Saturday 14 November 2009

Facing facts about Fort Hood

It seems to be my week for disagreeing with Rachel Maddow. When news of the Fort Hood tragedy broke, the MSNBC presenter was quick to dismiss as 'right-wing' suggestions that suspected shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan might have been inspired by Islamist ideology. This was rather like those annoying claims that Christopher Hitchens had somehow 'moved to the right' because he supported a war to remove a fascist dictator.

To be sure, the events at Fort Hood were the occasion for some predictable moonbattery from the usual right-wing conspiracy theorists, but as more information leaks out about Hasan, it becomes clear that a similar myopia has prevented some on the left (such as Maddow) from seeing things as they really are. Here's Ibn Warraq:
In the wake of the murder of 13 and the wounding of 38 soldiers at Fort Hood on November 5, media analysts, politicians, and other sundry experts scrambled to present the accused perpetrator of the acts, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, as a victim. In so doing they served, knowingly or otherwise, as apologists for radical Islam. From CNN to the New York Times, NPR to theWashington Post, the killings were presented as a result of racism. They were attributed to fear of deployment in Afghanistan and harassment from other soldiers. Cited were Major Hasan’s supposed maladjustment to his life and his sense of not belonging, pre-traumatic stress disorder, and various personal and mental problems. All these explanations are variations on what I have called “the Root Cause Fallacy,” which has been committed time and again since the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. The Root Cause Fallacy was designed to deflect attention away from Islam, in effect to exonerate Islam, which, we are told, is never to blame for acts of violence. On this view we must not hold a great world religion of peace responsible when individuals of that faith resort to force. We must dig deeper: the real cause is poverty, U.S. foreign policy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Western colonialism and exploitation, marital problems of individuals, and so on. The present “psychological” interpretations in the case of Major Hasan are just the latest example of the Root Cause Fallacy at work.
Warraq argues that Hasan's 'jihadist intentions are there on the surface for everyone not paralyzed by political correctness to see':
According to CNN (Nov. 7), on the morning of the shootings Hasan gave copies of the Koran to his neighbors. According to the Associated Press (Nov. 6), soldiers reported that Hasan shouted out “Allahu Akbar” [God is Great] – the war cry of all Jihadis – before firing off over a hundred rounds with two pistols in a center where some 300 unarmedsoldiers had lined up for vaccines and eye tests. NPR informs us that Hasan was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues. The Associated Press (Nov. 11) adds that classmates who studied with Hasan from in that postgraduate program reported Hasan making a presentation during their studies "that justified suicide bombing" and spewed "anti-American propaganda," denouncing the war on terror as "a war against Islam." Classmate Val Finnell and another student complained about Hasan, shocked that someone with "this type of vile ideology" would be allowed to wear an officer’s uniform. But, importantly, no one filed a formal complaint about Hasan’s views and comments for fear of appearing discriminatory -- in other words, out of political correctness. According to The Telegraph (Nov. 6), Army colleagues reported that Major Hasan had condemned U.S. foreign policy, that he clearly declared that Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans, that he expressed happiness when a U.S. soldier was killed in an attack on a military recruitment center in Arkansas in June, and that he said people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Times Square. It has been widely reported that Major Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia Falls during the time that Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based al-Qaeda preacher with extensive terrorist connections, was its main preacher. Awlaki even praised Major Hasan as a hero on November 9, four days after the Fort Hood attacks. The Times of London revealed (Nov. 10) that Major Hasan had been in direct correspondence with Awlaki, in connection with which Hasan had already been under investigation by the F.B.I. Almost every news source has reported that Major Hasan was also under investigation by federal law enforcement officials for his postings to an internet site speaking favorably of suicide bombing.
And Warraq concludes:

It is time to abandon apologetics, and political correctness. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Muslims are implicated in the horrendous events of September 11, 2001 -- or of November 5, 2009. However, to pretend that Islam has nothing to do with 9/11 or the Fort Hood massacre is willfully to ignore the obvious. To leave Islam out of the equation means to forever misinterpret events. Without Islam, the long-term strategy and individual acts of violence by Osama bin Laden and his followers make little sense. Without Islam, the West will go on being incapable of understanding our terrorist enemies, and hence will be incapable to deal with them. Without Islam, neither is it possible to comprehend the barbarism of the Taliban, the position of women and non-Muslims in Islamic countries, or -- now-- the murders attributed to Major Hasan.

We are confronted, after all, with Islamic terrorists; and we must take theIslamic component seriously. Westerners in general and Americans in particular no longer seem able to grasp the passionate religious convictions of Islamic terrorists. It is this passionate conviction, directed against the West and against non-Muslims in general, that drives them. They are truly, and literally, God-intoxicated fanatics. If we refuse to understand that, we cannot understand them.

(Via Mick)

If this information about Hasan's Islamist inclinations proves correct, then (sadly) it disproves one thesis - that America is immune from the virus of home-grown jihadism that has taken root in parts of Britain - and provides further evidence for another: that terrorism, rather than being a response to social and political disadvantage, tends to infect members of the educated and privileged middle-class and is a product of individual pathology linked to ideological fanaticism.

1 comment:

Roland Dodds said...

Well said Martin. I found the way some media figures were bending over backwards to make the argument that Hasan’s Islamist beliefs had anything to do with the slaughter at Fort Hood sad and disturbing. Surely, folks who now argue that Muslims can’t be trusted in the military need to be confronted, but to deny that the man’s background and beliefs had anything to do with his action is such a bizarre position for media figures to take. If the Fort Hood killer had been known to hang around Stormfront and made fascist and racist comments to people who knew, I am pretty sure no one would deny that his views played a role in his actions. And for good reason; those beliefs are a factor in how individuals act.