THE SPINE NOVEMBER 15, 2009
You may already know that I think Christopher Caldwell to be among the most subtle columnists of the lot. So it was not surprising for me to read in his Saturday Financial Times column ("Enemies need not be insane") a dissent from almost everybody (including me) who tried to have it both ways in the case of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, M.D. Yes, said I and my sage colleagues, Hasan was nuts. But he was also a "true" Muslim believer.
Here's the problem, according to Caldwell, for us Americans right now. "The present generation of Americans is made uncomfortable by the idea that their country might have enemies whose enmity is the result of something other than fanaticism or mental illness."
Here I paraphrase Caldwell, and I hope correctly. According to fundamentalist Islam, to which many millions and millions--and many more millions?--of Muslims adhere, it is perfectly logical for them to terror wage war on us.
Recognizing that would overturn our entire worldview in which no thinking Muslim can be an Islamist and no Islamist can be "real" Muslim...
To carry the argument a bit further:
General George Casey Jr. spent much of last weekend on national television engaging in ... wishful thinking. “A diverse army,” he said, “gives us strength.” Does it? Or is that a platitude? Diversity can be a strength. But diversity as an ideology produced, in Major Hasan's case, bureaucrats who were too scared of giving offense to speak their minds--to act on the information they had... Protecting soldiers was simply made priority number two. That is what made the Hasan case so explosive.
Maybe you recall the rash of publicity given last spring to large numbers of young native Minneapolis Muslims (hailing from Somalia) who were "returning home" to wage holy war. It was reported widely. There was an earlier article marking the election of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to enter Congress, and celebrating the "new Muslim-Liberal coalition." There is a disjunction between the two phenomena. Were these holy warriors crazy? Probably not. At least, not clinically. They are just believers.
And while we are still on Dr. Hasan and his views about Muslims in the military, there was significant news in the Times of London today. Ayatollah Abdolhossein Moezi, the London representative of the Supreme Leader of Iran, also doubling as the director of the Islamic Centre of England, called on all Muslims in British military forces to quit. Otherwise, he said, they will be used by "the forces of Zionist imperialism."