Those in America who will do anything to deny the fact that we are at war with radical Islam have begun the public relations work of implying that the carnage wrought by Omar Mateen in Orlando might not have been driven by his political and religious ideology at all, but, instead, by his suppressed homosexuality. 

According to this theory, Mateen wasn’t really out to kill 49 Americans because he loathed this country and everything it stands for; he was out to kill 49 projections of his inner, gay self.  Had he only come out as a gay man, he would have been a loving person, not a mass murderer.

Translation:  Forget about Mateen’s trips to Saudi Arabia and his sworn allegiance to Isis.  Focus, instead, on the fact that Mateen may have used the dating app Grinder to flirt or hook up with gay men.

Well, that should be about as interesting right now to the bereaved families in blood-stained Orlando as the theory that Hitler’s frustrations over not becoming a successful artist were to the millions of Jews whose relatives died in ovens at Auschwitz and the 407,000 American military who perished to defeat that madman. 

Once the shooting or gassing starts, it doesn’t matter whether the guy with the gun or the ovens has a mother who screwed him up. That’s for armchair psychologists to debate after the war is over.

Once the shooting or gassing starts, it doesn’t matter whether the guy with the gun or the ovens has a mother who screwed him up.  That’s for armchair psychologists to debate after the war is over.

Yes, psychiatry can illuminate the unconscious motivations of everything from serial killers to fascist dictators.  It constitutes the most remarkable set of tools ever known to peer into the abyss.  But understanding the root causes of Mateen’s bloodlust, or those of Hitler’s or Usama bin Laden’s, should never be used as a way of talking ourselves out of the existential threat such individuals represent to us once their psychologies manifest themselves in cancerous ideologies.

Once you have lung cancer, the reasons you smoked are interesting, but not relevant to the moment at hand. 

All mass killers and all tyrants who hate life and liberty are psychiatrically ill.  Man’s  normal psychology is as an autonomous, freedom-loving being.  Everything I have learned from interviewing thugs and killers tells me unequivocally that totalitarians and extremists of every stripe are pathological. But fighting a psychologically diseased enemy doesn’t mean that enemy is less organized, less likely to spread or less lethal.

The world has cancer now. It is called radical Islam. And there is a time for psychoanalysis and a time for surgery.  Positing psychological reasons why ISIS and Al Qaeda (and their like) exist, and why many millions around the world, including many inside this country, are willing to die for the twisted views they represent, will not change the fact that we will have to defeat them with resolve of steel and weaponry of steel.  

Once that’s over, with our scalpel well-used, we will have the luxury to get into the “whys” of their individual or collective motivations.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team.