As I wrote yesterday, it’s important to be cautious when commenting about the massacre at Ft. Hood, because early media reports often turn out to be wrong. With that said, we now have several details that portray shooting suspect Nidal Malik Hasan as a devout Muslim who was adamantly opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was conflicted about being in a position where he would have to fight fellow Muslims.
Fox News reports:
A former Fort Hood colleague of the shooter said Hasan would frequently make “outlandish” comments.
“He said maybe Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor,” retired Col. Terry Lee told Fox News. “At first we thought he meant help the armed forces, but apparently that wasn’t the case. Other times he would make comments we shouldn’t be in the war in the first place.”
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that the authorities had monitored web postings that may have been written by Hasan, in which the author portrays suicide bombers in a heroic light. The AP also reported that soldiers who witnessed the shooting say Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire.
Last night, CNN showed surveillance footage taken yesterday morning of Hasan at a convenience store near the base dressed in traditional Muslim garb. According to a CNN producer who spoke with the store owner, Hasan was a regular, and about a week ago, told the owner that he was stressed about his imminent deployment to Iraq. “[Hasan] expressed that he had a problem, I guess one would judge it as a religious conflict, but as a fellow Muslim, and someone of faith, he had a problem with having perhaps the opportunity in the future to have to shoot or kill or injure or fight fellow Muslims,” the CNN producer recounted. “And that was something that was weighing heavily on him.”
I agree with the sentiment that this incident shouldn’t be used as a blanket indictment of all Muslims serving in the military. But there should be some sort of middle ground between putting every Muslim in the U.S. armed forces under suspicion, and letting political correctness put the lives of our soldiers in danger. If further evidence confirms the emerging narrative, this is an instance in which it seems that there were a lot of warning signs and red flags. And to be clear, when I refer to “political correctness” I’m not blaming yesterday’s tragedy on political correctness, because that would be irresponsible based on what we know now. What I mean is that going forward, it would be troubling if political correctness prohibited us from discussing ways to prevent an officer with Hasan’s views from being in a position to kill U.S. soldiers on a military post. This is not an matter of Muslims in the military, it’s about how to make sure that we don’t have people in our military whose loyalty to our enemies puts our own men and women in danger.
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