The Boston bombers were misguided, misled and loathsome - but were they 'cowards'?
Imagine for a moment you're sitting at your kitchen table making bombs. Knowing that should you sweat too much, or make a sudden move, you will be terribly maimed or killed. Then, later, weaving through the happy crowd: seeing the faces of smiling children. Knowing that if you succeed in your terrible mission, your name will be cursed by millions; and when you are eventually killed (the brothers Tsarnaev may not have been suicide bombers exactly, but they must have known their chances of survival were slim), only then will you discover if the holy men were right about the next life.
Now imagine you are sitting in a reinforced bunker at a secret Virginia location. Someone feeds you a set of co-ordinates which you punch into your laptop. You press the 'send' button, in much the same way you send an email: the drone is launched. In a few minutes, people - hopefully some Mullah, some Taliban jeep, some US citizen deemed beyond the pail - will die. Knowing that if there is 'collateral damage' - wedding parties incinerated, children killed or mangled - you have the full legal, political and military backing of the world's most powerful state.