Newsweek: Nidal Hasan, It’s Not Islam, It’s a ‘Military on the Brink’

Andrew Bast of Newsweek thinks he’s got the real reason behind Major Nidal Hasan’s murderously criminal rampage at Fort Hood last Thursday. Could it be that Hasan was steadily radicalized and steeped in hateful Islamofascism? Could it be a jihad mindset that sent Hasan into that military clinic yelling Allahu Akbar as he shot at anyone that got in his way?

Nope. Ridiculously, it was a “military on the brink,” it was the “stress” an uncaring U.S. military is forcing upon its members that was at fault as far as Bast is concerned. This is his obtuse conclusion in Newsweek’s piece headlined, “Is Fort Hood a Harbinger? Nidal Malik Hasan May Be a Symptom of a Military on the Brink.”

Ominously, Bast begins with his worry that there could be more members of the military about to follow Hasan’s murderous example. Bast absurdly starts his piece with this: “What if Thursday’s atrocious slaughter at Fort Hood only signals that the worst is yet to come?” And why would it be a sing that “the worst is yet to come,” you might wonder? Why else but that all that “stress” the military is putting everyone under is about to cause the whole combined services to explode?

[Hasan’s is a] killing spree that may momentarily remind us of a reality that most Americans can readily forget: soldiers and their families are living, and bending, under a harrowing and unrelenting stress that will not let up any time soon. And the U.S. military could well be reaching a breaking point as the president decides to send more troops into Afghanistan.

Once again we see a member of the Old Media entirely dismissing the role that radical Islam played in Hasan’s crimes. In fact, Bast seems to suffer the fantasy that at any minute hoards of “stressed” soldiers will soon be roaming military bases across the world indiscriminately shooting at their fellows. One wonders if Bast thinks that they will all be yelling Allahu Akbar in their “stress” as Hasan did? Likely he doesn’t because he doesn’t think Islam had any role in this incident.

Saying that it is “hard to draw too many conclusions” about Hasan’s rampage, Bast then incongruously goes on to ascribe his actions to “stress” instead of radical Islam and that this stress is hampering our armed forces.

… it comes at a time when the stress of combat has affected so many soldiers individually that it makes it increasingly difficult for the military as a whole to deploy for wars abroad.

Bast then goes on to ascribe motivations to Base Commander Cone’s actions in the aftermath of the attack that make no logical sense at all.

In an abrupt news conference, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the top commander at Fort Hood, said in response to the shooting that authorities would “increase the security presence” on the military base. On the surface, it seemed like a logical enough plan. But it makes one wonder how much any kind of lockdown will either get at the root causes of soldier stresses or better prepare them for more battle.

General Cone’s lock down of Fort Hood, Mr. Bast, had nothing at all to do with getting “at the root” of stress. It was a security effort meant to get a handle on that particular incident. Why Bast made the illogical jump from a decision made to quell a crisis to the military’s overall efforts to deal with soldier stress is anyone’s guess.

Naturally, radical Islam couldn’t possibly be at fault here Bast obviously thinks. “Hasan’s perspective is unknown,” the Newsweek hack says. Oh? Yelling “Allahu Akbar” during his criminal actions, his past conversations expressing Islamic jihadism, and his radical Islamic Internet postings aren’t any indication of Hasan’s “perspective,” Mr. Bast? Couldn’t the fact that Hasan attended the same radical mosque that the 9/11 hijackers attended serve as even a tiny hint of his “perspective,” Mr. Bast?

Then Bast goes on to compare soldier suicide rates with Hasan’s crimes as if they are comparable.

Listen, no one denies that concern for the mental health of our soldiers is an important issue nor that stress really is rising in the services today. No one will deny that these issues should be carefully investigated and that solutions to these issues are supremely important to our uniformed personnel. No one dismisses the oft times devastating effects of posttraumatic stress disorder on our troops and no one wants to just sweep these problems under the proverbial rug.

But neither “stress” nor any assumptions of posttraumatic stress disorder have any bearing on what this murderous Muslim did at Fort Hood. It is plain that radical Islam served as Hasan’s chief motivation and for the Old Media to wish this fact away is criminally negligent on its part.

Of course, the real reason that Bast grafted this “stress” issue onto Hasan’s criminal actions is clear by his last paragraph. It is obvious that Bast’s chief aim here is to discredit the military and try to force the nation to accept a loss in Afghanistan as his ilk did at the end of the Vietnam Conflict. His only goal is to undermine the troops and lead to the end of a war of which he obviously disapproves.

The U.S. is drawing down troops in Iraq at a quick clip, but Gen. Stanley McChrystal has requested tens of thousands more to fight in Afghanistan. Though President Obama has made no decision about the way forward, some suggest that as many 80,000 more could be sent in as reinforcements. That would put nearly 150,000 American soldiers in country for at least the foreseeable future, pushing a thumb down on an already stressed-out military. Of course, the vast majority of those under that stress, no matter how brutal, will not pick up a gun and shoot indiscriminately, like Hasan did. But the situation is bad, and getting much worse. From there, it isn’t much of a leap to argue that to further tax our military would do as much as anything to guarantee that the homegrown terror on display today could well repeat itself in the future.

Bast’s real message is that it’s all “bad and getting much worse,” that the U.S. military is too “stressed-out” to be effective. It is plan that he thinks we need to end the efforts in Afghanistan and bring all our troops home now. Sadly, Bast is not above illegitimately using this Hasan incident to push his political ends, either. It’s all just another unprincipled effort by a member of the Old Media to push the anti-war meme.

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