Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mark Steyn on the Fort Hood assassin

Mark Steyn: A jihadist hiding in plain sight
Shortly after 9/11, there was a lot of talk about how no one would ever hijack an American airliner ever again – not because of new security arrangements but because an alert citizenry was on the case: We were hip to their jive. The point appeared to be proved three months later on a U.S.-bound Air France flight. The "Shoebomber" attempted to light his footwear, and the flight attendants and passengers pounced. As the more boorish commentators could not resist pointing out, even the French guys walloped him.

But the years go by, and the mood shifts. You didn't have to be "alert" to spot Maj. Nidal Hasan. He'd spent most of the past half-decade walking around with a big neon sign on his head saying "JIHADIST. STAND WELL BACK." But we (that's to say, almost all of us; and certainly almost anyone who matters in national security and the broader political culture) are now reflexively conditioned to ignore the flashing neon sign.
Well, like they say, it's easy to be wise after the event. I'm not so sure. These days, it's easier to be even more stupid after the event. "Apparently, he tried to contact al-Qaida," mused MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "That's not a crime to call up al-Qaida, is it? Is it? I mean, where do you stop the guy?" Interesting question: Where do you draw the line?

The truth is, we're not prepared to draw a line even after he's gone ahead and committed mass murder. "What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy," said Gen. Casey, the Army's chief of staff, "but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here." A "greater tragedy" than 14 dead and dozens of wounded? Translating from the original brain-addled multicult-speak, the Army chief of staff is saying that the same fatuous prostration before marshmallow illusions that led to the "tragedy" must remain in place. If it leads to occasional mass murder, well, hopefully it can be held to what cynical British civil servants used to call, during the Northern Irish "Troubles", "an acceptable level of violence." Fourteen dead is evidently acceptable. A hundred and forty? Fourteen hundred? I guess we'll find out.

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