Report: Boston Bombing Suspects Motivated by US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has reportedly told interrogators that he and his brother were motivated by the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Washington Post cites multiple anonymous US officials who said 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan were not part of any terrorist organization, but rather self-radicalized militants who strongly objected to US policies and actions towards the Muslim world. Tsarnaev is alleged to have specifically mentioned the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people. After deposing the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime that had harbored Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for 9/11 and replacing it with a pro-US government, US troops remained in-country to bolster the new regime and fight an insurgency by the ousted Taliban and scattered al-Qaeda militants.
A year and a half after invading Afghanistan, a massive US-led force attacked Iraq over claims of weapons of mass destruction and links between al-Qaeda and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, there were neither any WMDs nor any connections between Hussein and 9/11. After the March 2003 invasion the Hussein regime fell quickly, but the US-led coalition found itself fighting a tenacious insurgency for the next eight years. American forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, leaving a nation devastated by two decades of war and economic sanctions.
While the death toll from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is difficult to ascertain (former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once declared that “we don’t do body counts on other people”), estimates of at least 112,000 Iraqi civilians and at least 16,000 Afghan civilians killed are widely accepted as low-end figures. In Afghanistan, the vast majority of civilians have not been killed by US or allied forces but rather by Taliban fighters and other militants.
In addition to killing many thousands of innocent civilians, US military and intelligence personnel have committed widespread documented atrocities that have fueled anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world and beyond. Among theses are: murder of innocent civilians, murder of detainees in US custody, torture, rape of innocent civilians, rape of male and female detainees, intentional false imprisonment of innocent civilians, corpse desecration, and destruction and desecration of Korans.
It is not known whether any of the above-listed incidents contributed to the radicalization of the Boston bombing suspects.