THE MISSING PARTS OF THE STORY OF THE BOSTON TERROR ATTACKS
Photo credit: This image was developed by illustrator Andrew Dyson and accompanied an online article about the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that appeared at http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/the-missing-pieces-that-shadow-a-prime-minister-20121123-29ysb.html.
In just a few hours, we will mark the one week “anniversary” of the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. This event rocked not only the City of Boston but the entire nation as once again we faced the reality that the United States was a target of a planned terror attack. As the days since the bombings unfolded and the manhunt for the perpetrators resulted in the identification of two primary suspects along with the dissemination of details that strongly suggest what many of us intuitively knew -- that the men were not acting alone, we have been subjected (voluntarily or involuntarily) to endless hours of news coverage with a diverse array of information bits relating to the story.
It’s been nearly 168 hours of continuous reporting (with some necessary factual blackouts for public safety reasons) and amidst the myriad of expert voices listeners have heard from terror experts, security experts, police experts, immigration commentators, Boston aficionados, 9/11 survivors, elected officials, eyewitnesses, and both the perpetrators’ and victims’ family members. Given what seems like broadly comprehensive reporting, I remain struck by one obvious missing voice: that of experts on the geopolitical context from which these terrorists emerged. No, I don’t mean the current U.S. or global political landscape or the seemingly more familiar global terror threat. I am referring to knowledge of the geopolitical context of places like Chechnya in the historic context of the U.S.S.R. and the contemporary context of a post-Soviet world. Yes, there has been some passing historical and chronological references to the history of Chechnya and neighboring countries and an immigration timeline for the brothers that is peppered with movable facts, but there has not been substantial substantive discussion of the arguably relevant critical geopolitical contexts.
This story cannot be complete or our understanding of it and the long-term threat without learning and understanding with some degree of depth and fluency the geopolitical context I identify. To begin, I offer several key introductory questions to which answers are needed in order that we as U.S. Americans can better contextualize the inexplicable occurrence and so that we can properly demand an appropriate response from our federal government both procedurally in the courts and in the realm of policy such homeland security, foreign policy (aid and relations), and yes immigration reform, too.
1. Where is Chechnya and how does this small country figure into the global picture?
2. What were the economic, social, and political realities of small nations like Chechnya prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union?dynamic between these former Soviet states and the United States? 3. What are the economic, social, and political realities of sovereignties like Chechnya in this post-Soviet era? 4. What is the history of Islam, socially, politically, culturally, and religiously in these states? 5. What has been the United States government’s stance toward these states? 6. In making references to the growth of Islam in these states, what is the relevance and why is it important to distinguish between authentic Islamists versus fundamentalists versus radicals? 7. What is the immigration