Nov 10 2009
There are nearly 1.5 million non-Muslim Americans serving in the USA’s armed forces, none of whom are accused of slaughtering their fellow soldiers or planning such attacks on behalf of America’s enemies. Then you have a few thousand American soldiers who are followers of Islam, of whom an admittedly small, yet extremely disproportionate number have committed such blue-on-blue attacks in solidarity with the international jihad. The Fort Hood massacre is only the latest example of these treasonous acts.
The army is not the post office or the tax department. It’s entire raison d’etre is security. Because of its unique mission and the practical realities of war, the armed services already gets away with rules that would not be tolerated in any other career field — women are discouraged from direct combat roles. Gays operate under a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. These rules are clearly discriminatory, yet society for the most part accepts and understands these restrictions.
Would rules prohibiting Muslims serving in the armed forces fall into this category of non-egalitarian yet necessary rules? It’s tempting to think so and frankly, seems worthy at least of discussion at this point — though we’re not quite there yet.
Many pundits and army representatives have noted it would be better to have even more Muslims serving in the armed forces. They say this for reasons of multiculturalism and the responsibility of all sectors of society to do their part to defend democracy. But there are more practical front-line reasons as well. Muslim countries will be overrepresented as centers for chaos, thugocracies and terror in the coming decades. Their sclerotic societies are far more likely to degenerate into Hamas-type territories than into a benign democratic Caliphate. So if Western soldiers are going to be sent anywhere, it will probably be into these types of places.
Continuing with this line of thinking, part of the problem troops sent into these countries in connecting with local populations is inability to communicate and adapt tactics based on local cultural habits. In a land where innocent misunderstandings can quickly evolve into insane firefights to safeguard “honor”, you want to keep potential instigating incidents to an absolute minimum. It makes sense for American troops to receive “cultural” training and direction in the field from those who can better understand conditions and communicate with the people on the ground. They need more people who speak Arabic and can talk to the locals in a way that they’ll understand, while listening for signs of danger from double-talking “allies”.
But according to the Americans’ own estimates, there are no more than a few thousand Muslim soldiers in their combined armed forces. Could the armed forces meet these needs for training and front-line communication through unarmed civilian contractors accompanying the troops? Undoubtedly, this could be done, removing the access of American Muslim soldiers to guns and explosives they could turn on their fellow soldiers. Besides removing this direct threat, the morale of many non-Muslim soldiers could be positively affected, with troops no longer distracted by the possibility of getting fragged by a suddenly pious fire-team partner.
As things stand right now, such a course of action would be beyond the pale. But if another Fort Hood-type attack occurs in the next few months, or we even see multiple copycat atrocities, American generals will be hard-pressed to keep principles of diversity and American egalitarianism above the lives and well-being of their soldiers. So we’ll see what happens.
But in the meantime, another insidious danger lurks. American soldiers and their fellow citizens have been reminded (as if anyone with a functioning brain would require such a lesson) that the proclaimed desire to see Infidels beheaded, with boiling oil poured down their throats, is not merely an eccentric example of cultural diversity to be tolerated or ignored. But will the troops, or law enforcement, or ordinary citizens still only report threatening behavior that meets that threshold of brutality?
In other words, does someone actually have to advocate suicide bombing in front of multiple witnesses in order to get turfed from the army? Will there need to be proof of email correspondence with Al Queda cells? If a soldier — or private citizen, for that matter — advocates merely “harming” Americans or “making them suffer”, will they get a free pass? How about if a sergeant starts going on about the need to impose Sharia law and establish the Islamic Caliphate (in benign theoretical terms and while off-base, of course). What happens then?
The commanders of the American armed forces should lay down clear and sweeping rules about the kinds of behavior that will get a soldier discharged immediately to mitigate the risk of future security breaches.
Some will say that such rules will only force the hard-core sleeper cases to simply be more careful at hiding their hate, while bluntly curtailing freedom of speech.
But as much of a pessimist as I can be sometimes, I doubt there are more than a handful of Nadal Hasan’s brutal type left in the American armed services. If there are more, they will probably get taken care of in short order as their spooked and no-longer silent colleagues report the clues they’ve seen. Besides, a force meant to safeguard freedoms was never intended to also safeguard the freedom of citizens to commit terror and treason. Again, that need for vigilance and vocalization, even at the risk of causing offense to the innocent, applies to Americans both in uniform and on the civilian street.