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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
(415) 356-7801

November 11, 2009

Jihad at Fort Hood: Is political correctness keeping us from knowing the truth?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

So what do we know about the massacre at Fort Hood? Emotions and polemics are running at full volume. Reliable information is hard to come by. We are hearing mainly rumors. Nonetheless, we can tease out various facts.

First, there is the official story. A major in the US army went on a killing spree in which he murdered 13 and wounded 38 soldiers at Fort Hood. All the news reports have put the emphasis on a medicalized interpretation. According to them, this is about the emotional stress our soldiers are under. The discussion has focused on PTSD, and about how Hasan did not want to be deployed overseas. And at first, few of the media even referred to the fact that he was a Muslim.

According to military historian and columnist Victor Davis Hanson, we are seeing "the familiar therapeutic exegesis, in which we hear of traumatic stress syndrome, justified and principled opposition to the Iraq and Afghan wars, generic mental illness, anger at being deployed overseas, or maltreatment from fellow soldiers due to his Muslim faith and various other efforts to 'contextualize' the violence."

President Obama said "I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts."

However, there are certain inconvenient facts that we do have.

1. Nidal Malik Hasan was an MD. Moreover, he was a psychiatrist, the very specialty that deals most with PTSD and emotional issues related to combat. How many mental health professionals have become mass murderers?

2. Hasan had never been in combat. He had been exposed to none of the pressures that lead to PTSD. In a long career as an Army psychiatrist, Hasan had never been deployed overseas.

3. Though Hasan was born in Virginia, on various forms that he filled out he listed himself not as "American" but as "Palestinian."

4. According to commentator Phyllis Chesler, Major Hasan allegedly tried to convert his infidel patients and colleagues to Islam (for which he was repeatedly reprimanded). Or, he insisted on lecturing students, colleagues, and patients against America and for Islamic rights. While training as a psychiatrist, he was disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues

5. According to the AP, quoting Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the base commander, soldiers reported that the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar!"---an Arabic phrase for "God is great!"---before opening fire.

6. Hasan has been referring to the US as the "aggressor" in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

7. Anti-semitism expert, Dr. Andrew Bostom, has identified internet postings by Hasan that defend suicide bombing.

8. He had been under investigation for six months because of anti-American and jihadist rage.

Despite these facts, easily uncovered, the news media put its collective head in the sand. For example, there is "no concrete reporting as to whether Nidal Malik Hasan was in fact a Muslim or an Arab" (Huffington Post), and the "motive behind the shootings was not immediately clear" (NPR).

And even Fox news, often referred to as "that right wing channel," stated that investigators were looking for a motive. Come again? Have we all become such victims of political correctness? Should it not even be mentioned, as recommended by The Nation, that he is a Muslim? Or that he identifies as a Palestinian? Are the facts that I have listed above indicative of "Islamophobia"?

And then of course, it needs to be asked whether or not this was an isolated episode. Between September 11, 2001 and the end of 2008, there have been over 20 terrorist plots uncovered and prevented in the US. These have been aimed at subways, malls, army bases, and synagogues.

In 2009, there have been a number of additional plots uncovered. A Colorado resident, Najibullah Zazi, was indicted for a plot to detonate a bomb in New York on the anniversary of 9/11. Two North Carolina residents were charged with conspiring to murder U.S. military personnel at Quantico, Virginia. A Texas resident, (but Jordanian citizen), Hosam Maher Hussein Smadi was arrested after placing a would-be bomb near a 60-story office tower in Dallas. In Boston, Tarek Mehanna, was arrested in connection with terrorist plots against U.S. shopping malls. What are we to make of this? According to our media, not much.

So which is the greater danger? Islamophobia or jihadist attacks on American soil? As Victor Davis Hanson has asked, should the narrative be "that Americans have given into illegitimate "fear and mistrust" of Muslims in general, or should it be that there is a small minority of Muslims who channel generic Islamist fantasies, so that we can assume that either formal terrorist plots or individual acts of murder will more or less occur here every 3-6 months?" columnist Roger Simon has referred to political correctness as the murder weapon, as much as the two pistols. He states that PC is "a pathology and a quite virulent one---in this case, arguably the cause of death of the thirteen men and women murdered at Fort Hood" Can we get past this?

As Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer has pointed out, "The effect of ignoring or downplaying the role that Islamic beliefs and assumptions may have played in his murders only ensures that---once again---nothing will be done to prevent the eventual advent of the next Nidal Hasan". And again, Roger Simon "the most fitting memorial to them [the 13 killed] would be that their murders would signal the death knell of political correctness."

How long will Americans tolerate their media telling them what they should think, when the evidence points in another direction? How far shall we go in our attempt to "just get along?" Shall we continue to deny that there is real evil in this world, and that sometimes it exists within the borders of the US?

Barry Rubin in his recent RubinReports post, reprinted below, gives this whole problem a refreshing spin with his satirical imagining of how the press would have treated John Wilkes Booth and other mass murderers if they were guided by today's political correctness. I think you'll find the satire humorous and his conclusions disturbing.


Lawrence White
Contributor, FLAME


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Great Moments in "Psychologically Disturbed" Gunmen Committing Mass Murder
By Barry Rubin, November 7, 2009, RubinReports

[Note: This is satire designed to show the ludicrous nature of the media coverage on the Ft. Hood issue. It is not designed to trivialize a terrible event but to make people understand better what happened and how the event is being dangerously distorted.]

When John Wilkes Booth opened fire on President Abraham Lincoln in Ford's Theatre in April 1865, the media was puzzled. "True, the actor was outspoken in his Confederate sympathies and viewed himself as a Southerner," said someone who knew him, "but that was no reason he might want Lincoln to be dead." The day before he went on his shooting spree, Booth hoisted a big Confederate flag outside his hotel room. After he leaped onto the stage he shouted, "Thus ever to tyrants!" the motto of the rebel state of Virginia.

The New York Times reported that Booth was psychologically unstable and was frightened of the Civil War coming to an end and having to face a peacetime actors' surplus. "His political views had nothing to do with the motives for this tragic act," it said, quoting experts.

After Fritz Reichmark opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Dix in January 1942 the media was puzzled. "True, he used to go to German-American Bund meetings," said one fellow soldier, "but he only wore the swastika armband in his off-hours." Reichmark would regale other soldiers with diatribes against the Jews, Winston Churchill, and Communists. The day before he went on his shooting spree, Reichmark gave out copies of Mein Kampf to neighbors. Soldiers who survived reported he was shouting "Heil Hitler!" while firing at them.

The New York Times reported that Reichmark was psychologically unstable and was frightened of being shipped out to North Africa because he was a coward, though this doesn't explain his making a suicide attack when his job wouldn't have required him to go into combat. "His German ancestry and political views had nothing to do with the motives for this tragic act," it said, quoting experts. The newspaper urged that the main lesson coming out of this event was to fight more firmly against Germanophobia.

When Padraic O'Brian bombed a restaurant in London with massive loss of life, the media was puzzled. "True, he used to go to IRA rallies," said a cousin, "and he would rant for hours about how the British invaders should be wiped out" but the media reported that this had nothing to do with this attack which was caused by his psychological problems. As he fired at pursuing police, O'Brian yelled: "Up the republic!"

The Guardian reported: "His Irish identity and political views had nothing to do with the motives for this tragic act." The newspaper urged that the main lesson coming out of this event was the need to fight more firmly to ensure that Northern Ireland was handed over to the Irish Republic and that Israel be wiped off the map.

When a group of 19 terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth crashed on the way to the White House, the media was puzzled. "True, they wrote letters to Usama bin Ladin and expressed radical views, but their act of violence must have been connected to their extreme poverty back in Saudi Arabia," one expert was quoted as saying. When informed the young men all came from well-off families, he responded, "Oh."

The New York Times reported that they were all psychologically unstable and had difficult times in forming stable relationships with women. "The fact that they were Arabs and Muslims or their political views had nothing to do with the motives for this tragic act," it explained. The newspaper urged that the main lesson coming out of the attack was the need to fight against Islamophobia and Arabophobia, as well as for the United States to make more concessions in the Middle East and to impeach President George W. Bush.

The point of the above exercise is to make the following points:

  • Individuals who commit terrorist acts often have psychological problems, but the things that justified, organized, and ensured that violence would be committed were political ideas.
  • Whenever an individual who belongs to any group commits a crime, it is possible that some will stigmatize the entire group. Most Americans or Westerners today, however, will not do so. The most important issue is to identify why the terrorist act happened and what to look for (including which type of individuals) to prevent future attacks.
  • When there is clear evidence that danger signs were ignored because people were afraid of being stigmatized for doing their job of protecting their fellows, that is a dangerous mistake that must be corrected.
  • Someone who is "afraid" of being sent into a war zone is not likely to handle that cowardice by standing up with a gun in a suicide attack and shooting people until he falls to the ground with about four bullet wounds.
  • The media can often be stupid, but when it censors reporting for political or social engineering reasons, freedom is jeopardized. The correct phrase is: The public's right to know. It is not: The public has to be guided into drawing the proper conclusions by slanting and limiting information even if the conclusions being pressed on them are lies and nonsense.

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