“The success or failure from the point of view of the perpetrators of an attack like the bombing of the Boston Marathon depends on the over-reaction of those targeted. The 9/11 attacks succeeded as an act of terror because it led to the US fighting disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and sanctioning the use of torture and imprisonment without trial. It turned the US into a more authoritarian state in which civil liberties are curtailed or discounted, and spawned an elephantine and costly security apparatus.
It was depressing to see heavily armed Swat teams with assault rifles and body armour debouching from armoured vehicles in Boston as they used to do in Belfast. Curfews, which people in Baghdad and Fallujah have become inured to, suddenly become acceptable in Massachusetts. In contrast to Northern Ireland and Iraq, this is done to the applause of local inhabitants. The reason for Swat teams and curfews is understandable, but measures like these get people cumulatively accustomed to accepting without protest an authoritarian government.
Much of the initial impact of the Boston bombing and the pursuit of Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, will dissipate. Unfolding stories like this swiftly shift from being over-covered to under-covered. Journalists know the feeling of relief and frustration when editors back home decide that the story to which they have been giving wall-to-wall coverage, is old news.
Unfortunately, this often happens at the very moment when the long-term significance of what has happened is becoming clearer.”
Întregul articol, în The Independent.