Don't Worry. Barney Fife Says He's On The Job
In the wake of the horrific shooting last week at Fort Hood, Texas, in which a US Army Major walked into a military facility and gunned down more than a dozen people, Dept. of homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano immediately took to the airwaves to let us all know that she is hard at work. She is ordering her department to determine whether Major Nidal Malik Hasan acted alone or if he was part of a larger movement of home grown terror. "Every resource available to the federal government is being used to determine Hasan's connections to foreign or domestic terror groups, and how we failed to pick this up on our radar and prevent this terrible tragedy."
I was just channeling the feed from the What Should Have Happened If Our Government Weren't So Full Of Clueless Tools Network. Back here on Terra Firma, what Napolitano actually did do was to announce that she was alerting her agency to be on the lookout for any sort of anti-Muslim backlash.
Of course, Napolitano wasn't alone in having her first thought turning to how normal Americans would react rather than to the potential presence of a larger terror cell working in the armed forces. Blogger, military vet, and Muslim convert Robert Salaam told the AP that his immediate thought upon hearing of the carnage was "I hope this wasn't a Muslim." He didn't want to have to deal with being associated with violence committed by a fellow Muslim. "We're apologizing for people we don't know."
Apologizing for people we don't know. Hmmmm. That got me to thinking.....Isn't that just what this wave of terrorism is all about -holding people you don't know responsible for things they didn't do and have absolutely no control over? For example, I don't think any of the passengers on any of the four hijacked planes that crashed on 9/11 had any control over US foreign policy regarding Saudi Arabia or Israel, yet they were being held responsible by those seeking to punish the United States. Likewise, the innocent train passengers in Madrid and London were simply going about their lives, uninvolved in the war in Iraq, yet Muslim terrorists held them responsible by murdering them.
The problem with Islam today is that too many of its adherents are stuck where 10th century Christianity was mired: hostile to non-believers, ruthlessly crushing dissent by fellow-believers, oppressive of women, violently opposed to progress and change, and bent on ruling the world. And it isn't just poor, uneducated people on the other side of the world who are being taught to violently oppose those different from themselves. Major Hasan had reportedly given a lecture to dozens of fellow doctors at Walter Reed Medical Center, during which he declared that non-Muslims were infidels who deserved to have their throats slit. The Major was born in the United States, had been educated in the United States, and had (being an educated American) a pretty high standard of living. He does not fit the profile of someone who is lashing out at the Great Satan due to his bad lot in life.
Many have been quick to opine that Major Hasan was a madman, motivated by stress and not religion. Geraldo Rivera stated on the air that it wasn't Islam driving him to kill, but might have been a toothache for all Rivera knew. Of course, the fact that he worked as a psychiatrist in a controlled military environment for years and none of the other mental health professionals picked up on the fact that this guy was a madman disturbs me. But what disturbs me even more is that he did show signs of being a radical fundamentalist with radical beliefs, but nobody did anything about it. The possibilities are both troublesome: either our military failed to identify a nutcase working in the mental health field, or they ignored warnings that this guy hated America and non-Muslims and believed that infidels deserves a cruel death.
What is the solution? I am no great thinker, but the answer seems pretty clear to me. The cause of all this terror and hate is radical clerics preaching hate. We are told over and over and over again that the Koran is being misinterpreted by these guys and that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and tolerant (and, for what it's worth, every Muslim I have ever known on a personal level has fit this description). Moderate Islam must assert itself and become the dominant strain in every single mosque in the world. That is something that I don't think America can take the lead on. But it must be done. If we are going to coexist, Islam has to have an intellectual and religious Enlightenment akin to the 18th century movement in the West, which ushered in more respect for the rights of the individual human, and dampened the power of the Church.
The West cannot change Islam from without. We simply can't kill enough bad guys to make this all stop. But what we can do - and what we must do - to help ourselves is twofold. First, we can't do what Janet Napolitano obviously thinks we will and that is to blame moderate and liberal Muslims for the deeds of the radicals. It would only hinder any movement towards Westernization and assimilation. Secondly (and conversely) we can't stick our heads in the sand and pretend that there aren't a number of anti-American, anti-infidel radical Muslims who are actively plotting to kill innocent Americans. We need to call a spade a spade and identify acts of terror as such, rather than fantasizing that men who shout "Allahu Akbar!" while shooting helpless victims are merely deranged.