April 21, 2013

The media narrative around the Boston marathon bombing is beginning to coalesce: Older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev had recently embraced fundamentalist and radical Islamic thought after a trip to Russia, starting a YouTube channel that pointed to jihadist videos. Such was his interest that he became a subject of an investigation by the FBI, reportedly at the request of the Russian government. Angry, isolated and increasingly radicalized, he enlisted the services of his younger, idolizing brother to fulfill the jihad here in the US, of whom he felt used the Bible "as an excuse for invading other countries".

Never mind that Tamerlan cannot speak for himself (nor at this point can Dzhokhar, who reportedly has neck injuries that may prevent him from ever speaking). This narrative can be built without any actual facts, much like the common wisdom behind Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, and it serves its purpose: to marginalize and demonize the suspects and not look at the larger environment in which we all contribute and how that can possibly radicalize those who feel oppressed by it.

Surprisingly, Tom Brokaw broke away from the surging media narrative to bring a rare moment of tempering during the Meet the Press panel. And even more amazingly, he pointed to a very specific foreign policy that may be driving more and more people against this country:

MR. BROKAW: But I think that there’s something else that goes beyond the event that we’ve all been riveted by in the last week. We have to work a lot harder as a motivation here. What prompts a young man to come to this country and still feel alienated from it, to go back to Russia and do whatever he did and I don’t think we’ve examined that enough? I mean, there was 24/7 coverage on television, a lot of newspaper print and so on, but we have got to look at the roots of all of this because it exist across the whole subcontinent, and the-- and the Islamic world around the world. And I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved and-- and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say we love America. If you harm one hair on the-- on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever and there is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.

Knock me over with a feather. Never thought I'd hear a member of Beltway Privileged class acknowledge something that liberals have been saying for a long time: Our drone policy is actually fomenting anti-American sentiment and helping radicalize even more Muslims against us.

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