Living in Terror
Examining how the Fort Hood massacre occurred.


Is the Fort Hood massacre a deadly example of political correctness run amok? National Review Online asked a few of our contributors for their observations on how the shooting happened and what we can do to prevent similar incidents in the future.

This story is still unraveling, but it seems to me that it’s a lot worse than the possibility of political correctness run amok. If the Fort Hood case continues to develop as a domestic terrorist attack, it’s a real wake-up call for the United States.

Foiled terror plots are often quickly forgotten, but there have been nearly 30 since 9/11, including conspiracies in New York City (Zazi), Dallas (Smadi), and Springfield, Ill. (Finton). Indeed, in two of those attacks, the would-be terrorists actually pushed buttons they believed would detonate explosives at a Dallas skyscraper and a federal courthouse. (The FBI had supplied fake explosives.)

The trend line clearly isn’t good.

The terrorists are — as the military would say — increasingly “inside the wire,” in this case the borders of the United States. Osama bin Laden and other extremists continue to seek foot-soldiers who can be radicalized in place and act without crossing international borders.

Our attention to this cluster of conspiracies is of the utmost urgency. Complacency will be increasingly costly. 

Therefore, the U.S. government had better, especially with the Patriot Act set to expire, immediately take a very serious look at our policies, practices, and procedures for dealing with terrorist threats.

– Peter Brookes, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow, is a former CIA officer.

Two interpretations immediately sprung up to explain the Fort Hood massacre.

The military leadership, politicians, the media, and the Left focused on poor Maj. Nidal Hasan, victim of — pick your specific — “racism,” “harassment he had received as a Muslim,” a sense of “not belonging,” “pre-traumatic stress disorder,” “mental problems,” “emotional problems,” “an inordinate amount of stress,” or being deployed to Afghanistan, his “worst nightmare.”

In contrast, those of us on the right saw the assault in the light of Islamist efforts to kill infidels and bring them under Islamic law. We perceive Hasan not as victim but as jihadi. Some evidence for this view:

He yelled “Allahu Akbar,” the jihadi’s cry, as he fired his guns.

His superiors reportedly put him on probation for inappropriately proselytizing about Islam.

One former associate quotes Hasan’s saying, “I’m a Muslim first and an American second,” and recalls Hasan justifying suicide terrorism.

Another recalls that Hasan “claimed Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans.”

A third described him as “almost belligerent about being Muslim.”


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