Yet Nichols is sure that his action “might well be the latest in a series of stress-related homicides and suicides involving soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan,” or who are dispatched to what Nichols terms “occupied lands.” He is sure that in fact no one knows what motivated Hasan. He acknowledges only that the Major was “deeply troubled,” and that he might have been an “imperfect follower of Islam.”
Hence what he did was not an act of Jihad—as Marty Peretz among others have argued— but to the contrary, “it should be understood that to assume a follower of Islam who engages in violence is a jihadist is every bit as absurd as to assume that a follower of Christianity who attacks others is a crusader.” Somehow, Nichols cannot conceive that the Islamist ideology Hasan followed, which he learned at the Wahhabi mosque at which he studied, as Stephen Schwartz has reported, might have something to do with his act.
One might also recall that many leftist commentators, including those who write for The Nation, regularly argue that indeed, bombers of abortion clinics and murderers of pro-choice doctors who perform late term abortions are motivated by their Christian evangelical beliefs. That other Christians and pro-life activists condemn such violent acts does not deter them from putting the blame on those who believe in Christian doctrines.
Indeed, to attribute Hasan’s actions to Jihad is not to condemn “a whole religion,” as Nichols argues, but to draw conclusions from the facts we know to date. True, many Muslims serve honorably in our armed forces, but they obviously are not subscribers to Radical Islamist doctrine. True to form, Nichols cites the words of CAIR, which he simply calls a “civil rights and advocacy group,” rather than acknowledge the more accurate conclusion others have drawn about the group’s real agenda, and its regular pattern of apologia on behalf of various terrorists.
The view of The Nation editors, who have regularly condemned American military actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and who call for immediate complete withdrawal of all American troops from the region, seek to turn the nation’s attention away from the need to counter a real threat of terrorist action at home, to one of curbing a supposed witch-hunt in the making against Muslims.
So we have good reason to worry, when similar thinking from those quarters comes from the likes of General George Casey. Hopefully, he is not a reader of The Nation.