Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 6, 2009

BRINGING OUT THE WORST IN SMALL, SAD MINDS.... On "Fox & Friends" this morning, the hosts speculated about the need for "special screenings" of Muslim officers in the U.S. military. It follows a certain child-like reasoning -- Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a deadly rampage yesterday, shooting 43 people. Hasan is Muslim. Therefore, Muslims in uniform may be untrustworthy.

Soon after, Allen West, a top recruit of the National Republican Congressional Committee in Florida, announced his belief that, in light of the Fort Hood tragedy, the "enemy is infiltrating our military." West, one of 32 new members of the NRCC "Young Guns" program a congressional candidate in the Miami area next year, added, "Our soldiers are being brainwashed."

Now, at this point, we have no idea what led a 14-veteran of the U.S. Army to commit such a heinous crime, but there's a frightening ease with which too many conservatives embrace bigotry like this.

Spencer Ackerman gets this exactly right.

To make a point no one should have to make: earlier this year, a deranged Army sergeant named John Russell opened fire near a combat stress clinic -- sound familiar? -- at Baghdad's Camp Liberty and killed five of his fellow soldiers. No one speculated about any religious motivations. No one suggested he was part of an enemy "infiltration," or suggested that U.S. troops have been "brainwashed." Everyone understood that Russell was a deranged lunatic, not an advance scout for a conspiracy to subvert the military internally. It's funny how double standards work.

Actually, no. It's disgusting.

A tragic part of American life is that, from time to time, we learn of horrific shootings like the one at Fort Hood yesterday. There was, apparently, another shooting this morning, this time in Orlando, in which one was killed and seven were critically wounded. The gunman wasn't a Muslim.

Likewise, last year, 32 people were shot down in Virginia Tech. In March, 10 were killed in a shooting rampage in Alabama. In April, 13 were killed in upstate New York. In each instance, the gunmen weren't Muslim.

It's been 24 hours since the violence began at Fort Hood. Can we wait just a little while before jumping to conclusions and making baseless allegations about Americans who haven't done anything wrong?

Steve Benen 2:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

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Comments

Odd coincidence is that this shooter also graduated from Virginia Tech. Does that mean that we need to ID hokies as potential terrorists?

Posted by: samuel Knight on November 6, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Some time ago, Pat Buchanan advanced the view that we are in the midst of a culture war. How long is it going to take before the reality of this is recognized ? There is a stratum in America, of uneducated ignorant humans, who are capable of thinking only in slogans, and who absolutely hate anyone not like them. We've just had a reminder of what they have to offer in the way of public discourse in Washington in the halls of congress. Wake up and smell the revolution of the repulsive side of human nature, folks. It's coming to a town near you.

Posted by: rbe1 on November 6, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

"FOX and Friends" viewers tuned in 2 hours early in anticipation of these speculations.

I suppose it's like a drug rush. They need their fix. F&F doesn't disappoint.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on November 6, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well the major was reportedly screaming "Allah Akbar" while pulling the trigger. Does that provide a clue?

Posted by: Sean Scallon on November 6, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

They've got no other option but to jump to conclusions. If they wait for the evidence, it might turn out to be inconvenient -- as in the Murrah Federal Building bombing, among many others.

Posted by: jvwalt on November 6, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Anytime anyone spews this garbage I politely point out that Tim McVeigh was a "Christian".

This junk is entirely predictable. In fact, when I first heard the Ft. Hood gunman's name, the first words out of my mouth were "Oh crap" because I knew what was coming. Unfortunately I was right.

Posted by: Hannah on November 6, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Orlando story follow-up included that the suspect has a Latino surname. Will the Republicans start a jihad against Hispanics next?

Posted by: BuzzMon on November 6, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

What they all have in common, first and foremost, is testosterone. Why not start with that?

Posted by: VaLiberal on November 6, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ackerman also noted that West was disciplined by the Army for discharging his weapon near the head of a detainee.

Posted by: Breezeblock on November 6, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Well the major was reportedly screaming "Allah Akbar" while pulling the trigger. Does that provide a clue?"

Of what, Sean?

First, he "reportedly," not factually, said that, so we'll have to see if that is confirmed. But even so, what conclusions can be drawn from the actions of a man whose motive may or may not have been religious?

1. "Prejudice" means that you (for example) judge someone based on pre-judging them, making an assumption based on some characteristic or set of beliefs that would apply to all who are thus identified. So, in this case you seize on his Muslim faith and conclude that "this is what Muslims do," because you already think that they are "like that." After all, a number of Muslim extremists have and are fighting Americans and many other Western people.

2. If a Christian did this, you wouldn't write a post or think anything about that, since you don't hold a prejudice against Christians. The event is isolated and passed off as "crazy" or "deranged" or motivated my something that isn't connected with faith or ethnicity. Even though there are certainly Christians who kill people based on their beliefs. You might hold this prejudice, but you select one and not the other. If you happen to be a Christian and don't know any, or very many, Muslims, then this would probably be the reason.

3. That you don't separate Muslims from Muslim extremists would lead you into shaky territory if a Christian extremist does something that might cast aspersions on other Christians.

I'm sure others here can explain this too. I can't tell you how tired I am from hearing the opinions of people who don't think about what they're saying or the world around them.

Posted by: BGinCHI on November 6, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Buzz, what do you mean will republicans "start" a jihad against Hispanics? Since when haven't they been on one already?

As far as Muslims in the military go, I'm sure it's just like that Charles Bronson movie Telefon where the Soviets called up and read bad poetry to activate hypnotized sleeper agents. *Just* like that. Only our more modern movie will star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. And Obama will be the one making the phone calls. And Glenn Beck will be in it, somehow.

Posted by: zadig on November 6, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

To make a point no one should have to make: earlier this year, a deranged Army sergeant named John Russell opened fire...and killed five of his fellow soldiers. No one speculated about any religious motivations. No one suggested he was part of an enemy "infiltration," or suggested that U.S. troops have been "brainwashed."

Hell, not only that, the wingnuts don't even REMEMBER this guy: the little Ministry of Truth in their heads has erased him from memory.

And why should they remember him? White-guy crime isn't scary to them. "Timothy McWhoo brought down a federal building with bombs WHERE? Musta been some deranged latte-loving liberal. And those kids at Columbine were a product of a left-wing education teacher's unions. Too much sensitivity training warped their minds. What's the big deal, anyway? It's not like they were jihadis."

Posted by: trex on November 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

What imbeciles and bigots we have here at FOX and Friends! Just ask anyone of them what religion Timothy McVeigh was, and they'd no doubt know, (in the canyons of their own minds) he was a muslim!

Murdoch's empire is the clarion call for the death of an open and free society where once there was a representative democracy. Our Friends at FOX would have us in chains just so they could enjoy the comfort of their studio setting knowing the great white hope is just around the corner! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on November 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

In this case, the guy's identity is a really key part of the story.

First, he's a US Army Major. Which means he's part of a hierarchy, has a huge paper trail, and commanders right up the chain with some explaining to do.

Second, he's still alive, and a psychiatrist. Which means he may have something to say about how he snapped. This may be some religous wackery - or it may be a long tale from the rightwing Christianist takeover of the Army.

Point being, its not just a random nut. It's someboy given authority & weapons by the United States Army. I don't expect anyone to go out of their way to make the Army account for this, it should happen just in the course of events.

Posted by: Downpuppy on November 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I do think you are better off holding up McVeigh rather than Russell. All 3 are crazy, but there is some evidence our guy at Fort Hood was channeling his insanity in a jihadist sort of way--not that Fox would have known that when it jumped to conclusions. McVeigh channeled his insanity in a version of what Fox spews to its listeners on a daily basis.

Posted by: Terry on November 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmmm, kind of reminds me of what a certain President recently said and who jump to conclusions about a "bad" white cop harassing a black professor in Boston area. I think there was even a "racist" assumption made. As I recall it was all settled over a few beers. Maybe when this guy recovers he can have a beer with the families of the people he killed and all will be good.

Posted by: Fencesitter on November 6, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Its already starting!!

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/11/06/walid-phares-ft-hood-murder-terror-attack/

Posted by: yESmAN on November 6, 2009 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I know that it isn't P.C. to say this, but it should be illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase or possess assault weapons. Period.

Posted by: Chris on November 6, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ackerman also noted that West was disciplined by the Army for discharging his weapon near the head of a detainee.

I wondered what happened to West. This happened in 2003, well before Abu Ghraib. If he had been tried for his crimes then (by the Bush cabal, not likely) and made a public example, the crimes at Abu Ghraib might never have happened.

Instead, he's an up-and-coming Republican.

Posted by: Wapiti on November 6, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Here's how it works:

Step 1: Observe situation.
Step 2: Think of the most tasteless thing you could possibly say about aforementioned situation.
Step 3: Broadcast it on Fox News.
Step 4: Bask in attention.

Posted by: Cazart on November 6, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Since he is a Major in the U.S. Army, I suspect all Majors in the U.S. Army should be investigated for possible connections with terrorist organizations, of whatever kind. It is a very dangerous demographic and needs to be profiled instantly.
BTW, I "heard" there were some friendly fire casualties during the Ft. Hood incident. Is that true? Also part of the military pattern: collateral damage is just part of the process of eliminating our enemies (see drone attacks in Pakistan, et al).

Posted by: st johnq on November 6, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

It follows a certain child-like reasoning -- Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a deadly rampage yesterday, shooting 43 people. Hasan is Muslim. Therefore, Muslims in uniform may be untrustworthy.

Given that there are some reports that he suffered years of religious harassment by his fellow soldiers -- including a recent one in his apartment complex who keyed his car and ripped a bumper sticker off -- what if it turns out that the religious bigotry that he endured was the snapping point?

Funny how it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: you assume all Muslims are terrorists, you harass a co-worker because he's a Muslim, co-worker snaps and turns on you. But, of course, all it does is prove that all Muslims are untrustworthy, just like you knew from the very beginning, which is why you started harassing the guy in the first place, which is why you harass the next Muslim you work with ...

There's a reason they call it a "vicious cycle."

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 6, 2009 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Chris said:
"I know that it isn't P.C. to say this, but it should be illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase or possess assault weapons. Period."

And I think abortion should be safe, legal, and obtainable. What's that got to do with the subject at hand?

Posted by: DR on November 6, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Tancredo (former Republican Congressman from Colorado, currently working as a freelance fear-monger) must be kicking himself right about now. There was a breathless and anguished column in the Denver Post with his byline this very morning, all about a new book entitled "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America."

If he had only waited one more day, he could have dramatically ramped up the Alarm-o-Meter. He missed a golden opportunity to REALLY exploit a tragedy for personal aggrandizement. Timing is everything, Tommy Boy.


Posted by: Mandy Cat on November 6, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

The trouble here is that many seem to be arguing with Fox News (good) while using commenters as bait (not good). I'm an example: I expressed myself as tilting to the right in a previous posting below and was misread as a racist. Thanks a lot! Being suspicious and wary in a tense situation does not make one (me) a wingnut. I am on the left, but tilting toward the right in this one case. I reserve judgment, for I can see that the guy might just be a creep who twisted Islam for his own sordid reason, but I am suspicious in general. You know, just like I would be suspicious of a right winger showing up at a political rally with a gun.

If you paint such commenters as right wing nuts, then you are doing the same as the wingnuts in the Republican party who are slamming the Republican moderates.

Do you really want to act like those creeps? I don't mind disagreement, but I don't go for namecalling.

Posted by: Bob M on November 6, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

>"I know that it isn't P.C. to say this, but it should be illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase or possess assault weapons. Period."

Eh? That concept won't get very far with the US Army.

From what I've read (so far), he used a couple of Beretta 92 pistols that are standard issue for US officers.

Posted by: Buford on November 6, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

I reserve judgment, for I can see that the guy might just be a creep who twisted Islam for his own sordid reason, but I am suspicious in general. You know, just like I would be suspicious of a right winger showing up at a political rally with a gun.

Here's thing thing, though -- there's a difference between being suspicious of someone who's walking around in public with a weapon in his hand and being suspicious of someone because you find out they're a Muslim. One is a direct threat -- I have a gun and, if I feel like it, I could shoot you -- but the other is not.

If I told you that I was automatically fearful of anyone who said they were a Christian because Christians bomb clinics and shoot doctors inside their churches, would that sound rational to you?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 6, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Obama jumped to similar conclusions in the Crowley, Gates incident, even used racism as a reason and not a single one of you saw the racism in Obama. You lefties are just as bad as the righties and too blind to see. Admit your just as humane as the person with a differing opinion (fox in this case) and accept it. Whatever happen to let he who has no sin cast the first stone thingy.

Posted by: fence sitter on November 6, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

You mean like...

Benen: BRINGING OUT THE WORST IN SMALL, SAD MINDS

You mean like Bachmann calling for an insurgency yesterday?
And asking her followers to scare people?

Posted by: koreyel on November 6, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

From Crooks and Liars.

********************************************

There's just not much to say about the tragic news yesterday - twelve dead and 30 injured as a result of a "lone gunman," now identified as an Army major. MAJ Nidal Hasan was a psychiatrist who had graduated from Virginia Tech in 1997 and spent six years at Walter Reed Army Medical Clinic before moving to Fort Hood. He was not a happy man.

In an interview, his aunt, Noel Hasan of Falls Church, said he had endured name-calling and harassment about his Muslim faith for years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and had sought for several years to be discharged from the military.

"I know what that is like," she said. "Some people can take it, and some cannot. He had listened to all of that, and he wanted out of the military, and they would not let him leave even after he offered to repay" for his medical training.
--------------
He had been affected by the physical and mental injuries he saw while working as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed for nearly eight years, according to his aunt. "He must have snapped," Noel Hasan said. "They ignored him. It was not hard to know when he was upset. He was not a fighter, even as a child and young man. But when he became upset, his face turns red." She said Hasan had consulted with an attorney about getting out of the service.

On the rare occasions when he spoke of his work in any detail, the aunt said, Hasan told her of soldiers wracked by what they had seen. One patient had suffered burns to his face so intense "that his face had nearly melted," she said. "He told us how upsetting that was to him."

It's clear that this was not a simple case of "Vietnam Vet" syndrome. Hasan had not deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, but he was faced with the aftermath of that conflict on a very personal basis. In a big organization like the Army, and on a huge and busy base like Fort Hood, it's clear that his colleagues and other people who probably saw his behavior worsen didn't see the opportunity to intervene. With big organizations, sometimes the system fails the individuals who need the most help. It's a horrible situation, but this is what war can lead to - the injuries aren't limited to the battlefield. Thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims at Fort Hood.
Tags: army, Iraq War, Military

Posted by: stormskies on November 6, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

The whole thing is just sad. The ability to get automatic weapons. The wars themselves. The hundreds of signs that went un-heeded by the military..

But none of it excuses his choice to going on a killing rampage.

Does anything ever?

What he did was horrifying and wrong. He could have gone AWOL, he could have just told them he was gay...he could have killed himself and not others...

Yet..this is the Muslim American Community's worst nightmare: that a lone disturbed Muslim American soldier would go whacko here on American soil and take out other innocent soldiers..

This is horrible anyway you look at it..and that this single instance of a disturbed person will be used to vilify and call into suspect all Muslim Americans and create huge backlash.

He really did the Muslims no favor at all, that's for sure.

Posted by: It was horribly wrong AND it will be exploited on November 6, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Obama jumped to similar conclusions in the Crowley, Gates incident, even used racism as a reason and not a single one of you saw the racism in Obama.
Posted by: fence sitter

Obama called out Crowley as an asshole cop and the main prejudice Obama demonstrated was that Cambridge cops, like all cops, are assholes. The fact that Crowley fucked up and aggravated racial tensions was secondary to the general abuse of power cops engage in routinely.

... I would argue.

Unless you're one of those pussies who enjoy being ordered around by cops on your own property after establishing amongst all that it is, in fact, your property?

Posted by: Gonads on November 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

What stormskies said/quoted. "It's a horrible situation, but this is what war can lead to - the injuries aren't limited to the battlefield."
As long as we continue to use "war" as the means of resolving or attacking our differences, we will have these kinds of reactions. It is not justified, but it is part of the imperfect human experience. None of us will ever know what this soldier experienced and felt. Even when/if he has a chance to speak, each will render his/her own opinion and judgment from his/her personal biases. Let's see if we can have the courage to examine our own prejudices and biases and make the changes that may contribute to a different way of handling our own fear and frustration.

Posted by: st john on November 6, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama jumped to similar conclusions in the Crowley, Gates incident, even used racism as a reason and not a single one of you saw the racism in Obama. You lefties are just as bad as the righties and too blind to see. Admit your just as humane as the person with a differing opinion (fox in this case) and accept it. Whatever happen to let he who has no sin cast the first stone thingy."

Stunning logic.

Here's why it's hard to have a conversation with people like fence sitter (nice name, too). Being in the group that is not marked out as different in society (white males) shields you from racial prejudices and the effects that this has on individuals marked by color or other signs of difference (to speak very generally). Obama doesn't think all white cops are racists, I'd guess, but when he calls an event that smacks of past racist actions, he makes a judgment that racism may well play a part. Even if he wasn't exactly right you can see why a person who had suffered from this stuff might point that out.

But when white people like those on Fox single out Hasan's Muslim faith as the "reason" or just to the conclusion that Muslim's will "behave that way" that is somehow not racially prejudiced?

How are people who have been harmed by all this the same as Fox commentators who have never had to worry about it? If you can't stop and think about that, and see that there is a difference, then you are just not going to be able to make any intelligent comments about this subject.

Get off the fence and use your brain.

Posted by: BGinCHI on November 6, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

". If a Christian did this, you wouldn't write a post or think anything about that, since you don't hold a prejudice against Christians. The event is isolated and passed off as "crazy" or "deranged" or motivated my something that isn't connected with faith or ethnicity. Even though there are certainly Christians who kill people based on their beliefs. You might hold this prejudice, but you select one and not the other. If you happen to be a Christian and don't know any, or very many, Muslims, then this would probably be the reason."

That's because "crusader/holy war" mentality went out of Christianity after the 30 Years War. Jihad still quite a prominent part of the Islamic faith. That's why abortion clinic shootings are seen as isolated events or isolated extremists. Now some Islamic scholars may agree or disagree as to how seriously or to what degree one takes the concept of jihad but without any kind of religious heiarchy or authority to lay down doctrine, you could probably ask 30 different Islamic scholars and imams about Jihad and get 30 different answers. But it only takes one or a handful who really do think that it is holy war and really do think they have a duty to destroy the infidel because the Koran and Prophet said so in order to wreck havoc as we saw yesterday.

Do I think all Muslims are terrorists? No, but as I said it only takes but one jihadist to cause mayhem and such will continue if all three of these things continue to happen: 1). Continued mass immigration from Muslim lands and support of the Islamic infrastructure in the U.S. by Saudi Arabia; 2). Continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; 3). Continued black check support for Israel.


Posted by: Sean Scallon on November 6, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Did Obama ever even refer to race -- directly or obliquely -- in his comments about the Gates case? 'Cause I don't remember him saying anything except that the cop had acted stupidly, which he most assuredly did, and then the winger media immediately accused the black president of playing the race card for criticizing the white cop's behavior.

That may have become conventional wisdom among our less intelligent brethren like 100 Miles to the Right of the Fence, but it doesn't make it true. Feel free to correct me (with cites, of course) if I'm remembering wrong.

Posted by: shortstop on November 6, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Likewise, last year, 32 people were shot down in Virginia Tech. In March, 10 were killed in a shooting rampage in Alabama. In April, 13 were killed in upstate New York. In each instance, the gunmen weren't Muslim.

Clearly, the problem is that there just aren't enough guns in this country.

[sigh.]

Posted by: chrenson on November 6, 2009 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sean, I'd put down the shovel.

Posted by: doubtful on November 6, 2009 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sean Scallon@4:20PM: "That's because "crusader/holy war" mentality went out of Christianity after the 30 Years War...[snip]...Continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan."

Bush:"This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while"

I rest my case.

Posted by: Ohioan on November 6, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

In your haste to decry bigotry you overlook the evidence. That said, religious extremism is really nihilism. It follows that when one reaches a point of absolute conviction, he reaches comcurrently the point of complete absurdity.
We have become callous as a species to the real needs of others.

Posted by: Sparko on November 6, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Well the major was reportedly screaming "Allah Akbar" while pulling the trigger. Does that provide a clue?"

A former reader of Kevin Drum emailed a first hand account to him. He says as far as he heard, the shooter was silent.

Posted by: lou on November 6, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jihad still quite a prominent part of the Islamic faith. That's why abortion clinic shootings are seen as isolated events or isolated extremists. Now some Islamic scholars may agree or disagree as to how seriously or to what degree one takes the concept of jihad but without any kind of religious heiarchy or authority to lay down doctrine, you could probably ask 30 different Islamic scholars and imams about Jihad and get 30 different answers. But it only takes one or a handful who really do think that it is holy war and really do think they have a duty to destroy the infidel because the Koran and Prophet said so in order to wreck havoc as we saw yesterday.

This is breathtakingly stupid, but I'll bite. In the first place, and your entire premise is based on an unconfirmed report that the perpetrator shouted out what you're claiming. But is jihad among American Muslims a prominent part of their faith, or does it "only (take) one or a handful who really do think that it is holy war"? You can't have it both ways.

And I challenge you to consider the organized campaign of violence directed at abortion providers & clinics -- which has been going on for decades and is thoroughly chronicled here -- and stack that up against every last domestic & jihad-inspired act of violence against Americans that you can think of. There's absolutely no question about who qualifies as the terrorist in our midst.

Posted by: junebug on November 6, 2009 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, the guy was a Palestinian, his brother moved from America to Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank, four years ago. He was a devout Muslim bachelor who had had a hard time finding a woman in America. He was suing the Army for discriminating against him as a Muslim. He had spoken well of Arab suicide bombers.

This is blowback from America's grad strategy of Invite the World / Invade the World.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on November 6, 2009 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

In my basic sociology class in college we were shown a video about a Native American guy who was having a lot of trouble over his NA/American identities. From the outside, it seemed like nothing, but was a wrenching problem for this guy.
In my neighborhood I see what I assume are Muslim women with only their eyes showing. They are covered head to foot including fabric over everything but their eyes. Clearly this is indicative of a culture very different from mainstream American culture, which has gone through the Renaissance and Reformation and Enlightenment hundreds of years ago, and feminism leading to Betty Friedan etc. (fifty years ago!) and the modern women's movement. Not to mention black equality and (still incomplete obviously) gay liberation movements.
We don't know what was specifically going on with this guy, but the competing contexts of a worldview from the Middle Ages in the Middle East, and the modern European/American world might have some clues.

Posted by: emjayay on November 6, 2009 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

This guy cracking and doing what he did is an appalling example of what can happen at the extreme edge of the populace. I am extremely upset about the impact of what he did will have on the families of the victims. I am also concerned about the implications of what I wrote about above impacting American and European society at large. We have come a long way and there is a great potential of large numbers of fundamentalist Muslim people in the West slowing or reversing the crucial gains we have made.

Posted by: emjayay on November 6, 2009 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Lou, if you meant a link there (from the reddish color lettering) it doesn't work. The media are saying the shooter said "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) so if no true, that needs to get out.

Posted by: Neil B on November 6, 2009 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

In your haste to decry bigotry you overlook the evidence. That said, religious extremism is really nihilism. It follows that when one reaches a point of absolute conviction, he reaches comcurrently the point of complete absurdity.
We have become callous as a species to the real needs of others.

Posted by: Sparko on November 6, 2009 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

This is blowback from America's grad strategy of Invite the World / Invade the World.

For crying out loud, the guy was born in America. And in what was, at the time, a deeply red VA. It's pure idiocy to attribute this to immigration policies.

And as much as I'd love to lay this at the feet of neoconservatism, I don't think it's that simple. The situation -- at the moment, anyway -- seems to suggest that this was just a deeply disturbed individual who freaked out under the strain of both his job & his imminent deployment. Plenty of soldiers -- and those who hail from countries of which you're so scared -- bear up heroically under similar, and even greater, hardships.

Posted by: junebug on November 6, 2009 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Neil B,

I think this is the link that lou intended. It's worth emphasizing that this is just one account, and not necessarily any more reliable than the accounts of those who claim that the perpetrator did shout such a proclamation. An incident like this is bound to produce Roshamon-like accounts, but -- as far as I know, anyway -- this detail remains unconfirmed.

Posted by: junebug on November 6, 2009 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

That's because "crusader/holy war" mentality went out of Christianity after the 30 Years War.

I guess there are no Christians in Ireland, then, since they've been conducting their own little holy war for close to 100 years, if not longer.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 6, 2009 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

This is blowback from America's grad strategy of Invite the World / Invade the World.

Thank you, Steve, for dropping by and proving my point. All Muslims are bad, so therefore you're right to treat them badly, and if they react to your treating them badly, that just proves that you were right to treat them badly in the first place.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

So, it appears that the "small, sad minds" had it exactly right, in contrast to the giant mind of Steve Benen -- this Palestinian Muslim terrorist is the perfect Palestinian Muslim terrorist stereotype.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on November 7, 2009 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Hasan was/is bald-headed. Therefore all bald-headed people, including chemotherapy patients are unamerican.

Posted by: cal on November 7, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

If I told you that I was automatically fearful of anyone who said they were a Christian because Christians bomb clinics and shoot doctors inside their churches, would that sound rational to you?

Good, but way too general, so the conclusion is obvious. In reality, it depends on the type of "Christian" he is. Some Christians I would be very fearful about. If a Christian were hostile when questioned about Christianity as he defined it, was conspicuously silent when presented with factual Christian abuses, was aggressive in supporting militant Christian "defenders", wouldn't it be rational to be suspicious about his goodwill?

I'm a teacher with lots of Muslim students. I made it a point to talk to some older ones privately, so that they let their hair down. Their real opinions were very different from their smiling public faces. Don't get me wrong. I draw no broad conclusions at all, but I am suspicious.

Do-your-own-due-diligence is my approach. I'm a follower of Darwin. :-)

I hate the Republican extremists, by the way. I have no suspicions there -- just real certainty that they are acting like scumbags.

Posted by: Bob M on November 7, 2009 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Dulcea on February 19, 2010 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK
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