Did Boston bombers fail?
Did the Brothers Tsarnaev fail?
“Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve, they've already failed,” says President Obama of the Boston Marathon bombers. “They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated. They failed because as Americans we refuse to be terrorized.”
Bostonians did react splendidly — from first responders to folks who gave blood, from hospital staffs to the FBI, ATF and state troopers, from the Boston and Watertown cops to the hostage rescue team that talked Dzhokhar Tsarnaev out of that boat.
But did the brothers really fail — as terrorists? Consider what they accomplished.
By brazenly exploding two bombs right at the finish line of the marathon, with TV cameras all around, they killed three and injured, wounded and maimed 260 people for all the world to see.
Within hours, their atrocity had riveted the attention of the nation. Cable channels went wall to wall, as did major networks. By the evening of the attack, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and President Obama had gone live to reassure us they would be apprehended and justice done.
Day two, Obama appeared again as the greatest manhunt in U.S. history was under way. On day four, the FBI released photos, imploring citizens to come forward and identify the men.
That evening, the brothers murdered an MIT police officer, hijacked a Mercedes van and engaged in a gunfight with Watertown police that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead and his brother a fugitive.
On Friday morning, Gov. Patrick went before the cameras to tell a stunned nation he was imposing a lockdown on all of Boston and half a dozen neighboring communities. A million people locked their doors and hid inside because a lone armed teenager with pipe bombs was on the loose.
Boston, said The New York Times, was a “ghost town.” Saturday, “Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston,” ran The Times banner.
On April 15, the day the Tsarnaevs set off the pressure cooker bombs on Boylston Street, there were 40 bombings and shootings across Iraq that took the lives of 75 and wounded 350. No one in the outside world knows the names of those who set off these bombs, and no one cares. And Baghdad was not locked down.
How, then, when these brothers committed an atrocity that mesmerized America for a week and they forced a lockdown of one of our greatest cities, can it be said that they failed — as terrorists?
Worse may be yet to come. For the Brothers Tsarnaev may have shown the way for those who hate us to go out in their own special blaze of glory.
All true Americans were with the people of Boston last week. Yet there are individuals to whom these brothers are heroes. Al-Qaida has been growing and gaining recruits since 9/11. Yet, while Osama bin Laden targeted the symbols of U.S. economic, military and political power — the Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, the Capitol — the Tsarnaevs hit a “soft target.” They went after innocent people competing in and watching a sports event.
Suicide-seekers going after soft targets such as ballgames, concerts, malls, parades or school events is something other nations have known but we have largely avoided. Our luck may have run out.
Let us pray the Boston Marathon massacre is not the new paradigm for sick souls within.
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”