’re not even allowed to mention Islam and terrorism together. The PC MSM was desperate for this to have been done by white, evangelical Tea Partyers.

      Poupic says:

      Since 9/11 I hope that the public and the authorities have learned something. Islamic terror doesn’t sleep whether lone wolf Islamic terror generated or Islamic terror organized world wide. Whatever has to be done to catch Islamic terrorists and prevent blood shed I am for it. That Barack Hussein has a soft spot for Islam or not should not concern the public. Every time someone calls me Islamophobic I mention Islamic terror done daily some place with great amount of blood shed. This time it was in Boston where it is going to happen this afternoon is anyone’s guess. Do not fold it every time someone calls you Islamophobic respond that they are burying their heads in the sand and closing their ear to the calls of Islamic preachers calling for a world wide Caliphate beginning with all the lands that were once, even long ago ruled by Islam and that have according to them to return to be lands of Islam such as Andalous, the Arabic name for Spain, Sicily and of course Israel, the main reason Arab states have attempted so many times to destroy it.

      Eyal Feldman says:

      NYC was shut down for 2 weeks due to 9-11

        I lived in NYC during the 9/11 times and you are wrong!
        NYC was not shut down for even one minute! People were not locked into their homes, business were open and free movement was allowed!

          Eyal Feldman says:

          I lived here too buddy, people were not locked in their homes, but the island of Manhattan was locked down, no traffic in and out of NYC.

          Sorry but you are wrong!
          While cars may have been halted for a while the trains were up and running later in the day and were open for business the next day.
          Ad far a being your buddy, trust meI do not have buddies who are racist and ignorent of the truth!

          lilflourocheezits says:

          The trains were not up and running, especially the N/R/Q and the 1/2/3/9.

          lilflourocheezits says:

          Everything below 14th Street was locked down. You had to show proof of residence to navigate the city.

      lilflourocheezits says:

      I was in NYC during 911, and it certainly was on lockdown. I remember the checkpoints and how long it took to rebuild afterward.

PhillipNagle says:

The real trouble is we react to these outrages rather than act to stop them. We all know that enemy is radical Islam yet our politicians and media fall all over each other trying to make us believe otherwise. The disgraceful actions of some politicians and media members who wanted to blame anyone but an Islamist was disgusting. We must go after these people before they do haem and we must keep them out of the country.

    Phillip, are radical Islamists really any different than radial Christians? Are they different from the white supremists who hold their own military exercises and disobey many laws? Are they different from radical (dare I say) Jews who practice their own religious laws?
    If we were to start to pass laws which would be designed to stop some of these radicals, how do we limit it to just radical Islamists? It is a very difficult situation and needs some real study. By taking away freedoms from one group means you have to take it away from all groups and that will not work.
    We need some real serious people to develop ways to combat extreme behavior no matter what group is responsible.

      PhillipNagle says:

      Typical liberal foolishness! All over the world Islamists, not Christians, Jews or Bhuddists, are murdering people. In Europe there have been Moslem terror attacks, in Africa there have been Moslem terror attacks, in South America there have been Moslem terror attacks, in North America there have been Moslem terror attacks and in Asia there have been Moslem terror attacks. And some of these attacks have been Moslem (usually Sunni) terror attacks on fellow Moslems (usually Shi’ite). Yet we have these demented individuals, usually leftists or liberals, who spout some sort of moral equivalency. No Mr. Lobel, the Islamists are a world wide problem, not Jews or Christians.

        Sorry Phillip, you can rant and rave all you want about how muslims are fighting their way to world dominance, the only problem is they can win in poor ignorent places such as there are in Africa and Asia. However it is a differnt situation here as well as in Europe. We fight back. Yest there have been a few terrorist attacks in North America but with the exception of 9/11 the attacks have been very limited in scope or complete failures. If you are so afraid that you are going to be attacked by a muslim, it is you who are going to give up your freedom, but not me or anyone else I know.
        I am more afraid of radical christians and white supremists as in this country they are better armed and hate me because I am Jewish!

          GDMace says:

          There are certainly radical Christians (Jews too) who have to be watched with a wary eye. These relatively small groups,however, have almost no influence in their respective religious communities. The radical Muslims do, unfortunately, have some influence and status and have showed time and time again that they are willing to resort to the most brutal violence imaginable to achieve their ends. When mass killers start yelling “Christ is King” as they go about their tasks, then I’ll begin to worry about the Christians. Until then, radical Islam appears to be the greater threat. After all, how many people have the execrable Westboro folks blown up or beheaded? To suggest an equivalence is disingenuous at best.

          Ilpalazzo says:

          “We fight back”? Really? How can you ‘fight back’ when the individual’s game plan is to blow places (and usually himself) up? This isn’t some old battlefield with soldiers. Laws are in place to protect ethnic foreigners and if the Muslim MO stays on course, it’s usually a person who seems well-liked and known and friendly and then he gets the call and has to do his duty for Islam. Islam is not peaceful and also your comparison to white supremacists is pretty lame. They are usually isolated, small fringe idiots – they don’t have a religion-based leader and their views are not the law of the land, unlike Muslim regions.

          muzjik says:

          Can you give an example of European “fighting back”?

          of course they can can not win. Barbara but does that matter to the thousands of people they murder while trying

      Jacob Arnon says:

      If you don’t think they are different Edward why don’t you go live in a radical Muslim country say Iran or Egypt and see for yourself how different or how similar they are.

      Better still you can go into any European city and walk in the Muslim neighborhoods wearing a kipha and see how Muslim folk react to you. Then do the same, if you are still in one piece, in a Christian radical neighborhood and compare trhe differences and similarities.

      Good luck!

        you are an idiot!

        I do not have to live in another place to know radical christians (westboro baptisit church) white supremists and radical Jews to know these people are different! Apppearently you are so prejudiced you cannot see the truth nor do you want to see the truth!

          Ilpalazzo says:

          Barbara you are the idiot. Westboro Baptist Church is like Jerry Springer compared to Islam. They are a group whose sole purpose is to get their name in the news by inciting something stupid. As many Korans as they burn or funerals they picket. Hell, I even think they’re actors paid for convenient distractions. But they haven’t bombed buildings or blown people’s legs off or hijacked planes and crashed them into major buildings. Muslims follow a book that tells them to lie to infidels to protect yourself – so you can kill them or behead them or demand money or cut off an arm and a leg – once under Muslim law. I honestly won’t trust Muslims until I start seeing branches like Christianity. Something that renounces Mohammed’s violent commands.

          muzjik says:

          Barbara – The cretins at Westboro annoy people and wave inappropriate signs. And you seriously try to equate that with the more than 20,700 terror attacks carried out by radical Islamists worldwide since 9/11?

          When you can come up with that number of terror attacks carried out by “radical Christians” and “radical Jews”, THEN you can ask the question “are they really so different?”

          Babara Lobel westboro Baptist Church is one lunatic family and do not belong are recognize as a Baptists Christian church by the Baptist community of America.but even those Looney Tunes evil. best you have on extremists Christians how many people have they murdered. To equal Islamic lunatics you have another left-wing vision of the world that is insane

      gonedaddygone says:

      But the Liberals all say that “religion” was not the motivation for this bombing so you are all wet.

      Ilpalazzo says:

      “are radical Islamists really any different than radial Christians? Are
      they different from the white supremists who hold their own military
      exercises and disobey many laws? Are they different from radical (dare I
      say) Jews who practice their own religious laws?”

      Yes. Very much so.

      merbeau says:

      Over 90% of all terroristic activity in the world is orchestrated by Islamic Jihadists who are 1) at war with the USA, 2) want all Americans dead, and 3) want an Islamic state in this country. The real scarey part of these actions is if the Jihadists are able to coerce non Arab looking Americans (i.e., most of the occupy crowd) into performing surveillance of target areas we are in big trouble. Time we started to call a spade a spade.

      Phillip are you actually insane. Radical Islam is murdering Christians, all over world. Besides, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists. Where are these radical Christians who are murdering people. And do not say McVeigh he was an agnostic not a Christian
      this liberal left-wing insanity. Will be the death to all of us

Unfortunately, politicians always take the easy road. That means not confronting the growing radicalism of our Muslim residents. Put more restrictions on the already law abiding. They never complain. And if the result is a ‘Police State’ that’s just the price we must pay. His “Imperial Majesty” Bloomberg the 1st, is already talking about abandoning inconvenient parts of the Constitution. If we give in to fear, and the fear mongers, well then we deserve what we get.

    Jacob Arnon says:

    Bloomberg isn’t the problem Islamic terrorists are the problem. Obsessing over Bloomberg is like folks in the 1930’s obsessing over Fiorello La Guardia instead of the Fascist threat and Nazi threat.

    Jacob Arnon says:

    Bloomberg isn’t the problem Islamic terrorists are the problem. Obsessing over Bloomberg is like folks in the 1930’s obsessing over Fiorello La Guardia instead of the Fascist threat and Nazi threat.

Most of this essay is right on target. As Ben Franklin wrote, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” We have been on a slippery slope towards becoming a police state for over a decade and probably longer. My problem with the essay is bringing in the Turkish-Israeli issue. It’s not just that I have serious problems with the way both Turkey and Israel handled the matter, but that the writer’s criticism of Kerry is off-target and, I suspect, based on the usual GOP Obama bashing. In fact Kerry is descended from Jews (his grandfather changed the family name from Kohn to Kerry) and has a brother who converted to Judaism. Turkey has been an important ally of Israel since the beginning (Turkey was the only Muslim nation to vote for Partition at the UN in 1947). Kerry did what Netanyahu and Erdogan could not do themselves, but that needed to be done. Mr. Smtih’s criticism of Kerry is gratuitous and wrong. Too bad, because most of the essay is so right. It seems that the Weekly Standard crowd is unable to pass up any opportunity to attack Obama and his administration.

    Beatrix17 says:

    He didn’t accuse Kerry of anti-Semitism,, he accused him of an inaccurate moral equivalency.

    Phillip, John Kerry told me his best friend is his brother and had John himself not have been married with children he may have joined his brother in re-entering the faith of his ancestors.
    Again the part of the essay dealing with Martial Law is comletey wrong!

      this insanity that his grandfather our great-grandfather are uncle was Jewish is ridiculous. The hangman of Prague ancestors were Jewish Hitler’s right-hand man. PS I’m not calling Kerry a Nazi so cool. It. But I’m surely not calling him pro-Israeli either

    Habbgun says:

    The flotilla was an aggressive action against Israel, which is facing organized attacks against civilians.

    Boston was an organized attack against innocent spectators and marathon competitors. They do not correlate but Kerry had to tell his and the admin’s base that despite the reality of mass murder political correctness will be the order of the day.

    And by the way descended from Jews is not even relevant to judging a rabbi. It is deeds that matter and John Kerry’s have been continually rotten.

    the government in Turkey in 1947 was a secular government. Today’s Turkey government party is Islamic. The president of Turkey has tried cause as much trouble as possible between Turkey and Israel sending ships trying to run Israeli blockade that even UN says is legal. And Mark my words there will be more trouble coming from this Islamic president of Turkey. Our only hope is his party will lose the next election

Jeffrey Shuster says:

Lee I agree wholeheartedly with what you say, but with one proviso. There will always be the terrorist who is missed and falls through the cracks, and when that happens, and the mayhem ensues, I want the authorities to do whatever they can, with as great a force as necessary to apprehend that terrorist and return us to normalcy.

    Jeffrey, Very well said!

    Jeffrey Shuster says:

    First off. I do not respond to people who take the tone you are taking with me. You attempt to pigeonhole me based on, what, three sentences that you’ve read? You insult my sanity and accuse me of paranoid personality disorder? And then you have the gall to suggest I need professional help.

    Second, to address the matter at hand:

    “You are clueless about the nature of terrorism. It is not meant to be a “win all at once strategy”. It is meant to psychologically weaken.”

    Terrorism is not merely the attempt to psychologically weaken, and were that the case it would not be used, because to that end it is a dismal failure. Does it have terrible psychological effects? Yes definitely especially for children and people directly affected, but for people but one step removed it has a strengthening effect.

      Jeffrey Shuster says:

      These people fight back. Look at Israel or Northern Ireland. They do that because terrorism in the first instance seeks to kill and create mayhem. It is natural for communities to seek out peace and conditions that allow for well-being regardless of ideological concerns that seem to motivate your rant.

      We live with police on our streets, metal detectors in many locations, security guards, bouncers at clubs — these have become normal. I do not consider an identification check to be a violation of civil rights. I have nothing to hide, having committed no crime. I have, though, lived in Israel and learned there that simple security precautions such as id checks and immediately reporting a “hafetz hashud” an unattended package or bag can save a great many lives.

perla says:

I would like to know weather islamic citizens in western countries are above all, firstly loyal to Islam and not to the country they are living in????????Countries shoul think about what people they are accepting and giving them full rights, including the right of a Civil Trial after such a despicable act of terror…

    muzjik says:

    Muslims are loyal to the greater Muslim community.
    Even the Muslim countries have, for the most part, borders determined by the British and French as they carved up the crumbling Ottoman Empire after WWI. So citizens of Jordan or Iraq or Syria, etc. aren’t especially bound to a national identity…certainly not above their Muslim identity.

    46% of the islamic citizens in Great Britain.thought homicide bombing was a good thing.PS I found amusing that the bombers in Boston were given political asylum. It was so dangerous for them in their home country they would go back for vacations. insanity of American State Department

Michael Wolin says:

The author states: … ‘Amazingly, Secretary of State John Kerry can’t tell the difference between the armed Turkish terrorists who were killed … and the four innocent people murdered in his hometown by the Tsarnaevs last Monday.’

Secretary Kerry was chosen for his unique ability to make former Secretary Clinton look competent. To his new job Kerry brings a farrago of asinine, absurd, thoughtless, and just plain wrong, statements covering everything his gaze falls upon. But he is reflective of the Administration that hired him. Sorry to say, there will be no honest reassessment of the threat of Islam until Liberals are driven from their places in government and the news media.
Ask a Muslim — there is no ‘radical’, ‘extremist’, or ‘fundamentalist’ Islam. There is only Islam, revealed in the Koran and Hadiths.

Eyal Feldman says:

Islam is not just a religion but a political ideology, so it should not get the status of protection as a religion alone. It has illegally occupied by force or migration and once strong enough, kills and degrades the indigenous populations to 2nd class status. 55 countries have been taken over by Sharia Law already and it is not extreme Islam, but mainstream Islam and it its 1400 years of campaign of violent colonization and implementation of Sharia Law.

    Eyal if you are married and get a divorce can you get remarried if you do not obtain a “Get?”
    I think you are overstating the fear that Islamic law would be allowed here in the USA. It simply is not so. Our constitution would never be amended to allow any form of sharia law so stop being a fear monger. Even in a community that is very heavily populated by Mulims, shiria law could never be instututed. Just because you are fearful does not make it so! While there may be some countries that shiria law is practiced in, I cannot find 55 countries around the world where that is the form of law! For example, Turkey is a Muslim country and sharia law is not the law! If you think it is, you are greatly mistaken!

      Evan Dickinson says:

      Whoa there…

      I agree that having Islamic Law take over here is a stretch but “Our constitution would never be amended” is what?

      Whenever people want to change the constitution they simply decide it means something else. Why would they need to amend it?

earlganz says:

This was a good article making a legitimate point

about locking down a city with military force, Then
the author turns right around and unleashes a
diatribe against john Kerry for opposing the use of
military force against Turkish blockade runners.

All I felt at the end of the article was confusion.
Was the author for the use of this kind of deadly
force or against it?

    Again, the city of Boston and the surrounding towns were not locked down by Military Force and anyone who thinks so is simply wrong!

How dull for Smith (and half the commenters) to harp on John Kerry while whiffing on the main thesis of the article.

What Smith offers is a false dichotomy.
First off, the citywide lockdown had nothing to do with the ethnicity/motivations of the bombers. This could have happened in any situation where a suspect caused similar damage, and was similarly at large.

That’s not to say that every government official should be patted on the back for this. 18 hours to pick up the trail on the younger brother is at best a qualified success. I still haven’t heard the answer to many practical questions — why search dogs were not employed to track him.

Second of all, you can’t well suggest that eavesdropping on the Cambridge mosque (as you claim is regularly done in NYC) would have any effect. This is just a chain of improbable suppositions: you have to suppose that the imam interprets the bomber’s outburst as an indication of violence; that he sees fit to the police (“Such outbursts are unusual in mosques but not unheard of,” the spokesman told the Globe); that they pass it on to the FBI; that they actively track and monitor his communications (and who’s to say that the NSA isn’t already doing that?), and then you have to suppose that they have an agent tailing him everyday.

    lilflourocheezits says:

    Because of the suspicion that the bombers were part of a terrorist cell, the city was on lockdown until the perps were apprehended. That had nothing to do with their ethnicity, because we weren’t even sure what it was at first. But lo and behold, it was the usual suspects!

    Habbgun says:

    He’s not offering a false dichotomy. We are talking about a long term goal in making terrorism more costly to those who perpetrate it than those who are sadly on the receiving end of it. The easier it is for radicals to sit in mosques, terrorize those who don’t agree with them, receive money and training from outside the U,S. and find a willing segment of Americans both within and without the government who say radical this or that is the problem and not radical Islam despite jihadists committing an overwhelming number of attacks than we will see increasing repetition with politicians gladly signing on to a system which increases their own power.

    Not only is comparing the deaths on the flotilla to the deaths in Boston assinine but the flotilla was meant to say Israeli response to terror was wrongly asymmetric (as if setting a bomb among innocent people is somehow holistic and healing) . Interesting to see actions by Israelis condemned by liberals but the prospect of continually shutting down American cities is praised by them.

The author of this article has seriously overstating the facts!
Martial Law was not declared in the Boston area!
The Mayor and Governor requested that people stay inside for their own safety!
The area was not operating under military law which is dramatically different than civil law!
While the police are highly trained in the use of their weapons, perhaps the bad guys were not and in a shoot out innocent bystanders could get hurt by “stray” bullets.
I am sure you all remember the inncident in Manhattan next to the Empire State Building on the 33rd street side when a bad guy was shooting and the police returned fire that there were several innocent bystanders who were hit by stay bullets all from the guns of the police!
“Locking down” the city meant that the police had access to the streets in case of car chases and in the event of a shoot out no innocent bystanders would get hit. After all the police are not the terrorists trying to kill as many random people as possible!
There were not military vehicles in the streets, no tanks and no cannons.
Martial law is so radical, that it would be reviewed instantly by the courts and even the 5 untra conservatives on the court would NOT allow martial law to stand!
There were NO military personnel invading peoples homes!
There were police who knocked on peoples doors and asked if there were any people in their homes that did n ot belong there! Houses were NOT searched!

    RobiDon says:

    I saw a video of armed and uniformed men with assault weapons force people out of a house with their arms over their heads. These armed men went into the house after forcing the inhabitants to leave. I don’t know what they did so I can’t say with accuracy that they searched the house – maybe they made themselves a cup of tea.

    I saw the same video as RobiDon. It looked like Fallujah. Our troops were trained over there to do it here. that was the whole purpose.

      Prophetess you are beyond foolish if you think that US.troops were taught to break into houses in Fallujah so they can be used here!

herbcaen says:

I trust bomb sniffing dogs more than I trust the FBI or the State Department. Bomb sniffing dogs are not blinded by bias and stupidity, like FBI and State. They just follow the scent. Since we need to balance the budget, lets get rid of the FBI and state departments. They couldnt prevent Boston’s bombing even though the Russians told us they were terrorists

    lilflourocheezits says:

    There were bomb-sniffing dogs at the marathon. How did the Tsaernev brothers avoid detection?

RobiDon says:

Not only do I believe this lockdown was unconstitutional, it was a failure. The 2nd suspect was found by a citizen taking a smoke break. He decided to disobey the lockdown and then he found the suspect. If there had not been a lockdown he would have found him sooner. And what’s the use of everybody having assault rifles if you’re going to stop us from being our own militia, even if it is not “well regulated”? ;(

    merbeau says:

    Agreed. The part of the lock down that was unnerving was the press reporting that police, etc. were going door to door and asking permission to check out people’s homes. We have a home video of SWAT teams knocking on a home and forcing the residents out at gunpoint. The younger terrorists was wounded (police found blood), he abandoned his car and had run off on foot and supposedly the MIT cop was shot to secure a firearm for him. That would indicate that he most likely did not escape with an arsenal. No dogs were used to trail him?

    they asked people stay in their houses they did not say they would arrest you if you came out how is that unconstitutional? not one person was arrested

      RobiDon says:

      I saw a video where the police forced people out of their homes with their hands up over their head. Then the police went into their home. I guess that means they searched the home without a warrant. I believe the police did more than “ask” people to stay in their houses. If you are right in that the police only were “asking” and therefore nobody had to comply, then the willingness of people to obey the police blindly is very problematic for me.

Simply stated, Massachusetts is close to being if not, the farthest left of center state in this country. So for two terror events of major consequence happening in Boston(the other was using Logan AP for initial takeoff in domestic flight to WTC), it seems fitting the land of libtard Kennedy clan host these traumatic events!

lilflourocheezits says:

If you have been banned from the US and complied, the government will ask you to prove that you were, in fact, not in the US during that time. They will ask you for your financial statements, leases for every place you lived and police records. So, DHS’ story that they lost Tamarlan Tsaernev on the way back from Dagestan doesn’t wash and neither does the FBI claim that they ignored multiple warnings from Russia. None of the official story passes the smell test.

Furthermore, if you lie on your oath of naturalization, you can be stripped of your citizenship. Why all this fuss about Dzhokar’s rights? Even if it is a lengthy process, the federal government should pursue this course of action. He won’t stand trial until he is physically able to. It will still take at least a year. Get the ball rolling.

I_Go_Pogo says:

We have allowed the lowest of our own to define morality. All else will follow as surely as the sun rises in the east. God forgive us.


“Do not oppress the stranger, for you were once strangers yourselves in the land of Egypt.” This phrase appears 36 times in the Torah (ever heard of it?). Muslims living in the United States (the overwhelming majority of which are American citizens) have the same rights as all American citizens. They suffer from the implementation of citywide lockdowns as much the rest of us. Muslims are our neighbors, our brothers and our sisters. This article is not journalism, it is a hate speech. Please rethink what you are suggesting.

Samuel Goldring says:

Toward a kinder gentler Islam. Read the biography of Abdurraham Wahid former president of Indonesia the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. He comes from a family of Islamic scholars. He was for seperating mosque and state, having cordial relationship with Israel and held other policies that would make Islam a huge force for good in the world.

jcd0101 says:

Liberals cant remember their stance from one drugged out whitehouse party
to the next sex bash over at DHS..

Sheesh do you expect any liberal democrat or progressive to be able to actually
think about a subject
Stay on subject
and remain consistant for more than ohh 30 minuites?


Make you wonder why we have a “Terrorist Watch List” if we’re NOT going to watch them?

I agree that we must defend our citizens from all the dangers that we confront from terrorists. At the same time, while the media is still full of analysis, quasi-analysis and pseudo-analysis over the ‘perps’ in Boston and their motivations, the latest media citation I found on an industrial disaster that has killed at least 15 people and wounded at least 200 others in West, Texas a couple of days after the Boston bomging was three days old. We have learned to accept the industrial “accidents” caused usually by profit-motivated shortcuts in safety, governments turning their eys the other way, and neglectful oversight. Modern life has its own dangers, from the tens of thousands killed annually by guns and a similar amount killed annually on the road. While each and every victim is not less a victim from whatever cause, I believe that the idea that someone may have been motivated by an “unAmerican” idea like extremely radical
Muslim religion may have what the journalists call “more legs,” the
victims in West, Texas are no less victims, are no less dead or injured,
and the analysis indicates neglect from management to government
enforcement of safety and environmental regulations. I think we should
have more interviews of those who lost their homes, the patients of the
nursing home that had to be moved out, the families of the dead, the
injured — who are also victims of our neglect to follow up on this tragedy.

The time is past when we can pretend that radical Islam is not the problem. Such equivocation must be shown up for what it is – a form of self-delusion. It solves nothing, and avoids the problem rather than dealing with it. Appeasement never works. See

What would ‘ve been gov’t and media response if these guys were evangelical Christians?

Mark Gary Blumenthal says:

29 April 2013

Bravo, Lee Smith, for putting your Neo-Con confusion behind you. You’ve said it perfectly: ‘Putting ourselves in political, moral, and now actual lockdown is more threatening than Islamic terrorism’.

All radicals, whether right-wing, left-wing or otherwise, of whatever ethnic or religious origin who would undermine these First Principles is an enemy of the United States of America.

We have spent nearly twelve years obsessing about ‘Islamic Terrorism’ only to learn that ALL varieties of terrorism undercut our common humanity and our obligation as American Jews to epitomize what human beings can and should be.

Thank you, Lee. You’ve got it right this time, just as Walt Kelly did when he had Pogo declare that ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’.

We are our own worst enemies when we look outside ourselves rather than within ourselves for the sources of evil in our world.

Perhaps now we can begin afresh to build that ‘City on a Hill’ all Americans, especially we American Jews, can accept as our mission in the Galut, no matter who originally said it.

Mark Gary Blumenthal, MD, MPH

Cary, NC

Richard Hellstrom says:

The real threat against America and the world is America –
In 1951, the Bush’s reclaimed Union Bank from the US Alien Property Custodian, along with their “neutral” Dutch assets
The Rockefellers owned 31 percent of the Thyssen Group
The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs, including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz –

Samuel Bush was knows as the Merchant of Death in WW1 – Prescott was probably worse or as bad. Both Georges carried on the tradition. Notice a pattern –

My Syria blog has references to the US funding Al Qaeda in Afg. and Syria -


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Real Threat to America

Putting ourselves in political, moral, and now actual lockdown is more threatening than Islamic terrorism