On the bright side, the facts that poured out about Maj. Hasan last week made it harder and harder for talking heads and Beltway denizens to be unserious about the major's motives and intent. It's been confirmed that he was in repeated contact with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen, who also gave 'spiritual guidance' to some of the 9/11 hijackers. He made no bones about the extreme nature of his own faith, be it in PowerPoint slideshows to his classmates or on his business cards, which make no mention of his actual employment (i.e. the Army), but are quite clear about who he believed he was fighting for ("soldier of Allah"). Hasan received scrutiny from multiple federal terrorism task forces as well as his own superiors, who had several meetings on Hasan's piss-poor performance and openly debated whether the man was psychotic. The good major may also have been wiring money to terrorist groups in Pakistan, though we'll need more information to confirm it. All in all, it's increasingly clear that Hasan may not only have cultivated himself as a 'homegrown jihadist', but actively sought to sell himself as a free agent to the other team. I revise my first analysis of his rampage: this was not an act of terrorism, but an act of war and high treason.
That said, unseriousness still exists in this case, and it's unseriousness that enabled Hasan to be in the position he was at Fort Hood last week. Hasan's superiors at Walter Reed, despite their numerous conferences on the man's unsuitability as a doctor, could not find the strength within themselves to actually do something about it. Rather, they didn't want to endure the hassle of writing the paperwork required to fire him, so they did what we in the military call "shit canning": they shit-canned him to Fort Hood to make him someone else's problem. They were quite candid about what they were doing, too, consoling themselves with the knowledge that there were enough good doctors at Fort Hood to pick up Hasan's slack. Profiles in Courage, all of these men. I think a few of them should be on the stand beside Hasan for dereliction of duty.
It doesn't help, however, that the Army's chief, when presented with the bodies of 13 of his soldiers, lamented that as great a tragedy as these deaths were, the greater tragedy would be if the Army's "diversity" suffered as well. So, Gen. Casey, you'd be willing to accept a few more of these incidents so long as you can boast about the tapestry of diversity woven through the Army? That's cold comfort to 13 Army families and about as fundamentally unserious as a commander can be in time of war. Diversity be damned if it endangers American lives.
Oh, by the way, for the 1,394,758th time, "time is running out for Iran" on coming to a peaceful resolution of its little nuclear problem. Iran is "unable" to say yes to an alternative agreement to reprocessing its fuel; that sounds better, I suppose, than acknowledging that Iran is not unable, but completely unwilling, to come to any agreement short of being a nuclear power. In the parlance of our times, not only no, but F**K NO. That, and they may already have tested a nuclear warhead design (another nugget of info buried in a U.N. report by the hard-hitting investigators of the IAEA). What will it take for the civilized world to take Iran as seriously as they take themselves? An underground test? Nuclear blackmail? A radioactive Jewish city? Or, heaven forbid, a radioactive American city? What, exactly, will make us realize that Iran wants the bomb, is pursuing the bomb, and no amount of carrots will make them relinquish the bomb?
Fortunately, we're more serious, at least, about dealing with the perpetrators of previous terrorist acts. We're so serious that we're going to bring the mastermind behind 9/11 - Khalid Sheik Mohammed - and four of his friends back to New York City, the scene of their handiwork, and give them a civil trial with all the rights and privileges thereunto pertaining, regardless of the fact that they're not American citizens, deserve no rights as such, may well present a high security risk to the city, and could expose a large amount of the intelligence apparatus we're still actually using to find KSM's friends who still want to kill large numbers of people; and we're going to let the attorney-general tell you all this while we kiss the Japanese emperor's shoes. Now, there are some who don't think this is quite the disaster I make it out to be, and it will be great if they turn out to be right. I don't think the odds are in their favor, and I don't think the gamble is worth the test, but I hope they're right (even though 'hope' is hardly a national security strategy). All this aside, however, my biggest question is: why are we taking these risks when KSM and company are already safely put away in a high-security facility, far from jihadist eyes, and were on the verge of being convicted by military tribunals that the president himself supported? And by the AG's own admission, other prisoners at Gitmo will be prosecuted by these same tribunals; why not KSM? The president was fine with this arrangement a couple of years ago:
Finally, addendum to two posts ago: I now appreciate that America was, in fact, too busy to celebrate the fall of Soviet communism: