Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Boat Note: Claims Wars Motivated Boston Bombing, In a Sign Of "Blowback"

The latest development in the Boston Marathon bombing answers some question but opens up entirely new lines of inquiry into the motivation of the attacks and what the response should be.

In a major development in establishing a motive to the attack, CBS News is reporting that alleged bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote a note in pen on the wall of the cabin of the boat he was hiding in during the massive manhunt that shut down much of the city of Boston last April.

The note supposedly says that the bombings at the Boston Marathon were retribution for the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the America's actions during the subsequent occupations. The note apparently compared the victims of the Boston bombing to the civilian’s deaths that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to an anonymous source, one line of the note was, "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims."


If this note turns out to be true it would back up a story that the Washington Post published back in April. In that story an unnamed government official claimed that Tsarnaev said that his brother and himself were driven to commit the attack due to the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some argued back when the Washington Post story first broke that this was a classic example of "blowback," a reaction to the conflict brought by the U.S. to the Middle East. Columnist Glenn Greenwald chronicled the four other attempted attacks that have been in the media spotlight and noticed that they all cited the U.S. foreign policy as a motivation. 

Reflecting on his findings Greenwald says, "As the attackers themselves make as clear as they can, it's not religious fanaticism but rather political grievance that motivates these attacks."

Does this supposed note from Tsarnaev make the Boston Bombing another example of blowback from U.S. foreign policy? Or it there some other reason? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.

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Gabriel Rodriguez

Gabriel Rodriguez is currently studying for a Masters in Applied Economics at Georgetown. He is a graduate of New College of Florida with a degree in Economics. He is interested in econometrics, statistical analysis, behavioral economics, and developmental economics.

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