There are two stories whose headlines can be seen in various places today, and a comparison of the two seems instructive. One goes like this: Fort Hood shooting: Nine Army officers get reprimand for missing warning signs raised by Nidal Hasan.
The U.S. Army has announced that nine officers will be reprimanded in some way for “leadership failures relating to the career of Maj. Hasan.” Major Nidal Hassan shot 13 people to death at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, and wounded 32 others, in what was by far the deadliest jihadist attack in the United States since September 11th, 2001. For some of the officers involved, the reprimands are described as “career-ending.”
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said that these punishments “send a clear message to everyone that the Army will not tolerate such negligence and passivity in reaction to clear signs that a soldier is radicalizing to Islamist extremists.”
During his training and his career as an army psychiatrist, Nidal Hasan, on several occasions, made public presentations where — people now say — he was clearly enough advocating for the causes of Islamic jihadists in one way or another. Yet, he received a pass for these incidents, and for his overall attitude, and had no trouble continuing his career in the army. Why, I wonder, did he get a pass for such things as questioning whether the war on terror was really a war on Islam, and sympathizing with Muslim-American soldiers who felt that way about it? Why did he get a pass for arguing that Islamic law overruled the U.S. Constitution? The officers who let him get away with these things are now being reprimanded, and everyone is rubbing their hands with satisfaction. Yet, it was not these officers alone, but an overall atmosphere of political correctness regarding Islam that facilitated Nidal Hasan’s progress in the army. The officers had every reason to fear being accused of “Islamophobia” if they penalized him for speaking of his faith or of Muslim grievances. Where do you draw the line? No one had pointed out clearly enough to them where that red line should be, or given them the impression that they would be supported if they attempted to draw it. (If this was a failing of just one person, we might say otherwise; but this was a failure of everyone in authority who got any feel for Nidal Hasan’s beliefs.)
Meanwhile, all over the media are stories ripping the current hearings being chaired by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community’s Response” (like this article in the Washington Post.)
Apparently, the act itself of holding public hearings into the subject is somehow unacceptable. I have no idea how thorough and helpful these particular hearings will prove to be, in the end, but on what planet does a person have to be living to believe that the mere discussion of the subject in the U.S. Congress should be considered beyond the pale?
For one: on a planet where Nidal Hasan never shot 13 U.S. service men and women to death in Ford Hood, after a career in the army enabled by the very same political correctness towards Islam which would seek to prevent these hearings from even taking place.