Diversity unto Death

Today is the tenth anniversary of an appalling act of slaughter, even among the long catalogue of such acts since September 11th. It was committed at an American military base by an “American” major, and thus is analogous to similar acts by Afghan “allies” on western troops in Nato barracks, or the recent murder of his colleagues by a Muslim policeman in Paris. But it was distinguished by the especially insane reaction of almost everyone who mattered, from the media to the army. As Mark Steyn Club member Kate Smyth noted the other day, “We’d rather die than be thought of as ‘Islamophobic’.” In the case of the US Army brass after Fort Hood, that’s literally true.

I felt differently. Here’s what I wrote a decade ago for Maclean’s in Canada in November 2009, and then subsequently revised for After America:

Thirteen men and women plus an unborn baby were gunned down at Fort Hood by a major in the US Army. Nidal Hasan was the perpetrator, but political correctness was his enabler, every step of the way. In the days that followed, the near parodically absurd revelations piled up like an overripe satire, but a two-panel cartoon at the Toronto blogger Scaramouche’s website provided the pithiest distillation:

“This is your brain” – regular size.

“This is your brain on political correctness”—a small and shrivelled thing.

Major Hasan couldn’t have been more straightforward about who and what he was. An army psychiatrist, he put “SoA”—i.e., “Soldier of Allah”—on his business card. At the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, he was reprimanded for trying to persuade patients to convert to Islam, and fellow pupils objected to his constant “anti-American propaganda”. But, as the Associated Press reported, “a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.”

This is your brain on political correctness.

As the writer Barry Rubin pointed out, Major Hasan was the first mass murderer in US history to give a PowerPoint presentation outlining the rationale for the crime he was about to commit. And he gave it to a roomful of fellow army psychiatrists and doctors – some of whom glanced queasily at their colleagues, but none of whom actually spoke up. And, when the question of whether then Captain Hasan was, in fact, “psychotic”, the policy committee at Walter Reed Army Medical Center worried “how would it look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents”.

This is your brain on political correctness.

So instead he got promoted to major and shipped to Fort Hood. And barely had he got to Texas when he started making idle chit-chat praising the jihadist murderer of two soldiers outside a recruitment centre in Little Rock. “This is what Muslims should do, stand up to the aggressors,” Major Hasan told his superior officer, Colonel Terry Lee. “People should strap bombs on themselves and go into Times Square.”

In less enlightened times, Colonel Lee would have concluded that, being in favour of the murder of his comrades, Major Hasan was objectively on the side of the enemy. But instead he merely cautioned the major against saying things that might give people the wrong impression. Which is to say, the right impression.

This is your brain on political correctness.

“You need to lock it up, major,” advised the colonel.

But, of course, he didn’t. He could pretty much say what he wanted—infidels should have their throats cut, for example. Meanwhile, the only ones who felt any “need to lock it up” were his fellow psychiatrists, his patients, his teachers at the Uniformed Services University, officials at Walter Reed, and the brass at Fort Hood. So they locked it up for years, and now 14 people are dead.

And even when the slaughter had happened, much of the media found it easier to slander both the US military and the general populace than to confront the evidence. The Homeland Security Secretary Janet Incompetano professed to be most worried about an “anti-Muslim backlash” from the knuckledragging bozo citizenry she has the forlorn task of attempting to hold in check. The priority is always some hypothetical atrocity waiting to happen, no matter how many times we ace that test: there was no “anti-Muslim backlash” after 3,000 corpses on September 11th, or after Bali, Madrid or London. Muslims have certainly been murdered in New York and London but by their co-religionists on 9/11 and 7/7 rather than by any “Islamophobes”.

As for the military, well, obviously, they’re a bunch of Bush-scarred psychos who could snap at any moment. Newsweek called the mass murder “A Symptom of a Military on the Brink”:

“A psychiatrist who was set to deploy to Iraq at the end of the month, Hasan reportedly opened fire around the Fort Hood Readiness Center,” wrote Andrew Bast. “It comes at a time when the stress of combat has affected so many soldiers individually that it makes it increasingly difficult for the military as a whole to deploy for wars abroad.”

No mention of the words “Islam” or “Muslim”, but Mr Bast was concerned to “get at the root causes of soldier stresses”. As in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Operative word “post”: you get it after you’ve been in combat. Major Hasan had never been in combat.

Until November 5th, PTSD was something you got when you returned from battle overseas and manifested itself in sleeplessness, nightmares, or, in extreme circumstances, suicide. After November 5th, PTSD was apparently spread by shaking hands and manifested itself in gunning down large numbers of people while yelling “Allahu akbar!”

This is your brain on political correctness.

Major Hasan sent fortnightly emails to Anwar al-Awlaki, sometime spiritual adviser to both the Fort Hood shooter and three of the 9/11 terrorists and an imam so radical he’s banned from Britain, a land with an otherwise all but boundless tolerance for radical imams. In his leisure hours, he adopted the Pushtun dress of those Arabs who journeyed to Afghanistan to sign up with Osama. And eventually the sheer accumulation of such revelations rendered the PTSD thesis so absurd that even Frank Rich of The New York Times was willing to muse tentatively on whether the major’s years of jihadist exhibitionism were “ignored because of political correctness, bureaucratic dysfunction, sheer incompetence or some hybrid thereof.” My italics, but I’m impressed it made the list.

Groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (with its Potemkin membership but lots of foreign funding) want a world where Islam is beyond discussion—where “red flags” are ignored because to do anything about them would risk career-ruining accusations of “Islamophobia”, or six months of “sensitivity training” to spay you into a docile eunuch of the PC state. How’s that project coming along? After Major Hasan’s pre-Post-Traumatic Stress breakdown, General Casey, the Army’s chief of staff, assured us that, despite the slaughter, it could have been a whole lot worse:

What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.

This is your brain on political correctness: Celebrate diversity, yea unto death. The fact that a grown man not employed by a US educational institution or media outlet used the word “diversity” in a non-parodic sense should be deeply disturbing.

Nevertheless, asked “Who ya gonna believe—The Celebrate Diversity Handbook or yer lyin’ eyes?”, more and more of us plump for the former, if only for a quiet life. The brain-addled “diversity” of General Casey will get some of us killed, and keeps all of us cowed. Old watchword: Better dead than red. Updated version: Better screwed than rude. In the days after the slaughter, the news coverage read like a satirical novel that the author’s not quite deft enough to pull off, with bizarre new Catch-22s multiplying like the windmills of your mind:

If you muse openly on pouring boiling oil down the throats of infidels, then the Pentagon will put that down as mere confirmation of your long-established “research interests”. If you’re psychotic, the Army will make you a psychiatrist for fear of provoking you. If you gun down a bunch of people, within an hour the FBI will state clearly that we can all relax, there’s no terrorism angle, because, in a micro-regulated credential-obsessed society, it doesn’t count unless you’re found to be carrying Permit #57982BQ3a from the relevant State Board of Jihadist Licensing.

And “Allahu akbar?” That’s Arabic for “Nothing to see here”.

Pace General Casey, what happened was not a “tragedy” but a national scandal. Anwar al-Awlaki and his comrades have bet that such a society is too sick to survive. The craven submission to political correctness, the willingness to leave your marbles with the Diversity Café hat-check girl, the wish for a quiet life leads to death, and not that quietly. When the chief of staff of the United States Army has got the disease, you’re in big (and probably terminal) trouble. And when the guy’s on the table firing wildly and screaming “Allahu akbar!”, the PC enforcers won’t be there for you.

~from After America.

Ah, but don’t worry. The United States Army eventually decided that the unfortunate incident was all to do with “workplace violence”. Nine months after Major Hasan’s killing spree, the Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered “a series of procedural and policy changes that focus on identifying, responding to and preventing potential workplace violence”.

“Workplace violence”? Yes, we’ve solved the problem with a new official euphemism:

The changes include plans to educate military commanders on signs of potential workplace violence…

Say what you like, but at least the Army’s workplace violence is “diverse”.

~Mark will be back on Wednesday afternoon, live at 5pm Eastern, with John Oakley on Toronto’s Global News Radio 640. We hope you’ll tune in.

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