Monday, November 16, 2009

"America does not face a threat from the perversion of faith in general."

"We face a threat from the perversion of one faith in particular."

Obama is right to continue emphasizing the all-important distinction between religious views compatible with democratic pluralism and those that aren't. As he deals with the fallout of the attack, he must continue to separate Islamic extremism from Islam as a whole. But his words at Fort Hood, while comforting, do not really come to grips with the problem. America does not face a threat from the perversion of faith in general. We face a threat from the perversion of one faith in particular. The president needs to dip into his reservoir of good will to remind mainstream Muslims of their special responsibility. If militant Islamism is a distortion of their moderate beliefs, only their beliefs can defeat it.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

"There is absolutely no political lesson to be learned from this."

Via Megan McArdle, who reports on an eyewitness account of the slaughter:

There is absolutely no political lesson to be learned from this. Gun control would not have stopped a commissioned officer from obtaining guns. Barack Obama had no power to stop this. Infectious PTSD is a lousy theory. And nations certainly do not--and should not--shape their foreign policy around the possibility that a random psychopath will start shooting up a crowd. Evil people do evil things. That's all.

And from the letter from the eyewitness referenced in her post:

But please, no one use this politically! The Army is not "broken", PTSD doesn't turn people into killers, most Muslims aren't evil, and whether we should stay or go in Afghanistan has nothing to do with this.

Indeed. I mean, there still serious questions to be asked about the motives of this murderer, the role his alleged anti-war views or feelings of persecution played in this. There are questions about his supposed mental state. The thing is, this has been politicized already to the point of stomach-turning, by the usual suspects, and it's ridiculous.

ADDED: An uncomfortable number of people, even some who you'd think would know better, have been politicizing this tragedy in order to take cheap shots at the President. I'll have to mull this over, but it appears that the President may have committed a foul, by using this incident as a rallying cry of health care reform. I'm withholding judgment....

AND: Here's what he said:

“Sacrifice is not casting a vote that might lose an election for you; it is the sacrifice that someone makes when they wear the uniform of this country and that unfortunately a number of people made this week,”

Not as bad as it's being spun, but he shouldn't have said it. The Fort Hood massacre is not a rallying cry in order to pass legislation, even if it's legislation you believe in. If John Boehner had said something the effect of "vote no for freedom, the same freedom that those slain at Fort Hood fought for," he'd be committing the same foul, and it would be wrong.

Foul by the President.