While everything is still in a state of flux in Boston, we're fortunate that Charles P. Pierce at Esquire is on the scene and very much plugged in to both the immediate and larger concerns.
The Events of the Night tie into waking up to the news.
WASHINGTON -- On most days, the blog comes to you from a small cell at the top of the stairs in an old office building in a place called Watertown Square outside of Boston. This pretty plainly is not most days. Right now, the home office of the blog is in a war zone.And while the temptation to fit this into the Al Qaeda terrorist frame is strong based on preliminary information, Pierce digs a bit deeper into the history that may be part of the story with Grozny on the Charles.
I live in Newton and, on most days, I take a pleasant walk down along the Charles River from my house. This pretty plainly is not most days. Right now, I live in an extended crime scene.
It appears that we are all going to have to bone up on the bloody conflict between Russia and the attempts by Chechnya to break away and found what likely would have been an Islamic Republic. It has been a long and terrible war, fought with remarkable savagery by both sides. (See C. J. Chivers' remarkable piece, "The School," posted elsewhere on the blog. For its part, the Russian military reduced the Chechen capital of Grozny to ashes.) Just from my limited review this morning, it would appear to be something of a mistake to lump the indigienous Chechnyan fighters in the general category of "Islamic terrorists," although that seems to be where the mass media is headed, alas. (Jake Tapper just compared these two guys to the Fort Hood shooter and how he had "radicalized" himself.) There is an undeniable element of Chechen nationalism involved as well. The violence there, as Chivers points out, arises from a tangled mass of sources. Religion is only one very thin strand of it. If, as it appears now, these two brothers were refugees from the Chechnyan wars, they could have been "radicalized" by dozens of different things, including simple savagery. This was also the case of much of the bloodletting in the Balkans. The one thing the Iron Curtain did was keep a lid on all of this. When the Soviet Union dissolved, all of it exploded in a hundred directions...While the rest of the media frenzy is ongoing, it's worth checking back with Pierce on this. Follow the links to read the entire posts.
Let's hope there's some kind of resolution out of this beyond simple tragedy and knee-jerk reactions.