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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

On Veterans Day, which began life as Armistice Day, we celebrate all our armed forces personnel who have served or are serving.

Obviously this year's celebration is a rather somber one due to the worries over Afghanistan and the Fort Hood massacre. But this should only serve to highlight our debts to our veterans, who devote their lives to the cause of our autonomy and security.

There are many veterans groups out there. Soldiers' Angels provides ways for those of even very limited incomes to demonstrate support. My chosen project is Valour-IT, which provides specially equipped laptops and now other types of electronic gadgets to help soldiers who have lost normal function in one way or another and need this equipment to function.

I don't have a tip thingie on this blog, and I don't run advertising. I do have that Valour-IT button, and if you would like to contribute, I'd be exceptionally grateful. As a person with a severe neurological disease I know what a difference this equipment can make to a wounded soldier's recovery and self-confidence.

There is one other quiet request I would like to make. I was very shaken up by reading comments calling for the deportation of all Muslims, etc in the aftermath of Fort Hood. Please remember there are well over ten thousand Muslims currently serving, and I doubt there has been a time in recent decades when there haven't been Muslims serving. Think about what you are saying - there are painful implications here, and it raises the specter of Japanese-Americans enlisting in WWII with their families in concentration camps, or German veterans who had received high military honors losing everything including their lives during Hitler's time in power. We must not walk down that road.

Our soldiers serve to defend our way of life, which includes as its most fundamental proposition the idea that a person should be condemned not on the basis of others' supicions, but upon only their own criminal deeds, and that until a person is condemned by their own acts, their lives, property and civil rights must and shall be defended by the full might of all our institutions.

There was obvious blindness in the military's response to Malik's behavior before the shooting, but that does not negate in any way the honorable and loyal service of thousands of others, nor the rights of their families to full citizenship. If our soldiers, who offer their lives of service for very modest compensation, can sacrifice wealth and risk dismemberment and death for the American Constitution, wimpy and frightened civilians should not be advocating violating it. To live in a constitutional democracy takes some courage - but not nearly as much as the millions of American veterans have shown.

I agree. We can have Muslims living and serving next to us; but it behoves us to notice when anyone subscribes to an ideology of murder. The army was warned, and failed to act.

Regards to my fellow vets, especially those who, unlike me, actually heard shots fired in anger.
Comments on my site suggest one way in which societal regression is fostered by elites who insist upon privileging their ideology (PC, in this case) over the lives of individuals. By refusing to recognize that a particular Muslim had approached/crossed the line into dangerous mental space, our MSM/Government cause an anxious people to regress to a less differentiated state, ie no longer do many people differentiate American Muslims from radical Islamists but the regression is to a more primitive state where all Muslims are potential enemies. This is dangerous for both non-Muslims and for Muslims who may ultimately find themselves facing a forced choice of allegiance to their country or their religion. The wisdom of American assimilationist has always been to allow us to finesse that forced choice until it no longer exists in any meaningful way. We are heading in the wrong direction under the leadership of a government and elites who refuse to make realistic differentiations.
AJ Strata has an interesting article today on the Hasan case and his hunch that this wasn't a 'missed dot' so much as an actively dropped investigation.

Did Someone Miss The Dots, Or Did Someone Shutdown The Connecting?
Thank you for writing this article and thank you to all those who have served in the military everywhere. This is the first year that I can remember reading so much about Veteran's Day, I think a lot of it has to do with how much social media plays apart in our lives today. People are even posting wonderful things on Facebook today instead of their typical mundane statuses. I even came across one about a free download that a company called Prescription Audio is offering in light of the recent Fort Hood tragedy and Veteran's Day to veterans, current service personnel and their families to help cope with PTSD. It is nice to see another company helping out on this holiday even in these tough economic times!
Your sobriety, in analyzing matters economic or otherwise, is the main reason I read you regularly.
Even by those high standards, this post is in a league all by itself. Thank you very much for succinctly, and precisely, bringing sense to bear on pressing issues of the day.
May I convey both my respect, and my hope that medical science will soon restore your health, in full, to you.
Best Regards.
Gordon - exactly. It was the failure to apply an equal standard which let this guy run amok within the military. No one can know if he wouldn't have done the same if the military had acted, but he wouldn't have had the same acces.

We will always have nutcases with us, but the failure to apply normal standards here implies that the presumption is that all Muslims are nutcases, which is disproved by experience. The reality is that many Muslims fled to this country looking for a better life, and found refuge here.
SW - I agree that it is dangerous for everyone, and I think I understand your point about the government/media reaction creating this, ah, disassociation with reality. After all, if NPR is to be believed, there was no response at Walter Reed precisely because the man was Muslim, which again implies the identity of mass murder with Islam. But fact disproves that.

Nevertheless I think individuals do have the responsibility to seek truth before advocating the condemnation of groups. The MSM has for the most part proved hopeless, but certainly the governmental structures can be fixed. One of the problems here appears to be cowardice on the part of the man's superiors. Another problem is that they did not have the FBI information. (Thank you, Tim, for that link. It was very interesting.)
As an adjunct to SW's comment, see his post here.

A quote from his post:PC-thought offers us the choice of believing the evidence of our own eyes, which risks our careers, social ostracism, and public shame or denying our own senses in order to remain a member in good standing of our community.

And after that, read NPR's reporting.
We will continue to have incidents like this so long as authorities are far more afraid of being seen as politically incorrect than they are of screening out dangerously unstable people (of any variety).

Hasan should have been discharged. The chain of command that promoted him instead of pushing through a discharge need to be disciplined sharply. Only by holding the chain of command accountable can one begin to fix the willful blindness that allowed Hasan to remain an officer of the United States Army.
Some commenters at SW's blog are quite adamant that Islam is the problem and that there is no choice but to either quarantine or kill all Muslims. I have debated some of them on the issue, since I have known two Muslims personally and found them to be anything but intolerant infidel haters. However, a mind is a hard thing to change and my arguments made little difference in their thinking.

It is those Muslims who have taken the aggressive passages of the Koran as literal instructions from God (fundamentalists) that are the problem. If they represent 10% of Muslims (about 150 million) that is a big problem. The best answer to the problem is for the moderate Muslims to get thoroughly disgusted with the fundamentalists. (As they have in Iraq.) When the majority doesn't want them around and refuses to protect them then they will no longeer be able to hide out among the masses. That makes our efforts to defend ourselves much easier.

That said, I find it disturbing that the Army/FBI/DOJ were not more proactive in the case of Major Hasan. It seems plain that he was a sub-standard soldier and psychiatrist who exhibited fundamentalist Muslim beliefs. (How did he make Major?) I daresay if he had been a white male there would have been no hesitation to put his behaviour under a microscope. Was he handled with "kid gloves" because he was a Muslim? Were his colleagues and superiors afraid of him or afraid of being branded Islamophobes? Did Eric Holder's DOJ call off the investigation because he was a Muslim?

His colleagues and superiors as well as the "high official" that called off the investigation now have to live with the what ifs. I would not like to be in their boots. One of the issues of PTSD is survivor's guilt. It can result from knowing you didn't take all possible actions to safeguard your fellow soldiers/citizens.
MOM; A check from the CF Foundation will go out today to Soldiers' Angels.
Thank you so much, CF. It means even more with the uncertain political situation.
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