Perhaps recalling the brouhaha that erupted when he reflexively blamed police officer Sgt. James Crowley for the chain of events that culminated in the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., President Obama was loathe to attribute the apparently premeditated bloodbath allegedly perpetrated by Muslim-American soldier Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to homegrown Islamic terrorism in a Rose Garden statement the next morning:
"We don't know all the answers yet. And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts."
The Washington Post notes that in his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama "convicted" Hasan of murder, having forgotten to use the qualifiers "suspected" or "alleged":
This past Thursday, on a clear Texas afternoon, an Army psychiatrist walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, and began shooting his fellow soldiers.
But by then, Obama knew more about Hasan than he knew about Crowley when he jumped feet-first into the white cop-black arrestee dispute -- yet, he refused to raise the possibility that this could have been an act of jihad. The media had already reported that Hasan:
- Was "devout," prayed at daily at the mosque and wore traditional Muslim dress when off duty;
- Was deeply conflicted by his religion and noted that the Koran instructs Muslims not to form alliances with Jews or Christians;
- Had worshipped at a mosque in 2001 that was led by radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki , believed to be a "spiritual adviser" to three of the Sept 11, 2001 hijackers -- and may have met two of them;
- Joined an Islamic matchmaking service looking for a wife who wore the hijab and prayed five times a day;
- Had given away his possessions over the preceding several days;
- Is believed to have posted comments on the Internet sympathetic to homicide bombers -- allegedly comparing them to soldiers who fall on grenades to save comrades;
- Is reported by eye-witnesses to have shouted "Allahu akbar!" ("God is great!") before "calmly" killing 13 people and wounding 38 others.
And now we have learned that the army was tipped off by U.S. intelligence months ago that Hasan was trying to e-mail Al Qaeda associates. They were also told not to jump to any conclusions, until FBI and military investigators were able to confirm what our post-9/11 gut instinct tells us is the probable motive for yet another Muslim to act out his outrage in a murderous rampage against Infidels (that is to say, Christians and Jews). So let's all just play along and pretend we really don't know "why" Hasan did it.
Unfortunately, The Washington Post doesn't want to play by Obama's rules and has already jumped to the conclusion that "the terrible crime of which Maj. Hasan is accused was not the expression of any faith, nor the work of a terrorist organization, but rather, it appears, the act of an evil or deranged individual."
It's hard to draw too many conclusions right now," writes Newsweek's Andrew Bast, but then he, too, jumps to a conclusion:
"[T]he U.S. military could well be reaching a breaking point as the president decides to send more troops into Afghanistan" -- soldiers and their families are living, and bending, under a harrowing and unrelenting stress that will not let up any time soon" -- it isn't much of a leap to argue that to further tax our military would do as much as anything to guarantee that the homegrown terror on display today could well repeat itself in the future."
For his part, New York Post columnist Ralph Peters does not want to play this game, and contends that "[p]olitical correctness killed those patriotic Americans at Fort Hood as surely as the Islamist gunman did":
[N]o officer in his chain of command, either at Walter Reed Army Medical Center or at Fort Hood, had the guts to take meaningful action against a dysfunctional soldier and an incompetent doctor.
[O]fficers fear charges of discrimination when faced with misconduct among protected minorities.
The chain of command protected a budding terrorist who was waving one red flag after another. Because it was safer for careers than doing something about him.
But when do we, the American public, knock off the PC nonsense?
As psychoanalyst Ken Eisold notes on PsychologyToday.com, "[s]truggling as we all are to make sense of this tragic incident, none of us can help bringing our own perspectives to bear on it":
[L]iberals tend to see this as an act of individual madness, which is how the right tends to think of liberals: always explaining away such actions, blinding themselves to the real dangers of conspiracy."
The right, on the other hand, usually committed to the rights on individuals, sees no individuals at all in this scenario. A Muslim is a Muslim and a likely terrorist. They know what they know.
Well, here's what one of columnist Rod Dreher's neighbors knows :
"Her soldier son worked with Hasan on the base back East. She said he described Hasan as unfriendly, a loner. And she said, 'He told me there's no way Hasan is crazy. He knew what he was doing.'"
Oh, and one more thing: While it's true that non-Muslim soldiers have also "snapped" and turned on their brothers in arms and that military counselors and chaplains are under emotional strain themselves, it doesn't necessarily follow that Hasan merely snapped and was not a jihadi. With his sworn duty to his country increasingly at odds with his perceived duty to Islam, the likeliest scenario is that he was both mentally unstable and a jihadi.
Update: Nearly a week later, at the memorial service to honor the 13 soldiers killed in the Ft. Hood massacre on Tuesday, November 10,
President Obama obliquely acknowledged the growing body of evidence that alleged shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan could have been motivated by Islamic extremism: "It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know: No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor" -- though he avoided mentioning him by name.
When the investigation has been concluded and all other excuses and explanations have been swept aside, perhaps Obama, the army brass and the mainstream media will frankly admit what anyone with a modicum of common sense had already figured out.
The Stiletto blogs at The Stiletto.com.