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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blood (the complete version)

The recent massacre brings up the issues of dual loyalties, affirmative action, and racial profiling, and places their outcome squarely in front of the American public.

It's not surprising that Nidal Malik Hasan, with his radical Islamic views, would open fire on US soldiers in Ft. Hood. What is surprising is that with all of the warning signs he gave off, no one did anything about him beforehand. Hasan was even promoted to Major earlier this year despite extremely poor performance reviews. When he "counseled" returning veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, instead of trying to help them heal, he evidently harangued them about the unjustness of the wars they had just fought in.

But he was promoted anyway, because the Army has unofficial quotas for minorities, including Muslims, and wants to appear a model of diversity.

Hasan told his fellow soldiers that infidels should be killed. He said that Muslims should wage war on Americans. He said he was a Muslim first and an American second. And he made absolutely no effort to hide his beliefs. (Sure enough, he yelled "Allahu akbar!" as he began his killing spree.)

Now it's emerging that he attended the mosque of a radical imam in Virginia and had tried to get in touch with al Qaeda. Yet the FBI, which had intercepted those emails, dismissed them as inconsequential.

So why did nobody do anything? Because the Army brass, the FBI, and everyone else involved in this sordid affair are all afraid of being called racist.

Race is, of course, America's great sacred cow. We are supposed to repeat, "Our diversity is our strength" until we actually believe it. But a Balkanized America -- which is what all these racial set-asides have resulted in -- is a much weaker America. Yet, we're not supposed to notice.

Over the past eight years, I've never once been singled out for individual attention when boarding an airplane. I'm swarthy, male, and vaguely ethnic (some would say fanatical-looking as well) in a way that should scream "terrorist!" to any half-awake security person. Yet I've always been whisked right by, while witnessing little old white ladies being pulled aside for special attention.

This certainly doesn't make me feel any safer. Call me silly, but I value my life over my (possibly hurt) feelings any day.

Japanese-Americans who live on the West Coast were interned during World War II simply because of their ancestry. No one today regards this as anything but a tremendous injustice. At the time, FDR -- that great liberal icon -- thought there was a possibility that Japanese who lived on the West Coast might side with the Japanese if they invaded America. This was not entirely unreasonable; blood is often thicker than citizenship. It certainly was with Nidal Malik Hasan. Or look at la Raza's stance on immigration.

During World War II, Japanese-Americans who were from Hawaii and elsewhere were allowed to serve in the US Armed forces, and they often served with distinction. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii won the Medal of Honor for having served on the European front. Yet Japanese-Americans were not allowed to serve on the Pacific front because it was thought that they would have mixed feelings about fighting people of their own ancestry.

While the internment was completely unfair, it seems reasonable that the Army would quietly steer soldiers away from situations in which they would be asked to kill their own kin.

What should have been done with Nidal Malik Hasan, a Palestinian Muslim whose sympathies lay entirely with the other side? First, he should never have been promoted. Secondly, he should have been fired from his job after his horrible performance reviews at Walter Reed. And the Army -- and FBI -- should have taken some sort of action when it became apparent he was trying to contact al Qaeda. He had tried to commit treason long before actually pulling the trigger.

The Army should also have some sort of clawback provision for soldiers who get hundreds of thousands of dollars of free medical education at their expense, but then for some reason prove themselves unfit to serve.

In the meantime, it's entertaining to watch the dance Barack Obama and the media are doing to steer public opinion away from any commonsensical conclusions about this incident. Obama's first response was that we shouldn't rush to judgment -- something he himself was all too willing to do in the Henry Gates affair. And the media has suggested that Hasan somehow caught PTSD from the soldiers he counseled (as if it were contagious, like a venereal disease).

Certain ethnicities are more likely to react in a certain ways, and commit certain types of crimes. If the authorities are prohibited from taking this into account, they will not be able to do their jobs effectively. Willful blindness has never been a wise policy.

It certainly wasn't in Ft. Hood, where our diversity proved to be our weakness.

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