Sunday, November 15, 2009

Irony or Hypocrisy?

In the NYT piece on the Fort Hood killer:

In that presentation, Major Hasan argued that the Koran forbids Muslims to kill other Muslims, placing Muslim American troops in an impossible position. Such soldiers should be allowed to receive conscientious objector status, he concluded.
Is it ironic or hypocritical that this individual was so disturbed by the possibility of killing Muslims that he chose to randomly kill people, including a decent possibility of killing another Muslim?  And, of course, given his job as psychologist, there was going to be very little chance of him firing up on a fellow Muslim in Afghanistan.  Indeed, he could have joined the tradition of firing in the sky or dirt as many soldiers have long been found to do in combat.

This article tries to tease out whether this was an act of terrorism or produced by psychological disorder.  The good thing about this piece is that it does admit for the possibility of both.  And that is almost certainly the right answer--the guy was disturbed and acted out--in a way to create terror.  It is unlikely that he is part of a larger group, but the problem these days, according the Bruce Hoffman interview in this piece, is not organizations but the actualization of individuals.

And towards the end of the article:
By September, Major Hasan had purchased a handgun and had begun to visit the strip club next to the gun shop. The club’s general manager, Matthew Jones, said he stayed for six or seven hours the handful of times he visited, paying for lap dances in a private room.
Um, one vote for hypocrisy, then.  Killing Muslims bad, buying lap dances good. Not that Muslims are alone in being hypocritical--picking and choosing amongst their beliefs and finding certain ones binding and others disposable.

Speaking of hypocrisy, Frank Rich has a good point or two about how the hawks in the US do not see the contradictions between what they say about Muslims and what should be done in Afghanistan.

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