On their best day, Hitler and Hirohito never shut down a major American city. If two amateurs with makeshift bombs can cause a major city to go into lockdown, isn't this a signal to terrorists that a simultaneous shut down of every major city in the Northeast wouldn't take very many resources or that much sophistication?
If you prepositioned bombs to go off once a day, you could keep a city shut down for a week or more. The later bombs wouldn't even have to kill anyone. The follow up bombs would only have to damage some landmark like the Wall Street bull or create massive amounts of broken glass. Anything photogenic that will make it onto the news.
Once you have put the cities into lockdown, you could issue your demands. We will tell you where the rest of the timebombs are if you give us a basket full of money or release the Blind Sheik, etc. The cost to business to continue the lockdown would be so great that they would surely pressure government officials to settle.
With the streets of the leafy suburb overrunning with enough armed police, federal agents, and national guards to invade a small country, there didn’t seem to be much chance of Dzhokhar slipping the dragnet, but that didn’t prevent Governor Deval Patrick from ordering nearly a million people in the Boston area to abandon their regular lives for a day and stay indoors, or, as the official order put it, “shelter indoors.”Analysis: Boston lockdown By Yaakov Katz:
Ah, you may say, Tsarnaev wasn’t just an ordinary criminal or lunatic; he was a terrorist, and, according to some reports, he had one or more explosive devices, possibly including a bomb vest. Now we are getting to the crux of things. Whenever the word “terrorist” is mentioned in this country, reason tends to go out the window, and many other things go with it, too, such as intellectual consistency, a respect for civil liberties, and a sense of proportion.
With time on my hands as I walked the empty streets, I had the opportunity to think back to the aftermath of terrorist attacks I had covered in Israel before leaving for a sabbatical at Harvard University.Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker:
I might be wrong, but my feeling is that in the aftermath of those attacks the opposite always happened.
There was no lockdown in Israel and there was no order by the mayor to seek shelter.
Instead, people were out in the streets, filling up coffee shops right next to the one that had been bombed or standing at bus stops waiting for the next bus from the same line that had just exploded. This has always impressed me as a sign of true resilience, of a refusal to allow terrorism to change our way of life.
I happened to be in London on 7/7—a far more deadly and frightening terrorist attack—and by 7 P.M. on that horrible day, with the terrorists still at large (they were dead already, but no one knew that), the red double-decker buses were rolling and the traffic was turning and life, though hardly normal, was determinedly going on.When did "Home of the Brave" become a joke?
What terrorists want is to terrify people; Americans always oblige.