A few hours after the blasts in Boston, what do we know? Two very small IED were detonated near the finish line. The devices were sited approximately one hundred metres apart along the race route, both on the same side of the street. There were a few seconds’ delay between the explosions, with the device nearest the finish line functioning first. Causalties, at this stage, are 3 dead and many injured. Race time was over 4 hours.
What can we deduce?
This was not about mass casualties. Footage of the blasts and post-blast scenes show there were hardly any windows broken. Even the flimsy crowd-control barriers were hardly damaged. And a cameraperson only a few metres away from the first blast kept his or her feet and kept focus on the scene. So the devices were small and were initiated well after the peak crowd period (assuming the crowd peaks around the time the leaders finish, just after 2 hours). It almost seems designed to minimise the number of deaths.
That might have been the bombers’ intent, or it might simply reflect incompetence.
And I know that means nothing to those killed, hurt and bereaved today.
Who profits from this? The list is too long to count right now. Domestic lunatics in their many guises? An enemy probing America’s defences, testing responses ahead of a larger attack? Al-Qa’eda seeking to draw America back into foreign wars to complete their aim of bankrupting the West? North Korea marking Kim Il Sung’s birthday? Or one of the powers that profited from Western entanglement in the War on Terror? It could be anyone at this stage.
We shall see, I have no doubt.