Willful Blindness

One of the stories that has swept past most of us in the wake of the Haiti earthquake and today’s Senate election in Massachusetts is that the Pentagon has released its report on the Ft. Hood massacre carried out by Islamist Nidal Hasan last November. This report deserves our attention, primarily because it reveals the mindset in our nation at the highest levels of government. It’s a mindset beset with what I would call willful blindness.

We owe a debt of gratitude to people like Dr. Bill Bennett, former education secretary under Ronald Reagan, for showcasing the fantastic conclusions in this report. This 80-page report, according to Bennett, doesn’t even mention the words “Islam” or “Mulsim” even once. Hasan himself is simply described as a “gunman,” a term that could be applied to a bank robber, a hunter, or somone just trying to protect his home from burglary.

If you are looking for causes for the massacre, the report dutifully records that such things can be connected to “low self-esteem, depression, and anger,” but not, apparently, to radical religious beliefs stemming from Islam. In fact, although it mentions “religious fundamentalism” in general [which some people would see as “radical Baptists or Presbyterians”], the report concludes that religious fundamentalism by itself “is not a risk factor.” Oh, really?

I’m going to let Bennett finish this post himself:

You want to save time and money? Dispense with these reports from on high. Here’s the report I’d write and I can do it on less than one page: An Islamic terrorist was raised in the United States and given a pass throughout his professional career in the United States military. His allegiance was not to his country but to his radical religion. He told his colleagues of this again and again. He didn’t set off signals, he set off sirens. And nothing was done. The military leadership didn’t take his words seriously, even as we were at war with people saying the exact same things he was saying. And the culture of the Army that coddled him was too well-represented by the Army chief of staff who, after the rampage, said “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

It was this thinking that led to us keeping Major Hasan in the Army and that diminished force protection. It was this culture that allowed a terrorist into the Army. It was this political correctness that led to the deaths of 14 innocents. And if you want to prevent another tragedy like this, you must end this infection of the mindset. I call it a tragedy because it was preventable. That it was not prevented is a shame on our institutions and indicative of a preemptive cultural surrender that I never thought would affect the U.S. military but, sadly, dangerously, has.

But the solution to these problems remains elusive because the military will not even mention the problem. And that, as Winston Churchill once put it, is why we still have a “Gathering Storm” coming, and not a near-victory in this, the Global War Against Islamic Terrorism.

Those few paragraphs by themselves are worthy of the Pulitzer Prize.