THE SPINE NOVEMBER 12, 2009
The contagion of denial is just about over. I got a sense of that when I read an editorial in the usually self-deceiving Boston Globe enumerating the multiple symptoms of Islamic fanaticism that Major Nidal Malik Hasan--a psychiatrist, no less, licensed to help others mentally afflicted--had exhibited over several years and that military superiors simply ignored. The Globe puts the question quite fairly: was the failure "to take action against a Muslim," crazed though he was, inhibited by the U.S. leadership's fear that it would be seen to be acting against his religion rather than against his terrorism.
The simple fact is that virtually throughout the orbit of Islam there are strains of affinity for religious and political murder. I hope not more than strains. There are also strains of hostility and even of revulsion. But a truth is a truth and, ugly as it may be, it should not be denied. There is peril in denial. As clearly there was enormous peril in the passivity with which Hasan's passions were met.
The Associated Press reported today that the president has ordered a no-holds-barred investigation into the handling of the intelligence that had accumulated about Hasan ... and that had been ignored. There should also be inquiries that delve beneath the surface of what the F.B.I. and military sleuths did happen to know and of why they did not move.
Almost simultaneously with the Hasan murders in Fort Hood, the police announced that another murderer was arrested in the West Bank. His name is Ya'acov "Jake" Teitel who, born in Florida, lived with his wife and children in an Israeli settlement. He was charged with killing two Palestinians, injuring one of the most eminent historians at the Hebrew University, wreaking mayhem on a messianic Christian family, altogether committing at least 14 violent acts over a decade. After his apprehension by the police, the community in which he lived, Shvuat Rachel, distanced themselves from his acts and uttered what some might see as a denunciation. I'm not sure at all. But Israel itself knows the truth and it has spoken the truth, which is that Teitel is a terrorist. Fortunately, Israel doesn't have many Joe Kleins who would deny what is so palpably so.
Yes, Teitel is also a nut case. Like Hasan. Of course. He is also a terrorist, and Jewry is shamed by his life. This is what Teitel said in his first appearance in court: "It was my pleasure and honor to serve God. God is proud of what I have done. I have no regrets." Allah Akhbar!