Major Nidal Hasan had an enabler

All those red flags but no one did anything. Political correctness took the lives of 14 people.

Ever since this magazine attracted the attention of Canada’s “human rights” regime, defenders of the system have clung to a familiar argument. In a letter to Maclean’s, Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., Canada’s chief censor, put it this way:
“Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred.”

“Hateful words” can lead to “unspeakable crimes.” The problem with this line is that it’s ahistorical twaddle, as I’ve pointed out. Yet still it comes up. It did last month, during my testimony to the House of Commons justice committee, when an opposition MP mused on whether it wouldn’t have been better to prohibit the publication of Mein Kampf.

“That analysis sounds as if it ought to be right,” I replied. “But the problem with it is that the Weimar Republic—Germany for the 12 years before the Nazi party came to power—had its own version of Section 13 and equivalent laws. It was very much a kind of proto-Canada in its hate speech laws. The Nazi party had 200 prosecutions brought against it for anti-Semitic speech. At one point the state of Bavaria issued an order banning Hitler from giving public speeches.”

And a fat lot of good it all did.

But still the old refrain echoes through the corridors of power: vigorous honest free speech will lead to mass murder unless we subject it to “reasonable limits.”

Actually, the opposite is true: a constrained and regulated culture policed by politically correct enforcers leads to slaughter. I’m not being speculative here, as Commissar Lynch is about my murderous prose style. It’s already happened, just a couple of weeks back. Thirteen men and women plus an unborn baby were gunned down at Fort Hood by a major in the U.S. 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. 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 U.S. history to give a PowerPoint presentation outlining the rationale for the crime he was about to commit. And he gave the presentation 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 U.S. military and the general populace than to confront the evidence. The Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano 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. This is the Jennifer Lynch argument: 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 Sept. 11, 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 Nov. 5, PTSD was something you got when you returned from battle overseas and manifested itself in sleeplessness, nightmares, or, in extreme circumstances, suicide. After Nov. 5, 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.

Oh, well. If U.S. military personnel make insufficiently appealing victims, consider the three sisters and an “aunt” drowned in their car in the Rideau Canal in Kingston in what a remarkably uncurious media reported as a midnight driving lesson gone wrong. And even when their parents were arrested, there was little appetite to discuss “honour killing.” When 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez was strangled, allegedly by her father with her brother’s help, for refusing to wear a hijab, Citytv ran a lunchtime call-in poll:

“Do you think society discriminates against women who wear a hijab?”

This is your brain on political correctness: dead. But not as dead as poor Aqsa Parvez and the ever swelling ranks of Western “honour killing” victims.

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,” or a complaint to the “human rights” commission where Jennifer Lynch’s enforcers will spay you into a docile eunuch of the PC state. Pace Commissar Lynch, words “should be given free rein,” because they are the first and least worst line of defence in a free society.

Instead, asked “Who ya gonna believe—The Celebrate Diversity Handbook or your lyin’ eyes?”, more and more of us plump for the former, if only for a quiet life. Commissar Lynch has it exactly backwards: it’s the craven submission to political correctness, the willingness to leave your marbles with the Diversity Café hat-check girl, that leads to death—real death, with real corpses, from Texas to Ontario. And when the guy’s on the table firing wildly and screaming “Allahu akbar!”, the PC enforcers won’t be there for you.

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