Thursday, June 06, 2013

Head games

The case of Nidal Hasan and the shootings at Ft. Hood are Exhibit A for a number of congruent trends that are not going to end well for America:

- First, the administration refuses to label the event a 'terror attack,' despite Hasan's own claim to have been acting in 'defense of the Taliban' by shooting his fellow Soldiers.  Once again, politics are trumping a clearheaded examination of what exactly is going on.  After all, how can the President claim there have been 'no large-scale terror attacks in the U.S. since 9/11' if one doesn't obfuscate inconvenient events like Ft. Hood and the Boston Marathon.

- The judge in the case has decided to allow Hasan to 'defend himself,' rather than use counsel.  This means, of course, that once the actual trial gets under way the self-proclaimed jihadist will have a bully pulpit to spew his twisted version of reality to the public.  Every defendant has the right to state their side for the record, but there's no reason this process has to become the media circus megaphone that it inevitably will.

- Which leads me to wonder: what is there to try at this point?  Hasan has confessed to the killings and clearly stated his motive, which was to aid the enemies of the United States.  In doing so, he violated the nation's trust and murdered people who wore the same uniform he did.  There is a word for this: treason.  There is also a traditional penalty for it: death.  I have become much more reticent about use of the death penalty in recent years, but if there were ever a case where it seems clearly applicable, this would be it.

It's tragically appropriate that Hasan is a trained psychiatrist.  The 'War on Whatever We're Calling It Today" has been a slide into madness as a society.  We refuse to call evil by its name.  We worry more about offending people than protecting them by effective prudence (and no, I'm not referring to locking down cities like Boston with martial law; I'm talking about securing our borders and showing more discretion about who we allow to access our land in the first place).  We seem to prefer security theater to the real thing.  And we give people like Khalid Sheik Mohammad and Nidal Hasan a form of prestige by virtue of the legal pins and needles we inflict on ourselves.

Small wonder would-be jihadists have little trouble deciding who's the "weak horse."

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