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Major Hasan is a Terrorist. So what.

By John Martin - Posted on 11 November 2009

For the past week we've all been trying to decide how to characterize Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Some want to paint him as a loner who's just generally upset at the world.  Others want to portray him as a military psychiatrist gone bad, unable to deal with the countless war stories he's heard. The most extreme among us decided immediately that he's an Islamic Terrorist, and an example of why we shouldn't trust any Muslim, whether they're an American citizen or not.

I don't care what we call Major Hasan.  Now that we know he acted alone, we should all take comfort in knowing that he is an aberration, in a nation that's used to crazies shooting others for no good reason.  There are five to seven million Muslims in the U.S.  There are thousands of Muslims serving in our Military.  If you're an American Muslim, you're about as likely to serve in our armed forces as if you were a Christian.  What this tragedy has reminded me of is just how many normal, tolerant and patriotic Muslims there are among us.  If anything, I think it is a huge credit to the United States that the Major Hasans are an extreme rarity, even as we wage war in two Muslim nations.

Although it's not discussed often, there certainly is some level of suspicion toward American Muslims within our military.  When I was serving in Afghanistan, you'd occasionally hear some say that some Afghan-American translators shouldn't be trusted completely.  There were also rumors of one or two Muslim soldiers being under investigation for passing information to elements they shouldn't have.  These were isolated discussions and consumed almost no energy as we all went about doing our jobs.

Instead, it was widely accepted that we were fortunate to have Muslim-Americans fighting with us, translating Arabic, Pashtu and Farsi, and giving us insight into Islam and the local customs.  The Afghan-Americans I served with were all there in the hope that they could help their desperate country get back onto its feet.  Other Muslims I served with drew a strict distinction between the small number of nutjobs who had hijaked their religion, and the millions of Muslims worldwide who just want to be part of the modern world.  My direct supervisor for much of my deployment was a Pakistani-American who was married to an Irish-American woman and who had two kids back home in North Carolina.  He was about as moderate and reasonable a guy as you could imagine.  He had the unquestioned respect of everyone he served with.

I hope our military learns from its mistakes in how it handled (or didn't handle) Major Hasan, but the lessons learned in this case have more to do with how to deal with sick soldiers generally, and almost nothing to do with how to handle the thousands of Muslims serving in our armed forces.  When I hear wackjobs saying we should purge Muslims from our military, I laugh.  If our goal was to lose the hearts and minds of the Afghan population, I can think of few ways better to do so than to deploy a 100% Christian force that can't speak the language and struggles to understand the people we're trying to protect.

Great post, John. 

Reading through it, I was agreeing the entire way, but I gotta say the last sentence is what brings it completely into focus.  Very well said.


Excellent blog, John!!  You perfectly expressed my thoughts with just the title.  Not that it seems he acted alone, without the instructions of any outside group, this line sums it up very well....Now that we know he acted alone, we should all take comfort in knowing that he is an aberration

There are aberrations in every religion, in every political belief...lone wolves who take their belief to extremes, and never ever should a whole faith, or people, be judged because of that.


So, we should close our eyes and ears, & pretend that Jihad had nothing to do with this?  There certainly are crazies that shoot people for no good reason, but this man wasn't one of them. 

No, we shouldn't condemn all Muslims because of this or any other act, but we also shouldn't pretend that we don't have a unique, and growing, risk from the extrememist Muslims among us.  When we start ignoring red flags because of rampant "political correctness", as we did here, this is the result we can expect.  Hopefully, we have learned from this one.

No one said anything about ignoring it or any kind of warning signs.

 Excellent blog, John. 

Welcome to RFO Vid.  I agree that red flags should not be ignored, in the name of political correctness or anything else.  As the original post stated, they should be addressed for any and all unstable soldiers.

For as long as we have had a military, we have had those few who are either infiltrators from the beginning, or have some sort of mental break while serving.  We are going down a slippery slope if we look at all Muslims as potential jihadists.

I have no doubt that the Army, the CIA and FBI are all taking a close look at their procedures and communication methods in the wake of this horrid situation.

Yes, like the Greek Orthodox priest who was beaten with a tire iron because a marine reservist "thought" he was an Arab Terrorist.

That sort of "political correctness"?

I won't "pretend" Jihad had nothing to do with this, I completely believe that "Jihad" had nothing to do with this.

This was a deeply conflicted man, who was under a lot of emotional and mental stress who responded in a most heinous way after his psychotic break.

We had a guy here in Louisville many years ago go on a rampage out our local newspaper's printing operation and killed many many people in much the same way.

He was a Christian. Was he on a Christian Jihad?

No. He was a disturbed individual, who could not cope with his life stressors and had a psychotic break that sent him down an irrational and violent path.

It happens in this country all the time.

Where do you think the term "going Postal" comes from?

The workers at the Post Office got saddled with that pop phrase after one too many postal workers went on a shooting spree. . . . not a jihad, but for the exact same reasons the guy at the Standard Gravure plant did and for the exact same reasons this pathetic loser did. 

THAT'S what we should be talking about with this guy! How PATHETIC of a loser that he is that he felt the only coward's way out of his oppressive mental and emotional stress was to take a bunch of innocent people with him.

He clearly didn't expect to live through this, given that he was giving away his belongings all week before he did it.

What a crappy way to commit suicide. But, sadly, it seems to be the method of choice for way too many people in our society.

Workplace violence is all too common and way too often results in tragic loss of life. 

Details of Standard Gravure shooting:

On September 14, 1989, Wesbecker, who was nicknamed "Rocky" by his colleagues, parked his car in front of the main entrance of Standard Gravure and entered the plant at 8:30 a.m. carrying a Chinese-made semiautomatic AK-47 derivative, a SIG Sauer 9mm pistol and a duffel bag containing two MAC-11s, a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, a bayonet and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

For more: 

Edited to add: I usually don't use Wikipedia for my sources, but I was too lazy to look up other ones.

I have trouble putting into words how I see his religion playing into his actions, but I'll try.

I see it as a total reverse of what many are saying.  To me, it seems that he did not start out as an extremist with jihad in mind.  What I see is a psychotic individual, possibly a sociopath, who, when he broke,  turned to  his religion as as some sort of justification for his "twisted logic".  (Obama phrased that perfectly, IMO).  This does not a jihadist make.

If it weren't Veterans Day, I'd throw out some "dumb Marine" jokes I've been saving up.  Instead, I'll just say that this Marine reservist should probably not be in uniform-- for a ton of reasons.

Here's that Greek Orthodox Priest looking priestly:

And here he is being put into an ambulance after his attack aat the hands of the misinformed Marine looking to kick some ass:


I had an email discussion about this with a couple of good friends, and want to share here a story that I told them in the course of that discussion:

After 9-11, I was terrified of anyone who even looked middle eastern...even to the point of avoiding a convenience store where I had previously gone almost daily for a fountain drink etc.  Then there was a story in the paper about the owner of a popular po-boy shop, whose business has suffered greatly.  The man had long ago become an American citizen, and was so proud of it.  You get the drift....well that made me stop and think, and I went that day to the convenience store.  There was a huge American flag on the wall behind the counter, God Bless America signs on the door etc.  I talked to the people there, and they told me they had left Iran to get away from just such extremism and violence, and how much they condemned what had happened, and the people who did it.  They also said for us, as Americans, to never forget that such extremism exists, but that they hoped that we would not judge all by the actions of the few.  We all had tears by the end of that conversation, and shared hugs of corny as that may sound.  I've have never forgotten the lesson of that be aware of the extremists and guard against them, but to never judge a people because of what exists in a few.

I never really feared Muslims after 9/11. Maybe it's a generation thing or my weird brain? I feared a--holes who'd do the same cr-p, but not one group as a whole. Could be my lack of deep faith too. Never had that feeling of my religion being attacked by another one, or something along those lines. Probably a mix of everything. Hopefully, it keeps getting better generation to generation, despite current tensions.

EDITED TO ADD: I'll throw my parents in there as probably being a huge factor. They're responsible for my open-mindness, they weren't/aren't ignorant to people with different feelings or beliefs.

My fear was based on the fact that I couldn't tell who was a radical and who wasn't just by looking at them.

Up until 9/11, I was always open to differing feelings or beliefs, but that day terrified me.  My fear was stoked and fed because, at the time, I was a regular Fox viewer, bought into the right wing talking points, and allowed myself to be guided by the fear they so ably instilled in many, many Americans.  The conversation I shared above was the beginning of my inner work towards change.  I've come a long way, baby!

I understand that, Suzi. It can happen to many people for different reasons and it's a combination of things that has made me who I am at such a young age. I find it hard to be absolute about a lot of things, especially politics or religion. I hope i'm wording this ok. I still have a lot to learn obviously but maybe i'm off to a good start. ( :

It might have had something to do with me being about 15 or 16 at the time, but I still think I had a grasp on the situation at hand then and understood it was terrorism and not something that belonged to an entire group. Then again I never really saw a lot of Muslims, much and I even had a kid named Mohammad (People called him Mo) of Muslim descent in my high school homeroom that was just like every other kid. Another aspect of the generational thing. 

Oddly enough, I think he was the first person I saw and talked to in homeroom that day when we saw the smoking building that morning. I thought it was an accident from a single engine plane or something. 

I even had a kid named Mohammad (People called him Mo) of Muslim descent in my high school homeroom that was just like every other kid. Another aspect of the generational thing. 

You just proved why integration of schools is a very, very good thing. 


He was a popular kid too.

I wanted to be frightened of anyone who looked like they were of Middle Eastern descent in the days post-9/11.  I give a tremendous amount of credit to one person for stopping my ignorance: Mohammed Ali. 

There were public service announcements for days / weeks right after 9/11 and Mohammed Ali was in at least one of them.  His sincerity, his love for the US and his openness touched my heart.  He explained better than anyone else at that time that being a Muslim-American had absolutely nothing to do with the atrocities carried out in the name of religion. 


For you, Kim:


Side note: several years ago, before this center was even thought of, my husband and I embarked on a mission to get a statue of Ali designed and built on the location where the Ali Center sits today. We started a non-profit fund for it and interviewed various artists. The one we picked was the the artist who did the Michael Jordon statue in Chicago (a guy by the name of Omri Amrany-awesome man). He even did a couple preliminary drawings for us. 

 In the middle of our fund drive to raise the money to both pay for the construction and installation of the statue and purchase a little plot of land on which to install it, we got blind-sided by some of Ali's handlers. We didn't have the political backing to go up against them so we ended up abandoning the idea.

In the end, we donated whatever money we had already collected to help fund the Ali Center. 

At any rate, obviously my husband and I are huge Ali fans and supporters. My husband is a few years younger than I am, so he didn't know him during the Cassius Clay years, but that's when my family first became fans.

The man has a magnetism and a aura that transcends race, religion and nationality. 


My dad was a huge sports fan, and that's how I spent my quality time with him -- learning and watching sports.  One of his favorite figures to poke fun at was Howard Cossell, and Ali became known as the counter to Howard.  Those are fun memories. 


My nephew tried to committ suicide twice after comeing back from Iraq, an he was a danger to himself an others. they put him in a psych ward, an kept him 30 days an threw him out in the streets with no where to go. This straight laced kid ended up useing drugs in an attempt to forget what he heard an saw in Iraq. John is right on about what is happening. The right wingers/Fox can use this to go after Muslins an make it what it isn't if they want. But, guarantee you the Military men/women an those families won't appreciate them heating up the hate against this, an useing their loved ones for their own agenda. They do need to do a evaluation of those in afganastan/Iraq-------Because like my nephew said------If Fox/Rush an others ramp this up to a hate feast, there are men/women who will use it as an excuse to cut down people over there. Because they have some pretty unbalanced men/women in the military. He said, you would not believe what some of our own do to other innocent people in Iraq. There are good seeds/bad seeds every where, an to meet their quoto an do the enlisting they let some real bad stuff pass to inlist them.
Well said John. I couldn't agree more.
Well-said, John.

Excellent blog, John. Sensitive subject but really important we discuss it.

Bill O'Reilly actually told Alan Combs he "knows" Hasan is a terrorist. "Why should we trust you as an authority?" Combs inquired. O'Reilly actually cited the fact that he has a top rated show!

Here is an excellent op-ed piece from the Los Angeles Times, that says Islam isn't our enemy...extremeists are.

I don't really have another place to put this, but Colbert had an interview about Muslim immigrants in Europe.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Christopher Caldwell
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating


Kind of feels out of place, but it's interesting.

Pete Hoekstra leaks info on the Hasan investigation?

And this was in the comments of that article:

Wondering how well Pete will do running for Gov in MI since he has
a history of "Islamic" profiling and MI has the largest Muslim community in the US?

Perhaps, Pete should demand an investigation into his homeboy Eric Prince's latest. Or maybe he thinks by making noise that he can keep the bribery charges off of the front page.

Hmmm... It seems I missed a local story here in Georgia about a community protesting the construction of a Mosque. Don't know enough about it to be too incredibly judgmental but I don't even live there so I'd kind of hate for people outside of my community trying to tell us what to do. I am however sure that some of it is ignorance. Who knows how much.

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