The middling crustacean dips it all in the drawn butter of wisdom:
Had Nidal Malik Hasan been launched from a remotely-piloted Predator drone into a Pakistani funeral procession, it would have been a bold victory in the War on Terror; had the major been dropped onto a village in Waziristan or fired into an Afghan wedding party, it would have represented an efficient and effective display of tactical military superiority; had he exploded in a shower of cluster bomblets over a Gaza refugee camp or been dispersed in a cloud of corrosive gas through an Iraqi city, we could all celebrate this triumph of American technical ingenuity over the forces of barbarism. Instead, Major Hasan will be tragically remembered as a piece of prematurely detonated ordnance, accidentally claiming the lives of people rather than those of numbers.
Modern metaphysics teaches us that the human soul, curiously enough, exists only within the arbitrarily-defined borders of certain political entities…these, we can be sure, are the domains of real people, capable of self-awareness and the perception of pain. The hordes beyond, however – science tells us nothing of them, and that’s probably for the best…
Frank Rich scrapes at a different portion of our noble war’s soft underbelly:
The invective aimed at these heinous P.C. pantywaists [in the US Army/Intelligence community] nearly matched that aimed at Hasan. Joe Lieberman announced hearings to investigate the Army for its dereliction of duty on homeland security. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, vowed to unmask cover-ups in the White House and at the C.I.A. The Weekly Standard blog published a broadside damning the F.B.I. for neglecting the “broader terrorist plot” of which Hasan was only one of the connected dots. Jerome Corsi, the major-domo of the successful Swift-boating of John Kerry, unearthed what he said was proof that Hasan had advised President Obama during the transition.
William Bennett excoriated soft military leaders like Gen. George Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, who had stood up for diversity and fretted openly about a backlash against Muslim soldiers in his ranks. “Blind diversity” that embraces Islam “equals death,” wrote Michelle Malkin. “There is a powerful case to be made that Islamic extremism is not some fringe phenomenon but part of the mainstream of Islamic life around the world,” wrote the columnist Jonah Goldberg. Islam is “not a religion,” declared the irrepressible Pat Robertson, but “a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world.” [...]
…Their screeds about the Hasan case are completely at odds with both the Afghanistan policy they endorse and the leadership that must execute that policy, including Gen. Stanley McChrystal. These hawks, all demanding that Obama act on McChrystal’s proposals immediately, do not seem to have read his strategy assessment for Afghanistan or the many press interviews he gave as it leaked out. If they had, they’d discover that the whole thrust of his counterinsurgency pitch is to befriend and win the support of the Afghan population — i.e., Muslims. The “key to success,” the general wrote in his brief to the president, will be “strong personal relationships forged between security forces and local populations.”
McChrystal thinks we might even jolly up those Muslims who historically and openly hate America. “I don’t think much of the Taliban are ideologically driven,” he told Dexter Filkins of The Times. “In my view their past is not important. Some people say, ‘Well, they have blood on their hands.’ I’d say, ‘So do a lot of people.’ I think we focus on future behavior.”
Whether we could win those hearts and minds is, arguably, an open question — though it’s an objective that would require a partner other than Hamid Karzai and many more troops than even McChrystal is asking for (or America presently has). But to say that McChrystal’s optimistic — dare one say politically correct? — view of Muslim pliability doesn’t square with that of America’s hawks is the understatement of the decade.
As their Fort Hood rhetoric made clear, McChrystal’s most vehement partisans don’t trust American Muslims, let alone those of the Taliban, no matter how earnestly the general may argue that they can be won over by our troops’ friendliness (or bribes). If, as the right has it, our Army cannot be trusted to recognize a Hasan in its own ranks, then how will it figure out who the “good” Muslims will be as we try to build a “stable” state (whatever “stable” means) in a country that has never had a functioning central government?
It’s not that they hate Muslims. It’s that they love them to death.
Worse still, it’s not just that our Afghan hawks and various McChrystal humpers hold this incompatible hatred of Muslims/staunch support for a military strategy premised on winning the hearts of the despised, but that same animosity and contempt infects the ranks of our soldiers on the ground. Many of our troops in the field just don’t have all that much love for the “Hajis.”
And yet, for McChrystal’s strategy to work, these same soldiers need to act the part of ambassadors and friend-makers – each and every one, with even a handful of trigger happy racists able to undo progress in the main.
As usual, counterinsurgency doctrine looks great on paper, but in practice, the messiness of the real world is less kind. And what’s messier than war.