Steyn: Shooter exposes hole in U.S. terror strategy

Same ideological pathologies that drive al-Qaida overpowered Hasan’s American identity.

by Mark Steyn
Orange County Register
Friday, November 6, 2006

Thirteen dead and 28 wounded would be a bad day for the U.S. military in Afghanistan and a great victory for the Taliban. When it happens in Texas, in the heart of the biggest military base in the nation, at a processing center for soldiers either returning from or deploying to combat overseas, it is not merely a “tragedy” (as too many people called it) but a glimpse of a potentially fatal flaw at the heart of what we have called, since 9/11, the “war on terror.” Brave soldiers trained to hunt down and kill America’s enemy abroad were killed in the safety and security of home by, in essence, the same enemy – a man who believes in and supports everything the enemy does.

And he’s a U.S. Army major.

And his superior officers and other authorities knew about his beliefs but seemed to think it was just a bit of harmless multicultural diversity – as if believing that “the Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor” (i.e., his fellow American soldiers) and writing Internet paeans to the “noble” “heroism” of suicide bombers and, indeed, objectively supporting the other side in an active war is to be regarded as just some kind of alternative lifestyle that adds to the general vibrancy of the base…

…we’re scrupulously nonjudgmental about the ideology that drives a man to fly into a building or self-detonate on the subway, and thus we have a hole at the heart of our strategy. We use rhetorical conveniences like “radical Islam” or, if that seems a wee bit Islamophobic, just plain old “radical extremism.” But we never make any effort to delineate the line which separates “radical Islam” from nonradical Islam. Indeed, we go to great lengths to make it even fuzzier. And somewhere in that woozy blur the pathologies of a Nidal Malik Hasan incubate. An Army psychiatrist, Maj. Hasan is an American, born and raised, who graduated from Virginia Tech and then received his doctorate from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. But he opposed America’s actions in the Middle East and Afghanistan and made approving remarks about jihadists on U.S. soil. “You need to lock it up, Major,” said his superior officer, Col. Terry Lee.

But he didn’t really need to “lock it up” at all. He could pretty much say anything he liked, and if any “red flags” were raised they were quickly mothballed…

Mark Steyn’s article continues here.

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