Ignoring the Obvious

November 6th, 2009

By Tom Carter

APTOPIX Fort Hood ShootingLike many other people, I’ve been following the news of the massacre at Fort Hood.  There are a lot of things about it that aren’t surprising, including who the killer is, what his motives were, and how the mainstream media is covering it.

How many were surprised to find that his name is something like Nidal Malik Hasan?  That he is a Muslim born in the U.S. to an immigrant family who claim to be Palestinian?  That he embraces the primitive beliefs of Islam?  That he believes that Muslims (his coreligionists) should fight the aggressors (his fellow soldiers) in their lands?  That he believes that a Muslim suicide bomber is the equivalent of an American soldier who covers a grenade with his body to save his comrades?  That he objects to going to war against fellow Muslims?  And, finally, that he reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he was shooting down American soldiers at Fort Hood?

The mainstream media is falling all over themselves in denial that the killer’s religion motivated his behavior.  Our government, supported by the media, is claiming this wasn’t a terrorist attack.  The President himself said, “I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.”

I would respectfully submit, Mr. President, that we have enough facts to draw the obvious conclusions.  This is another case of a Muslim in our midst who takes all the benefits our society provides, to include an extremely expensive education at full government expense, and then spits in our faces.  His adherence to Islam is far more important to him than being an American, and the precious gift of American citizenship means nothing to him.

Perhaps one of the most egregious examples of ignoring the obvious is in The New York Times — naturally.  It’s an opinion piece, Surviving Fort Hood, written by Joseph A. Kinney, himself an honorable, decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam.  Kinney wrote:

Just as there is no way to explain the internal agony of war, there is no real way to explain what happens in its shadow. This is the domain of tortured minds that may never heal. This may very well be the legacy of Fort Hood. …

I cannot forgive this man who betrayed us but I must try and understand him nonetheless.

Kinney focuses on the reality of PTSD and the need to treat it and deal with it.  What he seems to be trying to say is that Hasan, who spent almost all of his time in the Army at the Walter Reed medical center near Washington and never heard a shot fired in anger, is somehow a victim of PTSD.  Maybe because he treated people with PTSD?  Who knows — maybe because it’s contagious, like H1N1?  Or Maybe Kinney has found yet another new mental disease — Pre-Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  How absurd.

Ignoring the obvious got us to this terrorist atrocity at Fort Hood, and continuing to ignore the obvious will have the same results.

Highly recommended:  Fort Hood’s 9/11 by Ralph Peters, New York Post

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20 Responses to “Ignoring the Obvious”

  1. Brianna |

    Tom – thank God someone said it. I too agree that this was a religion-motivated shooting. Should we be in Iraq and Afghanistan? No*. But that does not excuse this man’s actions. You quite rightly point out that he has enjoyed all the freedoms and advantages of being a citizen, that nobody made him join the military, that he obtained an expensive and quality education at government expense, and that he knew the risk when he signed up. I am curious as to when he joined though; do you think it was before or after 9/11? Considering the amount of time it takes to get an advanced medical degree, it could go either way.

    *I do believe that Bush’s surge is the only thing that allows us to honorably withdraw from Iraq now, otherwise I’d still be of the “you break it you buy it” attitude. I don’t think we broke Afghanistan the same way though, nor do I think we can fix it

  2. doris |

    I agree that it was probably, mostly religiously motivated, but did you not hear how bullied he was? No excuse, of course, but he was belittled daily and given every ration of poop available for being Muslim. Does that excuse his horrible acts? No more than we excuse school shootings because of bullying, not at all. Bush screwed up, and anything he is for, we should be against, he caused this problem in Iraq, now someone else needs to solve it. I believe this man, Hasan, was a tortured soul and a sick person, but it was not contagious, and he is a terrorist. I hope he does not wake up. Tom, you can’t possibly think all Muslims are crazed terrorists, can you? Islam is against violence, but all religions have fanatics, theirs are just worse than most. I do not forgive or excuse this man’s actions in any way, just as most Muslims do not.

  3. Tom |

    Thanks, Doris. Now I understand. George W. Bush is to blame for Hasan’s behavior. Why didn’t I see that before?

    I didn’t say that I think all Muslim’s are crazed terrorists, did I? That’s reductio ad absurdum. The simple fact is that Hasan gave many indications over a long period of time that he was an extremist Muslim, but political correctness demanded that he be tolerated. In fact, that’s probably the reason he was subjected to insulting comments now and then. The fact is, few people in the military are subjected to harassment because of their religion, race, ethnicity, etc.

    We must be sensitive to and on guard against the violent tendencies of extremists Muslims, and they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to serve in positions of trust and leadership. That’s painfully obvious, but the demands of political correctness (even in the military, I’m sad to say) are so strong that we’re required to tolerate these extremists in our midst. That has to stop.

  4. doris |

    Forget it, Tom. You win.

  5. Brianna |

    “did you not hear how bullied he was? No excuse, of course, but he was belittled daily and given every ration of poop available for being Muslim.”

    Actually, no, I haven’t seen a word of it. Most of the mainstream media has been avoiding the subject of religion entirely; I honestly get the feeling that some places would change the guy’s name if they could. Do you have any links?

  6. Kevin |

    Here’s a link, Brianna: http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1108/p02s05-usmi.html

    From the article:

    Hasan had complained about being the target of religious and ethnic slurs, his family and colleagues said, but he never made an official complaint with the Army.

    According to a Washington Post account, he once called the police on a neighbor for allegedly keying his car and removing a bumper sticker that said in Arabic, “Allah is love.”

    A few paragraphs before that part is an important crux:

    Hasan grew up as a US-born son of Palestinian parents. He had sought deeper sanctuary in his Muslim faith since the death of his parents, his cousins have reported. His psychological work with traumatized US soldiers had disturbed him.

    Without an immediate family and increasingly disenchanted with the Army, Hasan turned to religion, where he could direct his increasing fear and frustration, says Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

    “The spark was his personal situation and his psychological distress, but what directed his anger and frustration was … increasing self-radicalization,” Mr. Levin says. “It’s important to understand the extent to which the tangled interplay of personal disappointment and ideology can have on someone like Hasan.”

    I don’t know if any of you have ever known someone who went off the (emotional) deep end after the psychic trauma of the death of an immediate family member but I do. It is not by any means unheard of. And by “went off the deep end” I mean literally losing touch with reality with respect to their religious beliefs (especially those surrounding life/death) while still demonstrating the capacity to interact with reality on a day-to-day basis in other respects (going shopping, cleaning, eating, answering the phone coherently, etc.). Of course, the person I’m referring to is a white Christian rather than an Arab Muslim…

  7. Kevin |

    That he believes that a Muslim suicide bomber is the equivalent of an American soldier who covers a grenade with his body to save his comrades?

    This reminds me of a conversation I had just two days ago. I was talking to a Vietnam veteran and he was telling me about what he characterized as the fairly common practice of “fragging” 2nd Lieutenants, who I’ve read had a higher mortality rate than did privates… during the Vietnam War. I of course had long ago read about fragging so I wasn’t surprised when he described it as essentially a self-defensive tactic where the death of one prevented even more deaths.

    The practice reportedly reached a crescendo in 1970 with an average of 3-4 fragging deaths per week.

    A quick Google search revealed several hits linking “fragging” to PTSD.

  8. Brianna |

    “For many at Fort Hood, though, those are just psychobabble excuses. ‘To be honest, I don’t care about that guy right now,’ says Third Corps Sgt. Christopher Gray.”

    I’m with him.

  9. Kevin |

    They’re not “excuses”. They’re explanations. Self-evidently two fundamentally very different things.

  10. Brianna |

    Well I’m sorry the guy lost his parents, but it happens to all of us eventually. I’m sorry the guy’s car got vandalized, but his neighbor being a jerk (if it was his neighbor) is no excuse for shooting people. I’m sorry he was harassed, but if there was no physical abuse and there was no abuse worth filing a complaint over… well, other people have dealt with far worse without turning into mass murderers.

    If I turned around and shot a bunch of people at work tomorrow would the psychologists blame it on a combination of losing my father when I was a teenager, getting my back windshield smashed in 3 years ago (no clue who did it or why), and having problems in my professional life due to my minority status? (I’m not having any problems, but I could probably state that in writing and sign it and it wouldn’t stop them theorizing.)

    This guy had a choice. He chose. End of story.

  11. Kevin |

    I basically agree. But while it’s true that most survive the death of one or both parents without going off the deep end, some don’t. Granted, most who do so don’t “go postal” as a consequence. But whether they go postal or not doesn’t really address whether they are in control of their mental faculties or not.

    Even a local Ft Hood area Imam (himself ex-Army and a veteran of the Gulf War) Major Hasan approached, which has been widely reported by the press, thought he was nuts or at least that something about Hasan didn’t seem quite right. But he assumed that the military would have picked up on it if it were serious so he didn’t say anything until after this tragic incident. Clearly when an Islamic cleric thinks a Muslim is nuts it’s not about theology or religion… it’s about sanity. At least that’s definitely the sense I got from what I’ve read in multiple news articles.

    Here’s a really interesting commentary article that goes to the same basic issue of Hasan’s relative sanity.

  12. Kevin |

    I just read that Fort Hood has the highest suicide rate of any military base in the country.

  13. Kevin |

    Another article, this time on the Time website, looking at Hasan’s mental state.


  14. Tom |

    Kevin, “ignoring the obvious” refers to the politically correct pressure to treat Muslims (in this case) very carefully lest there be charges of bias or unequal treatment. Unfortunately, that pressure exists in the Army, too.

    When an ardent Muslim begins the typical rants and exhibits highly questionable behavior, then something has to be done about it, regardless of political correctness. I strongly suspect that the Army would have been harder on him had he been a white male who was overboard on fundmental Christianity and making a nuisance of himself. As weird and objectionable as that behavior may be, it’s far, far less likely to result in a murderous killing spree accompanied by shouts of “Allahu Akbar!”

    While Hasan may have been subjected to some harassment, that would very likely have been a result of his intrusive religious fervor and his tendency to insert Islam and his anti-American ideas into situations where they were totally irrelevant. That includes classroom discussions and when he was teaching, all involving subjects that had nothing to do with religion.

    You’re being overly critical of the Army when you refer to fragging and suicide rates without at least a minimal discussion. So-called fragging has happened in all military forces for centuries, and the incidence of it during Vietnam, while it was a serious concern, was overplayed by the press. As for suicide rates in the Army, they used to be well below the rate in the equivalent civilian population. They’ve increased, yes, to the point where they’re now about the same. Again, a serious concern, but let’s keep it in perspective.

  15. Kevin |

    It seems fairly obvious to me that what Major Hasan did was to attempt what is commonly referred to as “suicide by cop” (SBC) wherein the expectation is to be put permanently out of one’s own profound misery by forcing a cop to kill oneself. Typically such individuals attempt to kill others. Not only as a means of forcing “suicide by cop” but also as a way to inflict retribution upon the perceived source of their unhappiness.

    SBC appears to be little more than a variation on murder/suicide.

    Reportedly, while the overall murder rate appears to be down this year in America, SBC, M/S and mass murder incidents are all way up.


  16. Tom |

    Kevin, you’re trying too hard to explain all this away as something other than the obvious — an extremist Muslim carrying out a personal jihad. All the media reporting is making that more clear as each new piece of information comes out.

  17. Kevin |

    Tom, I submit that “ignoring the obvious” cuts both ways. Sweeping generalizations, willful ignorance and prejudicial language are exactly what General Casey is trying to caution against, and for obvious reasons.

    We need look no further than Marine Reservist Jasen Bruce using a tire iron on the head a foreigner he assumed to be an Arab terrorist yesterday.

    The bloodied man is in fact a Greek Orthodox priest who had gotten lost after performing a blessing on a local priest in Tampa Florida and stopped to ask Marine Reservist Bruce for help/directions. But he spoke little English, had dark features and lots of facial hair. So, Marine Reservist Bruce bashed his head with a tire iron and chased him for three blocks, like any good Conservative would have done.

    I’m tempted to observe the irony of a God-fearing, patriotism-loving American Conservative mistakenly beating a foreign Christian in the head with a piece of steel. But it’s not ironic at all… It’s a natural consequence of right-wing hate speech.

  18. Anonymous |

    “Sweeping generalizations, willful ignorance and prejudicial language are exactly what General Casey is trying to caution against, and for obvious reasons.”

    “So, Marine Reservist Bruce bashed his head with a tire iron and chased him for three blocks, like any good Conservative would have done.”

    Sweeping generalizations cut both ways, Kevin. Either quit using them or be quiet.

  19. Kevin |

    Glad you noticed the illustration, anonymous. It was deliberate.

  20. Tom |

    Kevin, I agree with you about sweeping generalizations, etc. And the kind of ignorance and prejudice that resulted in some reservist bashing a Greek Orthodox priest is despicable. Mindless acts of violence are always wrong and unsettling.

    However, to characterize that criminal assault as something “any good conservative” would have done is unfair, inappropriate, and biased.

    But to return to the point of the article, the press is full of reports about Hasan’s highly questionable behavior, comments, and contacts (some with people already being watched by the FBI) prior to what he did at Fort Hood. There are multiple reports of other officers, including classmates, who were reluctant to report his behavior or to say anything because they feared being tagged as anti-Muslim. His chain of command had the same concerns. All of this is the “obvious” that was ignored, and we have to stop doing it, regardless of political correctness.

    General Casey was right to warn against a “backlash against Muslims.” The entire Army takes its cues from him, and emotions are running high right now. However, the vast majority of soldiers (including me) knows that every Muslim isn’t a jihadi. What we have to do is detect and take action when aberrant behavior is detected, regardless of who it involves.

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