Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston bombing - Investigation Day 1

Having just watched this morning's FBI-Boston press conference, it seems apparent that the Govt. does not yet know which individual or group were responsible for yesterday's Marathon attack. But we do know a little more than yesterday.

1) The primary injuries sustained - lower limb injuries, suggests that the explosive did indeed have some form of fragmentation weaponization. When a fragmentation bomb is used, those in the immediate proximity of the weapon suffer both explosive injury and fragment-impact injuries. Using these types of weapon, the attacker's intention and outcome are the same - causing terrible injuries to a large number of people (in this case evidenced by the 17 who are still critical). It's a testament to the skill of Boston's first responders and surgical teams that so many were saved. In other locales, many of those injured would likely have died.

2) The FBI has confirmed that only two explosive devices were used and that no others were found. This fact is important, as it makes more plausible the notion that a single individual or very small cell carried out the attack. A basic truth of terrorism is that the smaller a network, the more likely the network will be able to go undetected by authorities. Again - this is just an observation. Nothing more.

3) As in London post the July 7th 2005 bombings, the US law enforcement/intelligence community will be working overtime to try and ensure that the immediate threat has now ended.

4) Once again, it's important to reiterate that at the moment, we know very little. But there are two conclusions we can make.

First, we should be thankful that this attack didn't take more lives. It easily could have done so.

Second, the indiscriminate murder of civilians (including an 8 year old boy) and the intention to kill many more, has once again given clarity the moral abhorrence of terrorism. Regardless of the motivations of the actors responsible, terrorism is not a legitimate political strategy; it's murder. Brutal, unjustified and requiring of our unequivocal condemnation. We should seek to understand terrorists only to the degree that our understanding enables their persuaded or enforced compliance to an emergent condition of just, democratic peace.

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