Showing posts with label Blood Ties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blood Ties. Show all posts

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Janet Napolitano, President of University of California, writes a hollow review of a book about the Tsarnaev brothers

Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California and former Secretary of Homeland Security, recently reviewed Masha Gessen's book about the Tsarnaev brothers for the Times Book Review section. Napolitano's review is remarkably shallow and self-serving, but we should reflect upon it nevertheless because Napolitano's vapid analysis of the Boston Marathon bombing is an apt example of the intellectual hollowness of America's governmental and educational leadership.

Janet Napolitano was Secretary of Homeland Security when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, and she begins her review by slyly patting herself on the back for doing such a great job in catching the bumbling Tsarnaev brothers after their terrorist attack. Let's read what Napolitano said:
As secretary of homeland security, I immediately mobilized the department to assist Boston emergency responders and to work with the F.B.I. to identify the perpetrators. Because the Boston Marathon is an iconic American event, we suspected terrorism, but no group stepped forward to claim credit. Massive law enforcement resources--local, state and federal--had to be organized and deployed so that, within just a few days, we had narrowed the inquiry from the thousands of spectators who had come to cheer on the runners to just two, who had come to plant bombs.
She acknowledges that the Russians tipped off the F.B.I about Tamerlan, the older Tsarnaev brother, before the attack occurred; but, hey, the Russians are so unreliable. After all, Napolitano writes, "Russia routines presumes all young urban Muslim men to be radical."

Napolitano then goes on to debunk Gessen's theory that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have been an F.B.I . informant and that the Bureau delayed telling local law enforcement authorities about his identity because they wanted to get to him first and kill him.  Such a theory, Napolitano maintains, is "laughable."

Finally, Napolitano points out that Gessen's book failed to answer some basic questions such as "How
and why did the two brothers shift from living somewhat aimless young lives to bombing the marathon?" But Napolitano herself offers no answer to that question, in spite of the fact that she was Secretary of Homeland Security when the attack occurred and should have some insight about the Tsarnaev's bizarre turn toward murder.

Napolitano ends her puff piece with a rhetorical salute to the people of Boston for turning out as spectators for the annual Boston Marathons that followed the 2013 bombing. "People there call it 'Boston Strong,'" she concludes with a flourish, "[but] I call it resilience, that enduring strand of the American fabric that, in the end, will outlast the most dastardly plot against it." Blah, blah, blah.

Janet Napolitano: blah, blah, blah
Personally, I found Napolitano's comments about the Boston Marathon bombing to be about as substantive as a rice cake. It is disturbing to me that the president of the University of California has nothing interesting to say about a major act of terrorism that occurred on her watch as Secretary of Homeland Security.

And now I will share my own theory about the Boston Marathon bombing. Personally, I don't believe the Tsarnaev brothers were radicalized in Chechnya or Dagestan or seduced by the Internet as some commentators theorize. I think the brothers were turned toward murder by the culture of Boston and Cambridge. Cambridge in particular, where Dzhokhar went to high school, is the epicenter of postmodern nihilism--the studied belief that there are no ultimate truths and that life is to be lived purely for the pursuit of power, recognition, and self-gratification.

For affluent young people like the ones who attend Boston's many elite colleges, nihilism can have a cheerful, even jaunty, aspect. Indeed, cheeky cynicism is expected of the young, and Boston's intelligentsia cultivate feigned world-weariness as a substitute for thought.

But nihilism has an ugly aspect when it is embraced by outcasts, by people who know they will never be insiders, will never have the opportunities that beckon to all the affluent young people who casually attend classes in Boston's many elitist colleges and universities.

Who can doubt that these two brothers, seeing nothing around them but affluent arrogance and easy self-regard, turned bitter; and turning bitter, they plotted their revenge.

It is a shocking thing to say, but I believe that the terrorism that the Tsarnaev brothers embraced was nurtured and metastasized in the culture that many Americans mistakenly think is the very acme of liberalism and tolerance--the culture of Boston and Cambridge.

Radicalized in Cambridge


Janet Napolitano. Blood Ties. New York Times Book Review, April 12, 2015, p. 1.