We are in the midst of the least-suspenseful investigation ever launched by American law enforcement. Hundreds of investigators are seeking leads around the world to discover the motive of the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
This probe is considered a foray into the unknown, and perhaps the unknowable. “Do you have any clearer idea,” the host of “Face the Nation,” Bob Schieffer, asked Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, “of what the motive of these two young men was?” Patrick replied, “Not yet, Bob, and it’s hard for me and for many of us to imagine what could motivate people to harm innocent men, women and children in the way that these two fellows did.”
Yes, what could ever possess a nice chap who was posting jihadist videos on YouTube to go wrong? How could the older brother Tamerlan, suspected by the Russian government of radicalism and interviewed by the FBI at Moscow’s urging, get mixed up in a terror plot? Who would have thought Tamerlan, known for haranguing people at the local mosque for their insufficient zeal, might lead his brother on a rampage? When has it happened before that young Muslim men beholden to an extreme ideology have visited mayhem and murder on innocents?
The investigation into the Boston bombers won’t uncover some convoluted motive like in a hard-boiled detective novel when it turns out that whoever hired Philip Marlowe or Lew Archer is actually in on the crime. It won’t have surprising twists like in an Agatha Christie story. It will be wholly predictable. The motive will begin and end with radical Islam and hatred of America. Everything else will be details.
— Columnist Rich Lowry, writing Monday.