Facing Fort Hood, &c.

Nidal Hasan in April 2010


Three years ago, Army major Nidal Hasan committed his massacre at Fort Hood. He got 13. Hasan was a protégé of Anwar Awlaki, who was kind of an imam to the terrorist stars — including some of the 9/11 hijackers. Awlaki was zapped by a drone in Yemen last year.

In an e-mail to Awlaki, Hasan asked whether it was kosher for a suicide bomber to kill innocents, if the main purpose of the mission was to kill “enemy soldiers or their helpers.” That is just the kind of thing Awlaki was happy to green-light.

The Army and the FBI were aware of Hasan’s relationship with Awlaki, but did nothing. This whole area was “politically sensitive,” as the FBI, or some people in the FBI, held. You can read about it in the Webster Report. Judge Webster, as you know, is a former director of both the FBI and the CIA. To read his report on the Fort Hood massacre, go here.

Webster recommends many changes at the FBI but does not recommend any firings. This has rattled some people, who are saying “whitewash.” But the report has a heck of a lot in it. A lot that is damning, eye-popping, interesting, valuable.

The chief figures on the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, said, “We are concerned that the report fails to address the specific cause for the Fort Hood attack, which is violent Islamist extremism.” I have great sympathy for this point. Still, I think people know. Do you know what I mean?

After the massacre, the Army chief of staff at the time, General George Casey, said, “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” We ask our soldiers to die in fights against our enemies. We must never, ever ask them to die for political correctness.

Apparently, Rielle Hunter’s book is a big flop. You remember Rielle: She was the girlfriend, or something, of Senator John Edwards. She is also the mother of one of his children.

I have to wonder: What if she had had an affair with a Republican vice-presidential nominee, rather than a Democratic vice-presidential nominee? With a big conservative politician, rather than a big liberal one? Would the media have been eager to promote her book? Would it be a bestseller, rather than a flop?

Here’s a related question: What if a Republican vice-presidential nominee had gone through exactly the same court trial Edwards did — that same drama? Would it have been a bigger deal in our media?

You might think I’m a paranoid and whiny right-winger. The whiny part, I’ll grant you. But paranoid — I don’t think so.

In Jerusalem, Romney talked about the economic success of the Israelis and the economic failure of the Arabs around them. Culture is key, he said. Back home in America, a great many Democrats wet their pants. “What a gaffe! An insult to the Palestinians!”

What Romney said is exactly what I have heard a thousand different Arab intellectuals and even officials say at a thousand Middle East conferences. Impromptus readers know this: I have reported on these conferences over the years. What Romney said is absolutely commonplace, even banal. Hell, you can hear the king of Jordan say it, some days.

The line goes something like this: “Aspects of our culture are holding us back. The corruption. The nepotism. The sense of ‘station,’ above which you must not rise. The stifling bureaucracy. The impossibility of permits. The exclusion of women. The stigma of a business failure. In Silicon Valley, failure is a badge of honor. You learn from your mistakes. Each failure teaches you something. But here, a business failure means shame — a permanent stigma.”

I mean, this is totally elementary stuff. Have Romney’s critics never heard it?

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian spokesman, claimed to be insulted by what Romney said. Democrats said, in effect, “Ooh, you’ve hurt Saeb’s feelings. Racist meanie!”

Um, Saeb Erekat is not stupid, trust me. He is other things — but not stupid. I haven’t the slightest doubt that he agrees 100 percent with what Romney said, no matter what he feels he must do as a West Bank poobah.

In the last couple of weeks, I had occasion to send an old book review to a friend. The book is The Israel Test, by George Gilder. The review was by me. A sample:

Gilder writes that, “by merely foreswearing violence and taking advantage of their unique position contiguous with the world’s most creative people, the Palestinians could be rich and happy.” He also says that “the Palestinian Arabs could be a nation tomorrow and a state the day after, if their leaders could let go of the notion that the Jews must die before Palestine can live.”

I suspect that, if sane but stubborn Palestinians such as Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi read The Israel Test in the dark of night, with a single bulb near the pillow, they would agree with almost all of it — and never breathe a word about this agreement.