Monday, November 23, 2009

Even More Thoughts on the Fort Hood Shooting, Now With More Sarcasm!

Over on CNN’s Cafferty File, Jack Cafferty asks:

Could authorities have prevented the Fort Hood shootings?

Cafferty doesn’t opine one way or the other, but he asks his readers what they think – and, according to Cafferty’s commenters, the answer is yes, absolutely, this could have been prevented – if it wasn’t for all this political correctness that is.

A couple quotes from the comments under Cafferty’s post on CNN:

Jack C says:

Politically correct concept is going to destroy America. We need to address this "crap" concept as it is ignorant.

Jane says: 

With everyone so afraid to say anything about a person for fear of being sued for discrimination, harrassment, etc, it's going to be tough to react to a potential threat. At some point all this political correctness needs to be tempered with the American public's safety

H W Johnson said:

If we had been as concerned about the health and welfare of our troops as we are about being "politically correct" , this probably could have been avoided.

Mike said:

Political correctness in not wanting to offend Muslim soldiers drove thiose who saw red flags to ignore them. This tone comes from the top, where we have an administration that cares more about terrorist rights than American lives.

There’s more of the same spread across the popular (and the not so popular) media. The usual suspects are all bemoaning political correctness and the response on the Cafferty File squares with comments I’ve seen elsewhere, many Americans seem to feel that Major Hasan’s homicidal rampage at Fort Hood could have been prevented. “They” should have seen the signs and locked him up or drummed him out of the service long ago.

In fact, according to CNN about 64% of Americans think Hasan’s actions were a preventable act of terrorism, about 31% don’t think that it could have been prevented, and the remaining 5% have the IQ of aquatic plants and were found standing in line for Palin’s book signing.

Overwhelmingly, the majority of the folks who think this event could have been prevented blame the pervasive liberal evil of political correctness for the Army and the Government’s failure to take preventative action.  Apparently, Army Soldiers who face death nearly every day, some for years at a time, senior officers who command thousands of fighting men, men who jump out of airplanes for a living, and doctors who spend their lives slicing open human beings, were apparently terrified of saying anything about Hasan for fear of being branded politically incorrect.  The FBI, those steely eyed G-men who hunt down bank robbers and terrorists and kidnappers and gang lords and drug kingpins and are willing to throw themselves in front of a bullet for God and country were intimidated by the terrible power of political correctness.  The CIA whose operatives have no trouble strapping a naked man to a board and pouring water up his nose while icily ignoring his tortured screams, who infiltrate terrorist organizations and who hunt the enemies of America though the steaming slums of South America and the jungles of Africa and the battlefields of Bosnia and the wreckage of the Middle East, they were frightened away from investigating one balding, doughy, psychiatrist because of political correctness.  Those government employees, civilians who basically can’t be fired or denied promotion for anything short of outright murder and who file grievances sometimes just to stay in practice, were too cowed by the 800lb Gorilla of political correctness to say anything. For Hasan’s entire career, his teachers, his mentors, his coworkers, his patients, his superior officers, his commanding officer,  the FBI, the CIA, CID, hell even the President of the United States (both past and present) were all, each and every one stymied by political correctness from getting rid of one lowly Muslim officer with a chip on his shoulder.

Wow, political correctness is some petty powerful stuff indeed.

Here’s the thing, as powerful and pervasive and dangerous as political correctness is, you’d think people would have a good grasp of the particulars, wouldn’t you?

Neither Cafferty, nor any of his commenters, nor any of the news articles or blogs or commentary or TV pundits condemning “political correctness” bother to define what it is. They all offer some vague hand waving, but never a solid definition or a concrete example or a list of who is engaged in it. It is destroying our country, you’d think there’d be a short and specific definition available, wouldn’t you? See, everybody just apparently knows what it is. Even the Wikipedia article is strangely vague, the group consensus limiting itself to mostly describing what various people think it is in certain situations – but no commonly accepted definition. When I asked around among the people I work with, nobody really knew what political correctness was, not one person could quote a definition or sum up the concept in a succinct line or two – other than to say that political correctness was destroying our country because you couldn’t call thin skinned minorities by racial slurs in the workplace and you weren’t allowed to tell certain jokes around women because they don’t have a sense of humor. Nobody really knew what it was, but they all agreed that political correctness was bad.  How, exactly, it is destroying the country, nobody could explain precisely or give particulars - other than more vague hand waving and some unfocused talk of illegal aliens.

Oh, don’t get me wrong here, managed equal opportunity, like anything else, can certainly go horribly wrong.  People can be made afraid to speak up for fear of repercussions.  There certainly is something, however undefined, to political correctness. But I seriously doubt that’s what happened here. Hasan did get negative performance reviews, he was counseled about his behavior, the FBI did investigate him, his patients did complain. People did speak up. There’s no proof whatsoever that any investigation or complaint was quashed because Hasan was a Muslim.

It seems that a great deal of Hasan’s beef with the Army was that he wasn’t given special treatment for his religious beliefs. He demanded that Muslims be given conscientious objector status, that was denied. He asked to be let out of his service obligation early because of his religious beliefs, that was denied. He asked not to be deployed because he didn't want to fight Muslims, that request was also denied. And in fact Hasan was reprimanded and given negative performance reviews for not meeting the same standards as everybody else.

What it comes down to, pure and simple, is that Hasan was a nut. Just another garden variety loon who blew a mental gasket and who just happened to be a Muslim.  He had a dozen different options, none of which involved treason or murder. Instead he chose the path of insanity.

As I’ve said several times recently on this blog, all of it seems pretty damned obvious, now, when we have the luxury of perfect hindsight and hundreds of people digging up clues and working on the Hasan case and nothing else.

But that’s not good enough, is it?

We have to blame someone or something don’t we?

We can’t just blame Hasan and hold him accountable for his actions, no, we need a scapegoat.

The problem is that the investigation isn’t complete, and it’s not liable to be complete for a while. We don’t really know why Hasan did what he did. So it’s kind of hard to know who to blame.

A number of folks would like to blame President Obama, but when they say that out loud, well, it makes them sound as crazy as Hasan himself.  A number of folks would like to blame the Army, but that makes them sound anti-American and unpatriotic – kind of the opposite of what they were going for. A number of folks would like to blame the FBI, but then they end up sounding like Senator Lieberman and that’s not particularly popular either. In fact, if you try to blame a specific person or a specific organization you’re very likely to get called on it, and then you’ll have to justify your accusation – which is damned hard to do when you’re just pulling it out of your ass.

So, they’ve decided to blame some vaguely undefined concept, political correctness.

In other words, it’s the liberals’ fault.

A commenter on Cafferty’s blog named southerncousin summed it up,

If liberals had not tarnished us so badly with their politically correct stuff we could have not only saved the lives of these brave soldiers, but the lives of so many more all over the world. Fort Hood is just another sign of the moral depravity and hypocrisy that is liberalism.

And so there you have it. If only the filthy liberals hadn’t taken over the country, Hasan would have been identified and stopped long before he had a chance to kill. Because the previous Conservative government was so good at it, right? Nothing slipped.past them, did it?

If only.

Let me ask you something, what if we, as a country, took them up on it?

Maybe we should do what commenter Steve suggests,

Instead of worrying about hurting someones feelings, our government needs to thoroughly interrogate anyone who is at all suspicious of being a threat to any U.S interest.


I’m hip. Let’s stop pretending that certain behavior is acceptable. Let’s stop being politically correct. Let’s call it like it is and speak bluntly.  Let’s not worry about hurting people’s feelings. Let’s thoroughly interrogate anyone who is at all suspicious and might be a threat to U.S. interests.

Yes. Lets.

Lets start with the Michigan Militia, or whatever those whacked out sons of bitches are calling themselves nowadays, shall we? All of these paramilitary nut jobs.  I don’t think any of those people are wrapped to tight, they’ve got a shitload of guns, and they like to dress up and play soldier – and the only people they’re planning on shooting are Americans. Lets bring every one of them in for interrogation. Hell, I’ll say it, as long as we’re not being politically correct and all – these people are as crazy as a bunch of shithouse rats and they sure look crazy suspicious to me. While we’re at it, let’s interrogate every single member of the NRA, and every nut who goes to gun shows.

Next, Operation Rescue. These are the rightwing religious anti-abortion nuts who have already shot Americans and committed several dozen acts of terrorism on US soil. It’s pretty obvious just how damned dangerous these people are, let’s quit screwing around with this 1st Amendment bullshit and start calling it like it is.  In fact, lets haul in every member of the organized rightwing anti-abortion movement before they shoot another doctor or blow up another clinic.

And while we’re at it, let’s investigate every church in this country.  Including every single religious leader who pontificates from the pulpit.  You know who I’m talking about, these priests and preachers and reverends who claim that people answer to a higher power than America, who spew hate in the name of their prophet, who pray for the death of the President, who talk about organizing their Soldiers of God.  Every single church in this country needs to be investigated. I mean, if we’re not going to be politically correct any more, we sure shouldn’t be tolerating all these different beliefs.

Glenn Beck. He’s been advocating revolution. In fact, it’s about damned time we did something about all of these talk show rabble rousers. Somebody explain to me how these people are any different from the Middle Eastern extremist leaders who wallow in power and hate filled ideology and encourage the mob to do their dirty work.

Teabaggers, with their talk of “taking back the country” and their tax revolts. Birthers too. How about the Governor of Texas, you know the guy that was seriously advocating secession. And while we’re at it, Todd Palin, for the same thing.  My neighbor.  He’s a raving nutjob and frankly I just don’t like the guy. He’s weird and creepy and it’s probably only a matter of time before he kills somebody.

Fuck it, let’s just interrogate everybody.

I tell you folks, I don’t know what political correctness is, but I don’t like it.

It’s good that we have something to blame for this terrible tragedy.

Isn’t it?


  1. You missed interrogating the Congress Creeps who voted against proper armor and equipment for troops going into battle. How many lives did they take?

  2. Jim,

    As a white male of privilege, married, allegedly heterosexual, possibly Christian, you clearly lack the ability to understand the concept of political correctness--even if you were entitled to have that understanding.

    On the other hand, of course, you have experienced the power of P.C. firsthand on whatever. So maybe you might have an inkling ...

    But don't let on. Because you're not entitled to an understanding. Nor are you capable of understanding. You'll be told when you are not being politically correct. Until then, shut your hole.

    See? That's how it might work.

    Also: Nice post.

  3. Jim,

    None of those right-wing groups need investigating. After all, they're full of white right-wing guys- who could they possibly be hurting?

    As far as I can tell, this cry of 'political correctness' means that we were prevented from going after all the brown people and the hell with the Constitution.


  4. Yeah, equal respect for everyone - unless you're more equal.

    Line on the left, one cross each...

  5. We should also put every HOA in the country on that list. Because THEY'RE UNAMERICAN.

  6. "men who jump out of airplanes for a living, "

    Okay, enough of this political correctness and let's investigate those sick bastards. I mean, how can you trust them at all they don't even know they can just land the plane safely and walk out. No, they have to jump. Wacko lunatics with guns is what I call them. Dangerous.

    So says the former USAF guy.

    I once had dinner with President Bush's (GW) Under-secretary of the Department of Education (can't remember the man's name now, but hell, that was nearly two decades ago). His contention was "political correctness" is a conservative movement to discredit the left. He showed how it had all the hallmarks of a far right philosophy (control of individuals in the name of "freedom" to cite one ). It was a very interesting dinner, not only in the conversation but the fact that I was there with my wife who had just started at that college and we were at one of the "little kids" tables, and that's where this man found himself even though he was a guest of honor (and more than likely because he was black).

  7. i will say this could have been prevented, while leaving his home that morning Hasan could have been creamed by a drunk driver and saved us all alot of heart ache, or he could have left his guns at home as he was rushing to make it on base before drop dead hour (military folks know what time i mean) the fact is yes this and EVERYTHING! could have ben prevented the smallest little change in the path can alter it, but the funn and beauty of walking that path is the total lack of control anyone has over it, if Hasan would have been creamed by a drunk driver local and state papers would have run stories about a brave muslim that wanted to help his home America and all the soldiers fighting overseas, funny ain't it, shit happens and the media grandstands it for ratings, i hate it i hate getting asked 20 million times a day "do you think we are doing a good job, what do you think of our president, i'll bet this or that pisses you off" mayby it does mayby it doesn't it doesn't matter i have a jobe to do and you and you idiotic pointless question are not helping,... sorry i just started working mareting and public affairs for a recuiting command, i'm a little blown out after my first day, shit happens people get over it, let the families grieve let the justice system do it's job, and you go back to picking your toenails solving the worlds problems from your couch, Jim great post i love it. Semper Fi

  8. Jim:

    I have talked to some folks who had firsthand experience with Hasan at Walter Reed, including some who tried to warn about him; who said they saw this coming and tried (with complaints in writing) to prevent it. You are far off the mark here.

  9. I have talked to some folks who had firsthand experience with Hasan at Walter Reed, including some who tried to warn about him; who said they saw this coming and tried (with complaints in writing) to prevent it.

    Dammit CW, you were in the military - at least I assume you were from comments you've left here and there, you know how this works. You were a flyer, right? Navy or Marine, I gather. EP-3 Echos maybe? How many goofy fuckers have you met in uniform? We all knew somebody who was "gonna snap and start killing people." Most of them didn't.

    Sure, sure the people who knew Hasan at Walter Reed saw this coming. Of course they did. Now. Two weeks after it happened. Sure. There's all kinds of people, everybody who ever knew him predicted this. Now. When the press comes knocking, when they can't wait to relate how close a cal they had with Killer Hasan.

    Now, go back and reread what you typed: (with complaints in writing). So, political correctness didn't actually prevent anybody from raising concerns or speaking up or fearing for their careers? Is that right?

    CW, I'm not saying the chain of command didn't give those inputs as much attention as they should have, I'm not saying they did - I don't know and I will repeat what I've said all along which is, "wait for the results of the investigation."

    But if you are who I think you are, then you damned well know how this works, you know what it takes to kick somebody out of the military, especially an officer, especially one in a desperately needed specialty, especially one already scheduled for deployment. How many shitbag non performers have you met? And wondered why they were still around?

    I'm not buying it, CW. The heroes always come out of the woodwork after the accident, "oh I warned 'em I did, but did they listen to me? Nooooooooo..."

  10. Right after the shootings, I spoke with a conservative individual (to whom I am related). And her position was basically that NOW we should just drum all the Muslims out of the military, because they're the freakin' enemy and they have no business inside our ranks. (And, y'know, it's for their own good, because we can't really ASK THEM to fight against other Muslims now, can we? It was only a matter of time before one of them cracked.) But it's just all this damn "political correctness," which keeps us from doing the safe thing and kicking them out of the military.

    I talked her down from the FOXNews Ledge on this one, but, honestly, sometimes I think they're just inches away from advocating internment camps for all Muslim-Americans.

  11. it wouldn't be the first time it happened in america, don't forget world war II they were holdiing germans and japanese for the same fear, however those individuals could join the military and their families would be spared living in the camps

  12. JarheadJournalist,

    I don't believe, at least in the case of the Japanese-Americans, that the volunteering of their sons kept/got the families out of the camps.

  13. The people who blame "political correctness" did it because, of course, that's the politically correct answer.

    But there is another reason, a less acceptable reason. Lots of people don't like "being politically correct" bacause they WANT to discriminate against others because of race, religion, gender, age, or party affiliation. They don't like being told that they CAN'T discriminate. It's illegal, damnit!

    Bottom line, being politically correct means being a good American. Giving all others the same freedoms you enjoy, and not forcing your ideas on them. Treating others just exactly like you want to be treated. But that's hard. Very hard. It's an ideal to aspire to, but it's hard to get there.

    But that's what "politically correct" really is, and why.

    So you can't treat a Muslim-American any different than a Christian-American, or a Female-American, or an Old-American. And you can't group them and put labels on them (like I just did), either.

    Every one who rails against political correctness, or blames it for anything, does it because they don't want to be politically correct. They want to discriminate, they want to name-call. They want to judge others as less than themselves.

    So much for that part. There's another.

    Implicit in the thinking that we can prevent a tragedy like this is a blindness towards what it would really take. The S words. Suspicion. Surveillance. Security.

    Spying, in other words.

    Let's just rip up the rest of the Bill of Rights. Check up on all them other guys. The different ones, you know who I mean. Not me. You can tell I'm a real American just by looking at me. But them others. You know, the dark ones. The ones who wear a turban, or a head scarf. Or the ones who wear a hat inside. Or the ones who don't wear a hat outside. The funny-looking ones. You know. Follow them. Question them. Check out their checking accounts. See if they have a gun. (Well, maybe not. Guns don't kill people, people do) Watch where they go, and who they pal around with. Listen to their phone calls. And if you see something weird, pick them up for questioning. Sweat them. Leave them in a jail cell for a couple of hours, and don't let them call a lawyer. Hurt them until they confess. (Oh wait, we're not supposed to torture, are we) Ahh, don't worry, they aren't real Americans, or they wouldn't be acting so strange.

    And while we're at it, lets search people at airports. Make them take off their shoes and belts. Require ID before going anywhere. Keep lists of the bad people so they can't fly.

    Yup, we can make America safe.

    It just takes more than I want to give up.

    Hey, we've already given up a lot of freedoms since 9/11, what's a few more?

    I go the other way. I want to disband the TSA. I want to rescind the Patriot Act. I want America to regain it's freedom and pride.

    But maybe that's not politically correct...

  14. I've never heard of either German or Italian citizens in WWII being sent to camps. They did have to register as did citizens of countries they were occupying. My grandfather, as were many others, was given a choice of American citizenship or registering as an alien of an enemy occupied country. Enrico Fermi (who did study particle physics at his kitchen table) was an Italian citizen while working on the Manhattan Project.

    Most Japanese on the mainland were sent to camps, citizenship or not. A few sons joined the military but not many. Most were stripped of possessions at 10 cents on the dollar or less, all actions upheld by courts. We have done it before.

    Hawaii did not intern most Japanese, many sons joined the military and the 442 was formed mostly of those of Japanese ancestry. It became the most highly decorated regiment in US history with 21 Medals of Honor included in its awards. Which shows we shouldn't have interned anyone.

  15. Jim: All I'm saying is there is more to this than you can tell from the internet or the media and it would be incorrect to say that political correctness didn't play a role in what happened. You are incorrect to say the "heroes came out of the woodwork after the shooting". In fact the situation was entirely the opposite. This was not a situation about the Army kicking out a poorly performing officer - it was something much more serious that was apparently ignored, then covered up.

  16. CW, that's not all you're saying - now you're saying that there's a conspiracy and cover up on the part of the Army. And you've alluded a grander conspiracy and compromise.

    I've said right from the first post that there is more to this than the media knows or relates or understands. That's obvious. Hell, the media never gets any story about the military correct, you know that. Example: Hasan would have had at least five performance reviews, the media has published excerpts from one, and the veracity of that document is accepted at face value from an unnamed source of unknown confidence. Not the best of intelligence practices. The media has a bias, they are in the business of selling news - they publish what attracts readers and leave out the boring and mundane, you're getting maybe 1/100th of a percent of the whole picture, and even that has been filtered and refiltered.

    You alluded to a cover-up. What do you base that statement on? The INVESTIGATION IS NOT COMPLETE. Are people refusing to cooperate? Are they shredding documents? Is the general permanently unavailable? Are the Muslims who've secretly infiltrated our government and military diverting the investigators? What, CW? Where's your supporting high confidence intel?

    Of course political correctness played a role - but you're going to need a whole lot more proof before you convince me that it was the cause of this event and that it COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED but was not because of PC.

    I'm not buying it, CW. Pony up your proof.

    As to my heroes remark, yes, maybe that was a little harsh - but, do a search for the press interviews, there's a dozen "eye witness" reports circulating on the web, including letters purporting to be from folks who "were there" and either helped subdue Hasan, rendered aid to the fallen, or took charge after the event. BS all of it. Everybody wants to be the star of the show. Everybody wants to tell how they were IN THE SAME ROOM with the killer and whew, they came this close. Sorry, CW, but I've seen to much action, and too much blood, and too many armchair warriors to buy into this crap without some solid proof. Unnamed sources and vague allusions to conspiracies isn't doing it for me.


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