24 Apr 2013

Boston bombings: western governments reaping what they sow?

“Eye for an eye”…”reap what you sow”…  it’s no wonder phrases from the Bible have long since mutated from general instructions in the Christian manual to aphorisms central to our language and many others: clichés.

Such phrases come to the fore – again – in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

According to US newspapers, the sole surviving suspect says the west’s invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan were major motivations for doing what he did. And without any outside, foreign assistance, according to US officials quoted in the Washington Post.

This fact will be played down or more likely ignored very largely by the government in Washington.

But it is important because it is a direct admission from the suspect himself that politics and western foreign policy are the driving forces for him rather than Islam, al-Qaeda, foreign connections and all the rest of it currently being pointed at in so many quarters despite the patent lack of meaningful evidence.

We’ve been here before. Look again at how the British government played down and ignored the fact that the 7/7 bombers in London did what they did because of the British role in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know this because they left videos telling us this, prior to blowing themselves up.

I would gently suggest that somebody making such a video is unlikely to lie about their motivation.

Against this telling evidence, the British government basically tried to pretend this had not happened and carried on as if the ever-more-lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were successful nation-building – rather than creating a new threat to us, as this uncomfortable evidence demonstrates.

More from Alex Thomson: The Boston and Canadian plots: questions that need answering

But no – they simply went on about democracy, opening schools and the “heroic” efforts of British forces against the backdrop of losing a war in the dust of Helmand and a motivation among these young men to bring war to the London underground.

The Russians have fared little better. You don’t see Vladimir Putin going out of his way to connect the Beslan and Moscow theatre atrocities with the mayhem his forces have visited upon the Chechen people time and again.

This is not to justify in any way  the atrocities of London, Boston and Moscow, it is simply to point out that the issue here is primarily political in the case of these violent, angry, disaffected young men.

Instead of politics we offer war.

Some governments appear to have taken a different course, right or wrong. Madrid suffered attacks on its transport system and curtailed its involvement in these foreign adventures.

All of us would do well to ponder such facts as the British government strains at the leash to pump arms into Syria.

Bombing our way out of al-Qaeda, which is more a mood or state of mind than a political organisation, seems to have achieved little thus far: lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the al-Qaeda mindset dispersed globally and Boston joining London, Madrid and countless other cities as we reap what we sow.

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