It Is No Longer Unthinkable

Two early thoughts about the murderous rampage at Ft. Hood:

Two early thoughts about the murderous rampage at Ft. Hood:

First, American law enforcement has become very good at identifying people who lean toward violent, jihadist ideology; arrests in September and October almost surely prevented large numbers of deaths in this country. They cannot prevent every act of terrorism conceived, but clearly they must have the tools and resources provided for in the Patriot Act to monitor suspicious and potentially dangerous behavior. And equally clearly, the American public must accept that there is a threat that lives among us–not only one imported from abroad.

Second, early reports about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opined that “PTSD” (post-traumatic stress disorder) was a possible contributing factor. His cousin told The New York Times that “after counseling soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with [PTSD], Hasan knew war firsthand. ‘He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy. He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there.”

It is entirely unacceptable to appropriate someone else’s experience; Hasan did NOT know war firsthand. PTSD is the most pressing, under-diagnosed problem of our returning service men and women. Treating it is difficult in a military culture that has trouble with the very notion of emotional rather than physical wounds. To suggest that confiding their experiences to military medical personnel might make the doctor a homicidal maniac is a huge disservice to our combat veterans–both those who have and those who do not have symptoms of PTSD–and to the dedicated professionals who listen to, counsel and treat them.

JINSA has long followed stories about attacks planned and executed against American military personnel. After the conviction in April of three Muslim men charged with conspiring to kill American soldiers at Ft. Dix (JINSA Reports #661, 840 and 882), the father of one asked for leniency. “What was their intention? Nothing happened,” he said. A defense attorney called the sentence “unusually lengthy” in a case where “no one was harmed.” The Deputy U.S. Attorney replied, “These men do not deserve leniency because of the good work of the FBI. They should not receive some benefit because there are not some dead soldiers lying on the ground.”

We agreed, and wrote:

There is some space between the intention to commit terrorism and the act itself. The jury got it right by convicting the five for conspiracy, not attempted murder – they hadn’t yet attempted it. But the American public-and those who would do our people, civilians or soldiers, harm-should know that law enforcement will do its best to put conspirators out of business before they become terrorists.

Since then, jihadists waging war in our country killed American soldiers in Arkansas and in Texas. Motivated by religious ideology to believe Americans in general and soldiers in particular, are the enemies of Muslims and of Islam, jihadists are arming, training and conspiring–and now doing–what had been unthinkable in the United States.

They have to be stopped.