Power Play

Lack of Leads on Boston Bombing Feeds Anxiety, Accusations

Lack of leads on Boston bombing feeds anxiety and accusations. Plus - Calculating costs on immigration deal and will there be a deal on gun control?


“Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American”

-- Headline on the liberal Web site Salon on a piece by columnist David Sirota arguing that if the bomber or bombers is not a white male protected by “privilege” that minority groups will suffer reprisals.

Imagine you were one of the organizers of the Oklahoma City Marathon scheduled for Friday. You’ve decided to proceed with the run despite the bombing of Boston’s celebrated race on Monday.


How worried should you be? Just as worried as the organizers of the 15 other races scheduled for this weekend? More worried because your race is part of the commemoration of a 1995 bombing that killed 168 people at the city’s federal building?

Well, that depends on who bombed Boston.

If it was, as many on the left believe and some on the left actually hope, an anti-government militant, the Oklahoma City organizers have every reason to worry. And there is lots of circumstantial evidence to encourage the hopes of the left.

The bombing took place on a Massachusetts holiday commemorating the first battles of the American Revolution, which was also Tax Day, the starting point for the Tea Party movement four years ago, and this week is the anniversary of not just the Oklahoma bombing but also the 20th anniversary of a federal raid that ended with the deaths of 82 members of a religious sect outside of Waco, Texas.

The botched raid by federal agents in Waco helped spur the Oklahoma City bomber, so a large gathering of people in OKC on the anniversary would be a high-value target.

And those in Oklahoma could get themselves worked into a mighty panic if they read the writers on the left who used the circumstantial evidence, combined with their desired outcome of the Boston investigation, to point to anti-government militants.

Liberals are unhappy that President Obama has so dramatically escalated the U.S. air war against Islamist radicals, arguing that substantial civilian casualties from Obama’s air strikes across the Middle East are speeding the rise of theocratic radicals in the region. Their chances for pressuring Obama to end his air campaign would decline if the Boston bomber were an Islamist militant.

Such a discovery would also tend to slow Obama’s ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan and would also decrease support for Obama’s call for “comprehensive” changes to the immigration system amid fears of allowing more immigrants from nations with Islamist movements.

But if the Boston bomber is an American, white, male, anti-government zealot, not only would the left’s policy aims be unmolested by public opinion, but other aims might also be achieved. Particularly a long-sought weapons ban currently stalled in Congress, as well as a more generalized shift in public opinion against those who peacefully protest and advocate against government intrusions.

The wishful thinking of some on the left and the conclusions thusly drawn would give Oklahoma City race organizers lots of reasons to worry.

But what if you were an organizer of the Army Marathon outside of Ft. Hood in Killeen, Texas on Saturday? How worried should you be?

Ft. Hood was the site of the only successful, large-scale terrorist attack since 9/11, as a dozen soldiers and one civilian were gunned down as they prepared to deploy to the war in Afghanistan. The accused perpetrator of the 2009 attack was an Army officer with ties to Islamist radicals, including an American cleric later killed as part of Obama’s air war. The accused Ft. Hood attacker also worshiped at the same mosque as two of the 9/11 hijackers.

And there’s just as much circumstantial evidence to suggest that Islamist militants were behind the Boston bombing. The target – a large crowd of civilians unconnected by anything but an interest in the race – is in keeping with Islamist terror bombings around the world. Like a sunny Tuesday in September of 2001, the timing of the attack could be a matter of opportunity and creating maximum panic, not a message itself.

And since the target wasn’t a government center or government personnel, it seems that the aim is to terrify the citizenry, not strike against the federal power structure.

And the bombs employed seem to have much in common with other devices used by Islamist militants around the world. Pressure cookers packed with pieces of metal have been used by Islamist terrorists far and wide, and may have been used in Boston.

So the folks getting ready for a big run outside of Ft. Hood have extra reason to worry, if the surmise of hawks in the war against Islamist militancy is correct. Some of the same hawks argue against Obama’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and more aggressive engagement in the Middle East. If they are proven right in Boston, it will help bolster their case for a more aggressive war footing.

Those on the left are right to worry about what would happen to Obama’s policies if the attack was part of the jihad against the West. After nearly 12 years without a successful bombing, Obama would feel huge pressure to ramp up, not wind down post-9/11 efforts.

And what if you are one of the planners of one of the more than two dozen other marathons? If the attacker is some deranged marathoner or another kind of unhinged mass murderer, is everybody unsafe?

Until there is a lead in the Boston case, all of the organizers and runners – the folks in Oklahoma, at Ft. Hood and everywhere else – will have extra reason to worry, extra anxiety and extra frustrations. And so will every American.

With fear turning into anger and political agendas intruding on the mass psychology of America, every day that goes by without answers as to who really is responsible for the Boston attack will further strain national unity.

Democrats in Congress have already invoked the bombing to attack reduced rates of federal spending. Several liberal and some conservative opinion merchants have been firing off speculative salvos of partisan invective, unable to restrain themselves any longer in a moment of mourning.

If there are no leads, things could get ugly very fast for a nation that was already anxious, polarized and pessimistic.

And Now, A Word From Charles

“The first World Trade Center attack, I think we had the guy who rented the car within a day.  If we have no news on this, I think there is going to be a real increase in anxiety in the country, a sense that it's slightly out of control.  We don't know who it is.  The way there was an appeal that they made earlier today to the public was rather worrying.  They've not really advanced after a day.  I think people are going to start worrying if nothing happens within a day or two.”

-- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News, and his POWER PLAY column appears Monday-Friday on FoxNews.com. Catch Chris Live online daily at 11:30amET  at  http:live.foxnews.com.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.