Foreign and Defense Policy, Terrorism

Really? ‘A law enforcement approach to terrorism’?

Image Credit: REUTERS

Image Credit: REUTERS

How is this a victory for traditional law enforcement? Two young brothers, lightly armed, killed several innocent civilians, wounded 170, killed an officer and wounded another, and shut down one of America’s great cities. We had a whole city trapped in its homes and paramilitary forces in its streets. Law enforcement alone means the nation lies vulnerable to attacks on soft targets and must expend enormous resources to catch the killers afterwards. A pre-emptive strategy based on intelligence and the use of force overseas seeks to prevent such attacks further from our shores. That option should be preferred by everyone compared to what we’ve seen in Boston these last five days.

46 thoughts on “Really? ‘A law enforcement approach to terrorism’?

  1. Lightly armed?

    Apparently a pressure cooker casserole is an amusement to a very real domestic terrorist threat.

    Very competently diffused by Janet Napolitano.

    Not.

    I remind you that a well armed citizenry is by far the best defense against this shit.

    • And how pray tell does any number of civilians with guns prevent a generically-dressed young man drop a backpack in/by a trash can then walk away. Then have it explode a couple of minutes later?

  2. It was not two people who shut down Boston but the law enforcement officials. Since when do Americans cower before two angry idiots? And who exactly would you attack? These guys were American citizens who learned much of what they did in the US.

    • The states that sanction these groups. The marathon bombers were part of a cel – several more of them were arrested in New Bedford that day. Terrorism is not rogue actions.

    • They are quite obviously not idiots. Nor are they cowards. I am not sure that I would say the city was cowering. Rather I would say the city was responding rationally to a very real threat. These men – neither idiots or cowards, but certainly mass murderers and almost certainly willing and ready to kill some more – were being hunted. While the hunt was in progress the people of the city were wise to stay out of the way.

    • Vangel is right, the lockdown did more harm than good. And the fact that a citizen found him and law enforcement’s efforts were proven ineffective is a good slap in the face to all those who said that they had to shut the city down. Criminals who have killed more people than this guy were apprehended without shutting down portions of a city.

      • Criminals who have killed more people than this guy were apprehended without shutting down portions of a city.

        Didn’t you find it strange that during the lockdown criminals were able to rob a 7-11 store? Where the hell were the cops?

  3. Mr. Yoo, it is OK to be conservative, but please get yourself up to the 21st Century. Yes, in this case, a victory for law enforcement. In other cases, like 9-11, the military option. We also have examples to go on in Spain and Britain, as well as a few other countries. It is still a work in progress. Thanks for the academic argument.

  4. I actually agree with Vangel. We’ve become cowering idiots. It reminds me of the DC sniper incident.

    we’re shutting down entire cities, schools, businesses, etc over a couple of modern-day Butch Cassidy types and Mr. Yoo here wants to do some more Neo-Con chest beating again.

    Mr Volpe correctly points out that it’s NOT all about America and that this kind of terrorism is – worldwide – yet none of the other countries see fit to attack the rest of the world when their country has a terrorist attack.

    what lunacy!

    I wonder how many innocent people were gunshot in the US during the time that Boston was shut down to “protect” people?

    • The problem is Islam and only Islam, and we ALL know it. Even those on these threads know it is the case that Islam trumps all of life’s gifts to the followers. They do not want the same for their children as we do. While enjoying life here they despise our immorality, and have their “holy” book instructing them in hatred and supremacist ways.
      No one has to “go to war” to fight this overseas. Iran can be taken care of with a 30-45 day bombing campaign. The Saudi’s, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan can have their aid pulled etc..
      There is just so much more we can do. What message do you suppose would be sent if we spent the next year revoking ALL visa’s of Muslims currently in the system? Either work visa’s, travel, student ALL! Sending ALL non naturalized Muslims home?
      Recall all Ambassadors from Muslim countries without explanation. Much more could be done!

      • no.. that’s WHACKY guy. There are 1.6 BILLION Muslims in the world – about 25% of the world population.

        The fact that a few of them are terrorists is no more or less relevant than our own non-Muslim gun-inspired mass murderers or similar in Africa or Spain.

        the VAST MAJORITY of the 1.6 BILLION Muslims in the world want the same future for their kids as we do and what you are spouting is nothing less than racial hatred guy.

        do you remember the “yellow hordes”

        http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/yellow_horde

        we cannot seem to get away from the “us against them” mentality in this world, can we?

        we just have to have monolithic evil-doers to blame everything on.

      • yeh too bad we’re americans, not nazis.

        amazing how you have more in common with the iranian theocracy than our constitutional values.

  5. In theory, mister Yoo’s solution works.
    In reality, we already have intelligence networks and the use of force overseas to prevent further attacks on our shores.
    The response in Boston was appropriate and effective.

    • Sorry, but I don’t even see how it works in theory… invading some unnamed country (maybe Chechnya? – let’s ask Putin if it’s ok) is going to prevent a situation like the Boston bombing? That’s crazy talk.

  6. In response, the government wants to make gun ownership for law-abiding citizens by having more in-depth background checks, but grants special access to the U.S. for Arab students without such background checks. Granted, in the Boston bombings, the perpetrators were Muslims from a non-Arab nation one of whom left the U.S. for six months to visit an Islamo-fascist hotbed and was allowed to return without an extensive background check.

    Why are natural born Americans considered more dangerous than legal or illegal imports?

    • Given the power of the presidency, shouldn’t we have effective and background checks there first?

      Actually, how about background checks that are made public for all politicians?

    • Because statistically legal immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate than legal born Americans. But then that does not fit with your worldview does it?

      Reading the comments since this attack, it’s pretty disgusting to be associated with you “conservatives”

      • The people who owned the boat in the backyard were immigrants. When the Sandy Hook killer got splashed on screens nationwide, he was not called a Christian Terrorist or a White Terrorist. Tim McVey was never called a Militia Terrorist or a right-wing terrorist. Abortion clinic bombers aren’t called Catholic Terrorists or Fundamentalist Terrorists. It is a label we give the other. It is racist to the core.
        Conversely, if the Marathon Bomber were named John Robinson, there would be no talk of trying him as an enemy combatant. Racism again.
        In times of stress, we revert. Let us remember ourselves.

  7. A few thoughts:

    In a perverse way, if we have become a nation of “cowering idiots”, then we have nothing but more “unconventional” law enforcement such as “the Boston occupation” coming, because that is perhaps what “do something” governments will want to do and that is all they would be able to do at that point. (Some courageous contrarian voices may try push back –less obsession with and aggradizing of acts objectively limited acts of violence, less militarization, and more traditional law enforcement — but I doubt they will prevail)

    Second, and perversely, if “unconventional law enforcement” is all we are comfortable doing, how is that going to help us when the perpetrators are better able to (actually able to) draw support from states and organizations (which at some level of capacity must be assumed to be operating under the cover of the first) better able to raise the stakes to what would be a serious threat — i.e., what nodoby wants to talk about, access to weapons of mass destruction, not pressure cookers.

    Finally, there is more to be said about the political strategy of desperately wanting to change the focus from a focus on international terrorism to a more “balanced approach”. Many of those who want to switch the conversation to the the domestic front appear uninterested in discussing whether domestics like Bill Ayres and Kathy Boudin should be even labelled (former) terrorists and if so how should society see them historically and for ever. Why couldn’t Brother Number 2′s future hold the potential of being a faculty member at a university in Boston or a Presidential advisor?

    • Bill Ayres was a vandal. I know it doesn’t suit those who like to throw around words indiscriminately, but the Weather Underground took care to limit their damage to property.
      Not excusing it, just tired of the exaggerations and lies.

  8. In this case, by your implication, we should have been gunning down ten and fifteen year old kids in Chechnya before they can get a chance at taking shots at us.

    Brilliant.

  9. Let’s also remember that it was a private citizen who spotted the fugitive that the law enforcers missed on their “thorough search ” of the area. How does one miss a huge boat covered in wrap in someone’s back yard? Let’s be grateful for the second amendment.

  10. US had over 14,000 murders in 2011 according to the FBI. These didn’t cause cities to be closed down and regular law enforcement to be challenged – why should any other crime?

    Stop giving terrorists what they want – terror – and undermine them by treating them as mundane, unremarkable criminals.

    • yup – way over the top on “terrorism”.. it’s like we’re a bunch of cowering simpletons… who can do nothing but affirm what the terrorist want us to do.

      LORD!

      How many non-Muslim mass murders have there been in the US since 911?

      we’ve lost our minds. Back in the 50′s, it was the “yellow hordes” that were going to come and get us.

      now the latest boggeman de jure is “muslim terrorists”.

      and of course, we have our friends on the fringe who say it’s time to go invade a countries again…

      • yup – way over the top on “terrorism”.. it’s like we’re a bunch of cowering simpletons… who can do nothing but affirm what the terrorist want us to do.

        But that is what you seem to be, cowering simpletons. The way I see it the Rubicon was clearly crossed by the authorities in the aftermath of the bombing. Armoured vehicles in the streets. Cops everywhere. Citizens forced to stay at home. Businesses told that they must close. All without any effect because it was a private citizen who found the guy. And as the information comes in we find that the FBI knew all about these guys but was too incompetent to stop them.

  11. Use of force overseas? Are you retarded? THAT is what got us into this problem in the first place! Who bombs Switzerland? NOBODY!

    • True!

      Meanwhile John Yoo is trying to convince us to go kill people overseas in the name of preventing future events which may or may not occur. Yay pre-crime and sanctioning the murder of foreign children; seeing as the bomber was 9 years old when he moved to the states.

  12. How is this even an argument? A single paragraph cheerleading preemptive warfare and a police state approach to the home front is not persuasive as a policy argument. At least when Mr. Yoo argued in favor of torturing people held without trial, he tried to give reasons for why that would be a desirable outcome. This is just a pronouncement and nothing more.

  13. He doesn’t even say what he’s replying too or who made the “victory for traditional law enforcement” comment. Apparently we are just supposed to assume that some journalist who hates America said this and accept Yoo’s assertions that we’ll be safer if we violate more rights.

  14. What a stupid argument for more wasteful defense spending overseas. These two guys were living here, in the USA. We could obliterate Iraq, and Afghanistan, and these two Boston nut cases could have done what they did. So maybe we should obliterate Chechnya next?

    There was a time we faced the Societ Union, a power that had a blue-water navy, ICBMs, a KGB, ballistic submarines, and bombers on alert. 3 million men in uniform.

    Now the Soviets are dead, but John Yoo is screaming about two guys armed with pressure cookers in Boston. Yoo needs to take a longer look at the world.

    Guys armed with pressure cookers are not a threat to America.

    • Guys armed with pressure cookers are not a threat to America.

      Ironically, armoured carriers on the streets are as freedom is lost at home. Doesn’t that mean that the terrorists are winning?

      • yes. the terrorists goals are to change our country into one in which we are afraid of our own freedom and demand that we give it up so we can be protected from whackos with pressure cookers.

        we went through all of this with the yellow and red hordes a few decades back but back then we did not have a 24/7 news cycle or the internet or cell phones.

        Now, we communicate with the speed of light and behave in much the way that herds of animals behave when a coyote shows up….

        this is what we are becoming….

        • yes. the terrorists goals are to change our country into one in which we are afraid of our own freedom and demand that we give it up so we can be protected from whackos with pressure cookers.

          But that is the problem Larry; it is not the terrorists but Americans that have changed the country as they give up their freedom and build a police state. I thought that you guys were a lot better than that.

          • It isn’t all that bad. You can be surgical about this. We have to know when someone looks up bomb making on the internet. We have to corroborate that with interest in radical politics. We need confirmation by looking at their purchases. We can do it the same way we detect credit card theft. Pattern recognition programming. Then and only then we can get a search warrant. That’s all. No Patriot Act needed. If there is no pattern, delete the intel.

          • It isn’t all that bad. You can be surgical about this. We have to know when someone looks up bomb making on the internet.

            Let’s stop here. Do you have young kids? I do. They love science and are always looking at books like, Theo Gray’s Mad Science: Experiments You Can do At Home – But Probably Shouldn’t. Inside the books there are recipes that tell them how to make thermite devices that can burn through steel, mix phosphorous with other dangerous materials that can explode, create explosive substances, etc. Are we going to spend money investigating everyone who likes science or are we going to limit the study of science to a certain class of people known to be of good character? And who pays for all this surveillance when you already have almost every dime that comes in as personal income tax into security related activities?

            We have to corroborate that with interest in radical politics.

            Aren’t most teenagers radical lefties? Do we follow all of them or just those that happen to have Muslim parents?

            We need confirmation by looking at their purchases.

            But it takes no special materials to make dangerous weapons. I used to make gunpowder when I was in grade seven because I thought that it was fun to make fireworks. When I figured out that I liked having all my fingers I gave that up. In the case of the US you don’t even have to make gunpowder because there is a lot of ammo available everywhere and plenty of fireworks that can be used to make all kinds of dangerous things. In my engineering class we had a chemistry professor who told us how to make a very deadly dirty bomb without having to use nukes. Kids showed how they could bring down the local power grid with some aluminium paper cardboard rolls and some pressurized air.

            The number of dangerous things that can happen is infinite. If we run scared because we do not have the guts to look after ourselves and want some special police forces to run our lives we give into what the terrorists want in the first place. From where I stand the biggest supporters of the terrorists ultimate goal are scared American Conservatives and well meaning but stupid Liberals. The way to defeat them is freedom, not fear.

            We can do it the same way we detect credit card theft. Pattern recognition programming. Then and only then we can get a search warrant. That’s all. No Patriot Act needed. If there is no pattern, delete the intel.

            George Orwell could not have imagined Americans running that scared. If you give up your liberty so willingly then why fight them in the first place? Sorry but I will take common sense and courage over blind panic any day.

          • Such silly ideas. People look things up these days on the internet, not books. No, most youth are not liberal, neither is Al Qaeda, unless you just want to divest liberalism of its real meaning and throw it around as an insult.
            There is a path between resignation and the police state, between giving up on prevention and engaging in such authoritarian measures as to make the USA unrecognizable. It takes intelligence, insight, nuance and moderation. Doesn’t make for entertaining rhetoric, and will not result in absolute safety, but can help a great deal.

          • Such silly ideas. People look things up these days on the internet, not books.

            So? There are millions of Youtube videos on science that give kids all kinds of information that could be used for violent purposes. Almost all kids have seen such videos. How will you pay to investigate all of them.

            No, most youth are not liberal, neither is Al Qaeda, unless you just want to divest liberalism of its real meaning and throw it around as an insult.

            Global warming; political correctness; sensitivity; gay rights; the environment. Most kids are lefties and support what many would consider radical actions. They have no problem with spiking trees, breaking windows in banks, or sabotaging utilities. But few actually do it because common sense intervenes.

            There is a path between resignation and the police state, between giving up on prevention and engaging in such authoritarian measures as to make the USA unrecognizable.

            Who said anything about resignation? Not being afraid is not the same as giving up. It is the opposite.

            It takes intelligence, insight, nuance and moderation. Doesn’t make for entertaining rhetoric, and will not result in absolute safety, but can help a great deal.

            Giving up your liberty does not help at all. Like I said, I expect more of most Americans and expect to get it eventually. Few people will be running scared and put up with a loss of personal freedom for very long.

          • re: Americans changing the their own country independent and separate from increased terrorism-inspired measures.

            you seem to believe that people would be wanting more and more security even without the terrorist attacks, right? Not sure I agree.

            My view is that without the terrorist attacks, a lot more people would not be demanding more security even if it costs more freedom.

            the terrorism is driving more people to be more willing to give up freedom in exchange for security.

            and that’s two explicit goals of terrorism – increased restrictions and economic harm that results.

            perhaps you see this as just the same conundrum, eh?

            I just reject the idea that people naturally want more restrictions and less freedom… they’re driven there by these spectacular 24/7 news cycle events but if we started seeing police roadblocks every day like seen in some totalitarian countries, I think people would rebel.

            the irony is they are apparently find with it if there are two guys with pressure cookers running amok.

          • you seem to believe that people would be wanting more and more security even without the terrorist attacks, right? Not sure I agree.

            Well, I don’t agree. I am saying that people are being scared by the usual suspects. When one guy can close down an entire city the country is in a lot worse shape than I thought. I have been a huge fan of Americans and the principles on which America was founded. Sadly, most native-born Americans don’t really care about anything but jingoism.

            My view is that without the terrorist attacks, a lot more people would not be demanding more security even if it costs more freedom.

            Most people do not demand that their e-mail is being read and their telephone conversations are recorded. They do not demand that you occupy Iraq and Afghanistan or defend Germany, Korea, or Japan. They certainly do not know that all of the money that comes in as personal income tax is spent on military related activity.

            the terrorism is driving more people to be more willing to give up freedom in exchange for security.

            What terrorism? If two pressure cookers all that is needed to take away freedom what is left to defend?

            and that’s two explicit goals of terrorism – increased restrictions and economic harm that results.

            Why should Americans help terrorists meet their goals?

            perhaps you see this as just the same conundrum, eh?

            I see no conundrum. I just see cowardice.

            I just reject the idea that people naturally want more restrictions and less freedom… they’re driven there by these spectacular 24/7 news cycle events but if we started seeing police roadblocks every day like seen in some totalitarian countries, I think people would rebel.

            I took my kids to NY City last year. They could not believe all the cops everywhere and all the checkpoints in Manhattan. My friends could not believe the delays at the airports and how rude the TSA people were. Or the fact that they have to take off their shoes.

          • re: you seem to believe that people would be wanting more and more security even without the terrorist attacks, right? Not sure I agree.

            Well, I don’t agree. I am saying that people are being scared by the usual suspects. When one guy can close down an entire city the country is in a lot worse shape than I thought. I have been a huge fan of Americans and the principles on which America was founded. Sadly, most native-born Americans don’t really care about anything but jingoism.”

            but Vangel – did common crooks close down entire cities before terrorism?

            re: “My view is that without the terrorist attacks, a lot more people would not be demanding more security even if it costs more freedom.

            Most people do not demand that their e-mail is being read and their telephone conversations are recorded. They do not demand that you occupy Iraq and Afghanistan or defend Germany, Korea, or Japan. They certainly do not know that all of the money that comes in as personal income tax is spent on military related activity.”

            they go along with it initially until they realize that it’s costing them more than the risk.

            re: the terrorism is driving more people to be more willing to give up freedom in exchange for security.

            What terrorism? If two pressure cookers all that is needed to take away freedom what is left to defend?

            yup… but people are being stupid – we actually agree on that. Quite a few people AGREE that the city should have been locked down.

            re: “and that’s two explicit goals of terrorism – increased restrictions and economic harm that results.

            Why should Americans help terrorists meet their goals?”

            they do so unknowingly – not really understanding what the explicit mission of terrorism is – if they thought about it – they’d refuse to let terrorism do this to us as a nation.

            re: perhaps you see this as just the same conundrum, eh?

            I see no conundrum. I just see cowardice.”

            well.. herd-like instincts to bogeymen….

            re: I just reject the idea that people naturally want more restrictions and less freedom… they’re driven there by these spectacular 24/7 news cycle events but if we started seeing police roadblocks every day like seen in some totalitarian countries, I think people would rebel.

            I took my kids to NY City last year. They could not believe all the cops everywhere and all the checkpoints in Manhattan. My friends could not believe the delays at the airports and how rude the TSA people were. Or the fact that they have to take off their shoes.”

            we agree more than we disagree. I just think people have become stupid about “threats” and want ‘protection’ – no matter what – until they find out they’ve given up more than they thought.

            it’s the human condition but in the internet age – we act more like herds of animals than human beings.

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