The War at Home

It’s been grimly amusing to watch the liberal mainstream media spin the murder spree at Ft. Hood. They are trying mightily to pretend it was all about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s inner psychological turmoil, given his job as an Army psychiatrist whose task it was to counsel troubled veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars. He is depicted as a victim of post-traumatic stress syndrome, even though he was never in combat. His identification with his clients’ suffering, his poor job evaluations, even his lack of a wife are all blamed for his rampage, which killed 13 (so far) and wounded dozens of others.

In order to give this narrative of victimization credibility, the touchy-feely school of thought has to ignore the mountains of evidence that – given his premises – Hasan acted rationally and there was nothing inexplicable about his deadly spasm of violence.

There is the testimony of Osman Danquah, a founder of the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen, Hasan’s local Muslim congregation, who said he was unnerved by Hasan’s statements to him about the conflict between his Muslim beliefs and the mission of fighting the administration’s international "war on terrorism." "What if a person gets in and feels that it’s just not right?" That’s the question Hasan asked Danquah, and, although there is no record of the imam’s answer, such an inquiry seems anything but "incoherent," which is how Danquah described it. "There’s something wrong with you," averred the Muslim cleric to Hasan, who wanted to join the congregation (Danquah recommended against it).

But there was nothing wrong, psychologically, with the devout Muslim who had become a vociferous and increasingly bitter opponent of what he regarded as the U.S. war on Islam. Dr. Val Finnell, a former classmate who attended Uniformed Services University with the shooter in 2007, says Hasan told anyone who would listen he was "a Muslim first and an American second." Now we learn that Internet postings glorifying suicide bombers and comparing them to soldiers who sacrifice their lives to save their comrades brought Hasan to the attention of military authorities, who are said to have launched an investigation.

In spite of the official line that this incident was unconnected to any terrorist organization, perhaps a "sleeper" cell, there are links, although they might not yet measure up to the standards of law enforcement.

In 2001, before his transfer to Ft. Hood, Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., where Anwar al-Awlaki – recently banned from Britain due to his open advocacy of attacks on British troops in Afghanistan and his support for organizations deemed terrorist – preached and held sway. Two of Hasan’s fellow congregants were Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour, both among the 9/11 hijackers. A third hijacker attended the radical imam’s services in California.

It is perfectly possible Hasan met the two and was recruited into al-Qaeda, a "sleeper" to be awakened at the right moment. The nut-job known as "Azzam the American," a Muslim convert from a Southern California Jewish family, issued a statement not long ago calling on Muslim Americans – specifically Muslim members of the armed services, of which there are thousands – to rise up and strike the infidels on the home front.

Aside from that ominous possibility, however, there seems little doubt Hasan’s motive was ideological or that he saw his murder spree as a religious duty: he is reported to have yelled Allahu Akhbar (“God is great”) as he mowed down his unarmed victims. The touchy-feely explanation – that he was socially awkward, didn’t have girlfriends, was lonely, and was trying to fill the gap represented by the loss of his parents with devotion to the Koran – doesn’t begin to explain his actions. The truth is that Maj. Hasan saw the war he was about to be sent to as a religious conflict, pitting the U.S. government against Islam – and he chose to side with the enemy.

The Ft. Hood jihad underscores two points I have been making in this column since the "war on terrorism" was declared by George W. Bush and unleashed on the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq:

1. The main danger to the U.S. is on the home front. Al-Qaeda has always been forthright about its strategy of striking at "the far enemy," i.e., the U.S. mainland, rather than concentrating on targets closer at hand. That’s what 9/11 was all about, and the careful planning and long-range vision that enabled al-Qaeda to carry out their plan underscores the dire threat represented by this most guileful of all terrorist groups.

The American-born Hasan, son of Palestinian parents who emigrated to the U.S. sometime in the 1960s, joined the military against the wishes of his family. Here is someone who was brought up in this country, presumably immersed in the culture of the West, and yet still responded to the call of al-Qaeda to make war on his homeland. With millions of native-born Muslims in this country, how many are similarly susceptible to Osama bin Laden’s appeal to strike at the "far enemy" – who is, for them, quite near?

This, of course, is just the question the neoconservatives have been asking ever since the Twin Towers were downed, and their answer is, oddly, the same as al-Qaeda’s. Both, for different reasons, are hoping for a crackdown by the U.S. government, starting with the banning of Muslims from our military. If we are indeed embarked on a religious war against Islam – and it sure seems like it – who can argue against this? The wet dream of the neocons and their ostensible opposite numbers in bin Laden’s cave is that the authorities will one day carry out Michelle Malkin’s vision of a repeat of FDR’s wartime internment camps, albeit this time filled with American Muslims instead of Japanese-Americans. That would certainly make both the editors of Commentary magazine and al-Qaeda’s top commanders quite happy.

2. The U.S. response to 9/11 has always threatened the unity and stability of American society. Nothing underscores this fact better than the Ft. Hood massacre. The reaction here at home to our crazed rampage throughout the Muslim world is bound to take extreme forms, of which Hasan’s murder spree is just the latest and most horrific. As alleged evidence that his actions were caused by "stress" and other "psychological" factors, the professional victimologists point out that Hasan was taunted by his fellow soldiers because of his Muslim heritage. Yet this taunting is itself the product of the post-9/11 hysteria that still pervades this country, especially in the military, and that transformed a war against a specific enemy – al-Qaeda – into a more generalized religious war against all of Islam. Hasan recognized this and acted accordingly.

Our wars abroad are a diversion away from the main front in the effort to defeat al-Qaeda, which is right here at home. There is no doubt in my mind that bin Laden’s legions have planted their agents on our soil, and these murderous Myrmidons will spring forth fully armed when the time is ripe. Our borders, our security measures around such facilities as nuclear plants, and our intelligence-gathering methods are the weak links in our defense, made all the more so by the massive diversion of resources to a series of futile, draining, and unwinnable overseas conflicts. Forget Afghanistan – hadn’t we better secure Ft. Hood and other sensitive installations before we think about "nation-building" elsewhere?

Let the Ft. Hood bloodbath stand as a warning to all advocates of the occupation of Afghanistan and all the future wars of aggression we threaten daily and have yet to undertake. Is the U.S. prepared to pay the full price of such a policy? The battle of Ft. Hood was "blowback," as they put it in CIA parlance, and there’s a lot more where that came from.


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Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].