For certain, 43 people wouldn't have been shot by him, 13 fatally. But what if, as Jonah Goldberg wonders, we had "connected the dots"? This is not an insignificant question, because if the dots were connected, we'd have been spared this Fort Hood massacre — but we'd have set the stage to ensure that the stage would be set for the another Nidal Hasan to emerge. I hope we can learn a dearly paid-for lesson from this incident and prove my thesis wrong.
But let's set the scene. Based on reliable reporting, this is what we know Maj. Nidal Hasan had been up to for the last couple of years:
He explained that those who do not convert to Islam should be burned alive, beheaded, and have boiling oil poured down their throats. And he argued that all Muslims should be discharged from the military, honorably, of course. One of the slides in that PowerPoint presentation stated: “We love death more than you love life!”
“It was really strange,” one staff member who attended the presentation and requested anonymity because of the investigation of Hasan. “The senior doctors looked really upset” at the end. These medical presentations occurred each Wednesday afternoon, and other students had lectured on new medications and treatment of specific mental illnesses.”
Under the “Conclusions” page, Hasan wrote that “Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please God, even by force, is condoned by the Islam,” and that “Muslim Soldiers should not serve in any capacity that renders them at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly — will vary!”
The final page, labeled “Recommendation,” contained only one suggestion: “Department of Defense should allow Muslims [sic] Soldiers the option of being released as ‘Conscientious objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events.”
Hasan did not so much present "dots" to be connected, but pixels in a pretty clear picture that he was a dangerous enemy of the United States and should not be in the Army — let alone promoted to the rank of major, which happened after much he did much of the above. And this doesn't even include Hasan reportedly not wanting to be pictured with women, and other general misogyny — which would have been troublesome for anyone other than a Muslim in today's military.
But, as appears clear from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Casey's remarks that the "worse" tragedy than the jihadist murder of 13 soldiers would be a loss of the Army's "diversity," Hasan was not drummed out of service precisely because he was a Muslim. He was not reported by colleagues because they knew the obvious: It would be their careers at stake, not Hasan's, if they dared to suggest that a Muslim in their ranks should come under greater scrutiny.
Newsweek's Evan Thomas stated on "Inside Washington" on Sunday:
"I cringe that he's a Muslim. I mean, because it inflames all the fears. I think he's probably just a nut case. But with that label attached to him, it will get the right wing going and it just -- I mean these things are tragic, but that makes it much worse."
As abhorrent as that statement is, Thomas is right, in a way. If Maj. Nidal Hasan (Muslim of Palestinian heritage), was Maj. Jack Campbell (Christian of Scot heritage), and Maj. Campbell displayed similar signs of anti-American sentiment — let alone echoing the rhetoric of our enemy — he'd have been reported before the "list" for Campbell was half as long.
But let's suppose our armed services weren't so PC — that Hasan's colleagues reported this disturbing behavior that, in hindsight, revealed that he was soon to take up arms for the enemy on a U.S. Army base. He'd have been stopped. There would have been no jihadist slaughter at Fort Hood.
What would we have seen instead? Hasan would have been justifiably discharged based on the evidence presented above — an action that would have saved lives. And the current controversy would be centered on how an innocent high-ranking officer in the U.S. Army (a patriot!) was drummed out of the service simply because of his religious beliefs — and at a time when we need more Muslims, not fewer, in our ranks. You can be sure the ACLU would take the case, trumpeting the injustice daily on its Web site.
In other words: Damned if you do; dead soldiers if you don't. As a society, we've decided that risking the lives of unarmed soldiers at an Army base (not to mention civilians all over the United States) is a price worth paying so we are not accused of insensitivity. The blame-seeking and ass-covering has begun apace. But this is an institutional problem, beyond the correct assessment that heads must roll.
There’s a difference between sensitivity and stupidity. If there were indeed signs that Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood mass murderer, was becoming radicalized in his opposition to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army had a duty to act — before he did.
So a titan of mainstream liberal thought has seen the light of common sense and agrees with me? Not quite. He ignores the reality of our current PC world, and says nothing of the ACLU- and media-driven hell fire that would befall the Army for intervening with the current evidence. Note the qualifier "if there were indeed signs ... [Hasan] was becoming radicalized." Are we to believe Robinson would think so? I don't buy it. Anyway, Robinson continues ...
Had authorities learned in advance of any link between Hasan and radical Islam — as opposed to the mainstream Islam practiced by more than a billion people worldwide — they could have moved immediately to ensure that Hasan could not hurt others or himself. That wouldn’t have been an act of bigotry, it would have been an act of prudence, even compassion.
Of course, he's right. "Mainstream Islam" is not violent. But an evil interpretation of the faith is embraced by tens of millions of the world's Muslims, including Hasan. I wish cowardly tack shocked me, but it doesn't. The left's instinct is to look within, digging within ourselves as deep as possible to find fault, rather than casting the gaze of judgment where it belongs is a constant reflex. In the service of diversity, of course.
As Rubin nicely puts it:
It is the diversity obsession and the give-no-offense mentality that, we fear, allowed Hasan to avoid a stringent inquiry. I suppose Robinson can satisfy himself and those like-minded, squeamish souls who can’t bear to think they’re trampling on the sensibilities of anyone. But let’s be clear: the Army didn’t fail the “Muslim community”; it failed 43 wounded or slain people and their families. And to prevent it from happening again, we need to get over the diversity fetish (which imagines that Americans are too dumb to distinguish between nonviolent Muslims and those who’ve adopted a murderous ideology) and get on with the business of fighting a war against those who want many, many more Fort Hoods.
And that's what's bugged me about some of the commentary about my posts on this subject around here. It's as if I, or anyone, can't criticize Hasan, his ideology, those who perpetrated it, without mindlessly slipping into "bias" against all Muslims. Hogwash. As Rubin says, Americans are smarter than that. And those who reflexively blanch at criticism of an extremist ideology should be "diverse" enough to give their own countrymen the benefit of the doubt — and interpret this side of the debate at least half as charitably as they do Hasan's words and actions.