Tuesday, November 24, 2009


From MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show a couple of weeks back, right after running a montage of FOX News personalities insisting that the shooter, US Army Major Nidal Hasan, is a terrorist:

TURLEY: Well, first of all, I think that the Army is going about this in the right way. In fact, they‘re taking a very measured and unprejudiced view. They‘re actually investigating a crime.

Criminal investigators and lawyers and judges don‘t have the luxury that some people have on television to just simply say this must be terrorism. Why? Because we want it to be terrorism. Words have meaning in the criminal code. And that‘s what brings the integrity to the code. It brings this legitimacy.

And you can‘t just simply say that because somebody kills a large number of people, that it‘s terrorism. There are plenty of people that act out of rage.

If you take away a few of the aspects of this case, you would have a typical disgruntled worker shooting. We have these shootings all over the country where people are disturbed and disgruntled and isolated, and they come in and they shoot people in their workplace. Now, some of them are perfectly unhinged and they will latch on to religious views or political views. But what they‘re really acting out of is mental illness.

And so, when you really want to do justice, then you first have to start by defining what the crime is. And I think that these investigators have done a good job. They don‘t see evidence thus far that he‘s an actual terrorist.

Full transcript

Oh, I see. The liberal position is that Hasan is not a terrorist.

Apparently, according to Maddow, the reason conservatives are so dead set on labeling the Fort Hood shootings as terrorism is so they can lambaste President Obama for being a shitty national security guy. Okay, that makes sense, and it's probably even true--after all, the whole "terrorists are gonna get you" line has been pretty much the only idea that's gotten any traction for Republicans with the US electorate over the last decade or so; of course, they're going to go as far as they can with this.

But political motivations don't always make an argument wrong.

That is, sure, Hasan is an American. Sure, he's a disgruntled worker. Sure, he's probably deeply disturbed, psychologically speaking. But he's also, clearly, a radicalized Muslim, with intense anger toward the US government. So angry, in fact, that he attacked and killed over a dozen US soldiers. Personally, the only difference I see between Hasan and the 9/11 hijackers, between Hasan and desperate Palestinians who strap bombs to their chests and blow themselves up within dense crowds of Israeli citizens, between Hasan and the men who attacked the US Cole in motorboats loaded with C-4, is that Hasan is an American and the others are not. All these terrorists were also disgruntled. All these terrorists were psychologically disturbed enough to see suicide/homicide as a damned fine idea. Why is it that they're terrorists, but Hasan is not?

This is a stupid position for the left to take. Hasan is a terrorist. I mean, okay, the left has an argument, sure, but it's all legalese, all about protecting our darling "liberal" President, all quibbling over definitions, all rhetoric and very little substance. And it's doubly damning because it plays into the establishment narrative about combating terrorism, you know, the storyline that says we can win "the war on terrorism" by using force.

The point is that the awful act of violence at Fort Hood fully illustrates that radical Islamic terrorism, as a global movement, cannot be countered with more violence. When one of our own, an American citizen, joins the terrorists, it proves beyond a doubt that what we're really wrangling with is an idea, one that has some truth to it: American foreign policy pisses off hundreds of millions of people, some so thoroughly that they're willing to kill themselves while killing many others in order to extract what they believe to be crude justice. Pissing off millions more by waging war on them and others they consider to be brothers only creates more terrorists.

We cannot win a "war on terrorism." Indeed, such a notion is utterly counterproductive. Until we stop supporting the corrupt governments of the Muslim world, which oppress their own people, while giving us oil and strategic position in exchange for the billions we hand over to Muslim elites, radical Islamic terrorism will only continue to grow worse.

Pretending for partisan reasons that terrorists aren't really terrorists is tantamount to Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Expect more Majar Hasans in the future.