The general media reaction to the Ft. Hood massacre reminded me of an old joke. It’s about modern American liberals. One reason I feel secure in telling it is that I learned it from a liberal — from the commentator Mark Shields, who told it on television many years ago. Two liberals are walking down the road and they come to a person in the ditch. He has been beaten, and lies moaning, broken, bleeding. One liberal says to the other, “Quick, we have to find the people who did this: They need help.”I wonder what all of your takes are on what happened last week. I don't watch any normal news so I don't get much on the normal mainstream media front, but I read tons of political commentary so I have my ideas formed already.
The joke is especially relevant to this incident because of the treatment that Hassan is getting from the MSM, largely that everyone is willing to give this guy a free pass before admitting that this had anything to do with Islamic extremism. And what's the problem with that? The problem is that there had been numerous red-flags about this guy in the months leading up to what occurred last week, but in the interest of political correctness and the backbreaking ends people will go to preach tolerance all those red flags were ignored.
One writer that I especially admire, Jonah Goldberg, has taken up this cause of calling black black, and extremism extremism. From his article Connecting the Dots, Jonah writes:
“As a senior-year psychiatric resident at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Maj. Nidal M. Hasan was supposed to make a presentation on a medical topic of his choosing as a culminating exercise of the residency program,” reports the Washington Post.Today, in his column Sometimes, an Extremist Really is an Extremist, Goldberg writes:
Hasan went a different way. He opted to give a bizarre PowerPoint presentation in which he defended suicide bombing, explaining that non-believers should be beheaded, be burned alive, and have boiling oil poured down their throats (presumably not in that order). He argued that all Muslims should be discharged from the military.
One slide concluded: “We love death more then [sic] you love life!”
According to the Post, the medical staff in attendance was deeply disturbed by the incident. But there’s apparently no record of anyone’s reporting it to authorities. That would be insensitive and discriminatory.
Please be aware that this is becoming something that is occurring with some regularity, about 3-4 times a year within the borders of the United States, but because of the trepidation that Americans have about appearing intolerant, it's going under-reported. Some of those incidents that occur are plots that have been foiled, but include things like last week's massacre, or simply some crazed extremist running his car through a crowd of civilians. This is actually happening. And it's maddening to think that the President has failed to say anything more about the incident than to simply state that we must not jump to conclusions and worry more about protecting against anti-Islamic backlash.
President Obama was right when he said, in the early hours after the shooting, that people shouldn't "jump to conclusions" (a lesson he might have learned when he jumped to the wrong conclusion about a white cop who arrested Henry Louis Gates, a black Harvard professor). But just as we should not jump to conclusions, we shouldn't jump away from them.
Despite reports that Hasan had shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he opened fire, MSNBC's Chris Matthews insisted that "we may never know if religion was a factor at Ft. Hood." Thursday night, NBC and CBS refrained from even reporting the man's name. Meanwhile, ABC's Martha Raddatz's reporting on the subject reflected a yearning for denial: "As for the suspect, Nadal Hasan, as one officer's wife told me, 'I wish his name was Smith.' "
We have a real problem when much of the political and journalistic establishment is eager to jump to the conclusion that peaceful political opponents are in league with violent extremists, but is terrified to consider the possibility that violent extremists really are violent extremists if doing so means calling attention to the fact that they are Muslims.
I am more sympathetic toward this reluctance to state the truth of the matter than some of my colleagues on the right. There is a powerful case to be made that Islamic extremism is not some fringe phenomena but part of the mainstream of Islamic life around the world. And yet, to work from that assumption might make the assumption all the more self-fulfilling. If we act as if "Islam is the problem," as some say, we will guarantee that Islam will become the problem. But outright denial, like we are seeing today, is surely not the beginning of wisdom either.
I have no remedy for the challenge we face. But I do take some solace in George Orwell's observation that "to see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
What about protecting the American people first who actually like this country?