Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The magical thinking of the multi-culturalists

Dorothy Rabinowitz turns her razor-like analysis to the way in which the military has behaved throughout the entire story of Major Hasan, the Fort Hood mass murderer. First the military totally ignored all the signs of radical Islamic thinking that he gave off throughout his training and work. He was, apparently, given to making statements about how his devotion to Islam came higher than his devotion to the Constitution and that the U.S. was guilty of launching a war on Islam. He publicly presented views sympathetic to Osama bin Laden and suicide bombers, including the 9/11 conspirators. But comments or evaluation of such behavior never made it into any of his professional evaluations. Instead they saw his public rants about his Islamist sympathies as a positive because he was presenting a view not commonly heard in the American military. Hmmm. I wonder why such views are uncommon.
The same Hasan who set off silent alarms in his supervisors—the Psychiatric Residency Program Director at Walter Reed was one of them—would garner only plaudits in the official written evaluations at the time. He was commended in these as a "star officer," one focused on "illuminating the role of culture and Islamic faith within the Global War on Terrorism." One supervisor testified, "His unique interests have captured the interest and attention of peers and mentors alike." No single word of criticism or doubt about Hasan ever made its way into any of his evaluations.

Some of those enthusiastic testaments strongly suggested that the writers were themselves at least partly persuaded of their reasoning. In magical thinking, safety and good come to those who obey taboos, and in the multiculturalist world, there is no taboo more powerful than the one that forbids acknowledgment of realities not in keeping with the progressive vision. In the world of the politically correct—which can apparently include places where psychiatrists are taught—magical thinking reigns.
Even after the Fort Hood shooting, the military worked with dedication to ignore the signs that he was motivated by radical Islam to kill the members of the military at Fort Hood. It is only because of the Senate report put out by Senators Collins and Lieberman that the public has a glimpse into who Major Hasan is.
In this report, titled "A Ticking Time Bomb" and put out by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, there is a detail as dazzling in its bleak way as all the glowing misrepresentations of Dr. Hasan's skills and character, which his superiors poured into their evaluations of him. It concerns the Department of Defense's official report on the Foot Hood killings—a study whose recital of fact made no mention of Hasan's well-documented jihadist sympathies. Subsequent DoD memoranda portray the bloodbath—which began with Hasan shouting "Allahu Akbar!"—as a kind of undefined extremism, something on the order, perhaps, of work-place violence.

This avoidance of specifics was apparently contagious—or, more precisely, policy. In November 2010, each branch of the military issued a final report on the Fort Hood shooting. Not one mentioned the perpetrator's ties to radical Islam. Even today, "A Ticking Time Bomb," co-authored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and Susan Collins (R., Maine), reminds us that DoD still hasn't specifically named the threat represented by the Fort Hood attack—a signal to the entire Defense bureaucracy that the subject is taboo.
What this means is that the magical thinking of the multi-culturalists will continue. The willful blindness that they showed to Hasan's anti-American rants will be shown towards anyone else of similar thinking. The top brass of the Department of Defense has demonstrated that they will not tolerate any connection between radical Islam and concerns about behavior. It is not enough that they ignored the warning signs given off by this man before he killed 13 people and wounded 32 others; they have to dedicate themselves to continuing to ignore such behavior. What is important is maintaining the pieties of multi-culturalism, not forestalling future incidents.