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Why Wright is Wrong: A Liberal Pundit Blames America for Maj. Hasan's Jihad

At first liberal pundits had a series of explanations for why Major Nidal Malik Hasan went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood. He was simply a lone deranged mental case; a Muslim furious that Army buddies discriminated against him because he was a Muslim and also made derogatory comments to his face; a doctor who had secondary traumatic stress disorder, which he suffered from due to all those returning veterans who actually had it. Or, perhaps, like the perpetual disgruntled former postal employee, he just went bonkers. Anything was possible, except to blame his actions on the radical Islamist ideology he evidently practiced.  As Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News, the Army wanted to blame it on a medical condition, in order “to avoid any implication that there was any connection between his Islamist beliefs…and his actions.”

None of these explanations washed, and the more they were made, the sillier they sounded. The connections the public made -- based on clear evidence -- were far superior to those made by scores of apologists. Now, this past Sunday, one liberal pundit has taken to the op-ed pages of The New York Times to offer what is perhaps the most preposterous and disingenuous explanation offered. The analysis comes from Robert Wright, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and editor of The Progressive Realist, a foreign policy blog.

Wright’s argument, believe it or not, is that yes—Major Hasan was an Islamic jihadist and terrorist -- but his acts of terror were our fault! Wright reverts to the once popular “blame it on America” syndrome exposed years ago by the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick, during the waning days of the Cold War against the Soviet Union.   Wright’s argument goes this way: Conservatives support war in Iraq and Afghanistan; they and liberal hawks want to contain “the virus of Islamist radicalism.”

In so doing, Wright claims, the killing of innocent Muslim civilians -- accidental as they may be -- inflame the Muslim populace. They see battlefield video footage and are pushed “over the edge” towards the ideology of bin Laden and company, and want revenge. Major Hasan drew close to a radical imam he knew years earlier and communicated with him by e-mail; by this point, he had become “radicalized by two American wars.” Thus the Islamist terrorism he inflicted at Fort Hood was a result of our “war on terrorism.”