One for the Citizens

Before we get too far away from the Marathon bombing, it needs to be acknowledged that this was yet another incident in which the average American proved crucial.


It wasn't overweight and aging police Tac squads, lumbering around in their armor through a shut-down city, clumped together as perfect targets for an IED, crowded four to a doorway as they spoke to residents, with no sign of lookouts or adequate cover. The Boston PD was lucky they were not up against trained terrorists. A couple of Quds or Hezb'allah operatives and the casualty list would have been much higher. The department's methods need to be thoroughly overhauled.


It wasn't the FBI, who succeeded in overlooking, for years on end, the fact that not only were the boys terror suspects, but also Mom, their uncles, aunts, and cousins, Genghis the dog and Kublai the cat, and half the people in their home village, including the guy that cleans the mosque. This marks something of a royal flush or bases-loaded home run in incompetent intelligence, something that required actual skill and will be difficult to surpass. We can top this off with the sudden Mirandizing of Dzhokhar just as FBI questioning was starting to get answers. Reports suggest that an FBI agent raced out to get a sympathetic judge to handle it. Anybody want to bet that the agent in question had "Mohammed" in his name? One thing for sure: there will be no worthwhile investigation or punishment involving any of this.


As for Homeland Defense, there is no sign that they were involved at any level whatsoever. All that we know is that Aunt Janet is too busy to answer any questions. So we'll just tiptoe away and not bother her.


No -- it was a handful of ordinary Joes who held the fort in this one. They include marathon spectator Bob Leonard and runner David Green, both of whom provided clear photos of the Tsarkaevs going about their filthy business (along with Green's friend Jason Lubin, who closely examined Green's photos to discover Dzhokhar Tsarnaev). The "official" photos were blurred and fuzzy to the extent that they enabled the legacy media to claim the younger Tsarnaev was a "white man," playing out their delusion that the Tea Party, acting on the encouragement of Messrs. Limbaugh and Beck, was behind the massacre. Left up to them, we might still be looking over our shoulders for people wearing tricorns.


It was Watertown homeowner David Henneberry, and not the roving phalanxes of armored Boston PD praetorians, who noticed that the cover on his boat had been disturbed, with a closer glance revealing bloodstains. The cops then took over, shooting up the boat with dozens (some reports say "hundreds") of rounds only to discover at last that Dzhokar was in fact unarmed.


Nor should we forget "Danny," the carjacking victim who smartly left his cellphone switched on in his SUV so that police could track it.


This course of events has become commonplace since this conflict broke out in 2001. Flight 93, the Richard Reid "shoe-bomber" incident, the 2009 Detroit pantybomber incident, and the attempted Times Square bombing were all forestalled by average citizens intervening at the crucial moment. While the FBI, along with various local police forces such as the NYPD, have broken up a number of conspiracies before they went into action, they have done less well with attacks in progress. At the narrow passage, when it's one-on-one against the terrorists, it is American citizens who take point.


This is not the way that government would have it. Since the Bush administration, the federal government's response to any terrorist action has been to throw in another few billion and hire another layer of personnel, apparently in hopes that a tidal wave of yoyos will eventually drown the Jihadis.  We're supposed to relax and shop while Aunt Janet and her merry men protect us.


That great Christian leader, Barack Obama, has taken things a step farther by attempting to fight the conflict while pretending it's not going on. Obama apparently really believed that his name, his Islamic... "experience," is the harmless word, I suppose, his African relations, and a few paragraphs of multiculturalist drivel would make terrorism go away.  When this failed to occur, he attempted to hold the Jihadis at arm's length through a tactically and morally questionable use of drones (anybody who didn't feel a twinge of conscience on learning that Anwar  al-Awlaki's sixteen-year-old son was killed alongside him has no soul), while underplaying Jihadi actions in the U.S. and elsewhere with the eager assistance of the media. Massacres in the U.S. became "workplace violence," massacres overseas were blamed on loser would-be filmmakers.


Eager for a return to normality in the midst of a seemingly endless war, Americans allowed themselves to be fooled. Many -- probably most -- yearned for the pre-9/11 world with a longing that was constant and heartfelt. They truly wanted a return to the Clintonian 90s, the "holiday from history," when we could ignore things like WTC '93, the Khobar Towers, the Dar es Salaam and Nairobi embassies, and the USS Cole, pushing aside the fact these atrocities were the milestones leading to our current predicament.


The master of pretence catered to that impulse, and many have bought it.  To these people, the Marathon bombing came as another shock, just as if 9/11 (and Fort Hood, and the Seattle Jewish center, and Little Rock, and...) never happened. Further attacks this summer will give them more opportunities to look puzzled and frightened at the same time.  If they're lucky, their more alert brethren will be there to step in.


Who knows -- if Obama and his handpicked enablers hadn't gone to such efforts to dissemble, somebody in Boston might have noticed the Tsarnaevs acting oddly, walking away from their dumped shoulder bags, or even wondered about the abandoned bags themselves, lying at the exact spots where they'd do the most damage. (Israelis are conditioned to do this with abandoned bags and packages, and succeed quite well at it. Such means do not make up a large element of Palestinian terror.)  


This incident has taught us quite a lot. That Chechnya is a front in the war on terror. That we have allowed entire tribes of potential killers free entry into the United States. That Jihadis feel nothing in the way of gratitude for being welcomed, assisted, and catered to in this country.


But what we have learned over and above all else is that the war goes on, and that no one, god-man though he may be, can make it go away for long. We need to rebuckle our armor, reawaken our alertness, and relearn the habits from the war's early days. The average American, the man and woman in the street, have proven to be the most effective force in the struggle against Jihadi terror. Eventually, somebody will wake up to this. It's unlikely the name will be Janet, or Eric, or Barack.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.