"The Nation," Jihad and General Casey

By now, most of us are tired of the continuing litany of “let’s not judge” what happened at Fort Hood, and that Major Malik Nidal Hasan was simply mentally ill and stressed out because of his impending deployment. He, like a disgruntled employee, simply snapped.

That is why it was so refreshing to hear Senator Joe Lieberman on Fox News Sunday, where the maverick Democrat now independent dissident dared to say that Hasan “reportedly showed signs of being a “self-radicalized, homegrown terrorist.’” There were indications, he noted, that Hasan “had turned to Islamist extremism” which should be investigated.  If so, his action was not that of a mentally unbalanced individual, but “a terrorist act.” The military should have acted, Lieberman added, and once they got notice of various reported signs about Hasan, he should have been gone.

Lieberman’s view is especially refreshing when compared to that offered by Army Chief of Staff General George Casey, who told CNN that “You know there’s been a lot of speculation going on, and probably the curiosity is a good thing, but we have to be careful, because we can’t jump to conclusions now based on little snippets of information that come out.” Rather than acknowledge the obvious, General Casey was concerned instead that undue speculation could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers,” and that while Hasan’s action was a tragedy, “it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.”

Any objective observer would think it a tragedy if the Army swept the motivations of someone like Hasan under the rug.  He  not only yelled out “Allahu Akbar” before his shooting spree, but told various people that American Muslims should not be fighting other Muslims abroad, and that actions taken of a violent nature like suicide bombings were justified.

But perhaps the single most egregious post on these events comes, rather predictably, from those good folks at The Nation magazine, in which John Nichols writes “the incident inspired an all-too-predictable explosion of Islamophobia.”  Nichols perceives  that what triggered Hasan’s attack was that he feared getting combat related stress as he had observed in the soldiers he had treated. Of course Hasan would have been assigned to a medical unit treating soldiers in need of psychological counseling, and he himself would not have been in a combat situation.