The Boston Massacre — and my Son’s 4th-grade Classmate, Jahar

The younger mass killer is nicknamed Jahar.  My son and he were in the 4th grade together and both our kids — one of whom is still at the high school — knew him there. Though they had never been friends.

Jahar wasn’t a “loser” but performed well in both academics and athletics.

My wife remembers him in the fourth grade.  My son has just showed me his fourth-grade class picture, where Jahar has a nice smile.

My kids and their friends on Facebook are wondering on their pages what kind of malign change twisted his mind and his morals after they knew him in high school. They say he has become an utterly different person.

Many people are now blaming the malign influence of his older brother and a broken home since those two years ago.

Somehow violence has to end in this world.  But I wish Americans on the left wouldn’t constantly bring up drones and Gitmo, or the Iraq war  and other — deplorable and foolish — acts to be sure — as a way somehow to excuse this horrible act of terror.

The biggest usual mistake  is the failure fully to see that in the Middle East that death usually comes from fanatics killing their innocent neighbors. Often killing Shia. Often children. At hospitals and schools, and at busy markets and Red Crescents and Red Crosses.

I opposed the Iraq War not because it was immoral but foolish.  Saddam was a butcher. But there was nothing we could do about it because we cannot police the world.

There was nothing we could do about the Taliban either, blowing up Buddha statues and shooting girls who want educations.

We are not the world’s policeman.”

We could, of course, have intercepted the Al Qaeda early enough, before 9/11, and possibly in Afghanistan at Tora Bora–without the Iraq war diversion and folly.

We didn’t start it with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. They did, on 9/11, and at American embassies before 9/11. How often does the Left need reminding?

Even so, war was a self-destructive impossibility.

There is so much PC-speak in the world.  It is the other side of the coin, on the other side of the spectrum, of right-wing Israeli Hasbara.

As an an example of PC-speak, take the Iraq War. It was foolish and  counterproductive, but still we overthrew Saddam and crowds of Iraqi people flattened quickly his iconic statue.

But no “mission accomplished.”  It was folly.

As part of the folly of being there: It was not America that protracted the Iraq war, and the slaughter, but Al Qaeda and other sectarian fanaticism in Iraq — deliberately killing tens of thousands with car and truck bombs and other death-dealing against Muslim civilians.

(And against U.S. soldiers–who should never have been there.)

Again including against Red Crosses and Crescents and hospitals and primary schools and bus stops and markets and the often targeted Shia Muslim civilians– and always with the more civilians dead the better.

It was Al Qaeda in Iraq and other sectarian fanatics that kept on killing Shia and moderate Sunni and nonsectarian Muslims who were trying to build democratic and strong civil institutions and infrastructure. It was the same kind of terrorists– trying to destroy these and along with as many civilians — and Americans — as possible.

It was — and is — they that protracted the war in Iraq, and still generates deliberate mass violence against their civilians, even with America gone.

It was — and is — the Taliban that protracts the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by mass terror against their own innocent Muslim people.

Otherwise both wars would have ended quickly and there would have long been peace and safety and civil and democratic life. The United States didn’t protract the wars, and is not now with the drones.  It is Al Qaeda and the Taliban that bear full responsibility.  Still: Out of prudence: The United States needs to get all the way out and should have never gone in.

The Third World always has had a problem with civil — including more egalitarian and gender-equal — democratic infrastructure.

But only in the Middle East does it seem deliberately opposed and fought by violent murderous fanatics.

This, rather than, as most of the rest of the third world, the people simply being in poverty and in venal corruption and having trouble building these strong civil and democratic institutions.

And this leads, in parts of the Third World, to piracy at sea and violent drug cartels. And over so much of the rest, omnipresent corruption and high amounts of rape, human trafficking, slavery, and other violent crime.

Western policies and companies often do more harm than help. But we do so little —  relative — harm compared to the Lord of the Flies hells that homegrown fanatics, drug cartels, pirates, and omnipresent venal everyday corruption create for their own people.

We in the United States are naive innocents to be there. Where the violent extremist fanaticism is, we just need to get out.

But how many of my friends and allies on the liberal left fully understand this, and instead prefer to impute to us not naiveté but criminal culpability, preferring to blame the US for everything including the murdering fanatics in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq and elsewhere?

Again most of it has been caused by the Saddam, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda and its affiliates and copycat deliberate-civilian-mass-killers – where the most maimed and dead constitutes the biggest “operations success.”

I wish we could break out of two things.

On the one hand, complicity with current Right-Wing Hasbara and the occupation and expansionism and annexationism and indiscriminate arrests and imprisonments– and Israel apparently officially either tolerates or turns a blind eye to much of this; and rogue settler violence.

And, on the other hand, liberal-left politically correct blindness.

It needs repeating: What we are doing abroad with the drones and the earlier Iraq War was foolish and naive we should not being doing it, but the violence has not been not our fault, but that of Al Qaeda-type killers of innocent Muslims who instigate civil war and death of the innocent.

On the Right we find Nachba-denial and occupation and expansionism; on the Left we find whitewashers of Hamas and Hezbollah and Al Qaeda and despotic governments as in Syria and their many offshoots and variants carrying out everything from rogue car- and truck-bombing to state-sponsored gassing of the people.

In the West many of my political friends and allies on the liberal and left make me think back to history books on the Stalinist/Gulag whitewashers of the 1930s 30s-50s.

How simple it would seem to understand that we in the United States — both for our own security and international morality — should do more for East-West rapprochement.  And should end the drones, end Gitmo, and mind more our own business in the world and respect all liberal expressions of religion and human rights and peace and justice and the safety of innocent people at home and everywhere.

But we learned in Vietnam that we cannot be the world’s police. We need to re-learn it.

 As for our own police—we have never been prouder of them than today.

About the Author
James Adler was born in Kentucky, now works in university libraries, and feels especially and intensely bound up with the fate of the Jewish people in the last hundred years, especially the Shoah, the rise of Israel "out of the ashes," and the accidental and mutually tragic collision with the Palestinians in the early and middle of the 20th century, continuing through today. He is happily married and the father of two teenagers.