Some Forbidden Thoughts on Marathon Bombing
By Ken Klippenstein / counterpunch.org

The Boston Marathon bombing’s cruel use of a second bomb, designed to harm anyone assisting those injured by the first, reminded me of the “Collateral Murder” video, which depicted U.S. military helicopters first gunning down a group of mostly unarmed men (including two Reuters journalists), then killing a separate pair of unarmed men after they exited their van, attempting to help the wounded. Curiously, I saw nothing in the press about the two men’s act of heroism that cost them their lives. Not so with the heroism on display in Boston. I will leave the reader to speculate as to why.

As politicians commend the angelic conduct evinced by law enforcement, any critical analysis of the police’s response will be studiously avoided by the major press. A fine illustration of this can be seen in the case of a Saudi student who, after having been injured by the bomb, was tackled by a civilian and subsequently arrested for having “acted suspiciously.” This allegation was faithfully reported by CBS, with no elaboration on what this suspicious activity was. The New York Post went further, falsely designating the Saudi student a “suspect.” CNN described a “dark-skinned male” suspect. The Saudi student has since been cleared by the FBI, after the Bureau raided his apartment and interrogated him. Being accused of acting suspiciously is not without its inconveniences.

Obama has described the bombing as “senseless,” for which reason there will be no attempt to make sense of why it may have happened. In the view of people like Obama, such events are ‘black swans,’ to borrow a term from the apologists of financialization—meaning that they are intrinsically unpredictable, so we had best just get used to this kind of thing. Pay no attention to the fact that these black swan financial crashes, which we are urged to accept as inevitable, came largely after the deregulation of the financial sector.

Likewise, one must pay no attention to the fact that terror attacks have increased sevenfold following the invasion of Iraq, which a study cited favorably by the Brookings Institution (hardly a leftist outfit) found. Whether or not the bombing in Boston was carried out by a group originating in the Middle-East, if we are serious about ending attacks like these we must consider their causes, of which U.S. imperialism is certainly one.

It should come as no surprise that power will strongly resist any attempt to critically discuss U.S. imperialism and, as previously mentioned, the conduct of its police; these are, of course, power’s means. When Obama said that “On days like this, there are no Republicans or Democrats,” he was quite right: any analysis of the political dimensions of such crises is off the agenda for both parties.

If any such analysis occurred, the blame would be catastrophic to the political establishment. Suppose the public was permitted to learn about, say, then CIA director George Tenet’s letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee in which he explains that an invasion of Iraq would result in an increased likelihood of terror attacks on the U.S.

Or what if the mainstream discourse shifted to the leading British intelligence agency, MI5, and its director’s retrospective assessment that the invasion of Iraq did indeed ‘significantly increase the terrorist threat to Britain’? People would be out in the streets by the time they got to the part where the MI5 chief said that “we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad.”

The ramifications of discussion incorporating serious facts such as these (instead of what color of hat the latest suspect was wearing, or how one indomitable runner was undeterred by the attack and went on to finish the race) would be much too threatening to the political establishment to ever be tolerated.

So instead, people desiring a serious discussion about terrorism will be shamed with non sequiturs about how they’re being disrespectful to the victims, and how there’ll be a time for such discussions later—when interest in them is safely dead.

Ken Klippenstein lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he edits the left issues website whiterosereader.org He can be reached at reader246@gmail.com

 

4.2 ·
4
What's Next
Trending Today
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
Daniel Lattier · 17,063 views today · Ivan Illich’s groundbreaking book Deschooling Society (1971) offers a radical critique of the institutionalization of education within modern societies. Illich believed that we...
11 Traits of People With High Emotional Intelligence
Raven Fon · 7,909 views today · Lately, new ways to describe human interactions, social behaviours, and many facets of psychology have emerged on the social network scene. One of those descriptions is “high...
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 6,346 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
Superblocks: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back From Cars
5 min · 6,050 views today · Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians.
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 5,483 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 4,274 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
Real Change in Democracy Comes Not in the Voting Booth but Activism at the Grass-Roots
Ilze Peterson · 3,423 views today · Many years ago, the late Judy Guay, a low-income woman from Bangor, founded the Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods in order to advocate for the neediest in our...
Fighting Trump - Residents Opposing Donald Trump's Scottish Golf Resort
14 min · 3,387 views today · Documentary on the residents protesting against Donald Trump's golf development on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Directed and Presented by James Trosh.
Throw (2016)
10 min · 3,264 views today · The first installment of Invisible Thread, an ongoing ELM passion project series, Throw tells the story of an outsider from East Baltimore, an area challenged by gang violence...
This Text Message Exchange Between a Mother and Daughter is Pure Gold
Belinda Hankins · 3,031 views today · When Belinda Hankins got a text message from her 13-year-old daughter, who was shopping for period products, it started an exchange that will resonate with women everywhere. Enjoy.
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Arun Gupta · 2,597 views today · The Left should take the Trump threat very seriously.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,541 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Doctors Response to Daily Mail Bigotry is Beautiful
Neil Tiwari · 2,468 views today · A poetic open letter to the Daily Mail newspaper from Dr. Neil Tiwari, in response to a bigoted attack on his colleagues, is going viral and it's beautiful.
Forest Man
16 min · 2,374 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 2,254 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life
3 min · 2,177 views today · Dr. Maya Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." Watch as Dr. Angelou reveals how you can never...
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 1,717 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 1,474 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
Abolish ALL Prisons, Private and Public
Critical Resistance · 1,228 views today · As momentum continues to grow against the colossal U.S. imprisonment system, the need for strategic targets is crucial, yet we are seeing an overbearing focus on private...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 1,213 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Some Forbidden Thoughts on Marathon Bombing