Thursday, March 6, 2008

Blast Damages Times Square Military Recruiting Station

New York Recruiting Blast

It was a small explosive device, and there were no casualties from the blast, but this morning's Times Square bombing is both deeply troubling and extremely fascinating. Here's the background, from the Associated Press:

A small bomb caused minor damage to an empty military recruiting station in Times Square early Thursday, shaking guests in hotel rooms high above "the crossroads of the world."

The blast, which happened around 3:45 a.m., left a gaping hole in the front window and shattered a glass door, twisting and blackening its metal frame. No one was hurt. But Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the device, though unsophisticated, could have caused "injury and even death."

A witness saw a person on a bicycle wearing a backpack and a hood and acting suspiciously, but no one saw the device being placed in front of the recruiting center, authorities said at a news conference.

"If it is something that's directed toward American troops then it's something that's taken very seriously and is pretty unfortunate," said Army Capt. Charlie Jaquillard, who is the commander of Army recruiting in Manhattan.

He said no one was inside the station, where the Marines, Air Force and Navy also recruit.

The New York Times provided updates on the story throughout the day. Here's the latest:

The police said the explosive device involved in the Times Square blast this morning was “roughly similar” to the devices used in two earlier bombings at foreign consulates in Manhattan, in 2005 and 2007, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at an afternoon news conference. The device had been placed in an ammunition box like the kind that can be bought at a military supply store. Officials said that in today’s attack, a man bundled in a gray hooded jacket or sweatshirt and wearing a backpack was seen riding a bicycle around the recruiting station and acting suspiciously moments before the explosion. Video footage from a surveillance camera showed a bicyclist dismounting, approaching the recruitment center, then returning to the bike and riding away before the explosion occurs. (See related slide show.)

Be sure to check out the video (from WNBC) and the NYT slide show.

Should we read any "larger truths" into this story, that perhaps there's a seed of anarchist nihilism germanating in our midst? Probably not, although it's hard to dismiss the powerful symbolism of an attack on a prominent armed forces recruiting center in the heart of America's financial capital.

Captain Ed provides his analysis:

Given the escalating protests over military recruitment, it seems inevitable that people would bomb those who seek to protect the nation and fight our enemies....

Melanie Morgan just wrote about the escalating attacks on military recruiters a week ago. She lists several cities where recruitment centers have been attacked in varying degrees, usually limited to vandalism and threats of violence. These operations have not hurt military recruiting at all. Michelle wrote about this two years ago (and many times since), and quite obviously the attackers have grown frustrated that they haven’t frightened off enough people to slow down the flow of recruits.

Now the movement has decided to morph into domestic terrorism. Of course, the people responsible will claim that they bombed the office during the night to keep anyone from being hurt. That’s exactly the same kind of rationalization that people like the Weather Underground and the SLA used at first, anyway — that terrorism was justified by their politics. In fact, a few like William Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn still claim that.

And what exactly are the politics behind this? The US does not have a draft any longer. The only people joining the military are those who volunteer to do so. The Code Pink protesters who throw paint, rocks, and the unknown terrorists who throw bombs want to disarm the nation while it’s under attack by radical jihadists, and at the same time want to stop young men and women from exercisig their own choices. Since the Code Pink contingent and the nutcases who throw bombs can’t possibly win through the democratic process, they want to engage in intimidation — and now terrorism — to frighten people into acquiescence.

When this fails to achieve their goals, expect bombs to find human targets.

The Captain notes that that Daily Kos has called the bombing a Karl Rove, fear-mongering-style attack, designed to sow confusion and destabilization as part of an effort to tear down all the "good work" being done by John Edward and Barack Obama.


Note how the Kos piece fails to denounce the attack.

Again, while it's good not to read too much into this, it is fascinating - and informative - that recent incidents of domestic terrorism have been perpetrated by suspects associated with far left-wing ideologies (recall this week's ecoterrorist new-home burnings in Seattle).

Photo Credit: New York Times