Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Red Flags

I procrastinated digging through the shit pile of misinformation surrounding Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who killed 13 at Fort Hood last Thursday. But now it's apparent that the man had ties to Muslim extremists, and his military colleagues missed some glaring clues:
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who killed 13 at America's Fort Hood military base, once gave a lecture to other doctors in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.

He also told colleagues at America's top military hospital that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire. The outburst came during an hour-long talk Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, gave on the Koran in front of dozens of other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington DC, where he worked for six years before arriving at Fort Hood in July.
His colleagues were also psychiatrists. I'm not sure what that says about the profession if people with the proper knowledge and experience could not see that Hasan was dangerous. Hell, American high school students, ever since Columbine, have been expected to report any threats immediately. You'd think these professionals would know better. Military base shootings have happened before.

But we are slow learners in many ways. As if on cue, the anti-Muslim rhetoric is being revved up by, of course, the religious-right:

(Media Matters video)

So Pat Robertson believes that Islam is "a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination." Funny, but I guess that's also how Muslim extremists see other religions too! And with a prominent figure like Robertson sounding like he's embracing a new crusade against the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, we're doomed for perpetual conflict.

Our religions aren't helping us. Well, certainly not fundamentalism. I'm not sure what comes first though. Fundamentalism and then violence? Or a warped desire for violence which searches for some kind of justification in religion. Whatever the religion, the mindset is the same.

Rational and politically moderate people will continue to look for answers for a long time. But the conservative media has predictably jumped to blame who else but President Obama. Unless they can find a red flag titled "Hasan Determined to Strike in US," I think they need to stick to reality. And until a proper investigation is completed, maybe our only response can be sorrow.

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