It is now clear that the Tsarnaev brothers had no strategic plan but to kill in a very public fashion. There was no mission so sacred that they were willing to die for it. According to FBI interviews of Dzhokhar, the surviving younger brother, the siblings hastily decided to bomb the Marathon, shifting from their original plan for a suicide attack at the upcoming July 4 Charles River Esplanade celebration. Maybe they were cowards; maybe just fickle. But their choice of the Boston Marathon had no ideological significance. And their exit strategy — desperate and violent, luring friends into a web of destruction — wasn’t planned. They were making everything up as they went along.
It is completely fair to ask: What were they thinking?