In Islamic theology, jihad warfare is fard kifaya, an obligation of the community as a whole but not of every individual believer. Jihad becomes fard ayn, obligatory on every individual Muslim to aid in some way, when a Muslim land is attacked. So what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote on the boat is consistent with traditional Islamic theology. It is unlikely, however, that anyone will notice that or consider its implications. Most will instead fasten on the fact that he enunciates a grievance, and assume that if the U.S. got out of Afghanistan, the jihad would be over. That kind of analysis (like so many others) stems from a fundamental (and usually willful) misunderstanding of the jihad doctrine. In defensive jihad, the grievances always shift, but the jihad imperative remains.
“Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left note in boat he hid in, sources say,” from CBS News, May 16 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
(CBS News) Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left a note claiming responsibility for the April 13 attack, reports CBS News senior correspondent John Miller.
Sources tell Miller that Tsarnaev wrote the note in the boat he was hiding in as police pursued him, and as he bled from gunshot wounds sustained in an earlier shootout between police and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The note, scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, said the bombings were retribution U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. “When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims,” the note added.
Dzhokar said he didn’t mourn older brother Tamerlan — the other suspect in the bombings — writing that by that point, Tamerlan was a martyr in paradise — and that Dzhokar expected to join him there.
Miller’s sources say the wall the note was written on was riddled with bullet holes from shots fired into the boat. The shots were fired after Dzhokhar came up through the tarp that was covering on the boat and a police officer watching that side of the boat thought Dzhokhar had another bomb.
According to Miller, the note will be a significant piece of evidence in any Dzhokar trial — it is “certainly admissible,” and paints a clear picture of the brothers’ motive, “consistent with what he told investigators while he was in custody,” Miller said Thursday on “CBS This Morning.”
Miller explained that while Dzhokar admitted many of the same details to authorities, those admissions came “during the time he was interrogated but before he was given his Miranda warning.” The note gives prosecutors supporting, clearly admissible evidence even if there is an fight over whether things he said before he was given his Miranda rights are admissible as evidence.
Investigators struggled without a clear claim of responsibility, Miller observes. It took days to learn the identity of the bombers, and there was no official claim of responsibility, which is unusual in these cases. As investigators move forward with the investigation, “the last big question remaining is going to be who else knew anything? Is it going to be the wife? Is it someone overseas?” Miller added.
The suspects didn’t plan to stop after the Boston bombings, authorities say. They intended to go to New York City and set off a device or devices in Times Square.
The brothers didn’t have well-developed plans for New York, but they still had intent, Miller says. So as Dzhokhar lay in the boat, he wanted to leave a message behind clearly supporting what the note says he and his brother had just done.
For a plot as organized as the one was for Boston, it seems odd that — with a choice of leaving behind a martyrdom video on a computer or a more formal claim of responsibility — the brothers had nothing prepared, Miller says. A larger terror organization ensures that such videos are made out of the country and are ready to launch after the attack.
It appears these guys cobbled their plot together themselves and didn’t have the organizational skills to plan out their end game, which would have included putting together a formal claim of responsibility.
So in the end, Miller concludes, the boat note was a way for Dzhokhar to get on the record as publicly claiming responsibility for the bombings.