Monday, November 09, 2009

Lessons From Fort Hood?

I basically agree with Megan McArdle on the Lessons of Fort Hood in that there are no real political lessons to be learned from this tragedy. I've already heard the cries of "terrorism" from several voices on the radio today, but why should the political beliefs of Nidal Malik Hasan really matter anymore than beliefs of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine shooters? Sick people acting on their own have no shortage of reasons for committing heinous acts and there's nothing about their reasons that are particularly helpful in preventing future tragedies.

Now, obviously, if Hassan was being monitored by various authorities, as has been reported, there are plenty of questions to be answered, just as you have at least contemplate the missed warning signs when it comes to school shootings. But the terrorism connection is just a nasty manipulation of the tragedy. As Megan McArdle points out, we already knew there are Muslims out there who wish death on all Americans. And more importantly, Hassan was American born and no one has disputed that this shooting was the project of a sick mind and not the operation of a clandestine sleeper agent. Hopefully it occurred to relevant law enforcement 8 years ago that terrorists might try to infiltrate our military.

If there's anything to be learned from this tragedy, it's that I find myself further alienated from the entire concept of the war on terror. It's unwinnable in the sense that free societies will always be vulnerable to the violent machinations of sick minds and eliminating each and every terrorist is no different from eliminating each and every serial killer or each and every rapist. That's not to say we just throw up our hands and let bad people go about their evil business, but it is a real soul searching question about how we as a society wish to move forward.


Anonymous rose said...

The lesson is that political correctness is not just morally wrong, but dangerous.

The guy apparently wasn't secretive about many of his disturbing beliefs, so how do you explain that no action was taken?

Do you believe that fear of being labeled a racist could have deterred people from reporting Hasan's comments?

It actually appears now that the authorities were pretty well aware of plenty of alarming things, yet they didn't act. Again, do you think fear of being called a racist if they were wrong played a role?

I understand that libertarians are wary of ordinary citizens going around trying to spot the terrorist next door and for good reason.

But its different if our authorities are unwilling to aggressively pursue investigations which may be perceived to be racially motivated.

9:59 AM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

The problem is that we don't know what exactly went down. The other spin I've heard is that the intelligence community left this guy in play in hopes of ensnaring some bigger terrorist fish.

Either way you look at this, it's a major fuck up on the part of decision makers in the military and the intelligence community and it goes back to my point about crazy. You just don't leave a crazy guy in a position to kill people.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous rose said...

You're right that we don't know enough about what happened yet.

But just as conservatives want to jump to conclusions, some libertarians and liberals want to rule out the possibility that PC politics and/or the risk of lawsuits might have caused decision makers to be more cautious in pursuing Hasan.

And obviously that would provide ammunition for those of us who are against investigations into the CIA and Bush admin.

So it is way too early to say there are, or are not political implications here.

Also, if it turns out that we had systems in place that produced all the red flags that they were supposed to produce, wouldn't that suggest that we're doing lots of things right? It sounds like information was gleaned from wire-tapping and maybe other stuff that lot's of folks have criticized so much.

There's not nearly enough info here for you to dismiss this as more proof that the war on terror is futile.

11:16 AM  

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