As the information drips out about the ties Nidal Malik Hasan had (or aspired t0 have) to terrorists at war with the United States and about his own radical statements, we see two competing narrative developing among the blogging and pundit class. Conservatives wonder why more wasn’t done to discipline or discharge this American-hating Islamist while those on the left warn us not to make hasty judgments while chiding conservatives for stirring up Islamaphobia.
Of course, those left-wingers don’t get that most conservatives have been careful to distinguish those Islamists who would do us harm from the American Muslims who serves his nation honorably.
And then there’s another other left-wing narrative that has even seeped into the mainstream media, as it did in the days after 9/11: given the bellicose nature of Americans, there will be a backlash against Muslims for the actions of one lunatic Islamist. Problem is this is narrative based more on liberal prejudice rather than American reality. And while, to be sure, there was a spike in anti-Islamic hate crimes after 9/11, hate crimes against Muslims have plummeted since 2001 with 1/12th as many such crimes committed against Muslims in 2007 as were committed against Jews. (And even with that spike, fewer such crimes were committed against Muslims in 2001 as were committed against Jews in 2007.)
What does it say about the left that they seem more concerned about crimes yet to be committed than about the Islamist motivations of a man who has just murdered over a dozen Americans? Or, as Michael Nehring puts it, “What says more about America–that we always, ALWAYS manage to refrain from an anti-Muslim backlash, or that progressives are always, ALWAYS, convinced that one is on the way?”
Indeed, American leaders have bent over backwards to avoid such backlash. Within a week after 9/11, then-President George W. Bush visited an Islamic center in our nation’s capitol, making clear that Americans do not see Muslims as our enemies, “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.”
But, perhaps we have gone too far to avoid such a backlash. That’s how Army Major Shawn Keller sees it:
The Army as an institution has been neutered by decades of political correctness and the leaders in Hasan’s chain-of-command failed to act accordingly out of fear of being labeled anti-Muslim and receiving a negative evaluation report. The counter-terrorism agencies knew Hasan was communicating with Al-Qaeda and dismissed it as academic research instead of delving deeper into the probability that a terrorist had infiltrated the ranks. . . .
This has nothing to do with being anti-Islamic. After numerous tours to Iraq and working with countless cultural advisors on Ft. Bragg, I know dozens of Muslims who I respect and admire greatly. This has everything to do with force protection and security being trumped by the concepts of political correctness and diversity. This has everything to do with a hypocritical system and culture that breeds timidity and dismissiveness in the interest of career advancement. If I preached a white-supremacist ideology or described Timothy McVeigh as a hero to the cause of freedom and liberty, how long do you think I would still be in the military drawing a salary, receiving educational benefits and getting promoted like Hasan did?
Building on Keller’s Op-Ed, Ed Morrissey offers a few more details:
. . . here we have Nidal Hasan, who explicitly “associated with” Anwar al-Aulaqi, a figure that American intelligence suspects of operational involvement in 9/11, who yelled “Allah akbar!“ as he shot more than 50 people and killed 14 of them, and who repeatedly told his colleagues that the US had declared war on his faith and that suicide bombings could be justified. Does the media connect the dots the way they attempted with conservatives who espoused such radical thinking as federalism?
Look, it’s not just Obama who’s to blame. It’s his predecessor as well. For all the criticism leveled against W for his supposed attempts to demonize Islam, the politically correct treatment of Hasan began on his watch. Indeed, detailing further examples of such politically correct treatment, Michelle Malkin contends
The problem festered under the Bush administration. Despite 9/11, government at all levels refused to screen out jihadi-apologizing influences in our military, at the FBI, in prisons, and even fire departments.
Americans aren’t engaging in an anti-Islamic backlash. If anything, we’ve bent over backwards to avoid just such a reaction, even to the point of downplaying, if not out right ignoring, the radical rhetoric and actions of a handful of Muslim extremists.
As Major Keller notes, this is not a question of singling out Muslims for special scrutiny, but of singling out those who would do us harm and not excusing one extremist because he happens to be Muslim. Many, many Muslims have served the United States loyally and bravely. Let us both encourage and laud such service. But, such commendations should not prevent us from treating those who would reach out to Al-Qaeda and defend suicide bombings as we would a soldier who, during World War II, reached out to Adolf Hitler and defended concentration camps.
*And tying ourselves in knots, while engaging in strange, seemingly anatomically impossible contortions.