The Corner

Because They’re Losers

So far today, the only person who’s said something unarguably true is the uncle of the bombers. When asked why his nephews had committed such a crime, he said: Because they’re “losers.” It’s too early to say if this event represents the arrival of the Chechnya war in America, or whether there’s a radical jihadi cell among Boston’s Chechens, or any of the other theories that are flying around with absolutely no substantiation. (I imagine that answering some of those questions is among the many reasons the FBI would prefer to take the remaining bomber alive.) But these kinds of young males, who drift though life with grandiose dreams of boxing victories, picking up a random night-college course here and there, and never growing up in any way, are the perfect foot soldiers for terrorist appeals that promise glory.

In this, they’re not that different from school shooters, who kill for the glory of being remembered, while avenging childish hurts and resentments they themselves barely understand. This could be part of a bigger plot; it could also be a freak occurrence, a tragedy hatched by two dysfunctional brothers. Either way, the soft muck of a culture of perpetual adolescence and of low expectations — including the collapse of any expectation that immigrants assimilate — is the perfect breeding ground for dim young men who will walk into crowds with bombs in the hope of being remembered for something other than failure.

— Thomas Nichols is a professor at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.

Most Popular

Elections

Stick a Fork in O’Rourke

If, as I wrote last week here, Joe Biden may save the Democratic party from a horrible debacle at the polls next year, Beto O’Rourke may be doing the whole process a good turn now. Biden, despite his efforts to masquerade as the vanguard of what is now called progressivism, is politically sane and, if ... Read More
Education

Ivy-League Schools Wither

A  number of liberal bastions are daily being hammered — especially the elite university and Silicon Valley. A Yale and a Stanford, or Facebook and Google, assume — for the most part rightly — that each is so loudly progressive that the public, federal and state regulators, and politicians would of ... Read More
Elections

In Defense of the Electoral College

Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined a growing chorus within the Democratic party in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Speaking at a forum in Mississippi on Monday night, Warren said that she hoped to ensure that “every vote matters” and proposed that “the way we can make that happen is ... Read More
National Security & Defense

In Defense of the Iraq War

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict -- countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and ... Read More