“Pakistan’s original sin — the reason for its instability, its dysfunctional politics, and the penetration of its state and society by religious fanaticism — was the brutal influence of military rule in that republic’s short life. And it still is.”
There is an argument attached to the Hasan killings; namely that Hasan may have been giving signs of a belief in a more radical Islam that would conflict with his military duties (though it’s perhaps not reasonable to suspect that such extreme and violent action would ever be taken). The argument states that an environment of fear (or oversensitivity, at least) has been created and potentially institutionalized in the military. Such an environment (motivated by an overly pc cultural climate) might have led some who were alarmed at Hasan’s behavior to turn their heads and avoid the problem, and thus may have helped to prevent the extreme outcome.
As the facts are discovered, it seems Islam was likely a motivating factor in Hasan’s decision to attack soldiers who would soon deploy to fight Muslims, and it may even be that he was connected with specific groups that would support such an action. Muslims of course, are free to practice their religion, and to follow the laws, and most do. However, there are clearly an issues of concern here for further consideration (also some on the American right which will too easily incite the passions into a mold of religious conflict for political gain…mostly thanks to Hasan).
Addition: Or perhaps people were monitoring him but he fell through the cracks.
More broadly, a friend of mine further on the right than me is making the argument there are at least two issues:
1. the real threat of radical Muslims willing to attack American targets from abroad and potentially at home, in the name of their religious beliefs…and how to best handle this threat…and the underlying reasons which help to cause it.
…as well as:
2. An overly relativistic and confused set of ideas guiding the political left, which might not be deep enough to handle the type of situation that Hasan has presented us with. In addition, such lack of depth (on full display in the Times article) forces us into more bitter partisanship, creating deeper rifts in the body politic.
A few facts and a lot of generalizations…your thoughts and comments are welcome. Here’s a quote from Simon Blackburn I put up a while ago:
“Nigel: Has relativism had its day as an influential philosophical position?
Simon: No – and I don’t think it should ever die. The danger is that it gets replaced by some kind of complacent dogmatism, which is at least equally unhealthy. The Greek sceptics thought that confronting a plurality of perspectives is the beginning of wisdom, and I think they were right. It is certainly the beginning of historiography and anthropology, and if we think, for instance, of the Copernican revolution, of self-conscious science. The trick is to benefit from an imaginative awareness of diversity, without falling into a kind of “anything goes” wishy-washy nihilism or scepticism….”