Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has shined a spotlight on the intellectual and moral shortcomings of America's self-anointed elite.
Some liberal journalists and Obama administration officials say they cannot yet identify a motive for Maj. Hasan's murder spree at Fort Hood. This is much more than a failure to connect the dots. It's like looking west from Denver on a bright and sunny day, and claiming to be unable to see the Rocky Mountains.
Maj. Hasan produced a pro-jihadi slide show which he inflicted upon fellow physicians at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He had "SoA," an abbreviation for "Soldier of Allah," printed on his business cards. He attended mosques where radicals preached, and he tried to get in touch with radicals linked to al-Qaida. As he was gunning down the defenseless soldiers around him, he was heard shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great"). His motive couldn't be clearer.
Worse than the willful blindness with regard to his motives were the efforts by some to make excuses for Maj. Hasan's behavior. His feelings might have been hurt because some of those on whom he afflicted his anti-American diatribes did not respond well to them. He might have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, not from any stress that he had experienced, but, as an Army psychiatrist, having listened to veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq who may have been suffering from PTSD.
Please. Real soldiers at Fort Hood who actually faced combat did not go on murder sprees, and PTSD would not have excused them if they had.
The Fort Hood massacre was the worst terror attack in the United States since 9/11, but Maj. Hasan was far from the first to suffer from "sudden jihad syndrome." Historian Victor Davis Hanson has noted that "on average, in the 98 months since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, a radical Islamic-inspired terrorist plot has been uncovered every four months."
Some of the attacks have been by lone wolves, as when Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar ran over and injured nine students at the University of North Carolina in March of 2006, or when Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot two soldiers in front of an Army recruiting station in Little Rock last May, killing one and wounding the other.
Others have been conspiracies. Daniel Patrick Boyd and Hysen Sherifi were among seven suspects arrested in August for planning an attack on the Marine base in Quantico, Va.
Some of the actual and would-be jihadis were immigrants, such as Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a Jordanian living in the United States illegally, who was arrested in September after planting what he thought were explosives near an office building in Dallas. Others, such as Maj. Hasan, were U.S. citizens. Others, such as Mr. Boyd and Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (formerly Carlos Bledsoe), were native-born Muslim converts.
Some were educated, some not. Some were wealthy, some poor. What they had in common was a radical Islamist ideology and a deep-seated hatred of the United States.
Radical Islam has been at war with us since before 9/11. It is the ideology which is the enemy, whether it is held by a Taliban guerrilla in Afghanistan or by an Army doctor in Bethesda. But President George W. Bush could not or would not articulate this, and President Barack Obama appears not to recognize it.
It is comforting to believe only a handful of Muslims in the United States are infected by racial Islamism, and there is reason to believe this is so. About 5,000 Muslims serve in the U.S. military. Some, like Capt. Humayan Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004 trying to prevent a suicide bomber from attacking an American compound, have proved their patriotism beyond any shadow of doubt.
But our leaders undercut the genuinely moderate Muslims and endanger the rest of us when they make excuses for extreme Islamists.
It remains to be seen if Maj. Hasan was just a radical Islamist, or a lone wacko who also happened to be a radical Islamist. But it is clear that only gross negligence by his superiors permitted him to be in the position to do so much harm.
"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," wrote Army Maj. Shawn Keller for RealClearPolitics.com.
It's a sad commentary on the Army today that Maj. Keller is more likely to suffer for publicly criticizing the negligent than those whose negligence resulted in the deaths of 12 soldiers and a civilian contractor.
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette and The (Toledo) Blade ( firstname.lastname@example.org , 412 263-1476).