Boston: an over-reaction?

Stephen Walt on how a city was closed down:

The economic cost has been enormous (by one estimate about $1 billion), and it sets a worrisome precedent if a 19 year old fugitive can paralyse an entire metropolitan region.  We didn’t shut down DC when the snipers were operating there, and we didn’t shut down Los Angeles when a renegade and heavily armed police officer was a fugitive.  This response also belies our insistence that we’re tough and we won’t be intimidated.  On the contrary: we look skittish and scared.

His Foreign Policy neighbour, Dan Drezner, thought the disruption was worth it. But he raises another, more complex question too:

For a short period of time – less than a day – requesting people to stay in their homes to capture an identified violent terrorist doesn’t strike me as outrageous… The reason the capture of Tsarnaev felt so good is that it provided a sense of closure.  In the span of four days, there was a bombing, an identification, a shoot-out that left one of the bombers dead and a capture of the other one.  Game over.  That’s feels like victory.  Now, that’s obviously a simplification and an exaggeration…  But still, Tsarnaev’s capture closed a chapter.  That seems pretty rare to me in counter-terrorism. Maybe the thing about Americans is that, with the blessings of our geography, we want and expect policy closure on issues that defy the very idea of tidy endings…

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